tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN March 30, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
ought to do on this i just say lower rates keep it revenue neutral. there may be something you can work out on that deed to increase revenues. lower rates would be what's driving me. >> how about the issue of cap gains that at the time going the same rate as ordinary income. and we've since then gone back to a differential. what do you think about that? was that a good thing? >> yes i think it was. and remember bill talking just a moment ago about the hearings we had and that fellow had to have a differential. if it was 30% had to be 15. and if it was 20% had to be 10. i asked him, i said, if there was no income tax. would you have to have a subsidy to invest? because there's no differential? and he had never been asked that question, didn't know how to answer it but i think you can do very well if you have a low rate with capital gains.
>> and this has been alluded to a little bit weather today too, there's been some discussion about what are the goals attached. one of the things i think that separates us here, which makes it kind of hard is that there are folks who look at this as an exercise to raise revenue, it's something the president wants to do, a lot of us believe the best way to get revenue is through greater growth. and that tax reform -- the goal of tax reform ought to be how do we generate economic growth in the economy. which addresses a lot of those income disparity issues that were mentioned earlier as well. speak a little bit about growth as an objective, and how you think that plays into the deliberations that should occur here. >> growth, obviously, everybody wants growth. but i remember russell long, who is chairman of this committee for 16, 17 years. and one meeting going, i've been
here for 30 years. three times we have put the investment tax credit in in tax reform. three times we've taken it out in tax reform. now, you tell me when it's reformed and when does it help to work the economy. i think a lot of us don't know exactly what works. i do know there are all kinds of industries that want things who say this will work, but i don't think we're necessarily smart enough to know. >> you've talked a lot about growth tell me your views on that? >> i think you can have growth and equity. i think growth you get in part through the lower rates. but also in part from clearing out the code of all of this underbrush that prevents the economy from growing, because it subsidizes one segment as opposed to another. i think that if you're going to deal with the equity question i
think the way to do that is with the earned income tax credit i think the president's proposal on second earner credit is pretty interesting. you can do things in the code that are structural, that are not special interest, that will allow you to deal with equity at the same time, you're lowering the overall rate. and to me that's the key. >> thank you mr. chairman, senator bradley, you're a credit to basketball players everywhere. >> it's a big compliment from you, senator. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you both for being here today with us providing us insight. i will tell you that sitting here is a relatively new senator. your insight has been invaluable to all of us and just for point
of reference, this is treasury two, and this is treasury one. during the years that you guy ss have found the will to agree on these proposals. how do we find a common ground when finding a series of partners toward real tax reform appears to be missing and the seriousness of the presentations and the proposals number one. and the second part of that is when we heard from both our chairman senator hatch and senator thune just talked about revenue neutral position. when you start the conversation as well, talking about achieving several hundred billion dollars more of revenue versus a position of neutrality. how do we bridge that gap. >> i don't think bill and i can
tell you how to bridge that gap. if the positions are irrevocable, revenue, no revenue cannot be bridged opinion. >> i agree. >> if you can bridge that, then spend some time doing something else i think however, that the question is, can you put together a small group of people on this committee that have sufficient clout within the committee as bob said earlier, that you can actually spend the time to come up with something, that was pretty good? i mean you know, more taxes. you have to figure out which taxes, the tradeoffs that i offered with the consumption tax versus cutting the social
security and employment taxes. that's not something we're going to decide that's something you have to decide. and as i said earlier, all i know is being in that room with 7 people and you're making votes and doing things, and affecting this part of the economy, it's a lot of fun. if you are just coming in and having your two sides make your statements i can't be too much fun. >> can't be too much fun is correct. looking for other things to do with our time. i thought about playing basketball but i'm too short. good news is, senator hatch on the other hand has taken a fairly inventive and creative approach to making sure we find some common groundworking across the aisle and looking for sweet spots. he's put together some working groups, i think may be beneficial going-forward. one of the areas i have great passion and interest is the entrepreneur for the last 15 years. why simplification for the tax
code benefits all? you said that tax loopholes are ways for politicians to spend money without going through the appropriations process. the more opportunities that politicians have to spend money without going through the appropriations process, the more complicated and difficult the tax code comes. when i started my business, i didn't think about loopholes. i thought about creating jobs and making a profit changing the lives of family members and employees. i would love to hear you chat just a little bit about the notion of simplification, either of you gentlemen talked about the simplification. and the natural outcome to find money, in its best place through the private sector. >> you know, when i was speaking about this every day for 40 years. i went on the david letterman show that's when he was late
late. and i took out a card and said, you ought to be able to do your income tax on this card. now, that's not quite true but we do know the vast number of americans have income from wages, interest or dividends. guess who has all that information other than the individuals? the irs the irs for the bulk of americans do the return based on that send it to the people, they can sign it or say no i want another accountant to do it that would be a dramatic simplification. >> in 1986 i had the younger person on the joint tax committee who was gone i can't remember who it was now, give me a ballpark estimate. not spend time -- what you could do with a flat tax, which is certainly simple. and he said at that time, it took him a few days. you get a flat tax 11% raising
the same amount of money we're raising, that meant a widow would pay $1100 in taxes. so i said, what about if you exempt all families for $430,000. exempt them? came back a couple days he says, 19%. but it's slightly tilts toward the rich. and i was curious about slightly, he said, you realize that when you're going to get rid of every deduction that mankind conceivably has, you're mainly talking about people with the rich, not the poor. sally who works at the mill who fills out a 1040 ez is not adversely affected. he said, but i think if 19% would be the norm you could keep the same progress, and do it around 17% on the low end, 20% middle and around 23% on the top. this was the top of the head thought. it's worth running if you want to see what you could do, and
then senator you have got a simple tax. how much did you earn? you're in the 20% tax bracket, you don't need any deductions, that's simple. >> that's interesting. >> thank you. >> thank you senator. senator white, by the way, we've had over 30 hearings on this over the last four years. before you -- i want to tell one quick story about bill it's cute. >> signing ceremony is going to be on a wednesday. bill is in portland at a noontime luncheon and fund-raiser for a democratic candidate for governor you're going to catch the plane back for the signing ceremony. my campaign manager is a tough woman. you're up for an election this year, you won't get back. bill was going, well, portland is socked in, you can't get a plane out in the afternoon, you call seattle can i get a plane out to seattle? no. a charter plane?
nothing's flying out. so -- and i was having a press conference the next day at 7:30, and the president was going to call me after he finished signing. we have a press conference tomorrow morning if you'd like to come. he said knowing to get out, early the next morning he calls my hotel and says where is that press conference. and he comes and the president talks to me, and i said the local network affiliates are there, and the president talks to me, and i chat a bit. bill bradley's here, you know how valuable he was for us on this, and i wonder if you could say a few words to him. the things that irritate me. he makes national television from appearing on the local affiliate in portland and i don't get covered nationwide. >> the morell vant point is, it was because of my respect for
bob pacwood that i decided to join him in the middle of my campaign. i think that's probably not happened a lot. >> oh, that was well done. >> i have a lot of respect for both of you, you've been both great senators, and you've both done a lot for this country. and we're very proud -- senator widen has -- >> i'm going to be brief, and thank you both for that simplicity. discussion. i thought for a long time that this insanely complicated tax code plays right into the hands of the special interests and the lobbyists. and it's going to be even more challenging today than it was in '86. we would be talking about guchy gulch, there were these wonderful descriptions about the lobbyists who would wait in line outside the weighs and means
room for a phone booth. well, today a lobbyist is going to sit in the back of the room and set in motion a tweet that is in effect probably going to go to millions. maybe they're going to be able to tweet to millions directly from the back of the room. simplicity is hugely important. i think there's some contenders for how to do it. senator bradley mentioned with respect to the information that the irs in effect has in giving the citizen an option of in effect having the irs mail something, it would be an option. the postcard concept in effect, you can almost put a tax return on the back of a w-2. and that is something worth exploring. i'm also interested in looking -- we'll be following up with two of you on the idea that if you tripled the standard deduction. and a number of senators of both
political parties are interested in a significant increase in the standard deduction, you don't have so many people itemize. that's another possibility. but just know we're going to follow up with you on the simplicity. i want to wrap up with one last question. and that is is there one thing you regret about what happened in '86? and you would council us in terms of what to do for the future? in other words, you know, it's always easy to kind of think about what's possible today in the abstract. you two went through it. anything you regret and you would like us to change? i know that one thing i regret about '86 and i was just a junior congressperson, is senator bradley's right when he says no current congress can permanently bind a future congress from unraveling it, but you could make it really hard. i mean, you can put people through multiple votes and the like, i can think of some things, you two went through it
anything you regret? one thing that you would tell us to be careful about? >> i regret the odious deal i had to make, it was totally unjustified, no other business got, but i needed their votes on the floor. what theyen watted didn't cost very much money. and the iras were $24 billion. do i wish i didn't have to put that in? you're right that's one of the decisions you make on the spur of the moment. i made it the night we were doing the final markup. i didn't bounce it off my group of six because i knew they would vote against it. i would rather just put it in mad rather than have them think i double crossed them. >> even in this world of great equality among senators, among the group of seven that senator pacwood talked about there was
still the chairman's prerogative, and i think that's what that was nobody questioned that, because i've been through the whole process. do i regret anything? i regret the bill lasted a short period of time. it was a humbling experience. sand castles at the edge of the ocean, and only a commitment from members of this committee and from presidents, succeeding presidents, president clinton had a totally different idea of taxes. he would like to spend through the tax code, and, therefore, that helped unravel the differential capital gains came back we no longer treated capital and labor the same, which is what we did, the rate went up to 39, there were infin at numbers of hiding places for little provisions. my favorite being the one that says, if you rent your house for two weeks you pay no tax on that
income. there was once a senator from georgia on this committee who had a lot of friends who had the masters golf tournament, big houses around the masters golf tournament, these things happen, right? but you i don't regret that that was before my time. you do have to find some way -- i regret it didn't last. that's what i say. >> mr. chairman? >> thank you. you have one of your top staffers who are based on at least one i know, who was switching at the time. do you care to introduce? >> bill deefen ndiefenderfer stand up. >> he was the chief of staff at the time i often said that bill wasn't our bill, it was my bill he was critical in this and especially critical in dealing with the administration and dick
durbin, would not have passed but for him. >> i agree with that. >> still legendary. i want to thank both of you, this means a lot to me personally, i've admired you for a long time. as legislators as people who really care for people and who both are extremely intelligent. so this has meant a lot to me, and i appreciate it, and with that, we'll recess until further notice. >> thank you. coming up live on c-span at 6:30 eastern a conversation on human rights with sarah seawall, the state department's undersecretary for human rights, she'll discuss the work being done by the atrocities board which was created in 2012 too respond to and prevent again side and other human rights violations around the worlds. it's hosted by the council on foreign relations.
tonight on american history tv programs on the 50th anniversary of the selma march. at 8:00 p.m. selma 50th anniversary anniversary commemoration ceremony, with president obama and one of the participants in that march congressman john lewis. at 9:10 p.m. abc news footage of march 25th 1965 voting rights rally in montgomery alabama. >> after that, president johnson's address to congress on voting rights, then the selma 50th anniversary service. all of this am coulding up tonight on c-span 3. >> in february, two house foreign affairs subcommittees held a joint where we aring on syria's humanitarian crisis. they heard from state department and usa idea officials about how
it's tracked so it ends up in the right hands. with all due apologies to the members who are not here yet, i'm going to start because pretty soon we'll be going back into the session, and be voting. thank you very much, and i know that the members will be coming right quit and when they come here i will recognize their -- them for their opening statements. so the joint subcommittees will come to order. after recognizing myself chairman smith ranking members deutsch and bass as soon as they come for five minutes each. i will recognize any members for one minute.
we will hear from our witnesses, and without objection, the witnesses prepared statements will be made a part of the record, and members may have five days in which to insert statements and questions for the record subject to the length limitation and remarks. our thoughts and prayers are with kayla mueller in this most trying of times, she was taken hostage while doing humanitarian work in syria, which is the subject of our hearing, helping those who are in such dire need of her health, and all of america mourns her loss and the family's loss. the terrorists have proven time and again that they have no respect for human rights that is why we must redouble our efforts to defeat this scurge. kayla's legacy will be the work she had done to alleviate the
suffering to a countless many in syria and the world. it's important that our government will continue to respond to this humanitarian crisis, but also that we will make the respect for human rights across the globe a priority and not just an after thought. and with that, the chair now recognizes herself for five minutes. next month will mark the fourth anniversary since the starts of the syrian conflict there are no signs that the crisis will abate any time soon. assad has demonstrated no remorse, and indeed his intransigents has only hardened as he maintains his grasp on power, and the enclaves of syria, thanks to the support from iran and the united states's unwillingness to engage isil and assad in a comprehensive strategy. they have managed to rest control of other large areas of syria, and they too have no intention of giving up the
territory they have claimed since president obama announced strikes against syria last september, isil has gained more territory, and that leaves little territory for those syrians who wish to flee the fighting and violence. it isn't just limited to syria and iraq. jordan and other neighboring countries have been forced to bear the brunt of a massive influx of refugees fleeing the fighting, and that's tested the limits of their already strained capabilities. last congress, the ranking member ted deutsch and i con vined four hearings on the humanitarian situation in syria. we were pleased to join with congressman smith and bass's subcommittee, in an effort to shine a light on this aspect of the conflict that gets ignored. when we held our first subcommittee hearing on the
situation. in syria. 80,000 syrians had been killed and 1.5 million people had been displaced. less than two years later those numbers have swelled over 200,000 have been killed 3 million have fled, and now more than half of syria's population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance. the u.s. has been the largest provider of humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis, providing much needed aid to syria, iraq jordan and other countries. we spent over $3 billion since the start of the conflict and the president's budget request released last week, is seeking an additional 1.6 billion to address the humanitarian needs in syria and in iraq. while some of this goes directly to the neighboring countries that host refugees and directly
to the ngo's, the vast majority of our funding for syria support multilateral initiatives through the united nations. i worry some of these systems would provide that goes to the u.n. and its implementing partners may get diverted to isil or other terrorist groups by force or through bribes in order to gain access to certain areas. while i understand there are some very real and dangerous obstacles in place to reaching the maximum amount of people americans are concerned over where this $5 billion are going, especially if most of it could be going through third and fourth parties as evidence shows that it is. some of the humanitarian assistance is going through middlemen in syria, when the implementing partners can't get access to the locations that they're trying to reach. more recently, food rations have been handed out by the world
food program, and they're tagged with the islamic state symbol. so there are some very real impressive problems that need to be corrected. congress and the administration, we have a responsibility to the american public to be good stewards of their tax dollars. so it is imperative that we find the right balance of efficiency and transparency. our comprehensive strategy toward syria must take into effect the humanitarian crisis that we are confronting today. that's why it's so important, it's imperative that we hold these hearings, not only to hear from the vital work that we are doing, and the lives that we are saving, also conduct our proper oversight role, it's also why i was joined this week by ranking member deutsch mr. desandas and mr. connelley, requesting a report to ensure that our aide is reaching its intended recipients.
the syrian humanitarian crisis is not a problem that is going away any time soon. not until we defeat isil and assad, and assad is removed from power. the u.s. cannot afford to continue to provide billions indefinitely. it is imperative that we have confidence that what we are providing is not subject to waist, fraud ah, buis or diversion to terror groups so that we can continue playing a key role in responding to this crisis and maximize our effectiveness. and with that i'm proud to yield to the ranking member of our subcommittee, mr. deutsch. >> i too would like to send my thoughts and prayers out to kayla's family and friends. please no, that we will continue
to honor kayla's memory and her life's work by giving this humanitarian crisis this deserves. i want to thank the chairman for starting this congress with the follow-up to four humanitarian focus hearings we held last congress. there is no end in sight. members of the opportunity to discuss the political and security components of this conflict in the full foreign affairs committee this morning. this afternoon we are here to focus on the growing humanitarian crisis there are now 12.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. that is the populations of new york city and los angeles. the two largest cities in the united states combined. there are 3.8 billion refugees in neighboring countries. there are 241,000 people in besieged areas inside syria, there are 9.8 million people who
are secure. these chairman are truly staggering. the situation inside syria has complicated the ability of humanitarian organizations to effectively deliver aide despite the first authorization in united nations security council resolution 21-65. it's becoming increasingly difficult to get aid safely into the country and to its recipients. i hope you will speak to the effectiveness of cross border and cross line aide. we continue to engage in a political process that has yet to reveal a truce. syrian refugees have flooded into jordan lebanon and turkey at a staggering rate. jordan has 622,000 registered refugees, and lebanon and syria, they now make up 1/4 of the population, these overwhelming numbers do not include
potentially hundreds of thousands of unregistered refugees that have been absorbed in urban areas, we have got to continue to support these host committees and the unmitigated strain it places on their resources. the united states has provided over $3.5 billion in humanitarian assistance. i offer my full support of continued humanitarian funding for this crisis. i want to make sure our aide is effective and not falling into the wrong hands. i was troubled by reports that showed isis fighters handing out food packages, that's why i joined with her and congressman conley and de san tess in commissioning a gao report so we can be sure the proper mechanism mechanisms are in place to spend our dollars most effectively i have to say, i've been shocked and truly dismade throughout this crisis at the lack of financial support coming from the international community. last year, only half of the u.n.
budget was funded. these unfulfilled pledges of assistance led to the world food program to stop its operations while an emergency fund-raising campaign took place. this is unacceptable. i recognize that most of us were unprepared to deal with a protracted crisis. after four years, we are at risk of losing an entire generation. 5.6 million children have been affected. we've seen the outbreak of polio, simply because infants and children couldn't get vaccinations. refugee children didn't have the staff or resources necessary to shoulder these additional students. many have been forced to abandon school all together and find work to help support their families. women and children have borne the brunt of this humanitarian crisis. i hope mr. staal can address some of the programs we're funding aimed at protecting
these vulnerable populations. >> before i close, i want to remind everyone of one critical factor. despite the horrific brutality of isis and its devastating attacks in syria and iraq and against american and other western citizens. it's still the ruthless assad regime that remains the biggest threat to the syrian people. we may share a common enemy in isis, but we are not partners with this deadly regime that has the blood of hundreds of thousands of its own people on its hands. finally, i want to commend the work of state and usaid. this is a tremendous challenge. and we recognize the work you do is not easy. and the work of your partners on the ground who risk their lives to help those in need deserves to be recognized in this body and in capitals around the world every day. thank you for being here. >> thank you, mr. deutsch. and i'm so pleased to yield to the subcommittee chairman smith,
who has made it his life's mission to fight human rights violations and to speer head humanitarian missions. >> thank you so very much. it's an honor and a privilege to join you. for both of our subcommittees to be receiving this testimony and really broadcasting to all who will hear our solidarity with the victims. those men women and children who are being savagely beaten and raped and killed and tortured by assad and other players and actors in syria. thank you again for pulling us together for this hearing. since the beginning of the syrian conflict in 2011 the u.n. estimates that more than 200,000 have been killed. it would be terrible enough if we could count the dead in syria as collateral damage in the civil war gone completely out of control, unfortunately, the truth is far more horrific than that. according to the u.n., the government of barber al assad,
initiated the conflict to crush the opposition to his brutal rule, and in the process, he's used chemical weapons, barrel bombs and other weapons of mass destruction to kill his own people. this regime has been involved in widespread killings including children, hospital patients, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment on a massive scale. densely populated areas. heavy and indiscriminate showing of areas. systematic denial of food and water, and prevention of medical treatment including children. so the depraves has the assad regime been. has proven to be indiscriminately shelved bakeries with artillery rounds, even though the targets were civilian and not military targets. not a british volunteer surgeon reported in 2013 victims of
government snipers would display wounds in a particular area of the body on particular days. indicating they may have been targeted in a gain. the syrian government came to these doctors and nurses as collaborators because they were willing to help rebels in need of medical care. the assad regime emprisoned hundreds of health workers and tortured many of them to death. others have just disappeared. government forces targeted health workers and medical facilities in the attacks erasing the universal principle of medical neutrality, the government isn't the only perpetrator of human rights violations in syria. arm opposition groups including militia supporting the assad regime have been responsible for unlandfall indiscriminate killings, including hostage taking. one rebel commander told the associated press that his group had released prisoners in bomb
rigged cars, turning them into unwitting suicide bombers, other groups have perpetrated crimes too egregious to present today in detail. the free syrian army, and the syrian revolutionary front al qaeda, operate within this committee, heinous crimes against those unable to leave syria. we know and this was in the testimony by the deputy assistant secretary clements. half of its prewar population has been displaced, half of a country gone, displaced. and that is almost without precedent, anywhere in the world. the mediterranean human rights network reported in 2013, that at least 6,000 women have reported being raped by one armed group or another. and the genuine figure was much higher due to underreporting in fact, the international rescue committee reported two years ago, that the primary reason for
syrians to flee their country has been fear of rape. syria's not a party to the rome statue, the international criminal court has no jurisdiction over these human rights violators, there could be a referral if they were so inclined from the security council, even if the icc could get involved, russia has already indicated its opposition to that kind of refersal. that's why i introduced last year, and i will do it again soon, a resolution to create an independent tribunal. bring the reality to reality, the promise of justice to those who now have no fear of any kind of accountability. it will be a pattern we had in crying slav ya rwanda and the court in sierra leone. the tribunal would prosecute the perpetrators no matter who committed the crime.
everyone hopefully these individuals will be brought to justice. again, i want to thank you madam chair for doing this -- >> a powerful statement. and because the ranking member of mr. smith's committee is not here, i would like to recognize miss frankel and mr. boyle to share those five minutes, however you'd like to divide them. miss frankel is recognized. >> thank you. and i thank you and the ranking member for this hearing, which i believe is important. and i want to share our sentiments for the loss of kayla mueller. we have heard from the administration obviously in the past several months why we should train and arm syrian rebels. we now have a request for authorization, for the use of military force, so i am very pleased that you're here, it's a
change of pace let's put it that way. and had is what i'm particularly interested in not only the type of humanitarian assistance and answering some of the questions about whether we are effectively getting it to those who are suffering, but i'm also interested in your opinion as to the role that humanitarian assistance plays in the larger goal of defeating those forces like assad, like isil that are causing the pain. and then what else i would be interested in, especially in light of what happened to kayla mueller is how safe it is for our aid workers in delivering this humanitarian assistance. i thank you and i'll yield the rest of my time to mr. boyle. >> mr. boyle is recognized. >> thank you very much. and i have to say being on the foreign affairs committee, and
this subcommittee for the last six weeks i keep waiting until we get to have hearings about good news. i suspect that we'll be waiting a very long time. the scale of the human tragedy that has taken place in syria is unbelievable. now, over 12 million human beings, 12 million people who have been dislocated, this is creating enormous instability not just in syria, but northern iraq, and other nearby areas. i would just ask -- and i -- a lot of my comments were echoed earlier, so rather than being representative, i would just ask that when you are giving your statements, while this subject might be specifically about syria, this is part of a regional fight. part of a fight that has been going on for approximately 1,400
years, i would like you to talk about -- to the extent you're knowledgeable about it, the stability of the regime in jordan. being boarded in israel and what was going on last summer in gaza. and then, of course what is going on a de facto shiite sunni civil war and also at the same time, a war between those who believe in a very radical militant violent form of islam and those who do not. with all of that going in the region, we have one little island of stability smack dab in the middle there, and i am deeply concerned -- you don't hear about this much, i am deeply concerned the syrian conflict if it were to spread to the west would finally topple one of the few regimes that we can actually count on as an ally. i hope when you give your comment you will broaden it and
talk about that a bit i thank the ranking member. and to say this american, i've watched human rights work chairman smith has done for many many year ss. >> it's an honor to have you. thank you very much. >> thank you madam kwharm for calling this important joint hearing. the violence of syria over the past four years has smirld out of control as we know building a serious and grave humanitarian crisis. it was in august of 2012, the president famously declared the red line however today, nearly 200,000 people have been senselessly killed over 3 million are refugees in neighboring countries with millions more internally displaced, and we're no closer to ending this humanitarian tragedy. as this war continues i believe this crisis will unfortunately only get worse. the refugee flows into jordan, lebanon and turkey have hardly
diminished, these countries are at their peak in terms of the numbers they can support. at the same time unprecedented numbers are streaming into syria to join isil and other extremist groups which are further complicating and exacerbating this situation. the u.s. is the largest contributor of humanitarian assistance, we need to implement a strategy that deals with this growingch crisis. while ensuring those need our support. u.s. assistance is reaching the hands of isis and other terrorist groups. and that's very alarming. i hope that today's witnesses will discuss what is being done to address this issue and all the other things my colleagues have talked about. thank you madam chair. >> thank you. mr. trot is recognized.
>> common sense solutions to the middle east over there and work with the amuf to get some resolution resolution. with that i yield back. >> so now we turn to our witnesses, let me introduce our panelists. we are pleased to welcome kelly clements of the bureau of population refugees and migration at the department of state. she has detailed, she was detailed to the office of the u.n. high commissioner of refugees in bangladesh and has served in the state department's task force on kurdish refugees and displaced persons. she has been a special assistant to the under secretary of state for global affairs, and a senior emergency officer for europe during the balkan crisis. welcome. and then we will also hear from acting assistant administrator thomas staal of the bureau of democracy, conflict and humanitarian assistance at
usaid. he has served in usaid since the late '80s and has managed project developments in eastern and southern africa, as well as in the west bank and gaza. more recently he has served as the director of the iraq reconstruction office here in washington, d.c.. and as mission director in lebanon. ethiopia and iraq. excellent panelists and we will begin with you, miss clements. >> prepared statements will be made a part of the record. >> chairman smith, and members of the committee for inviting us to this very important hearing on humanitarian assistance. for those imperiled and uprooted by the worst human made catastrophe of our time i have submitted my full testimony for the record, and i'm grateful for the opportunity to update you and thank you for your leadership and to congress for its unwaiving support, the syrian crisis has claimed nearly 200,000 lives, forcibly
displaced half of syria's prewar population of 24 million people, almost 4 million have fled to neighboring countries and many will remain in exile for years to come. the assad regime and extremist groups target innocent civilians, already suffering from food shortages, inadequate shelter and preventable diseases. right now 12.2 million people need urgent humanitarian aid and half of them are children. it's been the most expensive in modern history, and the needs have outstripped available resources. appeals have grown exponentially, the total amount pledged has plateaued. the 2014 appeals were just over half funded as you noted earlier. the united states remains the single largest donor and has contributed over 3 billion since the crisis began. in 2014, my bureau at the state department provided more than a third of all funding for the syrian humanitarian response.
that $725 million is the largest single year contribution in our bureau's history. roughly half of all aid has gone to conflict victims inside syria, and half to refugees and communities hosting them. over the last six months u.n. security council resolutions 21-91, 2165 enabled u.n. convoys to cross borders and battle lines and to reach millions of civilian ss. in 2014 the u.n. refugee agency provided aid to more than one out of every three syrians in need including 1 million people in difficult to reach areas. u.s. aid feeds nearly half of all syrian refugees. and provides relief items, everything from cooking pots to shoes and blankets to insulated tents to help families survive the winter. our programs aid survivors of
gender based violence elderly and disabled people. with u.s. support in 2014 the u.n. and its strong ngo partners were able to triple the number of syrian children enrolled in school. but vast needs remain. half of syrian children are still not in school. last week tom staal and i saw thousands of them while visiting a camp. it is bursting at the seams with an official tally of 35000. far more are not seeking services in overwhelmed host communities. heroic efforts are underway to educate, feed, shelter and clothe the displaced everything is in short supply. more than 8 in 10 syrian refugees live outside of camps straining host communities across a region that was already economically fragile and politically volatile. syrian refugees are crowded into communities in turkey lebanon,
iraq and egypt. one in four residents is now a refugee refugee. housing shortages have doubled rents. municipal services cannot keep up tensions are rising, and beleaguered governments have responded by closing or tightly managing borders. to ease these pressures, the department and usaid are coordinating assistance. and funding projects that provide important services, clean water sanitation, education and economic opportunities to both host communities and refugees. we have encouraged other donors to come forward and many have been generous including saudi arabia and kuwait. the united states is also accelerating the settlement of syrian refugees, we have received referrals from over 10,000 syrian refugees and expect to admit between 1,000 and 2,000 this fiscal year and many more in 2016 and beyond. thank you very much for your support and i welcome your questions.
>> chairman ros-lehtinen. thank you for the opportunity. thank you for the opportunity. thank for the opportunity to testify today and for highlighting the needs of the syrian people and the needs of the people in their neighborhood. for me it is especially important because i grew up in the neighborhood and have lived and worked there many years. the syrian crisis is the chargest and most complex humanitarian emergency of our time. more than 2.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. you mentioned new york and los angeles. it is also just about the entire population of pennsylvania. that is another way to look at
it. we can do as much as possible. and the syrian humanitarian response demonstrates that continued commitment. now four years into this conflict syrians see no end in sight to the crisis. they have be layered on tom of the bombings. they are working at all possible channels, often at krbl risk. including in isil controlled areas of syria. we have provided care to patients at over 300 facilities throughout the year. i saw some of them last week myself at a hospital in jordan. thank you to the aggressive
vaccination campaign, the number of polio cases is down to zero. we have prepared camps that help prevent spread disease. and we're working tirelessly to help the most vulnerable cope with winter. especially nose in makeshift homes and tents. we have also distributed air heaters, put up windows and doors to help insulate doors. so we briartize their protection into all of our efforts. >> the united states is the
largest food donor to the crisis provided more than $1.1 million worth to date to feed more than 1.7 million in syria and neighbors countries the food vouchers, in jordan, it equals to about .7% of their gdp and we make sure it does get to the most in need people for whom it will is intedded. we are helping working in host communities in cooperation with our state department colleagues to build systems that can
withstand the increased it demand. in jordan we're working to conserve water. we built cisterns to collect rainwater in 90 schools and provided more than 2,000 no interest loans. these efforts have saved 200,000 cubic meters of water equal to 5.5 million showers. following clashes recently, our partners worked with the community to rehabilitate the city and appeal to young people to reduce extremism. constrained access, incurrent including targeted attacks
against humanitarian workers are a prime challenge. as kelly mentioned we're working with donors to try to jointly meet the overwhelming needs for resources. we remain committed to saving lives and hosting communities recognizing this is a long-term crisis. thank you for your support for this hearing, and again i look forward to your questions. thank you, our members thank you for your service dedication, and hard work responding to this serious crisis unfolding before us. the united states plays a critical role in the response as the largest donor country. as i mentioned earlier we also have a responsibility to snuff that we're being good stewards.
how far of that $3 billion has gone directly to neighbors countries or ngo's and implementing partners on the ground, and how much has gone to multilateral initiatives. and i will ask you to respond. it seems the majority of our assistance goes to the u.n. and third party partners. also while it was positive that the u.n. security council passed resolutions 2149 and 2165 calling upon all parties to allow delivery on assistant and getting relief across these lines, that is something to think that other be lij rant actors could adhere to these resolutions. since they passed the u.s. has been going into the war zones
and the most difficult to reach areas of syria. how are they of full access being enforced? we have seen reports that isil and others got some of this assistant or that implementing partners are to go through middlemen to get to some of the dangerous areas. do we know how much is being co-opted by going through middlemen. >> r? how can we make sure that they're reaching the intended reship yents and not falling into the wrong hands. do we have any oversight of how these u.n. agencies operate? is there is transparency or reporting requirements or implementing partners or is it a case of our responsibility ends once we hand the money over to
the u.n. finally what are the reporting requirements for the provided by the ngo's. are they sufficient? thank you. >> in a is a critical question. i'm glad you brought it up. it is awesome important that our aid gets to the right people. we realize our challenge in this crisis, so we upped the ante and increased our systems for overseeing weekly reports from our partners where they identify particular issues. and remember in syria we're looking for partners that are
how to work in these areas. they're careful about taking risk, but they understand the importance of oversight. they instituted multiple systems to ensure that oversight. they work through local partners like ones they know that get their regular we ports. in addition to that, because it is a real tiffly sophisticated society, syria was a middle income country, really. people have cell phones and so on. they can send a picture taken from the cell phone with the bar code so we can know where it went and when it arrived. we have multiple systems like that. >> let me ask about the majority of assistance.
because it go directly -- >> about 72% goes through u.n. neck nisms. through a joint effort, really in terms of collaboration. you know our number one humanitarian objective in this crisis is to get as much aid there as many channels as we can. whoever is best placed in sernt schisms is the ones that we to deliver. you asked in particular about the crossing lines and cross bornder borders and ranking member. that aide has reached about 600,000 people. that doesn't mean that we're keeping up with tom mentioned the enhanced monitors.
we, too for the attention with others we support have asked for advanced plans. >> we have one observation. i just, before really i just wanted to say that listening to the two of you give your system reminds us of why we're proud to be americans. >> amen thank you very much. excellent work and we will be back and mr. smith will chair the remainder of the hearing. with that our sub committees are in recess. thank you.
>> i will yield to him when he comes back. first, let me thank you again for the tremendous work you're doing in saving lives. and i think sometimes people are very critical of foreign aide. they should know the robust efforts you, the administration, the congress, in this supportive role, is undertake tog save lives of the most precious and the most vulnerable people, particularly women and children. let me echo what we all satd in our openings, just how grateful we are for the work you're doing for people who have been displaced, refugees, idps, women and children who are being savagely attacked and women who have been raped. i'll never forget years ago during the balkan wars, i had hearings with women who had been raped and one was so traumatized, she thought she
could handle speaking. bianca jagger was here as well. she froze, she couldn't speak. she had been so traumatized and i know you're helping women who have been so violated. you mentioned on regards to vaccination, 2.9 million children require life saving vaccinations. if one of you could break that down, they have not gotten it or some of those have already received it. what vaccinations are we talking about? i've always believed that vaccinations like antibiotics as well as anesthesia are among the wonders of the world, in terms of how they mitigate disease and pain. so, the question would be 2.9
million. what are they lacking and what is being done to try to get those vaxccinations to them? >> thank you very much, chairman smith and thanks for your kind words. i have to say to follow up on a point that the ranking member made before he left, it is a moment to be proud as an american in terms of what the u.s. taxpayer is doing to help us provide this kind of humanitarian aid to so many people in need and we deeply appreciate that. in terms of the vaccination question and we can take that back and get more gran lairty lar fi for you, but between u.s. aid and the state's humanitarian programs, very strong network of health providers and through unicef and the world health organization with a large number of implmentors, there has been a great effort underway to vaccinate as many kids as possible.
it is a core part of the health services that we're providing every day. >> thanks for that question. it's important, i mentioned the polio vaccine and that's an indication that they are able to get out to a lot of places that you might not think they could. it's still not perfect and we continue to try to get out as far as we can. last week, when i was in jordan, i visited one of our implementing partners and they've been able to establish and are continuing to expand their network of field hospitals and clinics in opposition held areas from across the border and there's another way we can start to push out the reach of health care including vaccination. but that's a critical issue. >> let me ask you a question with regards to, i mean, we all know from history that the spanish flu epidemic of course
had nothing to do with spain, but was a terrible pandemic. following world war i, it infected some 500 million people. up yard wards of 50 million. some say more, some say less, actually died. 5% of the world's population. health services have been disrupted with more than 73% of hospitals, 27% of primary health care facilities and 65 to 70% of the pharmaceutical companies out of service. couple of weeks ago, i met with dr. peter hotez who was in here before to testify. he was the leader on neglected tropical diseases and i have a pending bill that we wrote with his very, very insightful suggestions on what it should look like. but i know he has said that he has concerns that a pandemic could arise out of syria or the region, war conditions, lack of sanitation, cholera, all the other attending problems. the longer this conflict goes on, again, the spanish flu
occurred near the end or at the end of all of the blood letting in world war i. i'm just wondering what your thoughts might be on that. i know we're more advanced than back in 1918. but when we and people like you don't have access to contested areas or health care workers are being killed because they're trying to assist, it makes it harder and these things could happen. what's your thoughts on that. >> i wonder sometimes whether or not you've read so much into my bio that you know that my husband works on pandemic preparedness at u.s. aid actually. with the war that's raged on, the concern in terms of the health concern inside syria, losing 30 years in that time at least and as you know, the medical facilities and the personnel delivering those services have been under attack and until recently, in some of
the cross border, cross line operations, some of the partners could not put any kind of medical help into the their kits. so, it is a real concern. i think we do the best we can in terms of the areas we can access is. i think our support systems are much stronger in the neighboring countries. in jordan in particular and lebanon. and the iraqi kurdistan region and so on in terms of what we're trying to do and turkey has done a tremendous amount on the health side, wu that's something we need to continue to try to work on to try to prevent what you've just outlined. >> it's all the more reason why it's important this u.n. resolution last year, 2165, being able to work across borders so organizations like w.h.o. can move across those lines of conflict. and you need to continue to support that.
the other maybe helpful mitigating factor is that syrians are used to getting vaccinations. and they demand it. some refugees we work with or people in underdeveloped countries are not used to it. they are used to it and so, they're looking for vaccination and that does help mitigate some of the problems. >> ranking member deutsche. >> thank you. mr. chairman. i'd like to and thanks again, both of you, thanks for being so patient for allowing us to do the other part of our job. i'd like to ask about another issue i've raised several times in this committee. what are we doing to increase our support from if international community? it's really frustrating as i said in my opening statement and as you referred to as well, it's frustrating to learn that last year's was only 50% funded. if this there was a political
agreement torment how do wet get our partners around the world to not only continue to care and talk about the humanitarian crisis, but do their part to help alleviate the suffering. >> thank you very much, congress. >> we're approaching a year where we're dealing with and we've talked about this a little bit, the global human darian crisis -- humanitarian crisis and sudan and other things diverting from this crisis so it is very important for this hearing to take place and to continue to bring attention to it. we've worked very hard with other governments with traditional and nontraditional donors to try to increase support and obviously we continue that effort. tom and i were in kuwait city about ten days ago at a top
donors meeting hosted by kuwait to try to bring attention to the syrian response, what we're going to do this year and perhaps even more importantly what comes next year and the year after and given that this is going to be protracted we need to continue that support to jordan and other neighbors shouldering the burden. there is high priority and senior levels at the government priority and so that will continue. >> and what is the response. i appreciate the engagement. >> the number of crises, the places we're asking people to put their money. that is increasing and rather than decreasing. we have seen saudi arabia, when wfp had their fundraising campaign, and it was saudi arabia that helped to close the gap of $78 million and that was unexpected. we saw the u.e. announce a
support and the u.k. and the visit of prince charles and the secretary of state announce another 100 million pounds but we are still not getting to the number of astronomical numbers that we need. >> we're about to start the debate to combat isis and we're devoting an enormous amount of money to the security of the region and including the number of the countries that we have asked to step up for humanitarian assistance and i trust that in terms of engagement those points are made loudly and clearly to our allies when we have these discussions. mr. staal, i want to return to a topic on humanitarian needs and i have an update and that is the
issue of branding. chairman ros-lehtinen and i had the saudi arabia flag and other flags and we didn't see a lot of u.s. flags and we understand of branding inside of syria and we wouldn't want to put aid workers at risk but in communities have we increased u.s. branding so the syrian people know they have the full support of the united states? >> yes, thank you very much for that question, ranking member deutch. it is an issue we continue to discuss with our partners. as you mentioned, inside of
syria it is dangerous and so we don't require that. within the surrounding countries, we are asking them to step up their branding. it may not be on every bag because some of that goes into syria and some doesn't because it is difficult to differentiate and to put up more signs around and portray that and also just to -- in discussions with the officials who are working in those camps to make sure they understand where the assistance is coming from and we are able to do that even within inside of syria in a quiet way to let people know the local organizations where it comes from to get the word out. miss clements? >> i quick add. we've had a number of discussions with unhcr, patrick harter with the issues related to zautry, as soon as the u.s. flag goes up, it quickly comes down and so we are a requirement that the american flag be on things that we have provided, in jordan and iraq where it is quite safe but it is a challenge keeping it visible for extended periods of time.
>> and i appreciate it. thank you. thank you to the witnesses and if you could please pass on our sincere appreciation for those that appear here for today. >> thank you. mr. meadows. >> thank you for being here. this particular issue is not as telling from a standpoint of getting the american people to act as perhaps other things that we see on tv on a regular basis. but yet when it comes to asking for people to give either personally or allow the government to give on their behalf, it is the one thing that typically can unite people on both sides of the aisle. the american people are generous and caring and giving people and it is hard for them, miss clemens, when you make statements like the american flag goes up and it gets ripped
down and it makes it difficult for people to continue to say, why give money for humanitarian purposes when they don't care. so i think in getting back to the branding issue that the ranking member was talking about, i think it is important for us to tell the stories of the impact and the lives that we really are affecting, because not only in syria and jordan and other places where the refugee for us to tell the stories of the impact and the lives that we really are affecting, because not only in syria and jordan and other places where the refugee and the migration from this conflict is huge, we're making a real-life difference to moms and dads and kids and we've got to do a better job of sharing that,
if we can. and so i guess my question to both of you and -- is how, as a member of congress, can we do that? how, as either ngo's or the like, how can we do a better job of thanking the american taxpayer back home in telling the stories? we see ads all of the time of starving children and people willingly give because they believe they are making a difference. how can we do a better job of that? >> thank you very much, congressman. i could not have said it better than the way you do in terms of telling individual stories. because i think with the way
this war has raged on and the number of people it has effected, that unfortunately the public has become numb to the numbers. so to try to pull out the stories of the people assisting and what important work the partners that we're supporting are providing every day under difficult circumstances to try to disentangle saving lives from the broader extremist takeover of certain communities and assad's aggressions and if we can keep it focused on life saving we might have a better chance. unfortunately we have the pikes to go along with the devastation. but the individual stories i think tell the best story. >> okay. >> if i might add, congressman meadows, thank you for that question -- it is tough.
and i have relatives back home, and they say what is happening with all of this assistance. and there is a big story and then there is the individuals. and as you say, that is so important. in the big story, even though you have 12 million people displaced, but yet no major malnutrition problems, no -- we had a small outbrake of polio but that was quickly put to a stop. and from a life-saving thing, nobody froze to death because of the winter, we were able to get winterization and so on a big scale it is pretty good. and even in our protection programs we've been training women in peace keeping and it has made a difference. there is a place like in what they call roof damascus, the rural areas around damascus, with women peace circles, they were able to negotiate 20-day cease-fires. and with the women, they were able to end price fixing. so they were able to step in and make difference to people on the ground that way. and then when i visited the
hospital in northern jordan where they are getting refugees coming out, who have been injured, it is not only medical support but we are providing psycho social support. and i visited with a small child that had been injured and obviously they had not only the injuries but the psychological injuries and part of our work was supporting and training women who then provide psycho social support to the child so their issues can be dealt with. >> well let me close with a sincere thank you for your work. but also request on those individual stories, like the story you just shared, if you can get that to committee, most of the members of congress can tweet out and facebook out and reach hundreds of thousands of people. and if we can help tell that story, because if we don't, the
american people will grow weary of giving, and if they don't see that they are making a difference, it will become very difficult to fund worthwhile projects. so thank you both and thank you for your leadership, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. meadows. mr. higgins -- oh, sorry, mrs. frankel. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you for your testimony today. i know that humanitarian aid by its nature sh the purpose is so save lives and alleviate suffering. i maintain human dignity. i was interested in your discussion with mr. deutch. because i have heard people say that when you get to -- if you give them food and medicine, that helps shapes people's minds also.
so my question is the over-riding goal of trying to defeat isis and assad and so forth, i want to understand how the humanitarian aid plays into that. and do the folks who are receiving the aid, do they know that it is coming from -- do they have any idea where it is coming from? and does the humanitarian aid help shape their thoughts or ideas, in your opinion? >> yeah, thank you. that is an important question. not always easy to quantify. certainly through our aid programs, even within syria, our partners are working through local organizations. and they make sure that the
local organizations know, even though it is not branded, that they know that it is coming from the u.s. and that it is taxpayer -- u.s. taxpayers that are providing the funding for that. so the word is getting out. not as much as we'd like and it is an ongoing challenge, but i think that is important. and i think part of it is you have to provide the immediate humanitarian assistance, but you also need to do it as much as possible in a way that protects their dignity. and so we're trying as much as possible to move to a system of distribution of our assistance that just doesn't make them totally dependent on hand-outs and that is part of the reason we've gone to the ration cards. i have one in my pocket here. and so that way instead of getting a bag of rice and a can of vegetable oil, they get a
card and they can go to a supermarket and buy the goods they think they need. they gives them a feeling of dignity and of course it helps the local economy. >> may i just change -- you can answer that, why don't you answer the other question i have also, which is this: in terms of our aid workers, first of all, do we have aid workers in syria? and given what we just saw happen with kayla mueller, i think we have a concern of whether our aid workers in the region are safe? could you also speak to that? >> maybe if i could just respond to the last and let tom respond on the other. >> please do that. >> i think it was congressman
boyle mentioned this being a regional issue and when we talk about syria, we talk about iraq too because we view this as very much a regional issue. and we, in terms of the anti-isil fight, humanitarian support is one of the lines of effort but it is not to battle isil, it is to aid those victims and those people in need. so we try very much to keep it as a needs focus as opposed to part of the fight. so it is a distinction that is important to protect the need of humanitarian workers and to continue to save lives. >> okay. thank you for that. can you answer the question on the safety? >> yes. thank you, congresswoman and mrs. frankel. 150 humanitarian workers have been killed over the last three years. and it is something that we had continually had on our minds. the partners we are working with and through, u.n. and international ngo's are well experienced in working these kind of regions and conflict
areas so they are even more careful than we are. they work primarily through local partners and some are working there in the government-held areas but in the opposition areas it is primarily the ngo's and they in turn work through local organizations so there is very few of our international staff going in. it is more focused with the local organizations who know the scene. >> and this is in syria? >> in syria, yep. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> mrs. frankel. the chair recognizing mr. yoho. >> you recognized that the largest donor in that area and mr. staal in, all of the places you looked you have not found people starving, did i understand that correctly? now are you talking about the refugees outside of syria or the ones within syria that you work
with? because reading my notes here it says there have a lot of nutritionally deprived people there. what is the dichotomy of the difference there? visibly? is it distinctive? >> yeah. thank you very much, congressman yo ho. >> in syria they are worse off than inside of syria. >> and when you are trying to get access into syria, are you running -- you have to worry about the assad government forces and then you have to worry about freedom fighters and isis and all of the other ones. just seems like one of the things i've seen on these other meetings that we've had, in particular, i think it was afghan last year when we were
talking to dr. shaw, he said that afghan was allocated or appropriated a billion in foreign aid through usaid but they can't account for $300 million and as you are going through taking our aid and i would feel better if it was branded. that is the american taxpayer's money and i agree with these other people if we are sending our money over there, i think they need to know where it is coming from. and i know that is an issue in itself because that causes resentment but as you go into those areas what are the biggest obstacles you are going into to make sure we have accountable of the products or whatever it is you are taking in there, that it is not falling into the wrong hands. >> that is something we take issue with. it is less about the resentment and more about the protection of our partners. if they are seen as working for
the americans, then that can put them in danger. so that is the real issue rather than the resentment issue. >> how do other countries handle that. and this is another question. we've given $3 billion since the beginning of this. are the collection of other countries, have they come close to that, as far as monetary input, miss clements? >> sure. we are about 30% of the overall giving last year was from the united states. >> okay. >> and collectively, we're obviously the largest single donor. but no, it is burden sharing. >> so you are seeing other countries step up and help out. >> yes. >> and this is only going to get worse until we have a resolution of the problem within syria and i think it will wind up being a regime change which at this point i think the rest of the world would be safer off and the people of syria obviously. when you are going in and putting in say water, are you putting in infrastructure or
just bottled water, are you putting in wells or septic tanks or sewer systems? >> that is a critical question. thank you very much. we are indeed putting in small-scale infrastructure. as much as possible, where we can, in opposition-held areas and even in some of the government areas. but it's at a small scale but we are doing it in both water and other types of local infrastructure, repairing health clinics and schools and things like that. >> and when you go into a host country, housing the refugees, is the government working with you, or are you finding them an impediment of making the situation better? >> i was referring to within syria but in the surrounding countries in jordan and lebanon and the neighboring countries, we've really stepped up our programs. jordan, for instance, we've put in a second deputy director for
u.s. aid and increased our assistance to the jordanians to handle this huge influx. so additional schools and water systems and so on. >> and i appreciate the work you're doing and i'll get right back to you. and the work you're doing and in the course of the work you do over the next two or three months, let us know of what we can do better here to let us do better there on the accountability so we are not wasting our money. and miss clements, you were going to say something. >> thank you for the work you are doing. on the water issue inside of syria. i'll give you an example, the red cross, for example, has worked very closely to try to put stop-gap measures in place to make clean water available for 10 million people. that does not mean building big treatment water plants but just to put things into place that are tremendously important. >> and in follow up to your question, could you provide the committee a break down of what each country has pledged and how much they have lived up to their
commitment. and secondly, for this new round, what countries are pledging so we can -- i mean 30% is certainly very, very generous on the part of the american public and the administration and congress and it would be nice to do where the lag rids are and as you said saudi arabia stepped up on the food issue so we have contacts, all of us, all of the time from people from the countries and it would be good to say do more or well done. so if you could provide that, that is very helpful. >> if i could respond to that, chairman smith. >> sure. >> at the end of march, the kuwaitys have invited the donors to come to kuwait for a pledging conference for syria and the pledging countries and we are
encouraging our friends out there to be ready to step up with some major contributions. >> would a letter from members of congress or a bipartisan letter be of any help in terms of backing what you are trying to acome police? >> yes. >> you could give us some insights on how you might booflt the -- aggregate. >> yes. thank you. mrs. frankel. >> yes. i wanted to follow up on something at the other end of the table. >> this is one way to move up in rankings. send everybody else away. i think i understand your testimony on separating the humanitarian effort from the fight against certain forces. so my question is, in syria, for example, is isil or assad, are their forces, do they try to
keep the humanitarian aid from getting to the syrians? that is one question. >> yeah, that is a very important question. and it is something we watch carefully in our partners. as i mentioned earlier, we have robust systems tracking our aid very carefully. truckload by truckload that goes in there. so we have a very good idea of where it is going. there has been very little pressure to divert or try to control it. when it does happen, the partners, they are experienced and they've worked in iraq and
south sudan and somalia and they push back hard. if it gets to the point they feel they have to pay a bribe or allow some of it go to a local official, they'll just stop and we don't go into that town. and that has happened. there are times when we just say, we can't work there. but then the surrounding towns continue to get it and then we find they come back and say, okay, well we'll let it in after all. >> did you want to respond to that? >> i would. thank you very much. yes, they are in hinting humanitarian workers from delivering aid. we talked about those in besieged areas, about 212,000, about 145,000 of them are besieged by the regime and not allowing aid workers or aid organizations to get in. we probably come closest to your example of starvation in the place like yarmuke where it is difficult for the palestinian u.n. agency to get in and provide health and food and so on.
so it is administrative and bureaucratic obstacles, bombs and barrel bombing and not being able to get into key areas but it is a huge issue. thank you. >> and in the surrounding regions, which countries are actually helping you or assisting -- not necessarily -- both with resources but are friendly towards the efforts? >> we are so fortunate to have the neighbors that we do surrounding syria. we could go through them one by one, but jordan first and foremost.
640,000 registered refugees, many more in communities. most are being supported outside of those two camps in jordan. billions of dollars spent in terms of gdp and economic revenue lost and so on. there has been outpouring support to welcome refugees in but the welcome mat is wearing thin because of the needs and the burdens in terms of the economic system and the infrastructure and the water, health, education, you name it. but i think in every circumstance, every one of those five, we have support from the government and in terms of being able to help us, help them in terms of responding to -- responding to the massive needs. >> so what i hear you saying also and you may have said this before, is that this humanitarian aid not only is to reduce suffering, and dignity and so forth, but giving relief to some of the neighboring countries that will prevent their destabilization? >> right.
it is a really important point, congresswoman, because we try very hard not just to target aid towards the refugees or the displaced but also the host community. and aid in state programs and the partners we're serving, it is a dual approach because we do not want to increase tensions and we see tensions rising and it is essential for regional stability. >> thank you, very much. mr. chair. i yield the rest of my time. >> just a few final questions and if my colleagues have any further, if you would answer those. as i think you may know, i'm the author of the trafficking victims and it seeks to execute the traffickers and the women and children that are overwhelmingly the victims. syria is a tier three country and in the recommendations page of the tip report it talks about child soldiers and i wonder if you could shed any light on how many child soldiers you could talk about.
and in your testimony, mr. staal, you strongly pointed to the barbarity of selling child girls, as young as 10 years old and is there any guesstimate as to how much of this abuse is going on and what happens when there is a rescue. some young 12-year-old who has been so brutally abused finds their way particularly in the area of psychological treatment, you mentioned that generally for those who are suffering trauma of war and i'm wondering an additional question, is it a faith-based response, muslim or christian, with best practices for psychological help? one of the things i've learned being in trafficking shelters all over the world is that the healing process, the sense of personal reconciliation with trauma -- but not reconciliation, but reconciliation with how you are
a victim and you are not in any way responsible for this, happens more effectively in a faith-based setting where there is also the best psychological practices by psychologists being employed and i'm wondering what we're doing along those lines and if you could speak to the trafficking part. mr. staal? >> yes. thank you. critical issues that you raise, chairman, smith. in all of our humanitarian systems we include protection issues. in addition to that, we've put in 26 million dollars specifically in protection programs. gender-based violence issues and child protection. and as included in a piece of that, has been tracking abuses
that could some day be a way of keeping records that could some day be used later, as you mentioned with the icc or whatever. and then also state department drl program is continuing to try to track those kind of abuses for future issues. we'll to track -- get back to you on the child soldiers. i don't know that we have a number on that. >> are you coordinating with the tip office? >> perhaps i could respond on the trafficking issue. this is something as a high priority to us as it is to you as well. all of our programs have a gbv or prevention element and when i say that, protection is important. there are a couple of things that we've tried to do very explicitly. civil registration and identity documents because often we find those instances of trafficking is because they don't have something to be able to provide for themselves in terms of livelihoods or what have you.
so we have made a special effort through partners to make sure that is certainly in place. we found that the best defense is robust assistance, so making sure kids are in school and information is flowing in terms of the dangers of early marriage and all of these things combines have provided a comprehensive approach to try to decrease the -- scourge. and i was just talking with a traffic office yesterday about this issue. >> anything you can provide on that with sex trafficking and soldiers that would be greatly appreciated. and 86% of those killed are men. and with regard to women and pregnant women, are they getting to safe venues to have their children? do they have access to safe blood for example, if there is an obstructed delivery to a cesarean delivery or has mortality gone up because -- mortality gone up because of that in syria because of the
war-torn areas? >> critical questions. we have a partial answer but not a great answer. there are still women not able to get to a proper facility, as you've mentioned. their health facilities have been targeted, especially by the regime. and that has reduced our ability to help. on the other hand, that is a major focus on some of our programs. i mentioned earlier that the hospital i visited in jordan last week, they have an outreach program and are setting up field hospitals in southern syria so those kind of things we are trying to address that issue. but certainly in isil-held areas we are not able to get there and provide that kind of assistance. it is an ongoing problem, no
question. >> just a few final questions if i could. you mentioned, mr. staal, history mas been made in the number of dart teams. as you said, four disaster assistance response teams and three response management teams have been deployed. could you elaborate on that, because many of people, particularly those watching the cspan channel, what is a dart? i've been in areas where they have been in operation and it is amazing how effectively they coordinate. if you could elaborate on that. >> yes, thank you, chairman smith. that is one of the things i think we as americans can be most proud of. that is a unique aspect of our humanitarian assistance that other countries can't do and that is to actually put people on the ground within hours and days of a crisis. whether it is a tsunami or an earthquake or in this situation, a conflict-related crisis. so dart is a disaster assistance response team and we send them out to the effected area
literally within hours or days and sometimes even if we know there is a big typhoon coming, we send them out a day or two ahead of time and they include whatever is needed in terms of technical specialties. they coordinate the assistance. ebola, for instance, we have a huge d.a.r.t. there. we coordinate the assistance provided by cdc and world health organization and d.a.r. it. provides that help. and we have the operations center back here at headquarters that provides all of the support that responds to your questions about what is going on and to our leaders in the administration. so it provides that ops center for that. and so we have a dart for iraq, a dart for syria that has people both in jordan and in turkey. we have a dart for south sudan. and then the huge dart for
ebola. >> thank you for that explanation and for that work. you point out in your testimony, mr. staal, that we have improved water and sanitation for 1.3 million syrians in all 14 governance. and you are right that it is important for survival. how important is the oral therapy salts since diarrhea disease is one of the leading killers of children. >> thank you. i don't have the exact details. if you like, i can track those down. >> yes. >> but it is a part of whatever we do in our health on our wash programs where we are working. there are still areas we can't reach. but it is important that our
humanitarian assistance also address some of those resilience issues so that people are not as dependent on humanitarian assistance. if they have clean water, they are less likely to get sick. if we have a program provide flour to bakeries across line so people can get bread that, helps the economy. so we try to do our humanitarian assistance in a way that builds resilience, reduces cost and then reaches out to people. >> you testified 9.8 million syrians are food insecure. that number declining or increasing? >> i think i would have to look at the exact details but i'm afraid to say it is probably declining -- i mean, worsening. their situation is declining because of the scale of the crisis. >> and one final question,
you've pointed out that since 2011 prm has extended 1.4 billion. has that impacted funding from other programs. have you had to depleat or draw down from other accounts, whether it be in africa or other accounts, there is no diminution to those areas. >> thank you for the question. thanks to you and congress that i can say we have not taken funding for africa or other important programs to meet the other mega charities because you generated to us in 2013 and 2014 and can you see a significant upturn not just in the middle east but in other regions as well. >> thank you. mrs. frankel. >> thank you, mr. chair.
i want to go back to my questioning on the -- sort of the domino effects of humanitarian aid or not having it. i do believe in humanitarian aid, but i want to just play the devil's advocate because what we may hear constituents saying and some of my colleagues mentioned it. there was so much suffering in this world all over the world including the united states of america. so i would like to hear your thoughts again in terms of what if we were not -- we did not provide this aid, what are some of the dominos? what would we see happening and what would be worse? what is the spin-off and how does it affect somebody who lives in florida? >> it's a terrific question,
congresswoman, in terms of not being to provide aid. we touched on it earlier in terms of regional stability. i think in terms of humanitarian aid, the best way to be able to support those that need to flee is be able to provide that aid to the host communities and the neighboring countries to keep that protection space open, make it possible for people -- because it's much easier for us to assist those in jordan and lebanon, frankly, than it is inside syria. you would see an implosion. you would see massive malnutrition rates for example, in terms of global acute malnutrition. mortality rates through the roof. most of the deaths now unfortunately are because of the war. we would probably see in terms of social indicators a much larger humanitarian catastrophe without aid. >> i might add if possible we
want to get our assistance to people in their homes so they don't have to flee. they need to be able to flee if they feel they have to. but it's better to get it there and then that reduces the strain on the surrounding countries. as you mentioned, jordan is a critical partner for us. the same with lebanon. we're very concerned about their stability in countries. that's critical. and frankly, terrorism. a young man growing up he can't feed his family, he hasn't got a job, he's going to be much more open to the lure if you will, of people asking him to do bad things. >> thank you very much. i think i got my question answered. >> ms. frankel. mr. yellen. >> going back to the aid you're giving, and when you go to the
different countries there's turkey, syria, lebanon, jordan, iraq where the refugees are going. when you're going into the different countries like, say, turkey, the human rights that we stand by, that we believe in this country are going to be different in those other countries, is that correct? you know, freedom of religion, freedom of expression. those kind of things. so when chairman smith brought up the different abuses gender abuse, women's rights, things like, that how do you go about enforcing that? is it different from country to country? and how do we hold that government accountable? >> that's an interesting and important question. i can't remember if it was you or chairman smith asked about faith-based organizations.
we do work with that. in fact, ms. clements and i visited with the archbishop in kurdistan when we were there. both from an islam icic perspective to reduce the lure of isil. but also the different religious groups. syria was one of the most tolerant countries in the middle east before all this took place. there is a way to try to reduce the tension that's going on. >> but is there a way to hold those areas that you have the refugees in? they're going to school and being abused with whatever type of abuse it is. the human trafficking thing is just unconscionable. but gender abuse.
we'll say that. you said you're helping those countries deal with that. how do you go about holding that country accountable? giving aid. and they're not living up to that standard. what do we do as far as holding those people accountable? or do we not get into that? >> we do in the sense there are international standards these countries have signed on to through u.n. conventions and so on. that's one advantage if you will with working through the u.n. system. you can hold them accountable for those standards. >> do you feel it's working or is it something that we talk about? and we turn a blind eye to it say they dealt with it but we know it's not getting done. i've seen that in other parts of the world. is that what you're seeing over there? >> maybe to give an example of
trafficking cases or smuggling cases or what have you. normally aid partners we would work with if those cases are brought forward they would work with the local authorities in terms of ensuring follow-up or for example refugees are detained. seeking access for example to prisons. to find out whether or not that was a rightful detention or what the process, the due process is for that case to be able to be made. that's part of the protection part. of what's organizations do that we support. the broader issues goes well beyond the humanitarian sphere but obviously connected. >> and mr. staal you broad up there's been approximately 150 aid workers killed. is that taking into account missing ones? is there a number of missing ones that more than likely could wind up as hostages and we'll see them on tv one day? and we'll regret seeing that?
do you have a sense for how many are unaccounted for that are 5id workers? >> as far as we know right now there are no americans held that are unaccounted for that we know of. most of those 150 frankly are local syrians who are working with different organizations that we support. so it's that way. >> i appreciate your time, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. staal, miss clements for your tremendous leadership, for providing the two subcommittees with your very fine insights incisive testimony. it does help us. and of course by extension we then brief other members of congress. so thank you. you're saving lives every single day. and i do think the american public -- i remember after the
tsunami i was in sri lanka. we went from banda aceh to sri lanka and i was in the van with the dart teams. i've never been more proud of people who were just absolutely can-do in trying to make the situation better for those who had lost life as well as property during that terrible tsunami. thank you for your leadership. the hearing is adjourned. tonight on "american history tv," programs on the 50th anniversary of the selma march. at 8:00 p.m. selma 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony with president obama and one of the participants in that march congressman john lewis. at 9:10 a.m., abc news footage of march 25th, 1965 voting rights rally in montgomery, alabama. after that president lyndon johnson's address to congress on voting rights.
then the selma 50th anniversary brown chapel a.m.e. church commemorative service. all of this coming up tonight on c-span 3. earlier this month the supreme court heard arguments in a challenge to arizona's authority to draft districts. the court will decide whether the elections clause of the u.s. constitution allows entities other than the state legislature to have the final say on congressional districts. in 2000 arizona voters passed a law that delegated the power to draw congressional districts to arizona's independent redistricting commission. >> case 131314, the arizona state legislature versus the
arizona independent redistricting commission. mr. clement? >> mr. chief justice, and may it please the court. proposition 106 permanently divests the state legislature of its authority to prescribe congressional districts and redelegates that authority to an unelected and unaccountable commission. the elections clause of the constitution clearly vests that authority not just in the states but in the legislatures thereof. thus this avowed effort to redelegate that authority to an unelected and unaccountable commission is plainly repugnant to the constitution's vesting of that authority in the legislatures of the states. >> but it's all right for the state redistricting. the commission -- there's no constitutional question with arizona being able to use its xwhigs for its states representation. >> blult, justice ginsburg. our argument only applies to the congressional redistricting. and of course that means that if these commissions are as
effective as my friends on the other side say then we will have non-partisan districts that will elect the state houses, the state representatives and the state senate and those non-partisan skraergerrymandered perfectly represented bodies will be the ones that take care of congressional districting. >> mr. clement i just want to clarify your position. are you suggesting the lack of legislative control is und at issue only r&r or are you saying we have toer tourn hildebrant and smiley? >> you certainly don't have to overturn hildebrant and smiley we think those cut in our favor. with smiley in particular the court was emphatic that the legislature was a term of certain meaning in the constitution, at the framing of the constitution, that it means then what it means now which is a representative body of the people. >> that's sort of hard to understand because we made