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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 22, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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so that's abolished and america never looks the other way when that goes on. >> thank you for your comments. we agree and both in the peace keeping context as well as in our engagements with several african countries as we're doing training and trying to support good governance and democracy. being very clear on what's acceptable and what's not is critically important. we see it as you point out in many contexts. it's appalling and we have to make it a top priority wherever we see it. >> one last point on the reauthorization. we waited 13 years to finally reauthorize the secondary education act and we did that last year. public education in america suffered by the inaction of the united states congress. i want to underscore your comments of those of the ranking member on the need for us to reauthorize the state department and modernize those rules and regulations and empower them to
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do the job. i would ask you a question, but i know you're going to have the right answers. i'm going to excuse myself. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, thank you so much. thanks for your major contributions. we're glad we violated the rules to allow you both to be on the committee, two senators from georgia. want to ask about latin america, particular interest of mine. senator mendez is focused on this. the president announced a new investment in the budget he proposed to take to a second chapter, peace colombia. talk a little bit about, from the state department's view, from a resource view, the kind of return on investment that we had on the first 15 years of this investment over three administrations and how we would
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propose to assist colombia in this new chapter god willing, post ceasefire. >> i had the chance to travel and meet with gulf of mexico officials to talk about the future, and understand how our resources can best be directed, assuming there's a peace deal, and we hope soon, one that we can continue to support, to help that country go into areas the farcdeal wh the narco trafficking, with the coca production and some severe of the issues there. what i heard again, the capacities that the united states brings to the table, that they need to do that. there were plans, but implementing them and understanding what capacities we bring, whether it's on the military training side, support for civil society side, and the alternative development. and of course some of the narco
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trafficking. my take away from some of that experience and it's reflected in the administration's policy, a continuation of our engagement where we provide truly leveraging capabilities and working with a common vision of what success looks like. so i'm hopeful and came away from that trip convinced that there's a lot of work to do, but that we're on the right path and we have good partners in colombia. and the story of cbia isnot just the helped them transfm, but colombia has become curity partner with assistance in the northern triangle. they have peacekeepers in the . they're really mi alobal force for positive security in a way that is a great alliance for us, but a real tribute also to their commitment to peace and prosperity outside their own borders. >> i agree. when i was in central america at the end of last year, in honduras and el salvador, every
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combian police officer re was a paipatinin the train and it was incredibal to those countries. when you look at the progress that colombia has made over the past many years and you look at the path thnorthern triangle countries have to trav there's a lot of good examples we can draw on fr there >> in the two-year budget deal and the appropriations deal we struck at year end and because of the senate, tathad this, andh no the compromise lthe senate version, $75ion investment in the northern triangle with plan colombia as intionhat we can have ope this will work, if we're nsient with it, the president haspropod an additional billion dollars the northern tribal countries. we had testimony previously about the kind o pills into which the investmentwi fl, but what will our metrics be for gresis what we would hope?the
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>> thank you, senator. the first metric we have and need to keep focused on are the commitments that the presidents of those three countries have made and ensuring they live up to those commitments. one of the critical elements of our strategy for central america is ensuring that we learn from the things we've done before, but we're also doing things differently and it requires transparency and good governance. so that these governmee nts ar putting their own resources against our commonly shared vision of what needs to happen. we are working very carefully across our government within different agencies to ensure we have developed tools to measure success, to know what's working and what's not. one of the areas that i spent a lot of time visiting when i was in the region was on the partnership between the state department's inl, bureau and usaid, bringing law enforcement and community together. and we're scaling that up across the region, but in large part
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based on in evaluation that showed this strategy would be successful. so we're going to do different monitoring and evaluation projects, we're going to hold ourselves accountable and put the resources against what we know works. >> and staying in the region, obviously there's huge concern about zika. this is not a health hearing, but i'm curious, particularly with respect to state department personnel in the americas, what steps are you taking from a management personnel to protect our people? >> thank you, senator. first of all, obviously the greatest risk population is women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant. just as the pentagon has gone, under personnel have the opportunity to curtail their united states, be medevacked and we've had some employees avail themselves of that.
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we'll continue to message that so they understand what opportunities they have. we've also been very clear about individuals in affected areas can protect themselves. this is, as i'm sure you know, a different vector to control, but there are measures that individuals can take to protect themselves. and we're ensuring they have sufficient insect repellant and information, so we'll continue to do that. >> one last issue. senator cornyn and i took a trip about a year ago to mexico, honduras and colombia. didn't have anything to do with cuba. but every head of state we met with said, you have no idea how your path to normalization with cuba is going to open up other opportunities for you. they described it as a fight between uncle sam and cuba. and we had to be on cuba's side. so the u.s. ankle weight was slowing them down. i just really think the path
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with cuba and we'll continue to challenge cuba on human rights issues, just like other countries that we have diplomatic human rights issues with, we'll continue to focus on that. but the americas for our purpose, we're all americans, north, south, and central, if there is that ceasefire in colombia, it will be the end of war in these two hem spes, which is probably the first time in recorded history you could say that. and there's just enormous cultural similarities that we share. recent electoral activities, especially in south america, i've had promising signs about pro democracy, pro human rights. a lot of upside opportunities. i would hope we don't spend all our time worrying about our headaches and short shrift the upside opportunities that we have in our own region and i would really encourage the state
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department and my colleagues on that. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, senator. >> appreciate your comments about zika and i asse the state department will send out notifications to travelers. the olympics are taking place in august, notifying them of concerns is that correct? >> the centers for disease control issued guidance of this kind and we disseminate it broadly across our platforms. so if anyone is interested to come to our website to gather information about brazil, they'll find that information, providing the cdc's guidance. >> we want to be a little more proactive on that, but we'll talk about that. senator perdue. >> i think that's at the center of one of our problems, we have to coordinate how fd ese departments and the people who really understand these departments and have the right
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or responsibility of oversight need to be involved in that process. i could not agree more and we're working to see how we can change that. madam secretary, thank you for being here. thank you for your courtesies last week. i just have three quick questions. istorical perspective on this, and the way i look at it, with the last seven years, and this is not a partisan comment, it's just a reality. we borrow over a third of what we spend as a federal government. 2/3 of our spending is mandatory. if those dollars that we get in, go to mandatory first, that means every dollar on defense and state and aid is fundamentally borrowed. so there's a crisis here, that we need to look at what we're doing with what we're spending.
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and the perspective is, between '92 and 2000, state and all of its endeavors, averaged about $20 billion a year over that eight-year period. then it went from 20 to 40. and a lot of that was iraq, afghanistan, and other things. since then, we've fallen into this level of about 50. and i had to call out that you're asking for less money this year than you asked for last year. so i have to call out and thank you for that. so i have that observation and the second observation is while that level stayed at about 50, the enduring dropped from 50 to 40 over that period of time and was filled with oco. the second piece of that is help me understand the responsibilities and what we're doing around the world. i recognize we're the most philanthropic country in the world, and we need to maintain that position as long as we can afford it. but i'm just not sure right now that we shouldn't ask the question, can we afford all this? and so it's incumbent on you as the budget process comes about, to justify how we've gone from
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20 to 40 or 30 and now to 50. explain that to me just a little bit in terms of your -- i know you didn't take it from 20 to 50. you've been given a challenge to use 50 and you've kept it flat, pretty much. but help me with that historical perspective on how we're spending that much. >> so, senator, i think you've touched on a few elements of it, which are iraq and afghanistan, that have -- that required increases in our budget and require increases to sustain our engagement there. i would point to a couple of other factors as being those that we need to fund, and that is, that we are dealing with an increasingly complex world. just take the humanitarian side for a moment. we have four level three humanitarian disasters. i can't say it's unprecedented, but it's highly unusual. and we're a generous contributor to those crisis. we also have the rise of violent extremism during that time. we did as a regular course, rely on and utilize supplementals to
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address the emerging crises. we'd be pleased to go through in more detail -- >> yeah, i think it would be instructive. because it's something that every department will have to go through, in terms of what we really can afford to do. it's a question we don't ask much up here. i have a second question on the i.g. last year, we talked privately and you testified about this, and i know you've been very vocal about this. but as i look at it, i don't see a lot of progress, honestly. so can you address the progress that you're making with that. with regard to specifically the request of the i.g. and i think there was no disagreement last year, about having the i.g. be aware of all investigations. there are evidently three path ways investigations go inside state. can you speak to that just a minute. >> sure, i'd be pleased to. we've been working with the i.g., to identify which cases they're most interested to have
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the information about. and having the ability to investigate should they choose. they can investigate anything, but where we narrow their focus, so that the processes of an administrative nature, if someone wants to bring a civil rights case to our office of civil rights, it's clear the i.g. isn't necessarily interested in that. >> is the i.g. aware now of all the potential investigations? >> the conversation we're having with them right now is to look across all of the different avenues people have to bring, even approaching the ombudsman and saying, what cases are you interested in, defining that, and working through a process. and i won't speak for him, because that wouldn't be appropriate. but i do meet regularly with and i think he's pleased with the progress. i think soon we'll have a process that we can explain and make available to our employees. >> i think that's important. i know as we travel the world as
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of the great benefits of this responsibility, you do see great americans out there in the field and i have to echo what everybody said, i just marvel at the quality of people and their dedication around the world. i know we have to make them secure. and i know post benghazi there's been an uptick in that. there are some four major embassies construction. can you talk about that and the overruns on those, for islamabad, london, singapore, i know these are billion-dollar plus installations now. we have to have stronger buffer zones or offsets. can you speak to that just a minute, please. >> sure. senator, you touched on one of the issues that's most important when we think about embassy construction. that's building facilities that are safe and secure for our personnel. and post the bombings in the
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'90s, we continually review and look at what our requirements are. in places where it's more dangerous to operate, those costs can be more expensive. islamabad would be an example. and where we have posts that house a lot of different agencies, we have different requirements to meet that. >> that's another question i'd like to dial into at some point. i think in singapore, there are 19 different government agencies with offices and personnel over there. i'd love to know the purpose of those. that may not be your purview, but at some point over the next few months, i'd love to see what those areas of responsibilities are. >> we'd be pleased to do that for you, senator, at any of our posts. when you travel to our posts and sit with the country team, you get a flavor for which of the different opportunities having our agencies there makes sense, but it is expensive -- >> are you experiencing serious overruns? that's what i was going for.
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>> i think it depends on a case by case basis. i wouldn't say in general. sometimes we go out, bid, come under budget. in other cases, the costs are in excess of what we projected. so it depends. but we could provide you with our most recent set of construction plans and budgets and provide some additional -- >> i don't need to see the plans. i trust you on that, but the numbers -- >> i meant budget plans. >> thank you. >> senator murphy? >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for being here, once again. i appreciate senator perdue's conversation about what we can afford to do within the limited resources we have to spend. listen, i would pose the opposite question. i think we have to ask our question, how we can afford not to make these investments, especially when you put u.s. foreign aid, international development funding in the context of what our competitor nations are spending themselves. over the last ten years alone, the chinese have increased their foreign aid by a factor of seven at a time when our foreign aid
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has been largely flat. we are looking at a budget that is frankly $2 billion less than fy-'10 enacted numbers. the chinese have increased their spending by a factor of seven. in egypt, a lot of commotion about turning on $2.3 billion in u.s. military aid. the saudis announced $8 billion play with money both from their public funds and their sovereign funds, a $20 billion oil investment in egypt, and we sit here and wonder why we don't have as much influence there as other countries. it's in part because other nations in and around that region are spending numbers that dwarf ours. i think we're at a moment in time with apple in a world full of oranges.
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the rest of the world that the blunt inflexible power of group military strength isn't as effective as the flexible and nimble nature of economic aid, energy aid, political aid. and we are chasing our tail around the world in part because china, the russians, the saudis, are lapping us when it comes to that kind of smart money. we should remember, that as much money as we spend, we're still in the bottom of oecd nations, when it comes to the amount of money we spend on international aid as a percentage of our gdp. it's a big number, but we're a big country. and when you compare it to other nations, we're still, at least within our sub set of first-world nations, in the bottom fourth. so with that being said, let me ask about one particular line item that's significantly lower in this proposed budget, and you
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can probably explain to me why. in fy-'16 omnibus appropriations bill, we had a significant increase for humanitarian assistance, and this is international disaster assistance, migration and refugee assistance and food aid. this budget propose says about a 17% cut. i know humanitarian aid doesn't matter any less to the administration than it did in the last year. so explain to me, why that cut and where that money is going to be made up. >> thank you, senator. we were pleased in the fy 16 bill, we did receive a generous increase in humanitarian assistance. as we looked to build this fy-'17 budget, cognizant of the bipartisan budget act that set parameters for discretionary spending, we looked across our needs over a period of two years and determined that with the additional resources that were provided and with the request we made for 17, we'll be able to meet our expected and anticipated expenditures.
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i would note, though, that we did -- we are operating under the discretionary restraint and over two years, to your earlier point, there are trade-offs we've made that aren't exactly what we'd want to do absent those constraints. so we do feel confident about the funding level for humanitarian assistance across '16 and '17, but certainly had to make trade-offs for. >> as an example, one of those trade-offs is that the world food program in and around syria is cutting off aid to refugee families that don't live in the actual refugee camp. so if you're living out in the streets of jordan or lebanon, you are at risk of having your emergency food assistance cut off. it's one of the choices that we've all made, we don't have enough money to fully fund that
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program. that has dire consequences for those families. pushes many of them into the arms of the very groups that we're trying to fight. so i understand the difficult tradeoffs you have to make, but we should all be cognizant of the consequences to u.s. national security. i want to drill down on one very specific issue and that is the issue of procurement between the state department. you are subject to the buy america law as well as other agencies, but just in preparation for this hearing, i was just going through the list of waivers that have been requested, and it's a pretty substantial list. and i understand, this has sort of been a crusade of mine for years, to put the teeth back into your buy america requirements. i understand that you've got sort of two strings pulling on you here. one, you want to be a good guest in country, and do business in country.
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but you also do have a law that requires you to buy equipment, if you can, from u.s. companies. but you've submitted waiver requests for some pretty easy equipment to get from u.s. companies. vehicles, for instance, which are regularly being shipped to the countries in which you're operating, but you're often buying from in-country sources rather than from american sources. can you talk a little bit about your commitment to the buy america law and efforts that you may be able to take to reduce the number of waivers that are being granted to the state department? we have a lot of great u.s. companies that would like to supply the state department and often don't seem to be getting the chance. >> thank you, senator. we take those responsibilities that we have seriously, and it gets back to a certain extent to the previous part of our conversation about resources.
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and any waivers that we would request, we'd want to do so very judiciously and look forward to following up with you or your staff to talk about how we think about this, and how we would approach it. but we want to do things in a way that abides by the requirements, but also takes into account our costs and how we do business overseas. so we aren't looking for anything of a blanket nature , want to do it selectively and want to follow up so the request is understand. >> i appreciate that. it's often going to make sense to buy from a cheaper, non-american source. but the damage to the overall federal treasury in the lost jobs, increased medicaid costs, increased unemployment cost, pretty quickly wipes out the savings to the agency. so i look to following up with you on this issue. >> certainly senator, thank you. >> senator brasso? >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam secretary, thank you for being with us. president obama pledged $3 billion for the u.n. green
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climate fund. congress hasn't authorized any funding for the new international climate change slush fund. the most recent appropriation prohibited the transfer of funds to create new programs. media is reporting this morning the administration deposited $500 million into the u.n. green climate fund, appears to be the latest example of the administration going around congress. because the american people don't really support what the president is doing with this initiative. so if the media reports are true, this is a blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars. so, first, did the administration deposit $500 million in the united nations green climate fund? >> thank you, senator. we have reviewed our authorities and made a determination that we can make this payment to the green climate fund. >> the question is, did the administration today, as announced, deposit $500 million into the green climate fund? >> we signed an agreement with the u.n. to do that, yes --
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excuse me, for the world bank. >> when was that done? >> yesterday. >> tell me how the administration is able to divert and reprogram funds in order to meet the president's unilateral promise? >> we reviewed the opportunities available to us to do that and believe we're fully compliant with that. be happy to follow up with you and your staff. >> the united nations green program is a new program. the question is, what legal authority that you at the state department believe you have to make this transfer? and given the prohibition, do you agree it violates the act and it comes with criminal and civil penalties. i think you're going to have to deal with that. >> thank you, senator. we do not believe that we're in violation of the act. and our lawyers have looked at this and we're happy to follow
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up with you. >> with regard to the u.n. green climate fund, members of congress are expected to be good stewards of taxpayer funds, not provide funding to agencies that's not needed. well, it raises serious concerns then that the u.s. department of state has at least $500 million sitting around in funding that's no longer needed for the purposes for which it was approved. whether you have the legal authority or not to move it, you have chosen to move $500 million from programs for which it was approved. so funding is no longer needed for the original purpose, then the money should be returned to the u.s. treasury. it's clear this committee must look at the entire budget and resource allocation if millions, 500 million of funds intended for specific programs are suddenly available to be spent on other authorities. what specific accounts were so overfunded, allowing you at the state department to divert these funds to the united nations green climate fund? >> you mentioned president obama's pledge. we included in our budget a
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request for the green funding. so as we do our budgeting process, we didn't look around and say, where are excess funds we can put into this? we built it into our budget request. as we received the '16 bill and made allocations, we have the authority and the ability to fund that requirement. >> what exact accounts were overfunded to be able to move the money out? >> nothing is overfunded. we looked across the appropriations bills and made allocations based on what resources were provided to us. >> i firmly oppose what the president is doing here and the misuse of taxpayer dollars, completely in violation of the law, and this will come to additional concerns raise said -- raised to you and those who work at the state department. we have $19 trillion in debt, we have struggling communities in need of help. there was a debate in flint the other night. it's hard to explain to taxpayers in struggling communities, places like flint,
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that this president and this administration is willing to give $500 million as a hand-out to foreign bureaucrats instead of addressing real problems here at home. thank you, mr. chairman. i have no additional questions. >> thank you. i know that this is an issue that there's highly divergent views on the committee. there could equally be something that people on this side of the aisle thought was semi- controversial. i do think the question's asked about how money is transferred like that. it would be good to know regardless of how we feel about this particular issue, and i do hope that something more forth coming than what you just said will be forth coming so that we can understand that. but it really sort of breaks down trust in the process when monies like this can be transferred out and yet they're
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not appropriated and there's no program. so i look forward to working with you -- >> i agree with you on that. we should absolutely know that. but my understanding came out of the appropriated account. so i'm not sure there's a problem here. >> so we had appropriations for a green climate? >> we have authorities to make the payment that we did to the green climate fund. and mr. chairman, to your point, we'd be pleased to engage with the members of the committee and talk further about that. >> okay, thank you. senator menendez. >> thank you, mr. chairman. that last line of questioning is probably one of the many reasons why a state department authorization is so important. let me just thank you and senator cardin for focusing on this. it's something i wanted to do when i was chairman and we worked together to try to get there. i think it's one of the most important things the committee can do, which is basically, in the absence of it, we basically allow the state department, with all their good intentions, to
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decide what is the course without congressional direction and oversight. and i think about the world since 2002, which is the last time this body successfully acted on re-authorizing legislation for the department of the state, and we think about the 9/11 attacks that claimed the lives of so many americans on american soil. we think about afghanistan and iraq. but when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. and the reality is that there is a lot more to our challenges globally than looking at everything with a hammer. from migration crises, to global epidemics, to, regardless of your views, global warming, to attacks on u.s. facilities and deaths of foreign service officers, there's an incredible array of issues. and at least we should be
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equipping the state department to deal with these challenges, even better to prevent them. but they're not equipped, and that's one of the reason we've witnessed the growing militarization of foreign policy, because dod is equipped and authorized to do so much. so we saw so much of what should be the foreign policy elements move from the state department to the department of defense. and that's just -- the department of defense is great to defense the nation, but not to promote our foreign policy. i think we should credit our diplomats and development professionals for their work, which continues whether or not the congress authorizes the budget. -- despite the risk of life abroad, out of patriotism and devotion and concern for future generations that characterizes the best in american values. i want to thank all the women of the state department and usaid in particular, and i think our entire body should recognize
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those services. what better way to provide the resources, guidance and direction to make this nation speak with one voice, albeit in the many different languages in which our diplomats converse. i ort thstate departnt's budget. i'd lto havthis committ creaome ructurfor it. i'm one of those who believe that this is an importantly powerful use of american resources in a way thacan generate far more successes an even the power of our bombs. but i also think that the state department needs to represent the diversity of the nation. and i am deeply disappointed. i've been working at this for 24 years, from the house of
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representatives, where i sat on the house foreign affairs committee and in the ten years i've been on this committee in the senate. and we just haven't really made progress. we really haven't. and this is expanded over multiple administrations, republican and democrat alike. and one of the most diverse countries in the world, our potential is unlimited, and unfortunately, minority communities have been historically underrepresented in both the state department and usaid. now, last year, i authored language that chairman corker included in the state authorization bill, that congress unfortunately failed to enact. those provisions expanded pickering, randal and fellowship and minority recruitment. it expanded mid and senior career recruitment programs and
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initiati. it strengthened oversight to adportng requirements to employment, promotion and attrition rates. all things i think are necessary to institutionalize in order to have the diversity of america that's so important. and just by way of example, it's not diversity for diversity's sake, mr. chairman. when i was in china, it was incredibly powerful to see a -- one of our diplomatic corps, an african american, who had gone through the struggles of the civil rights movement, talking to human rights activists and political dissidents in china. that was a powerful opportunity to have those who try to create change in china, change we'd all like to see. but that might not have come through the same experience of
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someone else. so at the same hearing last year, madam secretary, you presented a picture of the state department that was innovating new programs for recruitment, retention, and advancement for minority populations. when we dug in, however, it was itiatives as opposed to w expansion of existing initiatives. so if i could dig in, in my final minute, are there any new -- really new -- not expansion, and i applaud you included in your budget request some of what i tried to do last year, i want to acknowledge that. but after insisting a lot, i got the state department's latest diversity statistic for full-time employment as of december 31st, 2015. senior foreign service hispanic officers, 4.58%. senior executive service, 2.6%. foreign service generalists, 5.49%.
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5.44 african american. board service specialists, 8.89%, but that's a smaller universe. and 8.9% of african americans. that isn't progress. the hispanic community in this country is growing and represents 13% of the overall american population. so can you speak to me about what we are doing, this is someing i raised with you when you were up with your nomination and have raised since, to change this reality. >> senator, first, thank you for the words that you had for our department and the foreign service officers. it means a lot them to hear people like you compliment their work. second, on the issue we've discussed before and that you've raised on the diversity of our workforce, you're right, we're expanding some of the things that we're doing, because we've identified things that we think
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enhance the diversity of our workforce. so like you, we are trying to expand the pickering and wrangle fellowships, because we see that as a way to bring in more diverse officers. the trends are moving in the right direction, but we can only hire to attrition in the foreign service. we're only bringing in a couple hundred officers a year. so it's going to take us a while to see the impact ofeally bringing in a more diverse workforce. i feel confident that we're moving in the right direction. i don't look at the numbers and say we've accomplished our mission. we're increasing our budget request to do some is of those things. we're expanding the paid internship program that brings in underrepresented groups for two summers of service in the state department. secretary kerry has asked all his assistant secretary level and above officers to do domestic recruiting trips, coordinating with our diplomats
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and residents, so we're hitting the right places and we're using the tools that we have to make the progress that we need. but we know we have a big challenge. and that's bringing in more people, but then ensuring that they stay and that they're in the senior leadership positions. we just began a partnership with the cox foundation to evaluate our programs, we want to use our resources in the most effective way. i'm encouraged there's progress. i'm not satisfied with the result. as always, senators, want to take your good recommendations and advice because we share the objective and some of the frustration as well. >> i appreciate your answer, but after 24 years, i've heard much of the same. that's two and a half decades, almost. this starts at the top. like any organization, if at the top, you say to those below you,
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i will judge you in part by how you create diversity within your bureaus and departments, believe me, people will follow. and we just haven't had that commitment. so i look forward to working with you and the committee to make it happen. not for the diversity sake alone, but for what it bringso our foreign diplomacy. >> if i could, let's face it. when you come in as secretary of state, you want to be known for the diplomatic breakthroughs that you have. and it's rare that we end up having a secretary of state that actually focuses on buildin apartment and the care and feeding of the troops. we've had one or two over short periods of time. but that's why i think having a state department authorization that stresses those ts, and by law, forces those kind of things to be happening and then
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oversight here, matters a great deal. and i thanyou again for leading that effort with diplomatic security on the front end and senator cardin and the rest of the committee, caring about us seeing this through. senator gardner? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thankou for being here to testify today. i just want to follow-up on a little bit of what senator brasso was talking about. did congress approve the green climate fund? >> senator, as i said previously, we reviewed with our lawyers, the authorities we had and had provided resources in occurrence with those authorities to meet -- >> right. but the fund itself. it wento an aount. ngdid css approve that account? >> we have the authorities -- >> but did congress approve it? >> they passed an appropriations bill that we reviewed the authorities of that we have used to make this payment. >> if i understand, moneyame out of somewhere, where did it come from? >> it's from the economic support fund accounts. >> which specific line items? >> there's -- the fund -- the -
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>> the economic support fund does what? >> it supports programming in lots of different countries to address a lot of different issues related to economic growth and opportunity. >> so we took $500 million out of there -- all that money came from that? >> correct. it's a very large account. some of which is directed toward countries and programs and others that the department has the authority to allocate as it sees fit. >> so the department sees that allocation, sees fit to put it into a green fund that congress did not approve? >> congress -- >> congress never approved a green climate fund, correct? >> we proposed a budget that included support for the green climate fund. >> has that budget been approved? >> in fy- -- >> has the president's -- >> we received an appropriations bill for fy 16 and from those resources, determined we could
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make this contribution, which we have done. >> but the green climate fund itself, yes or no, was it approved by congress? >> the congress authorized the green climate fund, no. it's not a -- >> so you did not authorize -- so how then, if congress did not authorize the green climate fund, as you just said, how can $500 million go to it? did you notify congress of this? >> the payment that we made did not require a congressional notification from the traditional way that you notify funds through an appropriations process. notifications have been made -- >> why would it not require? >> authority didn't require it. senator, we'd be pleased to provide to you and other members of this committee the legal rationale for how we did this. >> can all of that money be just reprogrammed by lawyers? >> no, it can't -- >> 54.59 is the actual according to the documents. >> so, no, no. there are certain accounts and provisions that have to be notified to congress. >> okay, so the green climate fund was not authorized by
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congress. no notification was given to congress of this. when were you planning on notifying congress of this? >> senator, as i said, we've reviewed the authority and the process under which we can do it. and our lawyers and we have determined that we had the ability to do. and i pledge to you and other members, we'll be happy to provide that legal analysis and the additional details. >> so nothing is overfunded. you stated in your answer to senator brasso. but now you would then testify, with $500 million gone, is the account that you just mentioned now underfunded? >> senator, i wouldn't say it's underfunded. we proposed a budget that reflected contribution to the green climate fund, so as we submitted a budget that we received an appropriation above, so no, we're not -- nothing's overfunded. >> so nothing's overfunded, nothing's underfunded now?
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>> of course we have to make trade-offs in the budget all the time -- are we making them $500 million? >> let me ask you this. because i think this is the heart of the distrust between the executive branch and the legislative branch and i'd say this no matter who is in the administration. i don't care what party they're in. we have a constitution that says appropriations are carried out by the legislative branch, and when you sit before the american people and say that the green climate fund was never approved by congress and $500 million just went to it, i don't think that lawyers can replace the constitution outside of -- lawyers don't -- they don't replace the constitutional requirements that congress approve these funds and this appropriation. that money could have been -- if there's money available, we've had arguments on the floor of the senate for the past several weeks, that, yes, this would take additional language, but that $500 million could have been put towards flint, michigan, with the appropriate language.
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if this is money that was a trade-off, that would have gone to other nations, what about putting that toward flint, michigan? sure it would require appropriate language. but what putting that money into an opiate bill that we talked about on the floor? yes, it would take language by congress to make that law happen. but here we are, writing a $500 million check from an account in the state department to create a green climate fund that congress didn't approve, when we've been having arguments about where we'll spend this money. and we wonder why the american people don't trust congress, why they don't trust the administration, there's a perfect example of why. couple of the other questions for you. i think in your testimony you stated that there was a breach of -- and i'll quote, as the breach of our unclassified e-mail system in 2014 demonstrated our adversaries see information handled by the government and other government departments and agencies as a desirable target.
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protecting our information as we face cyber attacks is one of the department's top priorities. how much money is the state department requesting for cyber security efforts? >> i'll have to follow up and provide the exact amount, but we did ask for an increase and we're undertaking several different lines of effort to improve the security and safety of our systems. we've already implemented several measures and are working with a team of experts to both re-architect some of the aspects of our system to make our information more secure and also ensure we're learning across the federal government, the best tactics to provide security. so we asked for additional resources in our central i.t. fund to make some upgrades that we were planning. we've also looked across all of our systems, our consular systems, to identify those vulnerabilities and i won't speak in more detail about them, but it's very comprehensive. >> how long did it take to root out the 2014 beach? >> i'm sorry? >> how long did it take to figure out the 2014 breach?
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>> i don't have the exact amount of time but we can follow up with you and it may be appropriate to do it in a different setting. >> thank you. mr. chairman? >> thank you, sir. senator shaheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for being here, secretary higginbottom. i look forward, with the rest of the committee, for hearing the explanation for the transfer of funds to the green climate fund. i'm very glad that the united states is taking action to address climate change. i'm pleased we joined 180 nations in paris to come to an agreement in address climate. in my home state of new hampshire, we're experiencing one of the warmest winters with the least no snow we've ever seen. it's impacting our ski industry, it's impacting our wildlife, it's having an impact on our energy use, and for those people
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who don't think we should be taking action to address climate change, i hope they would look at the science and recognize that this is a very important issue and it's very important for us, and the administration, and in congress, to address it. so, thank you very much. i want to ask about the strategy behind the new global engagement center, which is replaced the counterterrorism's strategic communications center. because one of -- i sit on both the armed services committee and this committee. one of the things that's come up repeatedly has been the ability of our enemies, whether it be isis, or other foreign powers, to use propaganda to promote their goals. and when i ask questions about what we're doing in response to that, it's very hard to get an answer that acknowledges the
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coordination that needs to go coordination that needs to go on, and how various departments and agencies are working together to address this concern. so can you talk about that, and can you also talk about how this engagement center is going to work with the department of homeland security, how you're going to work with efforts in the department of defense, to respond to both countering violent extremism and the other propaganda efforts that are under way? >> yes. thank you very much, senator. we took a hard look at the work that we were doing to counter violent extremist messaging and propaganda, and in partnership with the private sector and others, determined that we didn't have the right approach. it wasn't as effective as we wanted it to be. and so the global engagement
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center, which is being led by a former assistant secretary from the department of defense, is really about building partnerships with both the private sector and countries around the world, because we recognize that while we have an important role to play in developing some content and working with our partners, we're not always the best deliverer of those messages and we need to bring other people into this effort, and that's a big part of the approach. as you point out, this is a government-wide effort, both countering violent extremism, but also in the messaging. so ensuring that this model is really about building the communication and getting the appropriate messages out, delivered by the right people, the more effective messengers. so we've changed how we're doing this work, and in making this shift, consulted with some of the experts who -- in silicon valley and other places, who are very engaged in how you reach people over social media and have brought those lessons learned into this as well. >> and so do we have any recent success stories that we can
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speak to or specifics about how this is actually getting done? >> senator, i hope we will soon. we have a lot of success stories about the hub and spokes that we're establishing in different parts of the world, southeast asia and the middle east, to be our partners. but we're just now standing up with assistant secretary lumpkin and his team, the real work. but we've laid a lot of the ground work. i hope we can update you soon with more specific examples of the success we're having and why this approach is the right one to take. >> and i know that the broadcasting board of governors is designated as an independent agency, but clearly they are doing work that's very important to this effort, and the more coordinated we can be, the more successful we will be. so can you talk about how -- how -- what this new center will be doing, will be working with bbg on their efforts? >> thank you, senator. the undersecretary for public
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diplomacy, rick stengel is on the bbg board and very engaged with their efforts, and also leading our effort with michael lumpkin on the global engagement center. so we have good coordination and means of communication there, but certainly we should understand all of the tools at our disposal. it's in all of our interest to be engaged in this. so there's a good way for us to communicate and do it in a way that's appropriate, given their independent nature. >> i want to go back and pick up on the issue that chris murphy raised -- or senator murphy raised about the refugee situation, because as we look at the increasing numbers of refugees, the threat that that poses to europe, to the eu, as we look at the challenges that our allies -- jordan and lebanon and turkey -- are having with their refugee camps, i would urge that we should be increasing those budgets, rather
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than decreasing them. because if one of our allies in the middle east, who has significant numbers of refugees falls apart because of the numbers of refugees in that country, it's gonna be a whole lot more expensive than increasing the funding that we have, can make in the humanitarian assistance they need. so can you speak to what more we ought to be doing to address that? >> thank you, senator. our approach has been -- the united states is largest contributor of humanitarian aid in the world. we don't see any scenario in which that's likely to change in the short-term. but what we have recognized is from the president to the secretary on down is that to really deal with the scale of the crises we're facing now, we need more people -- more countries to be supporting the u.n. system, the humanitarian system, as well as to accept refugees. even those countries that are doing a lot already. and certainly some of those that you mentioned, jordan, lebanon,
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others, are really on the front lines. but a lot of countries are doing a lot, and we need them to step up and do more. and the president will be working -- with the secretary to engage their colleagues around the world to get those commitments. and we see that as really the important step of making the system more efficient, aligning ourselves so that the u.n. system can be more effective but also trying to get additional countries into this space in whatever way they can. for some it's providing education and training and others it's accepting refugees and humanitarian aid as well. >> and i certainly support that effort, but it's hard to have conversations with some of the countries that we're calling upon who come back and say, well, you know, the united states is accepting a very small number of refugees, the united states has not been willing to support lebanon, 25% of his population, for example, are refugees. so to say to a country like
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that, you need to be doing more, i think, given our size, given our budget, it's hard to make that argument in a way that really is heard as being serious. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. thank you very much. senator cardin, you had some additional comments and questions. >> some comments, mr. chairman. thank you again for this hearing. the bottom line, we need to pass an authorization bill. in regards to the climate fund, i just really want to make a couple statements. first, i agree with transparency with our committee, we need to be kept totally apprised. climate change is a huge issue for the security of america. what happened in paris with 190 nations coming together was a major milestone. as we move forward, we need to find a bipartisan path where we support these efforts and many
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of us who strongly support what the administration is doing, have reached out and will continue to reach out so that we can have a bipartisan support for america's leadership on this issue. it's important to our national security as our military suggests, it's also important for our environmental legacy and our economic future. having said that, the legal authority in regards to supporting the climate fund was never in doubt. i just remind the committee in the discussions on the omnibus appropriation bill, that was an issue, the president's authority. it was clear his authority would not be limited. it's not unusual to use these funds to contribute to international efforts. and this is not a u.s. fund, this is an international fund. this is not something that we created. it was an international effort. we've contributed to international refugee efforts that have been named and we have not authorized specifically appropriations to those funds. and the administration uses its authority that it has.
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i don't think this is that unusual, except it is controversial. i would agree with the chairman and i would urge the chairman's advice on transparency be adhered to because i agree with the chairman on that point. >> well, thank you very much. senator cardin, i appreciate that, and i appreciate you being here today. i know there's a lot of work we have to do together to craft something that we can actually put into law. your testimony today has been helpful towards that end, we appreciate it and we look forward to you continually working with us until we get something across the finish line. i know there will be numbers of questions by other members, and if you could, first of all, without objection, the record will be open through the close of business thursday. if you could get back fairly quickly with responses, we'd appreciate it. and again, we thank you and the people who are with you, for your service to our country, and with that, the meeting is
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adjourned. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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[ no audio ] tonight on c-span3, a special weeknight edition of american history tv. with programs about segregation and civil rights. next, the congressional gold medal ceremony for organizers of the 1956 freedom march from selma to montgomery, balance balance. then, a history of travel guides. professors discuss efforts to solve racially motivated murders in the modern civil rights ear are a. later, a look at mob violence and lynching in the jim crow south.


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