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tv   Public Affairs  CSPAN  May 13, 2013 12:00pm-5:01pm EDT

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we make sure something like this does not happen again, i am happy to get their advice and information and counsel. of the mattert is that these four americans, as i said right when it happened, were people that i sent into the field. i have been we were not able to perform their deaths. everything we can to make sure we prevent it in part because there are still diplomats around the world who dangerous, it difficult situations. we do not have time to be playing these games in washington. what are we doing to protect them? that is not easy. it will require tough judgment and calls. there are a bunch of diplomat who knows a they are in harm's way.
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the british have to deal with the same thing. we have a whole bunch of people who consistently say i am willing to step up. i am willing to put myself in harm's way. think this mission is important in terms of advancing our interest around the globe. -- dishonorr them them when we turn this into a political circus. what happened was tragic. it was carried out by extremists inside of libya. we are out there trying to hunt down the folks that carried this out of me want to make sure we fix the system so it does not happen again. of opposition in syria, we have not made the decision to arm opposition groups. we have amended the eu arms
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embargo and that we can get technical advice and assistance. that is what we are doing. we are continuing to look at the embargo and seeing if we need to make further change in order to facilitate our work. i do believe there is more we can do in order to shake them, in order to work with them. to those who doubt that, if we do not help the syrian who wetion he what recognize as being legitimate, if we do not work with that part of the opposition which not be surprised if the extremist elements grow. i think being engaged is the right approach. >> bbc.
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today abouting here a new eu/u.s. trade deal. members are talking about leaving the european union. what is your message to those pushing for an early referendum? if there were a referendum tomorrow, how would you vote? >> you told david cameron that you wanted a strong u.k. and a strong e you. how concerned are you that members are contemplating withdrawal? syria, what gives you any confidence that the russians are going to help you on this? >> on the issue of the referendum, there's not going to be a referendum tomorrow. public give the british and entirely false choice between the status quo which i do not think is acceptable. britain'ssee
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relationship in prove. this is thenk choice the british public wants or deserve. everything i do is guided by a very simple principle. what is in the national interest of britain's tax is it appeared that will make our country's more prosperous that will help our businesses? we will push for this transatlantic trade deal. is it in our interest to reform the union to make it more open or competitive and to improve the place within the european union tax it is achievable. year passed to change. the currency is driving change for that single currency. i believe britain is quite entitled t for and get
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changes. is it in britain's national interest want to have achieved those changes to consult the british public in a fall on referendum. i believe it is. this is absolutely right. it has strong support around the country. of this is what i am going to do. you ask a question what are the science of russian engagement. i have very good talks on friday. we had a very frank conversation. we have approached this and some extent do approach it in a different way. i have been vocal in supporting the syrian opposition in saying assad has to go. he is not legitimate.
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i continue to say that. president putin has taken a different view. it is in our interest at the end of this there is a democratic syria, that there is a stable neighborhood and that we do not encourage the growth of violent extremism. i think the russian president and myself can see that the current trajectory of how things going is not in anybody's interest. there is is a major diplomatic effort which we are all together leaving. the parties to the table to bring a transition at the top so we can make the change the country needs. theith respect to relationship between the u.k. eu, we have a special relationship with the united kingdom. capacitye that our
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with the united kingdom that is robust, out are looking and engage with the world is hugely important to our own interests as well as the world. the u.k.'s participation is an six itits role in the world. ultimately the people of the u.k. have to make decisions for themselves. that you probably want to see if you can fix what is broken in a very important relationship before you break off. it makes some sense to me.
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i know david has been very active in seeking some reforms internal to the eu. those are tough negotiations. you had a lot of company -- you have a lot involved. yetong as we have not evaluated how successful those reforms will be. i would be interested in seeing a whether or not those are successful before rendering a final judgment. emphasize these are issues for people of the united kingdom to make a decision about. not ours. i think david said it very well. theou look objectively entire world community has an interest in seeing a syria that is not engaged in sectarian war
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in which the syrian people are not being slaughtered, that is an island of peace as opposed to an outpost for extremists. that is not just true for the united states or great britain or countries like jordan and turkey that border syrian. it is true for russia. am pleased to hear that david had a very constructive conversation with president shortly after. i have spoken to him several times on this topic. that as aargument is leader on the world stage, russia has an interest as well
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as an obligation to try to resolve this issue and a way that can lead to the outcome we would all like to see over the long term. secrett think it is any there remained lingering suspicions between russia and other members of the g-8 or west. decadeseen several since russia transformed itself. some of those suspicions still exists. ist of what my goal has been try to break down some of those suspicions and objectively at the situation. broker a peaceful political transition that lead assad's departure but a state
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in syria that is still in tact that accommodate the interests of all the ethnic groups inside of syria and that end the bloodshed, that will not just be good for us. that will be good for everybody. we will be very persistent in trying to make that happen. i am not promising that it will be successful. the furies had been unleashed in a situation it is very hard to cook things back together. there are going to be enormous a crediblein getting process going even if russia is involved. we have so many other countries like iran and hezbollah that
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have been involved. we have organizations that are essentially affiliated to al qaeda add that have another agenda beyond just getting rid of assad. all of that may combustible mix. it is worth the effort. we are always more successful in any global upper room we have a strong friend and partner like great britain by our side and strong leadership by prime minister david cameron. thank you very much, everybody. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> and reminder that while prime minister david cameron continues his tour leading up to the g-8 summit he will not be back in the british parliament for his
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weekly session. clegg will take his place this week. the prime minister's time at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. myanmar state television has announced that the president will make a state visit to the u.s. in the near future. it is the first head of state in 47 years. the date of the visit has not been announced. we are planning on bringing you live coverage of the presence at guantanamo bay. we're having technical issues and the heritage foundation. we are taping the event and clinton had it for you later. it is live -- and plan to have it for you later. it is life on our website c- legislative business will continue on. members are expected to consider
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legislation calling for the full repeal of the 2010 health care law and a bill requiring the sec to require a cost benefit analysis before new regulations. the senate is back at 2:00 p.m. for morning business. tomorrow they will continue to work on the water infrastructure bill. week a vote on president obama's bid for coverage. you can see the senate on c- span2. militaryw at capabilities with in syria and weather means for both sides. >> we continue our conversation with international studies.
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but bl was 2010. it is a rough estimate in terms of capabilities. they are very secretive. you had in the thought military focused against missouri for 30 years. the law affects the civil war and insurgency and counterinsurgency warfare, an erosion of air capabilities, an erosion of armor. in 2011 and 2012, and erosion of manpower. what you have now is an effort by the assad forces to reverse some of those. they have continued focus on armored mobility in major like damascus and areas that defend the city. they still have an active pool of attack helicopters. they still have a fairly dense air defense network despite some talk of its aging status. you have a military that, even
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after two years of losses, have some capability, on paper anyway. host: their military includes an army, and navy, air and air defense forces, service agents, 18 years old. compulsory for men, but you mentioned of the affections. what are we seeing terms of men and even women serving? guest: you have had a trend in the dynamics. in 2011 and 2012, there was a number of defections that never went above a certain level, never 300 men or 500 men defect. you have the military service age. so you have a syrian relation, even those who are not in the
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military, many have seen training with assault weapons. you have predominately sunni's who look at syria and the gi, and we see the sunni, and they would say i think the assad regime is done and i will side with opposition factions. that was the trend through about 2012. talking about defections that never exceeded 20% or 25% of the overall fighting strength of the syrian military. the syrian army is about 200,000 strong, not counting the reserves before the crisis. so you have had a significant loss, but there is an effort on both sides to compensate. one way the assad forces have done that is to focus on the un, look at militias, and this new national defense force. all this does address the manpower problems they face. host: defense spending for the syrian government, 3.6% of gdp. how significant is that number right now? where is president assad getting his money, and do we have a sense of how it is coming in and how it is being spent?
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is it even coming in anymore? guest: syrian defense spending has been trending negative for decades. the loss of the union as a key sponsor and financial backer and the loss of oil and resources has made it difficult for the syrians to recapitalize their military under the best of circumstances, let alone a civil war. if you ask me now what kind of transparency do we have a budget spending, what are the in terms of that position in syria, it is at best estimate. it is a civil war. other countries that have experienced this in the region like iraq, lebanon, and others. you look at about a decade where you have a best estimate. what you have now is, ironically not so much to fund the syrian regime, but for patrons like the russians and the iranians expedite assistance that
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had in the pipeline to begin with. all this talk about the of russian land-based major air defense systems. something has been in the pipeline for a better part of a decade if not more. those sorts of trends are accelerating. in terms of cash to support the military itself, you still do not have a major influx. you have support from china, support from iran, support from russia, but you also have reserves, dwindling but still capable in terms of allowing the assad forces to pay our salaries and pensions, even officers who defected to the opposition. host: as we look at the power and strength of rebel forces, what do we know about their military capabilities, how unified they are, what sort of money and weapons they have?
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guest: the order of battle, if we can call it that, has significantly. you have at best a haphazard band of different unions that were mainly local. that has ballooned. the low estimate in terms of the number of different factions among many use terms like regiments and brigades, but ey are local militia. they have organized themselves and they have their own version of an order and battle. the number something like 100. the higher estimate is somewhere near 1000, and depending how you interpret how some of these factions have analyzed each other. in terms of the capability, there is the militia in the middle east and they have access to assault rifles and machine guns, and they have mortors. there are things like tandem warhead devices that can take out a tank. it depends on whether you have skilled team to operate. there is some air capability, very limited, and it is mainly as a backdrop on getting access to caches from syrian military
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bases that they had access to as a result of forces. you have also seen some external aid, things like rifles they can take out armor and infrastructure. you have seen transfers of chinese air defense man portable systems. it is difficult in terms of who has them, how many they have, the level of readiness. you have only seen sporadic use of some of the air defense systems by the opposition. host: aram nerguizian is our guest, a senior fellow at the center for strategic and international studies. he is at csis. here are the numbers. democrats, 202-585-3880. republicans, 202-585-3881. independent callers, 202-585- 3882. if you are outside united states, 202-585-3883. rachel is next, forney, texas, independent line. our first caller for aram nerguizian. caller: before we went into iraq because of the weapons, my
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friend, she got a newsletter years before that talking about hussein had some of those weapons in syria and he no longer has those. a while back they were talking about the gases that could be used on the people in syria and they said that was not as strong as it used to be. the cousin they were older. why did that never come up, the fact that hussein had gotten rid of those weapons and they went to syria? guest: it is a very good question, and it is a bit more complicated than that. iraqave, on the one hand, that had a long history of alleged chemical weapons. there has been a great deal of talk that some of those were transferred over to syria. but you also have to put that in the backdrop of a syrian weapons program that dates back at
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least to the early 1980's. when the syrians realized that they could no longer compete in terms of strategic parity with the israelis, in terms of aircraft, armor, training for their personnel,, they shifted over the strategic deterrence. that means netting up their air defense capabilities near damascus. it meant missiles. in making an attack exceedingly problematic. chemical weapons developed is part of that, part of a strategy to deter countries from engaging a syrian military that in terms of one-to-one combat or in terms of armor mobility or manpower cannot match and military like the israelis, in terms of training, readiness, and overall maneuverability. i see your point, but it is important to bear in mind that you do have a syrian component of this that has been in the
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works for at least 30 years. host: jeff on our public and line, texas. caller: is the problem in syria right now because thdiesident os waited so long to do anything about the situation? and why did we not get in when we knew that there were the two that factions, the assad faction and the rebel faction? we could have given them a hand so that hezbollah and the others did not take over? guest: first, there has never been a pattern in syria where there is just two factions.
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there has been this pattern of atomization within the opposition. this is not something new. the assad regime under bashar has been to keep the opposition week. you had a backdrop of division in terms of the opposition. the other side of this, from the u.s. perspective, is an understanding, regardless of whether you have democrats or republicans in the white house, what you have in syria as a result of the uprising is the complete collapse and disintegration of this weak social contract in syria. so the collapse of the post- automation experience within syria is much bigger than just supporting good versus evil, the good guys against the bad guys. you have corporate interests. you have the military, like in egypt, that has interests to defend and is willing to defend them aggressively. one of the reasons the egyptian military did not shift in a way that elicited more violence is because it was very clear to them that their opponents would accommodate many of their interests.
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you had that in syria. you also have the sectarian dynamic. for all the talk of syria being an arab country, a form of arabism, you have the reality that that arabism has played a critical role in mitigating and subsuming a lot of the sectarian pressures from alawites, sunnis, and others. it became clear to many of the observers that the sectarian dynamic could take on the kind of proportions that would make it very difficult. you could intervene. but you achieve one narrow objective. there is no such thing as a cure all. there was not a cure all two years ago or a year ago. because the stakes are so high. you can do something now to
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stop gap a lot of this, but you're not able to do all the things. can the civil war put back syria on a stable track, deal with chemical weapons, and deal with the problems with one set of narrow solutions? it was probably not going to be much easier in 2011. one other thing to remember, a lot of folks remember the iraq experience. we forget that the u.s. also had the lebanon experience. the experience in the early 1980's of inserting u.s. manpower and resources into another sectarian civil war. that did not end well. so they know what it means to get embroiled in these civil wars. host: aram nerguizian, here is what monte asks on twitter -- guest: it is one of the big critical questions that i think historians will face as they look back, the trajectory and tragedy of syria.
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when people ask me, what do you think about serious and the response and 2011, on the one hand you had the reality that the u.s. and its allies were finding new ways to deal with a new pattern as they saw it, and it was largely post-9/11. not so much a cold war lens, which would have been more helpful. a lot of the underlying pressure that led us to where we are now in syria were always present. they were present in egypt, tunisia, and in syria. in syria am a there are lessons from post-world war ii reconstruction and how costly it is. and other side of this that is more critical is across ideological lines, it has been amateur hour on syria. amateur hour in terms of the policy debate in the united states. more could a glee, it has been somewhat of a naïve assumption -- more critically, it has been
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somewhat of a naïve ascension that you can change any of this quickly. you have similar assumptions about rapid gains in the arab world, especially the gulf states. this is in 2011 here the problem is that this is not an spring. it is probably not even an arab decade. it is probably an arab quarter century were you have instability. the best countries can do is to find ways to mitigate the effects of instability. looking at that as revolutions in europe, those lasted in the case of france as little as 60 years but as much as 100 and terms of the long-term economic effects. so there was never going to be a good response. we will leave it to the historians to analyze it down the road. host: chris in columbus, ohio, republicans line. caller: good morning. my question is, my understanding from various reporting is that the majority of the syrian military is essentially now restricted to garrison defense
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and to no longer actively participate in operations. they can hold their positions. the syrians are relying more and more on -- the assad regime onrelying more and more militias, both paramilitaries that there finding inside syria, alawite militias and hezbollah. can you comment? guest: it is a good question. one has to remember that this is a very squishy scenario. we have journalist in the region and in syria. like many civil wars, we are observers of something that is dynamic and in motion. we are not able to get a perfect feature of any of this. if anything, we are trying to get at best after-action reports. that being said, there are some broad strokes. in terms of the mainly sunni fighting force, yes, you have more restrictions. you also have a shift in tactics with the structure for the military. you have to remember, this is a
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division-organized military. you have divisions. it has become much more focused on individual units at the battalion level where you have these kinds of checks on the forces. you want -- a very bleak and somewhat inaccurate analogy, i would compare it to the soviet forces that make sure that fighting men stay line. you usually have a loyal officer who is able to make sure that the smaller units stay in line. the other side to this is that you have not only the learning in combat, you also have the assad forces and their allies learning combat as well. his is a dynamic. it is not just militia. you have militias as well. i would say you have three tiers inside the assad structure. the military, conventional military that we all know. you have these popular militias. they are a very narrowly defined structure. the third is the national defense force which is a new institution.
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1978you had the civil war and 1982 in syria, you had the emergence of new structures, speciales that became forces. you have these new institutions. they serve as a rearguard. they protect key centers of power and in some cases engage in defense of operation. the critical aspect is these overlapping forces are all loyal, all united, and there is -- cohesive around assad's regime's survival strategy. so they are part of military operations, backed up by factions like hezbollah which provide support for shiite villages in syria that have
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lebanese population. all of these tactics are going on. host: we see a headline in the "washington post" -- syrian regime gains ground. it talks about the assad regime moving forward and gaining the upper hand. it says there are a lot of things in play that could change the balance of power and have to be watched, including the almonds that killed at least 40 people on a turkish border town -- including the bombs that killed at least 40 people. and airstrikes against damascus last weekend. there are many variables that could tilt the balance again. analysts say there's little doubt now the pendulum is swinging in favor of assad. why? guest: tactics evolve and decisions about the battlefield evil with them. you have the inevitable set of mistakes that lead to assad's
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downfall. because survival is the main focus, you have a shift away from this idea that assad can hold onto the entire country, essentially fighting a counterinsurgency style combat operation. you need to control security zones. they have retrenched from the east and the northeast of the country. there is still some focus on aleppo, but the real focus is the jordan border, deraa, homs, all the way up to the mediterranean coastline. the idea is between a kind of positive view of things, although we have two more pragmatic. the positive view is assad is able to hold these zones, to clear opposition forces. it is tedious, difficult, and forces are too task. it gives assad a strong negotiating position.
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you have these gains, and they agree with the overall assessment that assad has been able to secure key areas. the critical aspect is that it is breaking supply lines from neighboring lebanon were you may sunni population that has grown more and more supportive of the opposition, more and more disenchanted with assad. leaves is gone, it turkey with the main point of support and it leaves jordan exposed. do they stay where they are now and allow turkey to take the brunt of the aid efforts of the opposition? yes, you have this app and flow
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of the battle. host: grand rapids, michigan, democrats line. --ler: my first question hold on a second. was saddam hussein and his regime ever allies of the u.s.? the second question is, who supplied saddam hussein and his regime with chemical weapons during bush senior's time as president? guest: these concepts, you have to look at them in context. there was a time when iraq under saddam and the u.s. had interests. that is something that is a difficult issue. in terms of iran with the revolution in 1979, iraq under saddam became a natural enemy
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for the iranians. so you could say there was some common ground in terms of trying to contain him at a minimum, the revolution in iran and push for some kind of reversal, the return of the shah. it has overlaps in terms of the impact and other countries in the region, but that is where i would focus it. in terms of chemical development, we associate chemical weapons incorrectly with being a truly high-level technical achievement for any country that tries to develop them. we are putting it on parity things like nuclear development. the reality is that most of the countries in the arab world have the industrial capacity and the infrastructure and the
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manpower, in most cases, to start of even a rudimentary unitary chemical weapons program. things like mustard gas and so on. it is something that countries like iraq to develop indigenously over time. but it does not have support of countries like north korea, like russia, china, and so on. you have to remember, pre-1990, you had a much more complex middle east dynamic. you had the presence of the soviet union on the regional stage. you had u.s.-soviet, titian. you had zones of influence. that is the history. the reality is that this is all very much present and is impacting every aspect of some of the military capabilities that you see in the region. i would caution you with the new one. host: this is from twitter -- guest: the pattern is such that you will see continued pressure on countries like lebanon, turkey, jordan, and iraq. you also have an escalation with offensives. if you are to have an assad offensive that poorest populations towards jordan, you might see number is much higher
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than the current 1000 or 2000 pattern. you might see tens of thousands or more migrating in the face of an assault. if you look at lebanon, you have already a 400,000 strong syrian labor market. they have been there for years. on top of that, you have at least 400,000 refugees. the conservative number for refugees from syria and syrians who are part of the labor pool in lebanon is about 600,000. i would put it closer to 800,000 to one million. that is a country of 4 million. there are real pressures there. in the case of turkey, you have similarly high numbers, close to about 300,000. jordan, you also have numbers along those lines. ththe number of syrian refugeesn
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neighboring states upward of 1.2 million. this is a country, as tragic as it sounds, this is still a country of about 20 million people overall, so that will rise as the conflict drives on. you will have more refugee flows. as time moves on, you will see more and more idp's, internally displaced persons. that number could be much higher in terms of the estimate of external refugees. you could have a significant portion of the syrian population that is eventually displaced. host: florida, republicans line. caller: hello, c-span. hello to your guest. i am a gulf war veteran. i have interest in the area and pay attention to what goes on
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there. my question to your guest is, let's say compared to iraq, i believe that toppling the saddam regime was the right thing to do. it may have taken longer than most americans had asked for, but war is not clean and it is not pretty. my question on the syrian military capabilities is, for example, if for some reason israel have to step up their war capabilities to go in and possibly take out some of the chemical stockpiles, they going to affect those in the region and possibly others. does he believe that the air defense systems in syria will
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hold up to the israeli air power? i will take i answer off the air. thank you.guest: thank you. one of the problems you have would syria is any accurate assessment of the air defense capabilities, looking even in 2010, the metrics are unstable. you have a mix of aging long- range systems like the s-200 and you have an overlapping net of short and medium range systems and damascus. you have had an effort to recapitalize forces. they have acquired mobile systems including a combined gun and missile platform. they can fire on the go. that is an effective system for short range. you also have things like the grizzly which is another medium system. the problem we have in analyzing the recent strikes or alleged strikes, whether they are against -- potential transfers of air defense capabilities to hezbollah in january, the flight path is important.
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you do not have to physically be in syria to conduct attacks damascus. damascus is extremely close to the border with lebanon. an aircraft flying over lebanon has the ability to target from that territory directly into syria without having to break into airspace. you had that sort of capability. the other thing is that the syrians, whether during time peace or during time of war, have to deal with the the reality that the moment they think an israeli aircraft with their more modern systems, they are providing intelligence. providing coordinates and preliminary assessments of new capabilities. yes, that would expose israeli aircraft to more risks.
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but at the same time, the syrians are exposed to the reality that you have some knowledge of electronic order of battle in terms of air defense systems. the other side is that it is complicated for a country like israel to do much more. i would say that there is an opportunity cost for them to engage in operations targeting weapons transfers to hezbollah. it is not to tip the balance, not to take out assad forces. you have more margin of maneuver for israelis because you do not have a strong syrian voluntary presence along golan. they're focused on opposition operations. the other side is it does not work well in a country like syria where you still have a of pro-palestinian and anti- israeli feelings that will be there for at least a generation. there is a perception that the israelis are coming to the rescue of opposition forces backed by the gulf states. it is incredibly, located from that point of view.
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you have to keep all post an image in mind as you address with the israelis can, cannot, want to, and do not want to do. host: our guest is a senior fellow at the center for strategic and international studies. his work includes conducting research on strategic and military dynamics in the middle east and north africa. part of his work focuses on u.s. and iranian strategic competition. also on syria. what is happening in that part of the world. twitter -- guest: well, you have this threat. it is a system that elicits all sorts of reactions. it is a terror weapon in terms of the impact on local population. it is a weapon system that makes opponents think twice. it is one thing to have armor, something else to have air defense, aircraft, and manpower. but if you throw into that this
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idea that there will be a syrian -- there would be what happened in iraq against the kurdish population when thousands were killed in a chemical attack. there is the fear that this might happen. i am very, very careful about making in a statement tied to chemical weapons, whether it is alleged use by the regime or alleged transfer to the opposition. the other side of this is that chemical weapons like the ones that syria has, sarin and so on, have tried to be weapon i stay in the country that does not have a lot of experience of using them under the order of battle. this is not a definitive last- ditch weapon that assad would
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use in a conventional capability. does not mean he will not use it, but it is not battle-tested. what you see consistent with assad as a pattern of behavior, testing the israelis, the u.s., or others, is a preference for pushing back against perceived red lines. this perception that somehow the israelis have certain redlines on weapons to hezbollah. they will try to push that as far as they can until there is a response. this is making folks think along some of the light that maybe assad is using them to test us. the problem is some of these weapons are so unreliable in terms of their spread and how to measure their effective use in combat that we're going to continue speculating for some time until you have un investigators in the country. host: can informative content on what is happening in syria, covering the humanitarian disaster -- he asks, will the president helps stop genocide? tell us how that comes in the play in war and how it relates or does not relate to what is happening in syria. guest: the word genocide is
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incredibly loaded and assumes that you have the planned extermination and relocation of a particular ethnic group i and other ethnic group. you would be implying in the context hypothetically something like the alawites are trying to ethnically cleanse the sunnis among which is not the case. you have a lot of sunnis who part of the regime structure. you have sunnis that are within assad's control area. it would be difficult to use that term. what you do have is a pattern that is one of a sectarian civil war. we are now looking at syria through the lens of twitter and facebook and access to instant media, but this has happened before. one example would be the lebanese civil war. a lot of have commented in the
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syrian conflict that you have massacres by alawites against sunnis and sunnis against alawites. this is happened in 1978, 1982, 1983, where you have similar patterns in different communities in lebanon. he had sectarian in-fighting, and it created soft cleansing. that does not imply that it was not brutal, violent, or completely evil. it meant that the country does not divide that you have the displacement. people leave, people move. if you're going to use that description of the genocide, you also have to assess what happened in iraq. in the case of iraq, you had sunni and shiite that ethnically cleansed each other in key parts of the country. and the word genocide does not apply. what you do have is something that i mentioned earlier in the talk, which is that the post- ottoman experience in syria is coming undone. a lot of the underlying sectarian pressures are now
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bubbling to the surface. people are scared him a scared on the part of the sunni majority but also scared on the part of the alawis who run syria. as folks outside the country in the u.s. look at syria and say, well i'm how can we intervene, don't we have a responsibility to protect? well, the guiding principles behind them are so over arching and the threshold is so low that the u.s. would have had an obligation to intervene in at least two dead or three dozen conflicts in the last couple of years alone. the threshold is too low. if you do intervene on the part of the sunni community, so you protected them, than countries like the u.s. faced the prospect of having to intervene again to prevent the same thing from happening to the alawites, christians, and other minority groups which will eventually also be targeted by the mainly sunni opposition and a retaliatory cycle in the
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country. all of these things are very messy. the use of words like genocide is coupled hated, ambiguous, and difficult. i think we have to be very cautious what they really mean and what they contribute. host: mary ann from wisconsin, our independent line. hello. caller: a question for the gentleman, do you believe that turkey actually has anything to say about how they are going to protect their borders or what they are going to do about the flow of people coming in from syria given the fact that america has so many military bases and in the end what is going to happen there has to do with what america wants to happen?
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host: we're just about out of time, so let's get a quick response. guest: turkey is a very large country that shares a long border with syria. it has concerns about the refugee flows. frankly, countries that are much smaller like lebanon and jordan have absorbed, in terms of the ratio population, far larger population of refugees from syria. they have gone above and beyond the resource capability to do that. turkey is a very large country of 70 million people. the south of the country is large. traditional trade flows. i think they can accommodate far more it they had bigger numbers. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] host: thank you so much for joining us today. we have been talking about syria >> the house of return at 2:00 p.m.. later this week, members are expected to consider legislation calling for the full repeal a 2010 health-care law.
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there is the new cost-benefit analysis. the senate bills and at 2:00 p.m. eastern for morning business. no roll-call votes expected. there will authorize dozens of waterway projects around the country. later, a vote on president obama's pick to and medicaid services. you can see live coverage at 2:00 p.m. eastern. , and president obama's choice for deputy director testifies at his club information hearing before the senate, in unity. pm.e coverage begins at 3:00 i max baucus has directed to the news that the irs has been targeting conservative political groups. he says these are an outrageous abuse of power.
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it does not only inappropriate but also intolerable. he says i want to review the report offers but the irs should be prepared for it will investigation by the senate finance committee. president obama called reports that the irs targeted groups. he said anyone responsible should be held responsible. this came at a news conference this morning. is the first first lady to become -- to earn a college degree. and influence the has given -- she employs a has been to switch parties. the 13e wife of president as we continue the series. that live at 9:00 eastern.
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>> next year a special review on human rights in no. 3 will be presented to the united nations with the possibility of the un council taking up issue appeared the u.s. envoy. this is just over one hour. >> good afternoon. thank you for this opportunity robert keen. forecame the special envoy human rights issue in november 2009. this is on the human rights and affairs.
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capitol hill for 25 years. toof those as chief of staff the congressman from california. step concurrently this affairs of the foreign committee of the united states house of representatives. he holds the international relations from the law and diplomacy and has authored five books and more than 40 articles on international relations. and northl address korea's human rights issues. >[applause] much for thever
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opportunity to be with you here today. i appreciate the opportunity of talking with you. i appreciate the invitation for the chance to be here and talk with you. ince november 2009 when assumed the position for special envoy, we have seen very cigna began changes. the death of kim jong-il, the rise of consolidation and power. notrtunately one thing has really change. that is the human rights so which ration -- situation in north career which has remained deplorable. of two things. first of all, we need to continue to hold the north korean leadership accountable for its deplorable human rights record. we need to call attention to
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these problems. second we need to break down the barriers to information and increase the exposure to the outside world if we're going to create the kind of positive change we like to see in terms of security and humanitarian challenges come a greater flow of information is key to that process. let me say a few words about calling attention to the human rights abuses. north korea's human rights problems are well documented. the state department produces annually the reports on human rights practices. the less reason was a couple of weeks ago by secretary carry. reall
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new to report extrajudicial killings, arbor tory detention, torture, at the judiciary is not independent. it does not provide fair trials are due process. ofy're denying freedom speech, religion, assembly. reports continue that this research the freedom of movement of its citizens and subjects citizens to forced labor. one important development that helps in terms of the process of calling attention to the human rights abuses was the decision made by the human rights council in march of this year to create a commission of inquiry on human
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rights. supported theely discussion of the north korean human-rights situation in council. of the generalrs assembly and in we've had resolutions adopted calling for improvements in uman rights. through this process appointed a special candidate to report n cases and they reported to the general assembly and the uman rights council. ast october, it was reported to the general assembly identified nine disturbing underlining patterns, violating
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the right to food, the right to life, freedom of movement. after a review of all of the u.n. reports on north korea over the last several years, he called for the creation of a mechanism of inquiry to further document these abuses he has called attention to. in january of this year, the ommission for human rights also said it was time to create an inquiry mechanism to look further at north korea. i'm happy to report that in march the united states co-sponsored the resolution creating this commission of inquiry. it was proposed by japan and he european union with the
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strong support of the republic of korea and a number of other countries. the resolution directs the inquiry to examine the widespread of violation of uman rights. earlier this week, just a couple of days ago the president of the human rights council appointed the membership. mr. michael kerby has been appointed chairman of this commission of inquiry. also, a leader in the balkans was appointed to the council. nd former indonesia's attorney general will also serve on this commission. we will work with our partners here and elsewhere to support the commission on inquiry on
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its effort to look at these human rights problems, to make recommendation. the committee on -- the commission of inquiry will present its findings to the human rights council in march next year. o we will have the opportunity to review those recommendation when that report is completed. it's significant that the resolutions that have been adopted recently in the u.n. general assembly and the human rights council, the last three have been passed without ecorded votes.
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basically, the consensus was overwhelming and it was not worth the bother of voting because there was little opposition to the criticism of north korea. one of the things that has probably contributed to this growing emphasis and concern with human rights in north korea is a growing awareness because of reports, books, other things that have been published. in the last year two very mportant books came out in nglish talking about the human rights in north korea. one is "escape from camp 214. he basically tells the story of a north korean political risoner. a young man was born in this
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most stringent prison camps. his parents were there, not because they committed a crime but they had brothers or sisters who had left north korea. the two parents were allowed to arry in the prison camp and he as born from that mar age. nothing he had done to justify why he was in this prison camp, yet, he was expected to spend his entire life in that prison camp. a second book that appeared just about a year ago also extremely important in terms of he prison camp issue was david hawks second edition. he went through and carefully documented locations and nature of prison camps scattered throughout north korea. here's some excellent publicly
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available satellite imagery used to identify the camps and identify the scope and size of the problem. this information, both of these books have called considerable attention to the seriousness of the problem. these reports indicates there is between 100,000-200,000 prisoners in these camps. his is enormous. e're talking about a number of political prisoners proportionately larger than hat the soviet union had for most of its history. ight be about the same of what the soviet union had in the 1930's. basically, this is incredible in this day and age to have a political prison problem like this. the one thing that i think is most important that we can do
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in terms of trying to move ncouraging change in north korea is to break the information blockade that exists in north korea. north korea is one of the most closed societies on this planet. e've seen modest indicates despite government restrictions this is beginning to change. with u.s. state department funding, an american research institute did an extensive report on availability of information and changes that are taking place on availability of information in north korea. north korea is in a changing media environment. this indicates that north korea still has no internet access. it is one key places on earth
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and internet is not available. it is not a question of lack of equip but -- equipment but the government does not want the public to have access to information. espite the fact that north orea, as you know, it is llegal to own a radio that can be tuned. the only radios that you can legally buy and own are the ones that are preset to the government channel. despite this fact, there's a
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surprising -- we're talking 20%-30%-of people who left north korea indicated they have listened to foreign radio. at a time where radio is less and less important as a source of information. in north korea, radio is the most important source of information from the outside world that is reaching north koreans. foreign d.v.d.'s are seen by increasing numbers of north koreans. the study showed that 50% of north koreans have seen foreign d.v.d.'s. another study was done by voice of america that suggests that number is as high as 80% of northern koreans. i'm not a fan of south korean soap operas but north koreans are and they are very popular there. cell phone communication has een available just in the last few years. calls within the country are possibly. they are probably and closely monitored. alls outside north korea are not possible on the official
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network. but now there is probably close to two million cell phones in north korea. now, to give you an indication of the difference between north korea and south korea. in north korea with the population of 24 million, there is two many, one in 12 have cess to a cell phone. in south korea, the number of cell phones per person is 1.3. ifferences are dramatic. onetheless, the changes in orth korea are significant. people are able to talk with other people in the other countries. with these kinds of information tools available, we're beginning to see changes taken place in north korea. given the nature of north korea and the limitations on
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information that is available one of the most important things that the united states does is to support the broadcasting board of governors with its broadcasting in free sia. we're providing eight hours a day on medium wave regular transmissions that go into north korea. it is interesting that in north korea, prime time is not until 9:00 at night. you crawl under the covers and you listen to the radio without having anyone know that you're listening to the radio. daytime listenship is zero. i worked for radio in europe broadcasting to the countries of central europe during the old war. e had people listening, in fact, the czech communist complained about teenagers istening to the radio in the
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fternoons. that is not a problem in north korea. one of the things that is clear is we need to encourage north korea to invest its resources in feeding and educating its people and not to continue down he path of isolation that it has followed. we would welcome meaningful measures, economic or otherwise that would improve the lives of the people of north korea. one way for kim jong-un to do his is to undertake good faith efforts toward denuclearization, something
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that would offer benefits to all parties involved. we have made clear we're worth compromise with north korea if they live up to their obligations and commitment. given the events of the past 10 months, the bar for meaningful engagement is certainly more difficult to reach. president obama put it best during a major speech he gave in november. in a passage that was directed to north korea he said "let go of your nuclear weapons and choose the path of peace and progress. if you do, you will find an extended hand from the united states of america. . if north korea wants to take steps to join the international ommunity it needs to refrain from actions that threaten peace and stability and of northeast asia and comply with its joint statement of the six party talks. also, it's obligation under
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relevant security council resolution to abandon nuclear weapons and nuclear programs. north korea will have to address its human rights record. north korea's choice is clear investment in its people and steps toward denuclearization can lead towards peace and prosperity and increased relationships with other countries including the united states. we have a deep concern over the human rights conditions in north korea and the well being of the north korean people. this reflects our commitment as americans to the rule of law to respect for individual rights and our support of these rights. we look to the time when north korea will move in a direction that will be positive in that regard. thank you very much for the opportunity to talk about north korea's humidity rights. [applause] > thank you very much, ambassador.
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by the way, she missed one element to introduce you. we've been working with your pred saysers -- predecessors and he is the first human rights ambassador so we're very happy to have you full time finally. >> i can tell you this is a full time job. >> that said, i'm going to ask dave or larry -- larry, please. >> one of the problems that we have had with regard to human rights issue in north korea is getting the north koreans to talk to anybody outside of north korea about this. i know ambassador king has had difficulties in meeting with
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the north koreans. he might want to amplify on that a little bit. back in 2003 and 2004, some of ou may remember that they made an initiative to get the north koreans to have a dialogue on uman rights. they made diplomatic efforts in sending officials to talk a his but it fell through. to get north koreans to agree to this kind of dialogue. now, one of the interesting things about the human rights ssue, i think perhaps we overlook is that north korea has what it describes as a human rights agenda towards south korea.
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they demand that south korea abrogate the national security law. that south korea stop blocking pro-north korean websites into south korea. that south korea stop prosecuting south korean citizens who "illegally" travel to north korea. and that south korea, the government lift restrictions on leftist labor unions in south korea. if you follow the north korean media there is a fairly constant raising of these demand on south korea. guess the question i have is, is there any possibility or perhaps should we give some consideration to try to take
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advantage of these north korean demands to put some pressure on them to negotiate on the elements of their systt ambassador king talked about? in terms of a north/south negotiation on all of these issues, both of what north korea is demanding on the south and the agenda that ambassador king has laid out, is this something perhaps we ought to consider in terms of counter proposal from south korea? saying, yes, we'll negotiate with you on these issues but here are things about your system, your treatment of your citizens that will have to be on the negotiating table as well.
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is there any consideration that we might sit down with our south korean allies and talk about in terms of taking this kind of initiative to try to perhaps put the north koreans in a little bit more of a difficult position with regard to the human rights issue? >> thank you, larry. >> one of the issues in terms of dealing with north korea for the united states is making sure that we deal with north korea in a way that is done in cooperation fully with south korea. these are two countries -- two people that are the same people, basically. they are divided by governments. the real question becomes what is the role of the united states?
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one of the things we have tried very hard to do is to make sure what we do on north korea is done in cooperation with south korea. we try to make sure they understand what we're trying to do and we want to make sure we understand what they are trying to do and make sure we cooperates in doing that. it is difficult for us to suggest that maybe allowing south korean citizens to go to north korea. they have sensitivities they have to deal with. we work with the south koreans and we talk about how they do what they do. it is difficult. it is, for example, american citizens can travel to north korea. we don't have restrictions in going. there are economic sanctions on what you can do and spend money on and take with you, that kind of thing.
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there is no limit on your ability to go to north korea. the south korean government has different issues, they are loser. we work with the south koreans and we try to cooperate with them. whatever we do we try to make sure we're working together and pushing in the same direction on these issues. we like to engage the north koreans in discussions on human rights issues. we have human rights discussion, ongoing dialogues with the chinese. we have significant differences ith the chinese. most of you here are too young to remember this but earlier china was in a different situation on its own human rights situation. while we still have problems with wherena is tomarkable progn made.
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if we can get north korea to move as far as china has moved, we would all be cheering. we're trying to move in those directions. part of the problem is our relationship with north korea has been strained in the last while and it is difficult to do that. i have had some discussions with north korea in engaging on uman rights. it was an earlier time when hings are more positive. we'll see where we continue to try to do that because we're trying to move forward with discussions with north korea. >> very informative discussion, mr. ambassador. what role does china play in he north korean human rights situation?
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do they determine it is more external in north korea's affairs? >> our relationship with china is an interesting relationship. n a lot of areas we have trong agreements in some areas we have disagreements. it is interesting to see where we are and how much progress e've made.
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on north korea, it's a complicated issue for china. e've got to do more than wag our fingers at them and we have o keep thinking and never be we don't want them to stay in china if they don't want to stay there. we would hope the chinese would work in terms of doing that. in the last, in 2011 there were probably somewhere around 2500 to 2800 north koreans who left north korea and went through china and were able to make it to south korea. last year that number was only 57%, just a little more than half of that number. and the number so far this year have been still lower.
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it's a concern for us because we feel that people who want to leaf their country to travel freely should be allowed to do so and we'd like to see that happen. it's an issue we have concerns about but it's an issue we discuss with the chinese in many areas. we are very cooperativ terms ofur relationship and our efforts with the chinese. i think china has many of the same objectives in terms of stability in northeast asia and we continue to work very losely with the chinese. >> i think your work is much overshadowed by north korean nuclear weapons. i can't prove this but i'd
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throw out there in the last 60 years that north korea is responsible for more keths rough their human rights violations than their current stock pile of nuclear weapons could ever cause. i say that with some sarcasm but we should realize and i'm appreciative of the work you're doing that we remember those 24 million people that are suffering up there at the hands of the kim family regime. i have a couple of points i want to make and then one hard question. i can't agree with you more about information flow and i agree that we're seeing much more information getting in there. the d.v.d.'s you mentioned. i've had conversations with diplomats about cell phones and interestingingly some diplomats have travelled and had internal cell phone coverage the entire
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way. that's encouraging because those are things that can be exemployeded. i can appreciate if you can't answer this but let me preface this i think we need a comp henive influence campaign, the voice of america, radio free europe. and i'm glad you mentioned about the eight hours a day in the prime listening time why we're note broadcasting 24 hours. i don't think people understand the assessment that you just provided there and i think that's important. one of the things we're not doing and we haven't done in some years is the use of south korean and military psychological operation capabilities. there has been a more toirm on that and i would say as part of a comprehensive program and we do nevering concert with south korea, i think that's very important. but for the military aspect to cribt to ip flunes operations
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in the north. and i think we should do that. and we haven't. so we need to take a holistic approach because information is the key. i'm optimistic because of some of the things that have been happening recently. we know southeast sung has been closed. those 50,000 workers are not being dispersed back into the population which that's an indication of how afraid the regime is of outside information. i think the continued reports 're getting on kenneth bea from the government as recently as today they were saying he was bringing in information and what i'm getting the sense is that the external information is having a difference and the regime is afraid of that. so i think we really need to reinforce that and use all of our capabilities civilian and
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military supporting south korea to be able to influence the north. my real question has to do with i'm glad you talked about the u.n. commission of inquiry. i don't think that is in the news enough. and i didn't realize march 1 was the time for their findings. my real question is what do you think the prospects are of being able to operationize those findings, being able to do something with the findings. i think we know what the findings will be. the reports continue to show a pattern of real tragedy and abuse. but will the u.n. be able to take those findings and be able to operation lies them somehow, some kind of plan to influence the north? that would be my specific
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question. i think it's dealing with the is a rights situation long term effort and the main thing we have to do is keep it up. and i think one thing the commission does is raises the level of attention on north korea and north korea's problems. the north koreans don't like being singled out. they don't like the u.n. security council voting on sanctions against them for their military activities. and i think the same thing is true in terms of the commission of inquiry. we continue to document, we continue to establish the facts. and there is a growing sense that north korea is out of step with the rest of the nations in the world. and i think this commission of inquiry is part of that
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process. the economist intelligence unit produces reports periodically. they did a report on freedom, what countries have the greatest amounts of freedom. who are the best countries in terms of human rights and so forth. so they went through a process of giving nume cal values to certain kinds of cite i can't and then ranking all of the nations of the earth as to how they stand on human rights. the united states was in the 20's. north korea were p there were 167 countries in the study and north korea was 167. now no matter what your country is, that's not a good place to be. and i think we need to continue that effort. we need to continue and as information into north korea increases, i think this information is going to have an affect on the leadership.
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in addition to you've mentioned some of the things i've talked specifically about radio and videos and this kind of thing getting in. one of the things that is also happening because of some economic improvements with china, there are increasing numbers of north koreans who travel to china. and you can't go to china, particular northeast china and see the vibrant chinese economy, the relative freedom particularly compared to what you see in north korea and not have an impact on the people who see that. and there are thousands of people who are going back and forth in china and doing it legally from north korea. so i think we continue. it is very hard in this day in age for any country including north korea to remain totally isolated from the rest of the world. you can't do it.
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we live in a global world and north korea is going to be dragged kicking and screaming into the'1"st century. we need to continue to work on that in terms of the human rights record. the first time i attend the icas meeting. it's been my mistake despite of numb russ invitation i have not come. in my college years the rest of my life has been meant on making a living and family. now i want to pay more attention. the ambassador king said that
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the survey north korea ranked 167. i would disagree. 65 out of 167 countries. how can such a country exist in this day in age? it's more surprising to someone like me. i was born in north korea. my parents are not originally from north korea but my father during japanese times had business there and during business two of us were born there. i moved south when i was four years old. you recommended a greater human intelligence effort in north korea. and he expressed a hope that like all theer
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systems north korea will one day face similar fate. ambassador king said it must be opened up. there are hopeful signs. do i, i have such hopes deep inside. but many things indicate north orea is not like any other country. north korea -- country like north korea never existed in the history of man kind. washington post a few weeks ago talked about how getting human intelligence or any intelligence in north korea comparing that to iran, iran is like an open book. during the worst days of china we had human intelligence. our people, c.i.a. and others were able to walk through and
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gather information and talk to people. no stranger can walk through anywhere in north korea. i have met people running a special university kim young ill permitted to exist. it selects very spell gent people in the day educated in science and technology politics outside of it and they came and talked to us. and we asked him questions and the only thing he could talk about is few people they meet in that compound and the few people they met outside of the compound they didn't have stories to tell outside of pung young at all. they cannot talk about north korea in general. that's the situation. now the people of east asia, asia often criticize western medicine because they observe
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symptoms and they try to cure it. u have a headache, they take aspirin and we get rid of the symptoms and the fundamental cause that caused the headache still remains. i think we might be doing the same thing here. we are gathering information and we are trying to do something about their symptom but what is the real cause? why is it not happening in rth korea what happened to romain i can't or egypt or libya, sa dam hussein in iraq? what is so unique in north korea. people compare the human rights situation in china wasn't that much different. chinese never had it so bad. north koreans there is a city pung yungk.est of
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one is a capital. it used to be called in japanese times na poll. many of us grew up believing that was the name of the city. gin means pressure. the control police officers of japan would be stationed there and they would be found dead next morning. it was very difficult for japanese military to control this city so they said change the name of the city. that's how north koreans speak. tually most of the rebellion started in the north. the people who are so silent today against this unspeakable
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system were one of the most vockle and most rebellious in history. what is the secret? i'm a soseolings. if you want to know one person can write a book, a person can shout in the wilderness but if you want to make any difference in the real world you have to talk to somebody. you have to talk to somebody about why should we live like this? life can be better. we cannot just -- you haven't seen rice. this sin tolerable this. is 21st century. somebody should be able to say that to somebody in north korea about this. you cannot do that in north korea. can you imagine that? i talked to korean when the military wage in 1960.
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i said in order to to do that he had to meet some of his people in a restaurant and talk about how to wage it. e had the money to buy chinese noodle. nobody in north korea has money to do that. nobody has noun entertain five people at a dinner table and talk. five people cannot talk for ten minutes without somebody else knowing it. what would the human rights experts in united states do about conditions like that? we gather more information? i don't know. it's just unspeakable. >> north korea is a tough place. and part of the difficulty is the reprogressiveness of the egime.
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there is not an ong song in north korea because the government is so successful in keeping people repressed. one of the problems is simply the number. the number of people in political prison innocence north korea is so high that that's one way they do it. there are just a lot more people in prison. the other concern is that virtually everybody in north korea knows someone who has been dragged off in the middle of the night and disappeared which and when you see that happen, it makes you extremely -- why did they get dragged away? nobody knows the real reason they were taken but you are very careful about not doing anything that could have that happen to you. a regime that is so reprogressive is successful this terms of keeping decent down.
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this is again why we need to have more information. because as people learn about what conditions are like elsewhere, what they are really like in south korea or the unite or china, it makes a difference in terms of what people are willing to put up with. there are indications of problems, the attempted currency reform in december 2009. there were certain things the population would not accept and the government had to back down. this is something that may happen over time and the north koreans are particularly good at repression. >> thank you. first of all all three gentlemen today had dwreat presentations. it's refreshing to know some people in washington, d.c. understand what is going on in asia. sometimes the politicians don't follow our leads. >> they do what we say.
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>> i wish that was the case. i'd like to talk about human rights. i think it's important for north korea. we have to talk about the regime. we talk about how they are able to do the human rights violations. in north korea with the structural violence they have n order to maintain the regime they have more violence. in order to could wanter that, the information flow helps but you can't get social mobilization of the people unless we are able to provide not only hope to the north korean people but also relieve them of that deprivation that is going on. i think it was back during the reagan administration, he said we wouldn't use food aid as a sanction in that matter yet we do so when it comes to north korea. when you tie things so closely
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together like that, although we know most of the food aid goes to other places and not the north korean people, we know some does trickle down to the people. we don't provide the ability to raise up that deprivation for them to meet in a restaurant or to meet and discuss the movies and how we want to make changes in the future. so having said that, elongated the statement, how do we in addition to the information flow which is necessary and to the need to maybe get some food in there, how about other soft tools of foreign policy such as we did with the former soviet yupe i don't know the exchanges of full bright at the height of the cold war that some said there is a great effect on the soviet union at the. we did those things with them with china. we don't do that with small
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regimes that we don't have the ability to do. what would you recommend to start using some of the other tools we have in our hat of foreign policy? >> i think it's extremely important that we engage the north koreans. and we have tried to and there are a number of american n.g.o.'s that are involved in north korea. we have tried to encourage them. we've tried to help them provide assistance in terms of engaging the north koreans. it's probably more helpful if we aren't too close. but there are a number of american n.g.o.'s that are heavily involved in north korea. we think it's helpful and encouraging. there are a number of programs that have attempted to be involved in education al
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exchanges. there is a lack of money and we probably should come up with money to do it. it may be useful for you to talk to congressmen and say it is worthwhile to put money into exchange programs which a number of universities have done exchange programs where they brought people over to look at economy, rule of law issues, how do you deal with foreign trade issues. there are some that have done it with ago gri culture. these are all things we try to encourage because there is value in ep gauging the north koreans. it's difficult because there is not a lot of money available to do it. you mentioned the humanitarian assistance. we have been the country who has provided more food assistance to north korea than any other country.
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as the familiar anyone was going the united states was the major contributor. $900 ontributed $800 or million to north korea in food assistance. it is still the policy of the united states we do not provide food on the basis of political consideration. in addition to looking at how we provide food aid, there are three principles that affect what we're able to do in terms of providing food assistance. this applies to north korea and other countries as well. first of all, assist thans we provide, humanitarian aid has to be based on need. we have to go in and astess need, what is needed, how much and that is the first consideration. second consideration is that we have to look at assist tons a particular country in the
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overall global need demand for resources that we can provide. right now there are problems in aftercarks fairly serious problems in africa, there are problems in certain countries of the middle east where economies are having difficult adjusting to changes in libya and so forth and a lot of these countries are in need of our assistance as well. we have to look at the demand for what resources we v. the third thing is we have to have assurance that the food, the assistance we provide reaches those who are most in need. this means we have to be able to monitor and carry out the monitoring. we have been able to do that in the past in north korea to some extent. it's not an easy place to monitor because it a difficult place to get around, roads are terrible and it's difficult in terms of getting things from one part of the country to another.
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i think that's probably not an issue. i think the issue is one of do we have assurances that there is a need, are we able to determine that and what is the competition for resources. one thing -- i spent a year negotiating whether we could monitor the aid and came to the conclusion we probably could, the issue was with the north koreans observe the agreements we reached. in april and march of 2012, as we were looking at whether we would provide assistance to north koreans, they basically reached an agreement with us, an understanding was on nuclear issues and then within two weeks announced they were going to violate it. we're sitting there looking at providing 240,000 tons of food. we've got people in africa and
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other places who are in need of food and we say can we trust the north koreans to keep the agreement if we enter into it and we came to the conclusion we couldn't. we had agreed to provide 500,000 tons of food assist tons north korea in the fall of 2008, right at the end of the bush administration. we began the process of distributing that food, had distributed 170,000 tons of food. there was another 330,000 tons of food online to be distributed. and the north koreans in march of 2009 said get out to all of the aid providers, the mercy corp, the world vision, the people who were there monitoring the distribution of aid and so forth. and that was the end of it. the north koreans are difficult to deal with.
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in many cases they are their own worst enemy. there is a need need for humanitarian assistance, it's tough to provide it under circumstances like that. but very good comments. i agree with you. > i was the first ever defense atty sha in albania which was the only other country that had similar isolation to north korea. north korea is still going. in albania they finally gave it up in the early 1990's. but at the end of world war ii we tried to send people in there to try and help overthrow the communist deck date or the ship there. we gave up because all the people we sent in got policed up and killed. and we said they are too good in their internal security we
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can't affect this one so we stopped trying. the reason they were all getting policed up is that the british head of half of the operation, it was a u.s. british operation was a guy who was a communist spy in the british system. for 50 years we let those people live like that and if perhaps if we had kept going we could have made a change but we stopped. when i got in there in 1993 i can't tell you how many people asked you why did you do this to us? why did you leave us under that government for so long? why didn't you do something to help us? you knew what was going on here. i didn't have a good answer for them. now the ambassador and the folks like him, they are doing the best they can in the system we have. of the an't not try all
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elements of influence and power. i don't mean to sound ellcose and i'm not advocating we invide north korea. but we've got to do more than wag our fingers at them. and we have to keep thinking and never be satisfied with the result until the result is that all those people are free or at least moving in that direction and their not right now. they are all captives. >> thank you, steve. in the interest of time, why don't we do this. grace, george and dave, make a quick question. ok? grace? >> my question has to do with the u.n. mechanism or commission of inquiry. there's little doubt on what its findings will be and if it recommends that the security
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council refer the dprk situation to the international criminal court, will the united states support that or at least not veto and if not, why not? >> thank you, grace. george, your question? >> just one thing i disagreed with, tae kwon do is korean. i agree, we have to have a strong position to protect our allies and our interests and to have a better way to negotiate but engagement -- i have been engage with this north koreans since 1998, i have been giving american chocolate and candy, the marshmallow pies, hard to come by, i think if i get them, i love them, so i don't know, i'll have to bring them there next time. we've even this them in new york on top of the empire state building, the staten island fairy and new york pizza. i was with them in central
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europe touring with the team. when my mom died, i got emails from my north korean friends praying for the repose of my mother's soul. engagement, we need to do this. it's not a question, if the comment is a request. in order for us to engage, we need to depoliticize the process and have someone assigned to walk us through these things because everybody has said engagement and historically the record is lear, even ambassador bosworth and christopher hill, we can't do this. i didn't want to ask for money but money makes it a lot easier. thank you. >> dave?
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>> i'd just like to make one comment and i fully support all of ambassador king's work but with the comments up there, the elephant in the room is nothing will change as long as the kim family regime exists. that's it. and the comments, george's comments and steve's, there is growing resistance potential in the north and it takes engagement, it takes contact. the best change will come from within and everything we can do to facilitate that but kim il sung developed the most sophisticated control system in the world and that's what is repressing it and the kim family regime, as long as it exists, is still going to repress its people, it's going to develop its nuclear weapons, it's going to be a threat to south korea, to the region, and really, to the international community. so until the regime goes away,
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we're not going to see any change but there is growing potential for change from within and we've got to support that. >> quickly. ove fast, yes. >> we hear terms like political, diplomatic and so forth. i think if we look at the behavior of the regime, we must deal with them politically and diplomatically in terms of international systems but i think the behavior can be ermed as a regime or a nation, it is a sociopathological nation headed by psychopathological heads of tate and i think it's very ifficult to deal with that but
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if it were a family rather than nation, we would be using those terms and i think we're being very politically correct in using the term "human rights violations." i think that's a gross understatement. >> thank you. now, that said, your turn to take all these questions and comments. >> first of all, grace's comment on referral of the findings of the commission of nquiry to the security council and possibly the international criminal court, that's obviously one option. that's one thing, one of the past officials suggested, professor winterbourn ecommended it be referred to
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he security council. the politics of the security council goes well beyond my capabilities. dealing with the chinese and the russians, as well as the other members of the security council, make it very difficult. if it's referred, it's certainly something that we will look at. it's difficult because i'm not sure the chinese are going to want to do something like that and the chinese have a veto power. it is remarkable, however, that the security council in esolution 2094 after the north oreans tested their last nuclear weapon, the chinese agreed to very tough language in that resolution and there are indications in the press at least that the chinese are moving in the direction to enforce those sanctions that were agreed upon in that esolution. i would be surprised, but, you know, hard to tell.
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i can be surprised at a lot of things these days. with regard to tae kwon do, your efforts are noble and we went through all sorts of ontortions getting visas for the group to come to the united states. i saw it as very positive and we have been able to give visas to a lot of groups like that that come to the united keep up your work. it's a good thing. as far as them seeing the united states -- >> we will leave this segment and go live now to the house where members are dabbling in for a brief pro forma session. a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c., may 13, 2013. i hereby appoint the honorable frank r. wolf to act as speaker pro tempore on this day.
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signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. kevin chappell let's us pray. -- chaplain conroy: let us pray. you look upon our world, men and women being born and being laid to rest, some getting married and others getting divorced. the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the happy and the sad. so many people aimless, despairing, hateful and killing , so many undernourished, sick and dying, so many struggling with life and blind to any meaning. send us your spirit, that the issues of our day might be met with compassion by the members of this house and all who serve
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to improve the conditions of our shared humanity. may all that is done this day be for your greater honor and glory, amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last adeas -- the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. the chair will lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the chair lays before the house a communication. the chair: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause -h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message
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from the secretary of the senate on may 13, 2013, at 10:34 a.m. that the senate passed without amendments h.r. 360, appointments commissioned to eliminate child abuse and neglect fatalities. signed, sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the house stands adjourned until noon on use it, may 14, work on the water and infrastructure bill, authorizing
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sewage and waterway improvement projects. later in the week, a vote on president obama's pick to head the center for medicare and medicaid service. live coverage of the house when .hey gaveled back in on the senate side of the capitol today, president about willesident obama's pick testify before the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee. if confirmed, he would serve with sylvia burwell, who was recently confirmed by the senate as the white house budget director. we will have that hearing live at 3:00 eastern here on c-span. of reaction today on recent allegations that the irs had been targeting conservative political groups come of with senator marco rubio. he has written a letter to the treasury secretary that says --
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also this from senate finance committee chair, max baucus -- the president also reacting to the allegations today during a press conference he held with rich prime minister david cameron. he called it outrageous and said anyone responsible should be held accountable. the president also addressed the september 11, 2012 and ghazi attacks, saying the syrian war and the transit lannett trade and investment partnership should be continuing. the two leaders met to discuss the alliance between the u.s. and the uk here is that conference from earlier today.
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, can we please have a seat? i hope you had a wonderful mother's day. it's always a great pleasure to welcome my friend and partner, prime minister david cameron. michelle and i have wonderful memories of from when he visited us last year. there was a lot of attention about how i took david to march madness and a year later, we have to confess david still does not understand basketball and i still don't understand cricket. , the greatbefore alliance between the united states and the united kingdom is rooted in shared interest and shared values. it is indispensable to global security and prosperity. , itas we have seen recently is also a partnership of the heart. in the united states, we joined our british friends and mourning the passing of fairness our grid thatcher, great champion of freedom and liberty and the alliance that we carry on today.
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and after the palming some boston, we were grateful for the support from friends around the world, particularly those across the atlantic. at the london marathon, runners paused in a moment of silence and dedicated the race to austin. david will be visiting boston to pay tribute to victims and first responders. i want to thank you for reminding us in good times and bad, are two people stand as one. david is your first and foremost as he prepares to host the g8 next month. the agendate you on as it takes shape and we talked about how the summit is an opportunity to sustain the global economic recovery with a focus on growth and creating jobs for our people. michelle and i are looking forward to visiting northern ireland and i know the summit will be a great success under david kospi leadership. we discussed the importance of moving ahead with the eu on
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discussions with the transatlantic trade and investment partnership. our extensive trade with the uk is central to our broader transatlantic economic order shipped which supports more than 13 million jobs. i would like to thank david for his support in building on those ties. i believe we have a real opportunity to cut tariffs, open markets, create jobs and make all of our economies even more competitive. with regard to global security, we reviewed progress in afghanistan where troops continue to serve with extraordinary courage alongside each other. i want to commend david for his efforts to encourage dialogue between afghanistan and pakistan, which is critical to regional security. afghan forces will take lead in the the security forces this spring. will move intos
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a support role and our troops will continue to come home and the war will and by the end of next year as we work with our afghan partners to make sure afghanistan is never again a s who woulderrorist attack our nation. i am dated david on secretary john kerry's movement on negotiations and we reformed -- we reaffirm our support on working in north africa, including economic reforms that have to go with political reforms. we discussed syria and the appalling violence being inflicted on the syrian people. together, we will continue our efforts to increase pressure on the assad regime to provide humanitarian aid to the long suffering syrian people and strength in the moderate opposition and prepare for a without bashara al-assad.
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that includes bringing together representatives of the regime and the opposition in geneva to agree on a transitional body that would allow for the transfer of power from assad to this governing body. meanwhile, we will continue to work to establish the facts about the use of chemical weapons in syria. theiscussed iran and failure of tehran to hold up to its nuclear obligations. the burden is on iran to engage with us and our partners in order to resolve the world's concerns its nuclear program. finally, we are reaffirming our commitment to global development, specifically we are encouraged by the ambitious reforms on the way for the global fund to fight aids, tuberculosis, and malaria. david has made it clear that the summit will be another opportunity to make progress on
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food security. thank you very much for your leadership and partnership as we prepare for our will work in -- as we prepare for our work in northern ireland. it is clear we face a demanding agenda, but if the history of our people show anything, it is one of persevere, as those london runners said at the marathon, we will keep on running and keep on doing this. that is the spirit of confidence and resolve we will continue to draw upon as we work together to meet these challenges. thank you very much and welcome great >> thank you for the warm welcome. it is great to be back with you here in the white house. thank you for all you said about margaret thatcher. welcome soisure to many americans to her remarkable funeral in the uk. i echo what you said about the appalling outrage in boston and i look forward to going to pay my tribute to the people of that remarkable city and wll alwaysthank you for the remarkst
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cricket and basketball. i have not made much progress. i made some progress on baseball, so maybe next time we will work on that one. it is good to be back for the first time since the american people return due to office, and as you say, the relationship between britain and the united states is a partnership without parallel. thein, day out, around world, diplomats and intelligence agencies work together, our soldiers serve together, and our businesses trade with each other. our armed forces are defending the stability that will make us all safer and in the global economic race, our businesses are doing more than $17 billion of trade across the atlantic every month of every year. in a changing world, our nations share a resolve to stand up to democracy, enterprise and have discussed many issues today.
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let me highlight three. the economy, the g8, and syria. our greatest challenges to secure a sustainable economic recovery. each of us has to find the right solutions at home. for all of us, it means dealing with that come restoring stability, getting the economy going, and seizing new opportunities to grow our economies. president obama and i have championed a free trade deal between the european union and the united states. there is a real chance to get the process launched in time for the g8. the next five weeks are crucial, to realize the benefits this will bring will take ambition and political will. that means everything on the table, even the difficult issues, and no exceptions. for britain alone, an ambitious deal could be worth up to 10 billion pounds a year, boosting industries from car manufacturing to financial services. we discussed the g8 summit in some detail. when we meet on the shores in northern ireland five weeks
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from today, i want us to agree ambitious action for economic growth. opened rate is at the heart of this, but we have a broader agenda -- open trade is at the heart of this, but we have a broader agenda. i am an unashamedly pro- business politician. as we open our economies to get business growing, we need to make sure all companies a their taxes copper lake and enable citizens to hold their government and businesses to account. today, we agreed to tackle the scourge of tax evasion. we need to know who owns a company, whether taxes are paid, and we need a new mechanism to track where multinationals make their money and pay their taxes so we can stop those that are manipulating the system unfairly. finally, we discussed the brutal conflict in syria trade 80,000 dead, 5 million people forced from their homes, syria's history is being written in the blood of her people.
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it is happening on our watch. the world urgently needs to come together to bring the killing to an end. none of us have any interest in seeing more lives lost, in seeing chemical weapons used, or extremist violence running even further. we welcome president putin's agreement to achieve a political solution. the challenges remain formidable, but we have an urgent window of opportunity before our worst fears are realized. there is no more urgent international task than this. we need to get syrians to the table to agree on a transitional government back can when the consent of all the syrian people. but there will be no political progress unless the opposition is able to withstand the onslaught and put pressure on assad so that he knows there is no military victory. we will increase our efforts to support and shape the moderate opposition. britain is pushing for more flexibility in the arms embargo and we will double support to the syrian opposition in the
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coming year. armored vehicles, body armor, and our generation is ready to be shipped. we are hoping local councils govern the area they liberate and we are supporting jordan to deal with the influx of refugees. we will also do more to help those in humanitarian need, helping torture victims to recover, getting syrian emily's clean drinking water and access to food -- getting syrian families clean drinking water and access to food. whatever our differences, we have the same thing -- a stable, inclusive, peaceful syria free from the scourge of extremism. there is real political will behind this. we now need to get on and do everything we can. thank you once again for your warm welcome and our talks today. >> we have time for a couple of questions. we will start with julie pace. >> thank you, mr. president. i want to ask about the irs and benghazi.
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when did you first learn the irs was targeting conservative clinical groups? do you feel the irs has betrayed the public's trust? what do you think the repercussions for these actions should be? on benghazi, newly public e- mails show the white house and state department appeared to be more closely involved with crafting of the talking points and first acknowledged. do you think the white house misled the public on shaping the talking points and do you stand by your assertion that the talking points were not purposely changed to downplay the prospect of terrorism? prime minister cameron, on syria, if the eu arms embargo and -- embargo is amended, are you encouraging president to take the same steps? >> let me take the irs situation first. i first learned about it from the same news reports i think most people learned about this. i think it was on friday.
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this is pretty straightforward. , irs personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on, and were --ensively targeting intentionally targeting conservative groups, that is outrageous and there is no place for it. a have to be held fully accountable because the irs as an independent agency requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence they are applying it in a nonpartisan way. you should feel that way regardless of party. i don't care whether you are democrat, independent or republican, at some point there are going to be republican administrations and at some point there will be democratic once. either way, you don't want the irs being perceived to be
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biased and anything less than neutral in terms of how they operate. people something i think are properly concerned about. the ig is conducting its investigation and i'm not going to comment on their specific findings immaturely. but i can tell you that if you've got the irs operating in annie's single -- in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then it is outrageous and contrary to our traditions grade people have to be held accountable and that has got to be fixed. we will wait and see exactly what all the details and facts are, but i have no patience with it, i will not tolerate it, and we will make sure we find out exactly what happened. weh respect to benghazi,
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have now seen this argument that ,as been made by some folks primarily up on capitol hill, for months now. got to say here is what we know -- americans died in benghazi. what we also know is clearly they were not in a position where they were adequately protected. , i day after it happened acknowledged this was an act of terrorism. what i pledged to the american people was that we would find out what happened, we would make sure it did not happen again, and we would make sure we held accountable those who perpetrated this terrible crime. that is exactly what we have been trying to do.
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over the last several months, there was a review board headed by two distinguished americans, mike mullen and tom pickering who investigated every element of this. what they discovered was some pretty harsh judgments in terms of how we had worked to protect consulatndun the world. they gave us a whole series of recommendations and those recommendations are being implemented as we speak. the whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow. what we have been very clear about throughout is immediately after this event happened, we were not clear who exactly carried it out, how it had occurred, what the motivations were. it happened at the same time as we had seen attacks on u.s.
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embassies in cairo as a consequence of this film. exactly whattood was taking place during the course of the first few days. the e-mails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. they reviewed them several months ago. ,hey concluded that in fact there was nothing a file in terms of the process we had used. -- nothing a foul in terms of the process we had used. then this gets spun up as if there is something new to the story. there is no there there. keep in mind, by the way, these so-called talking points that were prepared for susan rice five or six days after the event occurred, much matched the
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assessments i was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing. to threein mind to days after susan rice appeared on the sunday shows using these talking points which have in the source of all this controversy, i sent up the head of our national counterterrorism center up to capitol hill and specifically said it was an act of terrorism and that extremist elements inside libya had been involved in it. if this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down, that would be a pretty odd thing that three days later, we end up putting out all the information that has served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this
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was a terrorist attack and it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside libya. who execute some sort of cover- up or effort to tamp things down for three days? the whole thing defies logic and the fact that this keeps on getting turned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations. we have had folks who have challenged hillary clinton integrity, susan rice's integrity, mike mullen and tom pickering's integrity, and it's a given that my integrity gets challenged. they have used it for ifdraising and frankly, anybody out there wants to actually focus on how we make sure something like this does not happen again, i'm happy to
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get their advice and information and counsel. ,t the fact of the matter is these four americans, the people i sent into the field, i have been very clear about taking responsibility that we were not able to revenge their deaths and we are doing everything we can to prevent it in part because there are still diplomats around the world who are in very dangerous, difficult situations. we don't have time to meet laying these kinds of political games in washington. we should be focused on what we doing to protect them? that is not easy, by the way. resources,to require tough judgments, and tough calls. there are a bunch of diplomats who know they are in harms way and there are threats that come through every so often with our embassies and consulates. that's not just us, by the way. the british had to deal with the same thing and we have a bunch
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of people in the state department who say i'm willing to step up, i'm willing to put myself in harms way because i think this mission is important in terms of serving the united states and advancing our interest around the globe. we dishonor them, we turned wengs like this when -- dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political surface -- political circus. we are trying to hunt down the folks who carry this out and fix the system so it doesn't happen again. >> on the issue of the opposition in syria, we have not made the decision to arm opposition groups in syria. amend theve done is eu arms embargo in order that we can give technical assistance and technical advice.
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as i said in my statement, that's exactly what we are doing. we are continuing to examine and look at the arms embargo to see if we need to make further changes to facilitate our work with the opposition. i do believe there is more we can do in order to work with them. the- to those who doubt approach, if we don't help the syrian opposition, we recognize as being legitimate and signed up for a statement about the future of serious that is democratic and respects the right of minorities, if we don't work with that part of the opposition, we should not be surprised that the extremist elements grow. being engaged is the right approach, and it's an approach i share with the president and other colleagues in the european union area -- in the european union. prime minister you are talking today about a new eu --
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u.s. trade deal. you are now talking about leaving the european trade union. if there were a referendum tomorrow, how would you vote? earlier this year, you told david cameron you want a strong uk and a strong eu. how concerned are you that members of david cameron's cabinet are openly contemplating withdrawal? in syria, what gives you any confidence the russians are going to help you on this? >> on the issue of the referendum, there is not going to be a referendum tomorrow and there's a good reason why there's not to be a referendum tomorrow. it would give the british public a false choice between the status quo, which i don't think is acceptable. i want to see the european union change and see britain's relation with the european union change. it's a false choice between the
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status quo and leaving. i don't think that's a choice the british public wants or deserves. everything i do in this area is guided by a very simple principle, which is what is in the national interest of written? is it in the national interest of britain to have a transatlantic trade deal that will have our nations be more prosperous and get our nation to work? yes, it is, so we will push for that deal. make in our interest to it more open, competitive and flexible and to improve written's lays in the european union -- britain's clays in the european union. europe has to change because the single currency is driving change for that part of the european union that is in the single currency, and just as they want changes, i believe written is entitled to ask for and get changes in response. finally, is in britain's national interest, once we have achieved those changes to
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consult the british public and a proper referendum? i believe it is. that is the approach we take, everything driven by what is in the british national interest. going tohat i'm deliver. it's absolutely right for our country and has strong support throughout the country and in the conservative party. that is exactly what i'm going to do. on the syrian issue, you asked what are the signs of russian engagement? i had very good talks with president putin on friday area we had a very frank on rotation in that we have approached this and to some extent do approach this in a very different way. i have been very vocal in supporting the syrian opposition, saying assad has to he's not legitimate, and i continue to say that. president putin has taken a different point of view. but a common
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interest is that it's in both of our interests that at the end of this, there's a stable, democratic syria and a stable neighborhood and we do not encourage the growth of violent i think the russian president, the american president and myself can see the current trajectory of how things are going and it's not in anyone's interest. wes major diplomatic area are -- diplomatic effort we are trying to bring transition at the top so we can make the change that country needs. to the respect relationship between the uk and european union, we have a special relationship with the united kingdom. we believe our capacity to partner with a united kingdom that is act of, robust, outward
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looking -- that is active, robust, outward looking, and engage in the world is in our own interests as well as the world. i think the uk's participation in the eu is an expression of its role in the world as well as a very important economic partnership. ultimately, the people of the uk have to make decisions for themselves. i will say this -- david a six point that -- david's basic point is that if you can fix what is broken and an important relationship before you break it off. that makes some sense to me. i know david has been very active in seeking some reforms internal to the eu.
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those are tough negotiations. there are a lot of countries involved in direct ties that. but so long as we have not yet evaluated how successful those reforms will be, i would be interested in seeing whether or not those are successful. again, i want to emphasize these are issues for the people of the united kingdom to make a decision about, not hours. -- not hours. with respect to syria, david said it very well. if you look objectively, the entire world community has an thatest in seeing a syria is not engaged in sectarian war, in which the syrian people are not being slaughtered, that is
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an island of peace as opposed to potentially an outpost for extremists. that's not just true for the united states. it's not just true for great britain or countries like jordan and turkey that border syria, but it's also true for russia. i am pleased to hear david had a very constructive conversation with president clinton --ut shortly after the summer station that took place between john kerry and president putin. our basic argument is leader on the world stage, russia has an interest as well as an obligation to try to resolve this issue in a way that can lead to the kind of outcome
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we would all like to see over the long term. i don't think it's any secret that there remains lingering suspicions between russia and other members of the g-8 or the west. it has been several decades now since russia transformed itself and the eastern bloc transformed itself. some of those suspicions still exist and part of what my goal has been and john kerry's goal has been is to try to break down some of those suspicions and look objectively at the situation. fact we can broker a peaceful political transition that leads to assad's departure, but a state in syria that is , that accommodates
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the interests of all the ethnic groups and religious groups inside of syria and end the bloodshed and stabilizes the situation, that's not just good for us, that's good for everybody. we will be very persistent in trying to make that happen. i'm not promising it's going to be successful. once the furies have been unleashed in a situation like we are seeing in syria, it is very hard to put things back together. there are going to be enormous challenges in getting a credible process going, even if russia is involved because we still have countries like iran and nonstate actors like hezbollah that have been actively involved. on the other side, we have
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organizations that are essentially affiliated to al qaeda that have another agenda beyond just getting rid of assad. it all makes for a combustible mix and will be challenging, but it is worth the effort and what we aretell you is always more successful in any global effort when we have a strong friend and harder like great britain by our side and strong leadership by prime minister david cameron. thank you very much, everybody. >> if you missed any of the president news conference, you can see it in its entirely tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span.
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video from just a short time ago at the white house. the president leaving for new york city where he will be speaking at two private socratic functions before a third event at the waldorf astoria hotel for the democratic campaign committee and democratic senatorial campaign committee. he will be flying back to --hington tonight very flying back to washington tonight. also coming up tonight, our first ladies series continues when we explore the life of the wife of rutherford b hayes. she banned liquor at the white house during her husband's administration. you can watch live tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span and c-
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span three. still to come this afternoon, president obama's pick for the number two spot in the white house budget office will testify before the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee. he is part of the president's economic team and will serve with sylvia burwell who was confirmed last month as the budget director. we will have that live, starting about 20 minutes from now here on c-span. right now, called and headlines from this morning's "washington journal." >> republican members of congress said yesterday. they called for an investigation
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of the agency. right awayan collins was on cnn. let's take a listen to what she had to say. >> this is truly outrageous and contributes to the profound distrust the american people have in government. it is absolutely chilling that the irs was singling out conservative groups for extra review. i think it is very disappointing hasn'te president personally condemned this and spoken out. his spokesman said it should be investigated, but the president needs to make crystal clear that this is totally unacceptable in america. senator susan collins, republican from maine, talking
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about the irs. says it is part of some -- fodder for artisan warfare. -- partisan warfare. we also see this headline on the front page of other newspapers.
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inside the "washington post", we see a timeline provided. the findings, a timeline, back in 2010, the irs tax-exempt vision began
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targeting applicants with names containing "tea party." if you would like to join this conversation, here are the numbers -- our first caller this morning is joe from georgia. caller: i find this really upsetting. i'm a member of the tea party and i worked hard for congressmen like collins who are all great taxpayer champions. the tea party has been behind
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him and we have a guy who will be running for governor and he's going to have a lot of tea party support. upsets me and i think it ought to be a big investigation because they are targeting conservative groups and as a member of the tea party, it bothers me that i can go out to work hard to elect candidates and then to know we are going to come under this kind of unfair scrutiny. you don't see that happening on the left. why do you think the irs is picking on conservative groups and not the liberal groups? that is very concerning to me and i know a lot of my friends in the tea party -- i tell you what this is going to do. they are so upset that we are going to work hard to win and you will see huge republican wins because this has made the tea party members matt maher fired up and i look for huge republican wins, including taking over the senate because of doing things like this. it is going to be a great thing
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for the tea party but it needs to be investigated. host: we have heard this over the last apple of days -- she says reject the last couple of days she says it was not motivated by political bias. what do you make of that? there needs to be more done than that. some people should lose their jobs over this. we need to find out who triggered this, and i don't know this, but it could be it is at higher levels -- it could be the administration of a just after conservative groups, because i know they are scared that 2014 be huge wins for republicans. this is very scary and needs to be investigated, i think at the highest levels. it is very scary but it has fired me up during i'm going to work hard to elect more
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conservatives because of this. what they have done is energize -- tea party.area i worked for the irs for years and the irs is always investigated tax-exempt organizations. when you apply for a tax-exempt organization, especially a 501(c)(3) or 501(c) four, you fill out a form called a 1023, a very extensive form that requires a lot of information. it takes time to review those and they are reviewed early and -- notutinized area scrutinized. all of theseew applications, not just the ones for the tea party or the one for
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patriots or anything that has an on tv right now. they are reviewed thoroughly because they are very important. is what of our country the internal revenue service does provide in taxes and collections and exams. all of these tax-exempt organizations are thoroughly reviewed because keep in mind come and they are not paying taxes. >> what do you make of this headline? it gives the gop an issue to seize on. let me show you a couple of other headlines area we see one from the wall street journal -- album sound with the irs scrutiny of conservatives. news stories are detailing the specific targeting of words groups with particular
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words. >> it is all political. presidentt like miami flat out. >> florida, independent color, what do you think? was it not a tea party member who flew his plane into an irs too long ago? of course they need extra scrutiny. anyone who behaves like that should be observed and observed thoroughly. that's my opinion. the irs has artie apologized. they want an apology from -- the irs has already apologized.
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the next call is from republican, jerry. the thing about this whole case is if you read the this started in 2010. this is not something that just started now. they have been investigating since the tea party came into fruition and they have been doing this just to the tea party and any other group that has anything on the right. no liberal group, nothing, just everybody in the tea party. read the articles and you can find more about it. bob bernstein was talking about this. is some big stuff coming out of this. that's all i have to say. we should this timeline
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briefly from the "washington post." concerns raised about the criteria for identifying groups for special scrutiny. a call from utah on the democrat line. i'm thinking it's not wrong to go ahead and audit the other
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side of groups that are not being lobbied right now and they should sit down and shut up. why should they be left alone? that's my question. lois, republican caller. want to say that this is horrible, the irs targeting the conservative groups. and it almostan makes me want to change my affiliation because what are they going to do to the republicans? .'m a little nervous, i'm sorry but this president, it's like he only represents half this country and could care less about the rest of us.
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do you want to see happen now? we did see the press secretary comment on this on friday. what do you want to hear from the white house? caller: i want to hear the president come out and talk about this. he has jay carney come out and do his dirty work. he needs to come out and tell the american people. it's just like this benghazi situation. he disappears. he took down osama bin laden and we had minute to minute coverage on that. but benghazi, we had none. the irs, he has disappeared again. -- he justidiculous hides. host: let's hear from don in lynnview, illinois. caller: i read several articles
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about this and i think it is important to mention that the head of the irs at the time of the election in 2012 was a bush appointee still. the reason that is important is that you hear the same people who are criticizing this, at the same time, they are saying these were decided in cincinnati, that was ridiculous. this goes all the way to the top. at the same time, the guy in charge of the irs is a bush appointee. they can't have it both ways and they need to understand it was either done in cincinnati or it goes all the way to the top, it was done by somebody appointed by president bush. we saw some news from the associated press this morning, republicans said yesterday that the irs has heightened scrutiny groups waservative
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chilling and eroded trust in government. lawmakers said president obama should personally apologize trading tea party organizations and challenge the tax agencies blaming low-level workers. as we scroll down into the story, the irs said it was sorry for what it called inappropriate targeting of conservative groups. according to a draft of a watchdog report obtained by the associated press seemingly contradicts public statements by the irs commissioner. irs agents knew they were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011. the inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly year-long investigation this week. we heard this talked about yesterday by congressman darrell issa. he appeared on "meet the press." let's take a listen. forhey targeted and service tax-exempt status, but they used
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keywords to go after conservatives. this is something you have to institute changes to make sure it doesn't happen again. that has to be accountability for the people who did it and quite frankly, up until the few days ago, there has to be accountability for the people telling lies about it being done. lastly, to be honest, one of the most offensive part is i committee, jim jordan and i instituted this investigation, got the ig to do the investigation, the for the report comes to the public or congress as required by law, it is leaked by the irs to spin the output. this is not an honest mea culpa. the honest one is let's see the report, let's go through it, and like the ambassador said on the 29 changes we agree with, let's see what the changes need to be to make this not happen again. >> to give us a call to talk about the irs case, the
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targeting of certain groups, here are the numbers. our next caller is don on our democrat line. caller: you already talk to me. host: any thoughts on a second round here question mark >> people need to take that into -- when you hear darrell issa, reflect on those comments for just a moment. caller: an investigation is warranted. the targeting of think it will turn out that these
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organizations which are supposed to be nonpolitical -- they can do some political work, but if it is a 501(c), their primary job is supposed to be social welfare. it is likely they might find that most of these groups with a tree at party in their names, -- groups with patriot and tea party in their names, these things are political organizations primarily. i think an investigation might find out these organizations are primarily political and this investigation could backfire on them. let's go to grace in long beach, new york. caller: this is something that has been going on and on and on. this is not just started under obama. i remember when they attacked [indiscernible] under bush. this is nothing new. host: here is a comment from
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facebook -- they will not apologize because a apology means there was wrongdoing. that will never happen. conversationthis by looking for our facebook page. next, a call from bill in louisiana, republican. i just want to say if these people have nothing to hide, why are they apologizing? , the former head of the irs was on tv i think yesterday apologizing for what happened. he said he did not have anything to do with it. if they didn't do anything wrong, why do they say i'm sorry? a call fore hearing a higher level apology, but we have had other colors pointing
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out that the irs is independent. where do you want to see the line stop? the peace you showed just a minute ago on "face the we should see what the facts are and see exactly what did happen and what didn't. we just have to wait on that. we can point the finger at the president right now because we just don't know, but it could be a nixon watergate kind of thing. we will see. in time, we will know more. tuscaloosa, alabama, on the democrat line. caller: give me a chance to
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make a statement because i'm african american and i don't often get a chance to talk on c- span. caucasian people are complaining about the government and don't they were member those years when the government was totally against african-americans. you go back to the black farmers and they give people and would not allow the black people to have it. my grandmother used to tell me you reap from the third to the fourth generation and now they get the same government that kept our people in slavery and help the white people in the south discriminate against us, they are going against one another. this had to happen because that guy from georgia always call them with something, whatever something happened to like people --, it is supposed to be all rights. so, this has happened. the government has always been on their side. they had to urge m nd give peoe
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right to go to schools. we were left out of the constitution. .e were left out of everything so, this is coming back to them. this is reaping what they sowed. they cannot put it on the american people for doing all these things. they are didn't agree so long -- all right, robert from alabama. next caller, from jackson. caller: this is coming out just as the congressional hearings are being put together. allhe irs investigated sorts of people, it is not their job to investigate all sorts of people. jurisdiction.i's i think it is simply a distraction. i do not think there is a race
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card being played here. president obama is accountable. and he needs to come up with his birth certificate. he is putting bits and pieces out in public and if he cannot convince people, he changes the subject. host: we have this tweet -- we heard congressman adam smith from washington state on fox news sunday yesterday. he also addressed the issue from the irs. [video clip] >> we need to look to see exactly what happened before we can lead to conclusion. right now the information is far, far too preliminary to reach any conclusions. our next caller is from
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mclean, virginia, a republican. go ahead, jenny. caller: hi. i went to make a point that i do not think has been brought up yet. it was not just that they were investigating these groups. what they were asking for was for these groups to give them names of donors, donors to the tea party, and that is absolutely illegal to do. a wanted ton is harass these donors or prevent them from giving to the tea .arty or conservative groups that is a step beyond investigating the groups. i just wanted to make that point area host: let's look at the new york times piece. gives the gop an issue to seize on. it focuses on information we were given over the weekend. i will jump into the story.
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it says the new york times got an audit from the inspector general's office yesterday. effortests that the began with searching tax exempt applications that focused on one side of the political spectrum rather than broadly. the unit searched for groups described as tea party, patriots.r 9/12 they were also looking for political sounding names like we the people or take back the country, according to the documents. that timeframe brought the be on the lookout list act to the tea . >> youy months
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can see "washington journal every morning at 7:00 eastern here on c-span. ad now we are going to brianmation hearing for deese. he is currently part of the president's national economic team, serving as the deputy director. the senate chair is tom carper. tom coburn is the ranking member.
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>> the hearing will come to order. we have a five and a half month old baby girl. five and a half.
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pretty as mine. >> almost as pretty as his, huh? maybe so. i want to start up with a statement and we will introduce our witness. we will have the oath to tell the truth, and then we will get into your statement and ask some questions. we should be finished around 8:30. then.lly before today we are pleased to consider the nomination of brian deese, president obama's choice to serve as the deputy director of the office of management and budget. we are pleased that the nomination process in this case, we believe, is proceeding as it should area the position for is nominated, when the deputy director heather higginbotham took a new
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job at the department of state with john kerry, her former colleague. by april 8, the president submitted the nomination for and we have worked to bring forward the nomination expeditiously. i think this nomination -- the process of this nomination has worked well on pennsylvania avenue. i hope it is a model that the white house and the senate will continue to follow often in the weeks and months ahead. the confirmation and nomination process has become unexpectedly slow. at any given time there are far too many vacant senior positions throughout our federal government. this lack of effective leadership affects our government and the slow partisan process discourages
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talented people from wanting to serve in our government. i started referring to this as executive branch swiss cheese. that is why it is so important for our committee to move forward on nominations within our jurisdiction. we have an obligation to bet them, do oversight, but once the president has made a choice -- we have an obligation to vet do oversight, but once the president has made a choice, we have an obligation to move things forward. -- 96 to a vote of 9-6 nothing the senate conferred sonya mathews. now the president will be surrounding her with a terrific team. we will soon consider the nomination of howard schulansky
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federaloffice of regulation and regulatory affairs. i am hopeful that the resident will submit a nomination for the deputy director of management. i am not sure if he is off the payroll, has returned to private life, but if he is anywhere within the sound of my voice, i want to express our heartfelt thanks for his leadership in a very difficult time. he is a man. strong leadership at omb is important at any time, but regularly at this moment when our nation needs a long-term budget plan to do with the federal deficit and debt. this is something that bears repeating often. the grand budget copper mines that i believe we need in order to address this fiscal crisis will have three central elements. it must have new revenues and a
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balanced approach. it must rein in entitlement for grams -- programs in a way to preserve those for grams for the long haul and the better management for government programs, the better service for the american people at a lower cost. this has been an important partner for the office of management and budget and all of these areas, but especially in ensuring that the government with the same amount of money. coburn and i have a working relationship with all of our colleagues, even with senator levin. we have saved billions of dollars by shutting federal properties that are no longer used, which we can and should be. we send -- we save tens of billions of dollars i reducing payments. we do a better job of collecting taxes.
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senator levin along with dr. coburn have led the way on this. we save money on federal contracting every year through strategic initiatives to read we saved billions of dollars through better management of information technology that our government eyes and we can improve the transparency of government spending to let people have a better understanding of how their tax dollars are used. these are just a few examples of the way this committee and the office of management and budget in concert of strategy can make our government work better. i might add in concert with the across thenerals government and nonprofit organizations. i am pleased that we have the nominee who has a firm grasp of in omb.m and the b
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he understands the iortance of ivnovaons across the government for agencies to not only save money, but deliver better services to the american people. he isspect to the b, someone who will achieve a deficit reduction plan that will help our economy grow even as we reduce deficits. he served as the special assistant to the president for economic policies and the deputy director of the national economic council. has earned a well deserved reputation for taking a tremendous amount of economic data, synthesizing, and translated to a series of viable measures for the economic team and translated into terms that someone like i can understand. he has helped our country recover from the recession.
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who understands arefiscal policies intrinsically important to the prosperity of the american eople. right over his left shoulder is professorknowledge and his mom is an engineer. he has clearly in her it did is clearlys -- he inherited those smarts. before going to yale law school he's spent time doing lc with carnegie endowment, the center for global development, and the center for american progress. i think he realizes he has the brainpower to pursue whatever percussion he chooses, but he has a passion for public policy. he has specifically a passion for finding ways for our government to make smart choices so individuals and businesses can prosper.
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he is someone who quickly impresses his colleagues in the administration. i believe he will impress of my colleagues in the senate. i'm going to ask senator levin if there is anything you would like to say before i swear this man in? mr.o, just to thank you, chairman, for your usual speed, thoroughness, in moving this nomination. i hope that this nomination can be acted upon quickly. i do have a number of questions but i want to thank him for being willing to continue serving and thank you for running this committee. >> thank you. well, i learned from the best. i learned from the best. five responses to a biographical and financial questionnaire. he hasy e office of
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government ethics. without objection, this information will be made part of and the financial data will be made available to the public and the committee offices. committee rules require that all witnesses give their testimonies under oath, and mr. to stand will ask you and raise your right hands. i am going to ask you a couple of questions, ok? do you swear that the testimony you are about to give to the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? please be seated. at this point, you may proceed with your statement and i will ask you to introduce your mom and your dad, and i do
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not know if they are still pleasehere, but -- introduce your family. we are just delighted you are all here. this is a matter of family pride. i know you are proud of him. >> thank you. thank you chairman coburn. thank you, senator levin. me hereu for welcoming today. it is a real honor to be considered as the president's nominee to be the deputy director of the office of management and budget. as you mentioned, i do have my family, my mother and my father, my wife, my baby girl adaline who promised me she would behave. that is a promise i will not hold her to. my sister -- >> why don't you tell us a little bit about your mom, dad.
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just tell us a little bit about each of them. >> i have been really privileged to have an incredible family. a mother and father who have supported me throughout the years, and to have instilled in me both a real passion for ideas and education, and also a .ommitment for those of us who are fortunate enough to have opportunities in education and life, we should look for opportunities to give act and commit to public service. in particular, my sister who i am very close with. she is two years older than i am. she has been the rock of my life for the last 35 years. i thank her for that. .> she is very nervous i would like to
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thank my wife kara. jobsng in these types of is a team effort. i could not do it alone. she has been unbelievably supportive, particularly when we went through harder times. i know the challenges of this job will be significant. i am very grateful to her for all her support. >> your name is kara, right? for you, no purgatory. straight to heaven. [laughter] >> i would like to thank president obama for his nomination and director burr low for her confidence in me. want to thank members of this committee and their staffs for having the opportunity to meet with me over the last couple of weeks. if confirmed, i look forward to continuing the conversations we the had, investing in
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strong relationship between omb and this committee going forward. over the past couple of years, i have had the opportunity to work with many officials at omb and across executive ranch agencies to develop and implement new administration policies. this experience has given me a deep respect for omb as an institution and the vital role that it lays, and perhaps most importantly a real value for the skills and the professionals who work at omb. this is just one of the many reasons why i am led to be considered for this position, particularly when we face substantial fiscal and economic challenges we will need to address together. we have made important progress in the economy. our economy is growing. in sectors from housing to our manufacturing industry. our is mrs. are creating jobs on
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a consistent -- our businesses are creating jobs on a consistent basis. the president and congress have begun to do work on strengthening our nation's long- term fiscal position and bringing down our deficits. there is still a lot of work we need to do to reach our ultimate goal, providing stability for working families. much of my work has focused on the role that fiscal policy can play in that's effort, creating a stronger and more durable economy. if confirmed, i will work closely with the director to build on the progress we have made and try to reach the agreement youion referenced that can support the economy in both the short and the long term. another key area and this moment of physical challenges is making our government more efficient
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and effective and showing the american government how we can do more effectively with less. if confirmed, i look forward to working with you to make progress on many of our shared priorities. finally, i do believe the budget a vision forlly how we in public service can deliver outcomes for american families. it is a reflection of our values and priorities. i will work every day to uphold those values and priorities to the best of our ability. committeethank your for your time today. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much. askingknow, we begin by these same three questions we have asked as long as we have been here.
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these questions are easy to answer. the first one is is there anything you are aware of in your background that might present a conflict of interest with your duties or the office for which you have been nominated? >> no. >> do you know of anything personal or otherwise that would prevent you from discharging the duties of the office for which you have been nominated? click snow. -- lex know. beforeou agree to appear the committee if you are confirmed? >> yes. >> i know you are a big a small fan, detroit tigers. i would say you are 343. >> the current closer. it is not much to lose sleep over. >> i know. >> to yigure out how
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this happens. we will turn to that problem tomorrow. lead off by telling us what your top three priorities would be. >> sure. this is something i have had a chance to talk to director burlow about. first would be to work with director berwell. i think that that would in particular the working to achieve a more regular order toget process, and also try achieve the kind of deficit reduction agreement that would .it the economy second, set priorities to make economy more efficient and
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effective. as auld make sure that we team and be would be more .repared to execute on those the relationship between the deputy director and the deputy director for management is vital vital in that context. if confirmed, that is something i would invest in. ombthird, priority would be as an institution. only be has a strong reputation for sound analysis. rb has an excellent reputation for sound analysis. we could continue to do the analyses that we need to do and that would be another priority. >> have you had the opportunity directors this with
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how her role as director and how the role of deputy for management would intertwine? >> i have. >> can you give us some examples? has talkedburwell about creating a great team. i think that is how both of us working asach this, a team. we would set out the budget framework and make sure we are working across agencies to incorporate their points of view into the budget process and budget framework and make sure we are implementing key budget priorities. as i mentioned earlier, i think the important role of the deputy
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director is to make sure the m side and the b side are working seamlessly together. that means setting priorities for the management side of omb, and then working closely, having a close relationship with the deputy director of management, and making sure where there are priority areas, we are providing sufficient guidance to make sure we are executing on our goals. >> will you share with us your overall philosophy in addressing our long-term debt please? >> sure. i think we are at an economic moment right now where the need for deficit reduction also presents an economic opportunity. we have a set of long-term fiscal challenges, and we have a set of short-term economic challenges, and if we could come together around a comprehensive
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deficit reduction agreement provided more confidence about our long-term path, we would also be able to provide or support to the economy in the short run. when i think about what are the most important priorities in i think the areas we need to focus on our entitlement reform and tax reform. youru mentioned in opening statement, entitlement reform that is designed to preserve the programs that are most vulnerable americans rely on, but address the rising cost of healthcare and look for way the-- ways to drive down cost of healthcare and increase efficiencies across our system. i think we have an opportunity to produce reform in a way that encourages greater economic growth and contributes to
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reducing the deficit as well. i think there are real opportunities in that space to bring things together as part of an overall approach. >> how does your work help prepare you for responsibilities you have been nominated to undertake? >> when i think about the deputy director role and the responsibilities that we were just talking about, i think there are three sets of skills i could bring to bear. first, a sound understanding of the federal budget. that is important and something i have developed over the last several years. worked closely with the development of the budget. worked closely with omb and other agencies. second, and understanding of how fiscal policy fits into an overall strategy to grow the economy and create jobs. that has been the focus of much of my perfection a work. i think it is particularly
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important now, because we are at an economic moment now where we have these interrelated fiscal and economic challenges. more pragmatic understanding of how to get things done in government. ofhink the deputy director the national council has prepared me by knowing how to work across agencies, identify teams, bring together senior management, try to drive for results. i think those are the kinds of skills i could bring to this job. ben bernanke,o, the chairman of the federal reserve, enjoyed meeting with the senate finance committee. cames an open meeting, -- to a joint meeting with the senate finance committee. it was an open meeting, a very informative meeting. if wed him, i said,
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bring up spending broadly across the government, are there particular areas where we should invest for? .e said workforce you mentioned you should focus on infrastructure. m or three, research and development for qlik technologies -- number three, research and development for new technologies. could you react to what he told us? >> sure. when you think about those three areas, i think the thing that all three share is the arlington to long-term productivity growth in our -- all three share is they are linked to long-term productivity growth in our economy. i think that using that as a metric of where can we identify the strongest linkages to
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future productivity growth and future competitiveness is important. smart, well designed, targeted investments in improving our infrastructure has been shown to increase productivity because it -- fort easier for and businesses to come and invest. and that creates jobs. i think identifying these opportunities is part of the overall fiscal strategy. thank used up my -- >> you. i have used in my time. sander levin? >> thank you for your accessibility. you have been helpful in the redistributiono you are very actively involved in. you are always available to me and my staff. we were grateful for that.
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you have been hard-working and i think there is no doubt about your qualifications for this office. i do have a couple of questions, however, as to where mr. sperling has been and where you have been on the question of the .evenues to address our deficit i take it from your answer to the chairman's question that you tax reform, as you talk about it generically, needs to contribute to the deficit reduction effort? >> i do. i think that that is important. i want to focus on one part of tax reform. i have spoken to mr. sperling on i think probably to you a number of occasions. at least i have to him. about
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these egregious tax loopholes that the corporations utilize to they paying taxes, when are closed, if they are closed, why the revenues from those closures of those unfair, unjustified tax loopholes, and i could go through a few of them with you, why that revenue should not be used for deficit reduction to fight for programs that are being cut through sequestration, such as education and health care and the environment, food safety, and you name it. why should those revenues that would come from closing corporate tax loopholes not be used for any number of extremely --ortant goals, said important goals, sequestration, trying to fund programs that are
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now being cut? first, generally, should those revenues be available for those purposes? go at the just to question of tax reform for a second -- >> the corporate tax reform i have attended by. i will get more specific. i think you have read enough of the stuff i have sent to your office to know where i'm going to go in the next few minutes. clicks absolutely. i think the most important issue with corporate tax reform as we take it is to judge it by the metric of, is it going to improve economic growth, and particularly, are you going to create incentives to invest in the united states? thatnk you are correct when you look at the corporate tax code today, it represents an opportunity, because we have this somewhat perverse situation
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where we have the highest statutory rate in the industrialized world, and yet we revenues.llecting sort of the middle of the pack at best. that is representative of the tax expenditures that are either inefficient or not serving . >> thenended purpose you focus on the effect of tax rate, which is not one of the highest in the world. >> exactly. that create an effective tax rate that is somewhere in the middle or the lower end of the industrialized countries. can we reform the tax code in a way that is pro-growth and improves incentives to invest you go i think the answer to that is yes. think there is an opportunity here. with respect to specific orbit tax expenditures, i think the president has put forward a whole set of them in the budget he put out, and those are ones
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we could afford to close efficiently without doing harm to the economy. >> a bunch of these loopholes that send money offshore serve no economic purpose. they are not pro-growth. they do not promote people to invest in the united states. quite the opposite. you have apple that has $120 billion in cash, most of it offshore. they are not going to bring it back. unless they get a lower tax rate. so there it sits. we've got companies that transfer their intellectual property to themselves to tax havens, shell corporations, and pay themselves to use their own property. there is no economic purpose served in that. it is nothing more than tax avoidance.
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the resident says he wants to close them. he was adent, when senator, cosponsored much of the legislation that would have closed some of thoseious tax avoidanc tactics which cost our treasury, god knows how many tens of billions over the years. maybe 100 billion dollars a year. we could and sequestration, at least for this year and next if schemes that ship revenue offshore. why shouldn't we do this? >> the framework the president has put forward -- ?> no, i mean why shouldn't we i'm not talking about the president's framework that was the corporate tax rate -- something like nine percent of our revenue comes from corporations. they have not paid taxes for the
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three years we have the area whyzero percent in taxes. not close those egregious, unjustifiable loopholes that are costing our treasuries much money and use that revenue to and sequestration this year and next year? why not? >> i think what the president has said is we should close -- >> for that purpose. why not close them and use the revenue for that purpose? raised theon i framework is if you look at the budget it has a set of specific corporate tax loopholes it would close. that is revenue that could be used to reduce the deficit or invest in other priorities. >> so why is it in the budget to be used only for rate reductions? move to close
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those loopholes, let's do so. let's work together to do so. if there is a good-faith commitment to try to do comprehensive report tax reform and if that can be done in a way that is actually progrowth and actually would increase incentives to invest in the united date, then he is willing to -- in the united states, then he is willing to consider that in a revenue neutral manner. >> why not take the revenue from these loopholes that have no economic purpose other than tax avoidance, and take that revenue to and sequestration? if we cannot do individual tax increases from the buffet rule or whatever, if we cannot succeed in getting that revenue, if the president does not succeed, why not take the revenue which should come to the treasury, frankly if there were no deficit, from these tax avoidance schemes? why not?
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>> if we cannot move on corporate tax reform, we should move to close those types of loopholes. >> mr. chairman, my time is up. i did have a few more questions. thank you. sorry i went over. >> no, no, no. i would have let you use more. >> thank you. >> let me go back and revisit something i said earlier to try and drum up some further discussion. conversation i had with the federal reserve chairman talking about investments we should make as we rein in spending. the importance investments to make in our country. we had a previous by chipman -- vice chairman of the federal reserve participate in hearings
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last year, alan blinder, and we used i think a four or five member panel a year or so ago, discussing how we can go about addressing reductions. i will never forget what dr. blinder said. he said the 800 pound gorilla in the room is health care costs. , 18%end roughly 16%, 17% of gdp for healthcare. other industrialized countries in manyght percent and cases get better results. but the 800 pound gorilla in the room is healthcare costs. if we do not get our head around this, we are damped. when it came time to ask questions, the question i asked,
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i said, what is your device to us? if we do deficit reduction, we know a big pieces health care costs. he thought for a moment come and he said i am not an expert on this matter. he said this would be my advice to you. "find out what works. do that -- do more of that." find out whatas " does not work and do less of that?" answer.that was a great spending more money for healthcare, education, housing, you know it. it is like my guidance counselor. how we might do that, some ways we might,
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particularly with respect to medicaid and medicare, and ways we do not savage these programs ar old people, but we get better result for the same amount of money. because we need to. leaves. -- please. >> particularly in the health system we really do need to aretify those things that going to drive innovation across the system and then make sure they are spread broadly. i think the good news is there is a lot of very exciting activity going on in our health care system right now. a lot of anecdotal, and in some cases more than and it total evidence of what dr. blinder was referring to. places where we have seen this work. where you are
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structuring payments and incentives around quality care outcomes rather than just paying influx of independent outcomes. those are the kinds of potential measures that if we can identify them, we can measure them, we can actually verify that those work, and then we can spread them across the system, that is going to be the way we help to really drive systemic change in the health care system. a number of tools out there to help on that front, to try to identify these game changers, as some people refer to them. i think we need to look for additional ways to do that as well. you mentioned outside of the healthcare space, and that is an important component as well. one of the things i know omb has been working on and has confirmed, i would want to learn more about and focus on, the
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focus on evidence-based investment, evidence-based grantmaking, because there are a dober of laces where we can better, and in fact we can be more effective with the same or fewer dollars if we have that systems -- if we have better systems to measure and test results. i think it is an important principle. i agree that the healthcare area is the place of both the greatest need and the greatest opportunity. >> we met with representatives from large health insurance -- from a large health insurance company. we talked about some of these issues, better results for less money. medical homes,
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and i would like to represent the way to encourage encouragen -- collaboration, to move away .rom fee-for-service that is really quite a stovepipe. quite a lot of collaboration to a quite different approach. if you look at medicare, medicare is pretty much a fee for service animal. and we have some elements in medicare, that he carried -- medicaret could advantage, that could do something. fee forhan a straight service. we have the problem of medicare being overpriced and we have tried to adjust that to provide
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the smaller reimbursements so the pricing is more reasonable. but at the same time, to encourage people to take advantage of a healthcare system moves away from fee-for- service. will you talk about this? what role does medicare advantage lay here you go -- play here? >> that is the goal. we need to find ways to do it that, as you say, strengthen the program while making the program more efficient. the recent challenge to medicare advantage, i think have been effectively implemented. we have seen premiums come down and enrollment go up. money at the same time. the most effective way we can do the is by continuing
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process of experimentation, identifying what works and then scaling it. think that works in a healthcare system -- not just medicare, but across the healthcare care system that is as complex as we have in our economy. we have to make sure we are testing results and scaling them so we know what works. i think the linkage between healthcare -- medicare and the rest of the healthcare system is important, because ultimately what our goal is is to drive down the rate of healthcare cost systemwide. if the savings only occur in medicare and increase on the other side, we will not increase the overall economic talent that you referenced earlier, a larger and larger share of our gdp being eaten up i healthcare. byhink -- being eaten up healthcare. i think it is important and it
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is about identifying successful interventions and scaling them over time. >> all right. i will come back to address this in the next round. senator levin, thank you. >> thank you, mr. chair. how important is it that we reverse sequestration? >> i, this issue from an economic way to view. when i look at the data and the independent analyses that have been done, i think there are two problems. arst is the sequester is blunt tool and it is forcing indiscriminate cut that are not sensible. second, the magnitude of the cuts, it is hard to do that without having a really material negative impact.
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i think the congressional budget office, others who have looked at the issue have concluded you are going to have a material negative economic impact. and so, i think it is very important from an economic respective that we look for a way to replace what is a blunt instrument that is going to do damage to our economy now with an approach that actually achieves greater deficit reduction, has more long-term reforms that actually will get at some of the issues we were , hasng about, but that is a more sensible approach economically in the short-term as well. is it important that the deficit reduction be balanced? , that it have revenues and entitlement reform,
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more prioritized or targeted as partonary spending of balance to deficit reduction? >> i think the short answer is yes. deficit look at the reduction as an overall economic strategy, you have to ask the question, what is going to make sense in the short-term and the long-term echo to maintain the productivity -- in the short-term and the long- term? i think if you want to maintain the productivity while hitting long-term deficit reduction goals, the best way to do that is to bring revenues from tax reform and entitlement reform together, done in a way that's thatpins our in -- strengthens our entitlement programs in the future. >> the secretary o under president reagan wrote a
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book and this was conversation he recounted from the oval office. the president, reagan, liked to start off every meeting with a story or a joke. he asked the president this question. he said, what do the's 60 ?orporations have in common rattled off the biggest corporations in america. president reagan's interest was immediately aroused. he said, i don't know. what do they have in common? pays a, not one of them penny in taxes to the united states government. what's -- .what?" the president said
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he was genuinely shocked. i dumbfounded silence settled over his economic advisers. not, mr. president, your secretary paid more in taxes than all of those giant companies put together." heust can't believe that," said. the treasury secretary said "i do not blame you for doubting .t, but it is the truth i checked it out. a hard working secretary does more to support her government than 60 of the religious -- of the richest companies in the land." i agree, don, i just did not realize that things had gotten that far out of line." far out ofs are that line. it seems to me we are getting disturbed by troubles when we
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have some of the largest corporations in the country either paying no tax or using these gimmicks to shift revenue .ffshore to avoid paying taxes i would love to see someone in an economicuse with advisor or you now as the deputy director of omb, in this situation where we are facing sequestration -- incredibly bad. it is the wrong way to do that. everybody knows that, i think. just about everybody knows that i think. and to say we are not going to do the right thing in terms of closing these loopholes unless we can get corporate rates reduced, it seems to me is troubleda very, very reality, and that is something donald regan, a
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conservative republican, said in his book. the accumulated weight to inefficiency and selfishness has become a burden on the economy and an affront to economic and social justice. donald regan is talking about economic and social justice. if he can do it, i would hope the administration can do it. i would hope that the omb can do it. the american people, by survey after survey, say they want these tax loopholes closed, and informed particularly about the loopholes that allow corporations to shift revenue to the tax haven, and they are asked, what do you want to do about it? number one, and it. what do you want to do with the revenue? and the to one margins, " deficit, reduce the deficit,
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fight to avoid cuts in education or in healthcare or infrastructure, what ever." to do. what they want i would hope you would be in a position -- i would hope there would be serious thinking in the white house about whether or not we could number one, continue sequestration, and if the way to avoid it is to hit a balanced approach with revenues coming from a source that nobody can justify. i have not heard anybody justify these kinds of loopholes. you can justify it in oil and gas reductions. i do not favor it, but you can justify it. you can justify accelerated depreciation, which i do favor. you can increase productivity and create jobs. these are arguably useful
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deductions. the ones i am talking about, the ones that are consistently in your office, they have no economic dust vacation. they ought to be closed if there was no deficit, but surely with a deficit and sequestration, i would hope your office would a link toere was not closing these corporate tax rates. there is no logic to that. we need the revenue. we ought to get it. it is a balanced approach to deficit reduction. you have already commented on that. i just would leave that thought in your mind, as you are hopefully confirms to be the you aret omp -- as hopefully confirms to be the deputy at. we wish you well. >> senator, i am happy to look at that and work with you and your office on that issue if i am confirmed. >> think you. >
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>> there has been no shortage of initiatives that have focused on medicare led by people anduded like tom daschle folks that are practitioners -- they have actually looked at medicare and that, these are rates that we can provide the safe money. that same folks over the long haul. what do you think are some of the most raw missing ideas. -- what you think are some some of the most promising ideas. all of the most promising ideas share a character, which is they go fter incentives. the organizations we were
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talking about earlier try to organize and and tips for teams .f doctors get at example is how to that -- bad debt payments. if a hospital cannot collect bad debt payments, then medicare is. what that creates is as is them where there is no accountability, there is no and sent it. or there is limited incentive to go out and seek reimbursement ok reimbursement. i think that that is a place where if you were to change the rules of medicare, we could try to put out more of an incentive for hospitals to take out that activity on their own. another one where which to do is drive efficiency by changing incentives. i also think that you have to be willing to look at whether there
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are things that we should do with respect to the beneficiary side that are smart. that meet the principal of strengthening the program and strengthening the core commitment of the program. so, i think it is appropriate to look at means testing medicare. i think the president put out a proposal that makes some sense because as part of these overall reforms we have to ask questions about whether those who are the most fortunate should be paying more. it will still be a good deal for them as part of the system. if you can package together part of these reforms that go after incentives to make sure that we are putting a perfect program into the future that is going , thenable to be a viable that is the way we will start making progress.
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notnd dr. colburn could join us today, i do not think he will be able to arrive before the hearing concludes. among the many issues that he has been focused on, he has done a lot of work with his staff on the area of duplication. with an enterprise as large as the federal government, we should not be surprised. we have it in spades in the federal government, as you know. gao has given congress and the administration in number of recommendations to reduce duplication. there is a whole lot of work to be done. how might you work in your new post, if confirmed, to go after some of that duplication. -- duplication? >> the issue is one that i know the doctor has taken a leadership role on. i think that gao is playing a
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constructive role in the process by doing a set of reports that actually help to identify and fleshed out, because that helps to focus attention and identify areas for progress. i think that the role, if confirmed, in the role i would approach the issue from two ways. one, where are there places within the authority of the executive branch where we can help to make progress in addressing inefficient duplication? i know the whole range of proposals are on the table and the administration has already started to make progress on a number of counts, but if confirmed by want to ask a set of questions about where we are and can we accelerate the progress? in places where we have not moved, why? are we sure that we cannot make progress there as well? second, i am trying to work with members ofenti where the highese
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places are where legislation might be needed, and where we think there is a pragmatic opportunity to make progress, the president's budget put forward a couple of specific proposals on duplication. ,ne in the area of stem science, technology, education, and math, where we have a myriad of programs across the government that are well meaning with real opportunities to deliver better results to consolidate programs. likewise in the area of job training. i would like to understand and learn from members of this committee where you think and where we think we could make some tangible progress on the legislative front and try to build some momentum there. >> one of the things i would keep in mind is if you have got -- what is it? 100 programs across the government? which are focused on raising
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student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math fields, one of the logical step in my judgment would be able -- would be being able to measure which of these programs presented a result, the kind of results they were looking for, pushing the money toward the ones that are working and less money toward the ones that are not, but that means we have to be able to measure progress and then be able to convince folks, like senator robinson and myself of that. thing, focusing a little bit on one of the areas that the doctor and i have focused on on this committee is improper payments to find out, gosh, 10 years ago the amount of improper payments to the federal government were largely mistakes, duplicate payments,
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erroneous refunds, the refunds added up to about -- gosh, i want to say $40 billion? i think it was in 2002 when they said federal agencies had to start reporting improper payments. not everyone did right away, but over time more and more did. we finally pass legislation in 2010 that said basically four things. one, report the improper payments and stop making them as well. and we also want you to go out and recover improper payments where that is the case. start want you to rewarding or incentivizing managers. part of the proposed evaluation is how well the agency has reduced proper payments to recover overpayments. i think in 2010 we saw improper
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payments peek at $120 billion. a lot of money. we have seen the numbers drop over the last two years. so, i think that the reduction by my numbers is $13 billion over two years, so there is still a lot out there. at the same time we have seen recovery of improper payments, $4 billion to $5 billion over the last year or so, but there is plenty of work still to do. i am going to ask you to think out loud for a moment about what more we can do to go after that $108 billion number. a lot of it is not even fraud, it is just mistakes. >> i think that it is a very important issue and i think that you are right that while we have seen some real tangible progress from the important legislation that you and others
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have worked on in the past, the current level is unacceptable, unacceptably high, so we have to be committed to moving to do more. i guess when i think about how to do that, i think about two issues. one is technology and data, the other is evidence. so, on the side of technology and data, as i understand it a lot of the issues associated with improper payments are a function of not having effective data sharing between agencies to identify whether and when payments should and should not be made, so i think there are opportunities to try to improve the way that we are s -- the way that we are sharing data through the use of technology. we have to be careful about protecting privacy in the process, but i think that is an opportunity. the other place, and this goes
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back to some of the conversations we were having about medicare, it is that i think the program integrity efforts that we have identified that beano are based in evidence and can return several dollars, $8, $9 on returns, including , ings like in medicare social security, with respect to continuing disability reviews, and also at the irs, those are places where i think we know there is an opportunity and that we have evidence to back that up. so, we should think about how we can do more in those spaces. >> one of the initiatives that the doctor and i worked on in the focusongress, there was on saving money for
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medicare and medicaid. there was a situation for a deadr of years where doctors have provided medical services to folks who may be alive, but may not be. they may not be eligible for service. we see situations where we are paying enormous amounts of money in some cases for medical equipment. we are not using competition. we are finding out that if we do save some money, the doctor and i are reintroducing an updated portion of that act, probably in the next week or two, certainly over the next month. is this something you have ever heard of? and if you have, any thoughts about how we might work together on this? i would welcome those fox. >> i have heard of it. i am not that familiar with the
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legislation. i would want to hold off and take a look at it before giving a formal response, but generally speaking it is an area where i am very interested and i understand that there is real potential so i would look forward to taking a look at that and look forward to the issue if confirmed. >> thank you. i want to talk about the governor performance and resolution act. i do not know if you are at all familiar, but congress in 2010 updated the act thanks to the work of one of our former colleagues here. i think that former governor now senator mark warner was involved. it was kind of issued at our republican colleagues on this committee and it requires, as you know, different performance reviews. i wonder if you could just tell us if you see this particular
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tool in as a useful measuring performance. and what should be the role of omb in implementation? >> it is an incredibly valuable tool, because one of the things that i think is very important when we think about performance in the government is setting priorities. said on burrell has numerous occasions that if we tried everything that worked, we would work it well. having a framework to set goals and priorities, using that as a way to actually drive real accountability and cultural change within the agency's, that has got to be our objective. as you said, the framework allows us to do that. think that one of the things
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that is important about that is the link between goal setting and accountability. so, i think that for example when i go on the website and pull up a goal and see the picture of the person at the agency, this is the senior level manager, the senior person accountable for executing on that goal. i think that is the kind of positive development that this framework allows, because ultimately it is moving from a compliance mentality to more of and accountability mentality and i think that is going to help the results. the role that omb complain, my understanding is that omb plays an important role in setting the process across the agencies, then helping to make sure the agencies have the tools that they need to hit these accountability metrics. so, that is certainly a role that i think is going to become even more important over time
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and something i would want to prioritize myself if i was confirmed. who runsnot everyone for the house or senate, or for president, who says i want to be a senator, representative, president or vice president because i want to make sure that we do our dead level best to use these laws to get things done and do more. not everyone wants to. figuring out the number of data centers we will have, and how much information we're one to put on a cloud, you do not find many people who come here with the idea of doing those kinds of things. onnow everyone is intense hammering down and getting rid of improper payments. a lot of people on this committee are. this is a committee that draws and the tracks in some cases
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former governors, mayors, may be attorney-general. earlier i spoke about the three things that i think are three components that i hear over and over again from people who are serious about debt reduction progress. right before balanced budgets during the clinton administration, revenues as a percentage of gdp, right around 20%. suggested, it does not have to be based on the rates if we respond. there are other ways to get the effective tax rate up, going through provisions and tax code that frankly do not make a lot of sense. to other thing that we need do, coming back to this room, as democrats especially we need to keep this in mind, how do we get thos results for less money in
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almost everything that we do? it is almost like a culture change. ofing to move a culture thrift -- culture of spending to a culture of thrift. it is hard for one committee to do that, and possible. even if you have a lot of people interested in this stuff. even if you work with omb it is hard to get that done. even just in the general accountability office across federal government. " we try to do is alleged the effectiveness of our committee by poll -- by partnering with all the above. again, i say this is a shared responsibility, all hands on that. would you talk a bit about how you think your position, how omb can be maybe a better facilitator, a better partner
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in leveraging the activities? >> sure. i think that there are a couple of things that omb is particularly well positioned to do. ae first is to invest in relationship based on transparency and trust with this committee and the other actors to have a vital role to play in this process. i think that having a sense that we are working together to set the priorities that i was just referring to, that we are looking for opportunities to incorporate different points of view, i think that that is important in building a relationship and it will be effective in getting things done, as you say, when it is an effort that is going to require everyone together. ise other thing that omb well-positioned to do and it plays to their strengths,
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providing best practices and information across the agencies. so, whether it is on the i.t. side, doing things like portfolios, going into an agency and looking top to bottom at the type of technology improvements can be made, omb is in a position to cross fertilize and make sure the lessons learned from that particular intervention are actually available to the other agencies. i think that that's a, in a pragmatic way we need to make sure we are using that resource as effectively as possible, and we need input on how to do that better. i think that the third area really is in helping to set the priorities for the federal government. omb cancy process that
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fact that the budget, that it -- that we are responsible for the budget framework as well, that is the opportunity to make sure they are fully integrated. when you are trying to identify these areas to make government more efficient, that they are reflected in the budget out there as well. i think that there are several opportunities where they should and can play a vital role, but i agree with your premise that at the end of the day to make real progress we all have to be working constructively and pragmatically together. again, if confirmed that is something i appreciate and would want to learn more about from you and others. ,> it can be enormously helpful they have something called a high risk list. what is that i was asked? high risk is waste of taxpayer money. they have a lot of ideas about how we manage data and procure
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weapons systems, all kinds of things, the weight of the candor -- handle federal property. or do not. i call it this committees to do list. i would suggest that for omb it is not bad for the administration. again, it is so hard to get anything done around here. even if we clean things. but if you have a particular set of policy initiatives that really could save a fair amount of money and the administration does not have it in their budget, with their high risk they say that these are things we need to do with committees in the senate and house doing proper oversight, which includes matching up the behavior of federal agencies and so forth, measuring those against the highest, fighting folks within the ranks of the inspector general and being outside of
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government groups, like citizens against government waste and other kinds of organizations, you can put them all together and get a real synergy going here. i think we're going to need that in a huge way if we're serious about deficit reduction. that is the third piece. i have people all the time to say to me -- i do not mind paying more taxes, but i do not want to to waste my money. if we realize that more revenue is part of the solution, i think we would have demonstrably beaten every day. i am not anxious to pay more in revenue, but if you do, do not waste that money. if we can convince clearly the people we are determined to work on that front as well, we help ourselves and the country in and. among the items on the high risk
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deals withf them space. building space. we own hundreds of thousands of pieces of property around the country. some of them are well utilize, others are not. one of the things that troubles me, and it came up almost as soon as dr. colburn came to the committee, the way that we lease space for federal agencies to use, it would be more cost- effective to buy it. but if you buy it you have to pay for it out. youout a capital budget cannot write it off over time, you have to take it with lighter fluid, a $1 billion complex in the first year. that is a hard thing to do. can you talk with us a little bit about that idea? the idea of long-term lease as
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opposed to paying something out right and how we deal with the scoring? the incentives are all wrong. in a lot of cases it would be more cost-effective to buy than to lease long term. can you talk to us about those incentives and what, if anything, we can do? >> i think there is a real -- a real opportunity in better managing the federal footprint. is anthink there opportunity to actually generate savings, deficit reduction, but also to operate our federal facilities more efficiently and effectively. i think that the way to go about it is to think about how to create more tools to effectively manage this large footprint that we have. is issue that you mentioned one of those tools.
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there are other tools that we should look at. are there ways that agencies can swap facilities when that would be an economic improvement for both agencies? i know that there is an initiative that has been undertaken to basically have pay go in an agency that says you cannot expand if you have not actually look at whether there are places where you need to consolidate. i think that that is an effective forcing mechanism as well. you put together these pieces, you look at what other pieces are out there, it will be those types of pieces together that will get us to a more efficient outcome, a more efficient management of the federal footprint. is a realk it opportunity and i think it is one that, if confirmed, i would want to work with you and your staff.
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to make sure that i fully understand exactly what types of tools will be the most effective. i agree completely that we need more tools in the toolkit to go after this problem and there is a real opportunity there. question,one last usually i do this at a hearing with a number of witnesses where i am trying to develop consensus on a particular issue. we did that last week on improper payments and how to reduce them. you a closingk statement. not a long one, just a short one, but maybe some things you would like to emphasize that she did not have a chance to put into your original statement. think about that, if you will. the job of government, with respect to job creation, people sometimes think, senators sometimes think that they create jobs, that government --
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government and presidents create jobs, but we do is create a nurturing environment for job creation. work force, regulation, access to capital. jobs inven to 8 million the country require on by resurfaces. we have been wrestling for a couple of years now to try to get it right. first-class mail is way down. we still need a postal service, but do you have any thoughts on how to move us toward a vibrant and sustainable system where we can maybe maintain unique distribution that we have and find ways to use that to generate more? any thoughts you have on postal performance? i think it will be seriously addressed this spring and summer. the hope is that we will be able to find common ground. in theate and in the house, and with the administration.
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>> i think it is an important area to find common ground, because as you say this is a vital service provided to americans, but also as currently structured it is unsustainable. if left unaddressed it is going to wind up being a heart problem to solve, one that could potentially be a larger liability down the road for taxpayers. i think that this is a moment to try to take a very serious look at that. the president's budget has put forward an approach to reform. i know that others have thought very deeply about what the right approach to do that is. so, i do not have a particular magic formula in that respect, but i do think that the right way to go about this issue is to look for the areas of common ground and try to build a
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consensus that if addressed now and in a sensible way, this will be easier. it will never be easier, -- it will never be easy, but in a sense it will be easier now than if we leave it for down the road. >> one of the first things they try to hammer out? it was support in doing that. if you have a brief closing statement you would like to offer? we are all ears. >> first of all, thank you for this hearing and, again, the opportunity to speak with you and senator levin. i look forward to speaking with other members of the committee. i guess in addition to what i have said, i would just say that i understand that we face very serious challenges as a country. economic challenges and fiscal
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challenges. but i am also very energized by the opportunity ahead and the potential opportunity, if confirmed for this role at omb. work with ato second to none professional staff, the opportunity to be part of a pragmatic group, as you say, of people turning to this committee and other stakeholders to you have identified who are actually just trying to identify where they can find good ideas and how we can move forward to show the american people that we can be effective stewards of taxpayer dollars and operate their government more efficiently, that is something that is extremely exciting for me. again, i am very humbled and honored to be here, thank you for your time. >> thank you for your time, your willingness to take this on, and i would like to thank your
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parents for raising you and your sister, heather? to be so smart. a good work values, ethic, we are grateful for your .illingness to share with us there is a sacrifice in these kinds of things. not just on his part, but on yours as well, and i am deeply, deeply grateful. look forward to working with you going forward. i will close with the words we heard earlier, big part is is find out what works and do more of that. it's not any one person's responsibility. it's not mine, it's not yours or sylvia, matthew's, o.m.b. deputy for management. it's everybody's responsibility. and we look forward to finding those ideas and doing more of that. and seeing if we can't continue the progress we're making in getting this country moving in the right direction in terms of
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our economy but also keeping our deficit moving in the right direction, and that is down. and we're anxious to get there and get you on the job at work and continue that progress. i understand according to our crack staff e hearing record will remain open until close of business tomorrow. that's may 14 at 6:00 p.m. for the submission of statements and questions for the record. have you had a chance to meet with most of the members of our committee? >> i had a chance to meet with some of them, yes. >> you will want to meet with -- i will urge you, you're probably already doing that, meet with as many as you can. not everybody can. some people serve on like five committees. we're all busy. but i would urge you to make yourself as available as you can. that will help you and in the end it will help us to move your -- your nomination along promptly. i think that's -- that's a wrap.
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thank you so much. and with that, this hearing is adjourned. thank you so much. >> thank you.
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>> the house is back tomorrow for legislative business. members this week will work on legislation calling for a full repeal of the 2010 health care law. and the bill requiring s.e.c. to conduct cost benefit analysis before implementing new regulations. the u.s. senate is in session today. no role call votes are expected. tomorrow more debate on the water infrastructure bill that includeses doens of sewage and water projects around the
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country. a vote on president obama's pick to head the centers for medicare and medicaid services is also expected this week. the house is live here on c-span and on c-span 2. there's been reaction today to an inspector general's report about the i.r.s. has been targeting conservative political groups. senator marco rubio wrote a letter to treasury secretary jack lew saying in part, it is clear the i.r.s. cannot operate with even a shred of the america's people confidence under the current leadership. therefore i strongly urge you and president obama demand the i.r.s. director's resignation, effective immediately. and statement from finance chairman matt baucus said -- senator baucus said his committee will hold hearings lo what happened by
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the i.r.s. during a press conference today, president obama held with british prime minister david cameron. mr. obama called reports that the i.r.s. targeted conservative groups outrageous and said anyone responsible should be held accountable. >> let me take the i.r.s. situation first. i first learned about it from the same usual reports i think most people learned about this. i think it was on friday. and this is pretty straightforward. personnel i.r.s. engaged in the kind of practices that is have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups then that's outrageous. and there's no place for it. and they have to be held fully accountable because the i.r.s. as an independent agency
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requires absolute grit and people have to have confidence that they're applying in the nonpartisan way. applying the laws in a nonpartisan way. and you should feel that way regardless of party. don't care whether you're a democrat, independent or republican. at some point they're going to be republican administrate -- administrations. at some point democratic ones. either way you don't want the i.r.s. ever being perceived to be biased in anything less then neutral in terms of how they operate. so this is something that i think people are properly concerned about. the i.g. is conducting its investigation. i'm not going to comment on their specific findings prematurely but i can tell you if you have the i.r.s. operating n anything less then a neutral
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and nonspart destine way, that is outrageous and contrary to our traditions and people is have to be held accountable and it's got to be fixed. so we will wait and see what exactly all of the details and the facts are. but i have no patience with it. i will not tolerate it. we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened. >> some of the president's comments from earlier today. you can see all of that news conference with the president and british prime minister tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. >> she's the first, first lady to earn a college degree and during the civil war, soldier serving under her husband called her the mother of the regimen. opposing slavery, she influences her husband to switch from the wig party to anti-slavery republican party and holds the first annual white house easter egg roll. meet lucy hayes, wife of the 19th president, as we continue
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our series on first ladies. with your questions and comments by phone, facebook and twitter. tonight 9:00 eastern on c-span and c-span3 and c-span radio and >> at a european parliament committee hearing last week, nate secretary-general anders fogh rasmussen told members you needed to back up its diplomacy with military efforts. this is a hour and a half. >> we have an exchange of views with anders rasmussen, secretary-general of nato, on the future of european defense, a nato perspective. i welcome secretary general rasmussen to the joint meeting of our committee and these
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subcommittee on security and defense. also welcome colleagues from parliament, six counsels are represented. and it's almost a year since mr. rasmussen last joined us to brief nato's chicago smit. and this exchange of views is particularly important bearing in mind the challenges facing nato and afghanistan and over and also in the life of the important discussion on european defense. this was expressed at the european december council. i would underline these two issues, operational challenges from somalia and the need to improve defense cooperations are critical issues especially at the time of economic constraint
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and political uncertainty. i would remind you the european parliament has been consistent in arguing that the e.u. and nato are complementry organizations for european, euro atlantic and global security interests. confirming the vital role of each other. i will emphasize it's important to be on these declarations and provisions and invest in european defense before declining budgets and uncoordinating cuts in our cablet undermine our ability to take care of security, especially in our 0 neighborhood and further. i mention this fact that the december european council provides an important rt to work for
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further and deepen defense cooperation towards the implementation of permanent structureses cooperation, for the greater views of coalition of the willing. including how to use the battle grooves and, of course, building lasting part underships like the ones with nato. let me express concern about escalation in attacks in afghanistan as we enter the fighting season. we saw the treasure clock of lives last week of seven nato soldiers. and i would ask how you think e security situation will be better off as end grows closer. i stop here and leave you the floor for your presentation. >> thank you very much and welcome again.
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>> thank you very much, mr. provera, for that kind introduction. it's really a great pleasure for me to once again meet members of the two committees, and companies -- chairpersons from foreign relations and defense committees from national parliament. we meet regularly, actually, so i'm glad to see many familiar faces. and i'm looking forward to another lively discussion. so let me make just a few points. i'm fully committed to a strong and open europe. i firmly believe that europe must have a strong common security and defense policy.
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and i'm pleased that there would be a european counsel sill dedicated to security and defense next december. it will actually be the first time since the start of the global financial crisis that heads of state and government focus on this vital dimension of a strong and open europe. , if t me also be frank european nations do not make a furm commitment to invest -- to invest in security and defense, then all talk about a strengthened european defense and security policy will just be hot air. and it won't bring us any closer
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to the strong and open europe that we all want. so as we move ahead to december, we should all keep three things firmly in mind. first, we europeans must understand that soft power alone is really no power at all. without hard capabilities to back off its diplomacy, europe ill lack credibility and inference. it will risk being a global spectator rather then the powerful global actor that it can be and should be. our shared experience in the western balkans is a case in point. stroring stability there has required a mix -- a mix of heart
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and self-power. we saw this with the conclusion of the recent agreement between belgrade. the agreement was broken by the european union and i commend kathy for her excellent work but both parties wanted assurance that nato would guarantee the security to implement the agreement. cond continuing decline in european defense and european defense budgets, will inevitably result in a declining role for hour continent on the global -- our continent on the global states. and europe will be unable to participate in crisis management . the only way to avoid this is by
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holding the line on defense spending, to stop the cuts and to start reinvesting insecurity as soon as our economies recover. meanwhile, we need to make etter use of what we have. to do more together as europeans within the european union and within nato, to deliver the critical defense capabilities that are too expensive for any individual country to deliver alone. finally, having the right capabilities is is important but it's not enough. e must also have the political will to use them.
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to deal with security challenges on europe's doorstep to help manage cry is sis further away that might affect us here at home. and to better share the security burden with our north american allies. for this to happen, european nations need to develop a truly global perspective, global perspective. we must not become absorbed by our domestic economic woes. we must look outward, not inward. and we need europe and north america to talk more regularly, ore openly and more frankly. withinnie transatlantic
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forum that is nato and between nato and european union. so inconclusion, the european council in december should showcase a europe that is both able to act and willing to act. and it should encourage the european une an and nato to do more, ether to consult coordinate more, and cooperate more. to get us there will require strong political resolve. including here in this house as well as in national parliaments. i'm confident that we can rise to the challenge because we owe it to our taxpayers and voters
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to give them the best security hat money can buy. and with that introduction, i look very much forward to a stimulating discussion this afternoon. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, secretary-general, for your speech and for myself want to give my regards to you that you're able to come to us again and have this discussion once again. the first one who asked for the floor. > thank you. > translated too fast.
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>> thank you. i won't take any questions away from you. i would like to begin by thanking the secretary-general for his regular, welcome and useful attendance at our committee meetings. thank you for your extremely clear message on european capabilities and joint security and defense policy. i have taken note of the fact you would like to see the policy developed in a vigorous fashion. your speech is very much along the lines of what the u.s. secretary of defense robert gates said two years ago when he was in brussels. he called on europeans to do more and to do better, particularly when it comes to budgets and capabilities. that is indeed a major concern
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for us all. now we're all familiar with the institutional difficulties when it comes to the relationship between the european union and nato. we know that these political and institutional difficulties could not be resolved in the short term or easily. iven that fact, what can we do to explore further coordination between the two institutions? what do you think are the possible or existing areas where we can work more closely together? and let me finish up with a comment on a recent trip to north wood. h.g. there.he the we met with the maritime command and the ritime command
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nato presence in the indian ocean. so i am thinking about the post 014 post-afghanistan period. nato is looking to fresh horizons at any cost. is that a reasonable approach? has that been properly coordinated with other international organizations? is there consensus within nato on this approach? and in what areas is does nato plan to become more active? thank you. >> thank you. >> i, too, would like to thank the nato secretary-general for his presence. let me begin by saying that we
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regret that last saturday of a number of soldiers deployed to afghanistan, our condolences. secretary general, let me say that we fully subscribe your analysis, european union should not just be a military power but rather a political and economic force as well. the european union can be effective and credible in the way it tackles the new threat. so it must be responsible in the . sitions it takes we do, however, struggle to mobilize 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers for operations. i have two specific questions. in nato what ria,
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analysis have you drawn of the israeli operations in syria? how may it affect security in neighboring countries such as turkey? what are the options? what are the lessons that can be awn from the area exclusions shown in syria? might the impact be on syria? second question, i would like to jong on what mr. don said, what is the scenario for afghanistan post-2014? to what extent is
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nato working on smart defense and how is this compatible with the pooling and sharing approach that the european union is applying to its common security and defense policy? thank you. >> now has the floor, member of the european parliament, member of the polish senate and defense minister. >> mr. chairman, it's a great and toe to see you again talk about the contribution of europe to nato and to european union. i have three marks. the first one is about the necessity of continuity in cooperation, not only operations but also in security of europe.
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the u.s. strategy any weaken. our commitment to security of europe. that's why it's obvious we should in europe to deliver more in the fear of capabilities and fear of operations. and the americans after the changes of priorities, of their strategy scressed the beginning of last year as well as the shift of priorities to far east end, and to the region they wait for more contribution from europe. my question is about how do you see how you see right now the performance of smart defense. because it's the crucial initiative that we delivered during last year, during the
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summit and it's one of the answers for capabilities and crisis. my second remark is is about nato relations. e working dialogue between those established several years ago is a working dialogue. working dialogue without special legal regulations for everybody, i believe, it should be maintained for benefit of european union and for nato. what are prospect you saw of the dialogue in your opinion. the third one, my third remark is is about the necessary cooperation, in the european defense agency that is crucial not only for both institutions, of also for for capabilities particularly there's no states, especially in the fear of political sharing and smart
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defense. what extent we can say that these two initiatives are harmonized, because right now they should be harmonized in the progress is both. thank you very much. >> thank you for that very interesting speech. you said nato was a unique transatlantic forum, and there's no doubt about that. and what i think is most encouraging is that nato has concentrated on the new challenges of cyber security and the like. and yet there's a general view season's s last
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thing. the u.s.a. turning in on itself as to some extent downgraded nato. my question to you is, to what extent is the united states now less interested in europe? nd my second question, pooling and sharing and the european enthusiasm for that. or in tion is, in nato research institutions close to nato, has any research been done into how much taxpayers' money of eing used for the upkeep old buildings, old equipment, defense infrastructure which is
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now obsolete? in this crisis, i think that there might be more enthusiasm for pooling and sharing. but my question is, can you tell me, is there any research into this? is it possible to do research into how much public money is wasted in this way? >> thank you, chair. i would like to thank the nato secretary-general for setting out his position clearly. i would like to thank the secretary general for his comments, brief sustained comments that were very powerful words. he spoke of the need for europe


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