tv Newsmakers CSPAN December 8, 2013 10:00am-10:31am EST
this week on "newsmakers" congressman adam smith joins us from seattle. we are joined in the studio by frank allaveri. would like to ask you about afghanistan. the obama administration thought fought the deal to keep the troops there since -- two 2014. do you see any way of resolving this before the incident the year or will the stride on until afghanistan elects a new president? afghanistan approved it. no one has said that they are going to need to change it. president karzai has said he does not want to be the one who
signs it. he is holding off on signing it until next year. it is a problem. there is no question about it. the substance is basically what both sides are comfortable with. president karzai is spilling new ideas, i do not know. it does not sound like it. it is whether or not to get so it. formally signed i the hope is we will get it signed before the elections. is his refusal to sign. >> he wanted to renegotiate. --wanted to have the avenue afghanistan taliban members released from guantanamo. he wants no more rage or bombing of afghan houses like the one that just happens.
is this rhetoric? is it something we need to come to terms with? >> he also presented the agreement as is to the world journal. about two or three weeks ago. they uprooted. -- they approved it. the issuesg some of he raised before. theave seen that if he had objection he would not have sent it in the first place. his site to have it both ways. we're going to have to work through it and it definitely creates a problem in terms of long-term security of afghanistan. it is a challenge. >> do you think this increases the odds that the obama registration will just pulled the plug and say no troops after 2014? do you think they're going to do that? >> no, ghd, they are not.
the only way that would happen anyf afghanistan rejected agreement and said we're not going to make that decision. levin issued a statement after you came back suggesting that perhaps the president should just ignore karzai at this point and look forward to a new president. what are your thoughts on that? do you think there may be a way around this? to sortnk it is prudent of tone it down a little bit. is ifk carl's opinion is with the newl president it would work. then you're putting yourself really close to the timeline. i do not think they want to get that close. the sooner we sign this agreement, the sooner there is
evidence of stability in afghanistan. ultimately, we need to continue to try to see if there is some way to get this current administration to sign the agreement while also preparing for the possibility of having to wait for the next one. i think senator levin is right about what the prudent course of action is. i think it would be good if we could give the agreement signed before the next step. >> follow up on that. it opens up a lots of variables with a new election a new president who may or may not want to sign it. that as ane opportunity to renegotiate. is that potentially kicking the can down the road? >> you describe it quite well. we need to first and foremost try to get it signed as soon as possible. we have to keep pressing for it. i do not know what the deadline is.
we have to start not just preparations but operationally pulling out. i do not think there is a firm, fixed deadline. we are pushing it. the sooner we get the agreement be better. all the risks are clearly there if we do not. of sanctions has been pretty high on the list for a lot of republicans and even the democrats considering defense authorization bill. it does not look like that will get done this year. do you think there will be pressure next year to push for sanctions again in the house? i wanted to get your thoughts on the senator menendez proposal that would delay sanctions for six months. ,t the end of the agreement they will see at that point of the sanctions are looming. i want to get your take on that. have very robust
sanctions on iran. each of the last two years the authorizing act has include iran,trictd sanctions on going after their banking industry. there are incredibly tough sanctions on them. that is why iran was willing to come to the table and have this discussion in the first place. degree, this ignores the very effective pressure we already have on them. putting more sanctions on at this point undermines the negotiations and the path toward a possible agreement, no guarantees to be sure, but possible agreement that would give us the confidence that iran would not have a nuclear weapon. that is an incredibly important step i do not think we should jeopardize by pushing more
sanctions out there. we arty have a robust set of sanctions that are clearly having their intended effect. we are going to have to see if the short-term deal is that, a short-term deal. will we get a long-term deal that significantly increases our confidence that iran will not develop a nuclear weapon? we will see. i do not think we need more sanctions to enforce that. >> what evidence do you have that the sanctions have been working? the foreign minister has said they had been an utter failure. they started out with hundreds of centrifuges. to 19,000.rown them he said they have failed. had isevidence i have that iran is coming to the table. iran's economy is in
shambles. they were intended to force iran to the negotiating table. so the negotiations could stop progress toward a nuclear weapon. the sanctions were not intended to stop them from being able to accumulate. they were intended to break it back economically and forced into the table. that is the evidence i have. need them at the table. we need them to agree to a different course of action. this is seen the growth in centrifuges and pushing them further and further down the line toward developing a nuclear weapon. we need to change that. that is what the negotiations will lead to. >> your thoughts on that? are you that a long-term deal can be reached? berybody says it will extremely difficult. do you think they will want to reach one?
to pullbe too tough off? >> i remain skeptical because of all the reasons you stated, the lack of trust between iran and others. i do not trust iran. some verybeen up to bad behavior, supporting terrorist groups, moving toward a nuclear weapon. i am not just going to say i'm confident they will change their mind. if i have any confidence it is because of the economic pressure that exists. concernediran are that their economy is in shambles. to that puts pressure on the regime to change their behavior. does it put enough pressure to change it to the degree we need? that i remain skeptical up. we have to pursue this path.
what is the alternative? the sanctions have not stopped them from moving forward with their nuclear program. if we simply say "we are going to continue harsher sanctions," it is not going to change that equation. we hope it changes it under the pressure. you're asking for a prediction. i am going to remain very skeptical until we see some concrete steps by the iranian people. if you told me two months ago that iran would agree to what toy agreed to in regard stopping development, i would have been skeptical of that, too. we will see what the future holds. >> this failure to reach an agreement [indiscernible] we do not reach in agreement on the program, does that set off the fuse toward war? been beating this
drum. president obama threw water on it two years ago. it seems the drumbeats are coming back. what is your opinion on that and whether you think there's a way to avoid war? >> i do not think it necessarily means of that. i do not think you want to take that step just because when things fall apart it would be a devastating impact for the region and for the world. i think you'll have to wait and see how the negotiations play out. i wouldn't dare make a prediction of on something that important. shambles sooned the i was reminded of the budget conference in sequester. there is a plan on the table between chairwoman murray and about at would look at trillion dollar budget. it is a fit over what the sequester would be. it would give defense a little more money. defense would suffer some sequester. this is not involve new revenue.
i am wondering if you and your caucus over there, whether you would be willing to support such a deal for defense even if it did not include revenue or money for extending unemployment insurance. of all, not an insignificant increase because the sequestration is 97 billion. is not just the fan spirit of the cuts that are coming to all discretionary spending and oursportation and housing ability to get an agreement on is certainly better than living under a government shutdown. if we could get an actual givenriation number, where we're at right now, that
is a pretty significant step forward. we would give some predictability to the budget process. we will have to see the details. to supportinclined it. i would be reluctant because i would like to see a larger deal and more revenue. is the nature of compromise .n this difficult since some >> how about your colleagues? some are really concerned about the unemployment insurance. that is a big issue for a lot of people. is that where the line is? >> i have had extensive conversations. you'd have to ask my colleagues. i am very concerned about the lack of unemployment insurance. this would put this on the brink
of another government shutdown. world which in a cr is no way she run the country. >> what is your read on the mood ? do you think there is a decent likelihood that a deal would be struck? ae we going to go in more of dire scenario that you painted? >> there is a growing sense of concern among both republicans and democrats that we cannot get appropriation bills are done. we cannot budget. all these agencies are being alerted from crisis to crisis. overcome theh to bits of conflict that have been that from the 2010 election for work?
how do you balance those two? to read in a position the mood of all members of congress to give a conclusion. it sounds there is some momentum to at least get a small deal. hopefully that will come to pass. >> we spoke a couple of days ago about where we are. the senate would need to act very quickly. you have expressed some doubts that you could get the bill through the senate and get a conference. you said you're running out of time. how long does the house have to launchinge it starts its stripped-down defense authorization measure? do you have to begin that very early in this coming week? how long can you actually wait? we have been in discussions with arsenic counterparts for quite some time. they are wait until
done. this is a leadership call on how long we wait. what we are trying to do is make a little lift. we are as close as possible to working out the issues and differences we have so if we have to go into the nonconference mode, simply passing a bill and sending it to the senate, that we are ready to do it. leadership has to decide when it is pulled. >> you have sexual assault issues. you have guantanamo bay. these are very important issues. actually fall out in some of the stripped-down versions of the fed authorization version of the bill? >> it would be hard to say. are sexuald, there salt provisions in the house
bill. provisions in the house bill. they would definitely be extended. that would not fall out. there would be something. assault and how the military handled that very difficult issue. of it, it rest depends on negotiations. i cannot get into the specifics of what is in or out. to asia for aturn moment. the chinese recently surprised a lot of people around the world by imposing an air .dentification defense zone anyone flying over a big stretch of the east china sea has to give them a heads up in advance they will take -- take unspecified measured responses. the chinese and south koreans were both upset. joe biden has been in the
region. what is your sense of the follow-up in the long-term? did they respond correctly to that? i think we need to be calm about this. i thing the conversations with the chinese are helpful. it is not a no-fly zone. we have zones like it that. stateslking the united as well. everyone wants to know who is coming and going. chinese know if the miscalculated. it has certainly gotten the attention of the rest of the world. way they miscalculated definitely strengthens a lot of other countries. they are concerned about china overreaching. right now i do not think that situation will be more than that. >> do you think this is a
harbinger of future conflicts or tensions that may arise over territorial disputes in places that may be most americans are but areliar with sensitive issues with other countries in southeast asia? gethe u.s. going to increasingly drawn into these kind of disputes and have to take sides or is this a one-off? >> i do not know about increasingly. ago but how many years a u.s. military plane was forced to the ground in another part of china. it was a much more controversial situation than this. i do not think it necessarily represent a ramping up of it. these issues will continue to be there. if this know significantly upped the ante. presidentalance the
has talked about toward china and the pacific, some argue it has been part of a hollow rebalance. there were actually putting areps in a time where we downsizing our forces we cannot do a lot. china situation made it easier for us to develop some of these relationships and strengthen our allies there? >> yes. they want to make sure they have friends so they are not completely reliant on china. they change how they do that. many territorial disputes drive these in the hands of someone you can be a reasonable alternative.
it was the u.s. that showed up if they want to say you player,big regional they're not going to respond in an intelligent way. they are simply trying to force their way on many of these territorial disputes. inhink that does help us terms of being able to build the relationships we want to build. >>@for a few more questions. there is a concern they have about pay and compensation for the troops. congress has been pretty generous. surehave been making benefits are solid. the chiefs are saying over the long-term our budget is being cut overall and the troop conversation -- compensation is eating up a share of the
defense budget. do you see congress being amenable to their concerns? scaleere ways to at least back the growth in the coming years? >> we have a commission that we appointed earlier this year. addresses exactly these issues. i think they are legitimate. we need to look at ways to make sure we do not have a hollow force. you have all these pay and compensation issues. if you do not have adequate equipment, most people would say make sure i have the training and equipment i had to do the job after. i think this is a discussion we're going to have to have. the political reality in
is that it is difficult. when you look at the deficit we have had, when you look at sequestration, it is obvious that we will be building smaller budgets. you do not see that reflected frequently in congress. we are still arguing to make sure we do not cut these things. when the pentagon says they're decommission it, people say you cannot do that. the battle over the size of the national guard. congress has got to wake up and understand the budgets are getting smaller. intelligentome decisions and scissor trying to defend every little piece of the budget. i think the pentagon tried to
take a holistic approach. i hope they start to be more cooperative. we can make sure that we have the training equipment necessary for the military. >> this budget that will be dropping is probably going to be the first one we have seen that will confirm with the caps we have seen in the budget control act. smith were the secretary of defense, where would the cuts most heavily fall? we were talking about compensation and benefits. this will not go until may or june. this probably will not reform the alteration bills. make of reduction specifically? >> certainly you have to look at the personnel side.
i think there's money to be saved on the nuclear side. over 51 hundred nuclear warheads which more than meets our needs going forward. there are ways to save money. they are starting into an acquisition reform process. how can we buy more effectively? overhead is a major problem. i was pleased secretary hegel caps on said uma reductions. -- and he said he would make reductions. we have to be smart about how we purchase things. i am one of the few members of congress that try to consolidate and save money. in terms of what our costs are. the armyr do you see
coming down? how far do you think the marine corps needs to be reduced? >> those are coming down. i'm pretty sure the army is going down to 430,000. this is part of it. there are other costs in terms issuesensation and other that can be looked at. >> a package is in on this question. i could just in on this question. [indiscernible] >> i think he has done a great job. he has been very open and reaching out to congress. she is a good partner to work with. tohe has been a good partner work with. he does not know what his budget is from week to week. of that, i think he is doing a great job.
she has certainly been open in that congress cap the relationship and a good place. >> thank you very much for being this week's newsmaker. >> thank you for the chance. >> let me turn to our two reporters. let's begin where we began with the interview. that is afghanistan. what did you hear from him? >> we heard him say we need to ease up a little bit. rhetorica lot of hard coming from both sides in washington and kabul over whether to keep troops there and in what conditions. there was also some talk of a deadline by the year end. the obama administration wanted something signed by the end of the year. now we're hearing let's take our time. maybe we do not need to rush it through after all. that is probably what is going to happen. >> on iran?
>> i think he is doing the same thing. we are talking about delaying actions. the administration has no interest in sanctions. i think the democrats are discussing it. it will affect the defense authorization debate. if they cannot get a deal on , and the to the senate republicans do not seem amenable , the plan b seems more likely. >> not another round of sections? congress will hold off? republicans will wait? >> republicans will try but they cannot do it without the democratic leadership doing it. too.is interesting, there are democrats who probably would see stronger sanctions against iran. this falls on harry reid to try to figure out how to keep this
from becoming a debate on the floor. they cannot control it. it could throw a wrench in the works. some democrats may have a deal less inclined to push sanctions on a rant. another is a deal in place, is a different game. we previewed this with the secretary of state. >> you heard about what he alluded to. there is an awful lot of rhetoric coming out from people in washington. maybe they do not trust the iranians but they do recognize the importance of the moment and trying to negotiate some sort of diplomatic resolution. you had the president of israel. benjamin netanyahu has been very outspoken against the saudi's. conservative elements in iran
have been against it. moment thatrious may or may not turn out. both sides are trying to act very upset about the whole thing. i think there's some posturing going on. >> you both asked about the mood in congress. do you weigh sequestration against unemployment benefits? >> we do not want to assess the mood. why have you heard? , you have the sense the feeling there is some slow walking going on. they do not do anything until they absolutely have to. we still have some time for this to play out before they have to reach a deal. dill was an artificial imposed by the appropriate are saying we needed to get one like now so we have time to do another. fantasyland right