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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 17, 2014 6:00pm-8:01pm EST

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is too good to see the nation of cuba and its people to come free , open and democratic. >> that is exactly why today's announcement from the white house is so profound a disappointing. it is a victory for the oppressive governments. and a serious setback for the repressed cubans. the white house has conceded everything, and gained little. they gains no commitment on the part of the cuban regime on freedom of press, or freedom of speech, or elections. no binding commitment was made to truly open up the internet. no commitment was made to allow the establishment of political parties, or to even begin the resemblance of a transition to democracy. and in exchange for all of these concessions, the only thing the cuban government agreed to do this free fifty-three political prisoners, who could wind up in jail tomorrow morning as they once again take up the cause of freedom, and to allow the united nations and the red cross to
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monitor conditions on the island. the same united nations that did nothing when cuba, last year, was caught helping north korea of aid un sanctions. this entire policy announced today is based on an allusion. on a lie. the lie and the allusion that more access to goods will translate to political freedom for the cuban people. all this is going to do iis give the castro regime -- which controls every aspect of human life -- the opportunity to manipulate, to perpetuate itself and power. these changes will only lead to greater wealth and influence for the regime. especially the military, which controls most if not all of the cuban economy. and controls all of its oppressed people. these changes will lead to legitimacy for a government that shamelessly, continuously abuses
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human rights. but it will not lead to assistance for those whose rights are being abused. it is just another concession to attorney by the obama administration, rrather than a defense of every universal and an inalienable rights that our country was founded on it stands for. in short, with these changes are going to do as they will tighten this regime's grip on power for decades to come. and it was significantly set back the hope of freedom and democracy for the cuban people. now, i am overjoyed for alan gross and his family. he has been a hostage kept against his will for far too long. our prayers are with him and his family because he was not just a prisoner, he was a hostage. but this president has proven today that his foreign policy is more than just naïve. it is willfully ignorant of the
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way the world truly works. they agreed to impose sanctions on the venezuelan officials were violating human rights. a government who has spent all of 2014 killing, jailing, and oppressing their own people. and yet, we make historic concessions to the cuban government. the cuban government is influential at the highest levels of the regime. this policy contradiction is absurd. and it is disgraceful for a president who claims to treasure human rights and human freedom. this president is a single wish negotiator we have had in the white house in my lifetime. he has basically given the cuban government everything it asked for, aand received no assurances
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of any advancement in democracy. let me close by reminding everyone that god bestowed on the cuban people the same rights that he did on every other man, woman, and child that has ever lived. the inalienable rights spoken about in our founding documents. the cuban people look to america to stand up for these rights. to live up to our commitment to the god-given right of every person. to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. these rights exist not disreputable one in the continental united states-- just for the people born in the continental united states, but for people everywhere. it is unacceptable that people who do not know democracy for more than five decades is the people of cuba. that should be our overriding objective -- to do all we can to bring about political openings in cuba.
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then a free cuban people can decide about the measures they want. but these measures will do nothing to bring about that day and, in fact, i fear significantly set it back. by conceding to the oppressors, this president and this administration have let the people of cuba down. >> senator -- you have some things here about what you think might happen, which is continuing to happen based on this policy. we have seen other critics towards camp david and so on. why you so confident, in this case? >> because i know the cuban regime better than this president and anyone in this administration does. this regime and applets everyone to their advantage. they deliberately chose to allow
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people to come to this country, but forced them to leave their families behind. that way, they would guarantee that these people were sent back remittances to cuba. they deny people access to others. this is a regime that single-handedly manipulate -- time and again, the cuban government has manipulated every single concession this administration has made to their advantage. the number one goal of the cuban government is to remain in power. and anything we do will be to buy them into a mechanism for remaining in power. the cuban government will never let any changes that will threaten their ability to maintain a grip on power. you are going to see that again in the months and years to come. >> you call the president the worst negotiator. he said a short time ago that he was to work with congress to do the things necessary to
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normalize relations. what, specifically, can congress to in response? >> well, my sense is that i anticipate i will be the chairman of the western hemisphere's subcommittee of foreign relations. and i anticipate we will have a very interesting couple of years discussing how to get an embassy funded. >> about the exchange with the three remaining cubans. this has been rumored for months, maybe even more, that this was in the works in order to get alan gross back. what is your reaction to that? >> i am glad that alan gross is back. he never should have been there to begin with. let me just take this moment to point out something that the president said that is factually incorrect. the president said that cubans do not have access to advanced, twenty-first century technology
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because of the u.s. embargo. that is false. the reason why they don't have access to 20% to communications -- like smart phones and access to the internet -- is because it is illegal in cuba. the reason why allen gross was taken hostage was because he was trying to help a small jewish community in cuba have access to that equipment. so for the president to say that it was because the u.s. embargo is categorically false. the second point out make to the present is the cuban government is going to control the internet, the same way the chinese government control the internet. this notion that cuba is going to allow the cuban people to access any website they want is ridiculous. they are not going to allow that to happen. my last point on it is that i'm glad mister gross is back with his family. i am always concerned anytime
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that we trade legitimate spies for innocent americans because it sets -- it actually now in creates an incentive. but, i am happy he is with his family today. and i focus my remarks here today and make criticisms on the unilateral changes the president has made, which i think will have a dramatic impact on freedom on the island. [speaking in spanish]
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[speaking in spanish] >> our understanding is that the present is doing this -- his remarks towards the pope. does his remarks have any influence on how quickly you might decide to run for president? >> i think that my understanding -- i have not criticize the release of mister gross. i would also ask his holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy, which is critical for
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people to truly be free. i think the people of cuba deserve the same chances that the people of argentina have had, where he comes from. my point is that i hope that -- that people with that sort of prestige on the world stage will take it out for the cause of freedom and democracy. the cuban people are the only people in this hemisphere who have not been able to elect a leader in more than fifty-five or sixty years. for this government, under barack obama, to give up everything is unacceptable in my mind. this is unrelated to anything prior. i'm not going to discuss that today. >> do see this move as yet another unilateral move done by the present wwithout speaking to the congress? >> with regard to the acts, i would say that i would can see that many of the changes have been made today fall within the purview of the presidency.
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my comments are based on the fact that these are unwise decisions. the fact that i now know, for fundamental truth, that this will make the day when democracy comes to cuba even further away. they are going to utilize these changes to create more wealth, more funding for their oppressive regime. in a few years, you're going to see them here in the halls of congress to lobby. i saw that this week when we tried to pursue and pass a bill that supported democracy protesters in hong kong. my office is getting phone calls from companies that do business in china asking us to back off. you are going to see that here now, too. >> alan gross was released from prison and that, of course, goes
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hand-in-hand with the change in policy. would you have rather seen him remain imprisoned? >> according to the white house, they do not go hand-in-hand. the interchange between the united states and cuba on the three spies with a american held in prison -- suffices to say, the three prisoners - the three spies that were in u.s. custody were not benign spies going around cutting up newspaper clippings. at least two of them were involved in direct information given to the cuban government that led to the murders of american citizens were patrolling the streets in florida or national waters. >> president obama alluded to young cuban-americans, saying that they accept more normal
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relations. which is quite different from what you are saying. how do you explain that the younger generation -- >> partially, because i'm forty-three -- i feel forty-four -- and partially because, look, this is not a political thing. i don't care for 99% of the people believe we should normalize relations with cuba. i believe that before we can normalize relations, democracy has to come first. or at least significant steps towards democracy. i think we share -- including the individuals that the present discussed -- freedom for cuba. i would say that if you want the majority of -- if you went to the majority of the people out there and said we are going to recognize them, we're going to open up the banking sector, we are going to do -- and in exchange, all cuba is going to do is release fifty-three prisoners they can put back until next year.
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most people would say, well, that is not the idea we had in mind. let me be clear, i am in favor of normalizing relations with cuba. but for that to happen, cuba has to be normal. cuba has to be a democracy. the day they take significant steps towards democracy, i will be the first one to stand up here and say now is the time to change policy. that day is clearly not today. >> you have been told that the administration one be for it. did you consult congress? >> a couple points. i was aware of these measures last night, not from the administration. i chose not to discuss it at the time because i do not want to imperil the safety and well-being of mister gross. who, as i understood, was in route or potentially in route. i was not consulted by anyone in the administration until about 10:00 am this morning, when secretary kerry placed a call to me.
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i expressed a secretary my belief that they are being incredibly naïve, if not willfully ignorant about the impact that this is going to have on cuba. all of a sudden democracy is going to spring. that is ridiculous. the notion that somehow this is going to lead to a second cuban revolution, despite the fact that humans are not able to buy more goods from the united states. i interact with people who have been oppressed by it every single day. these changes will do nothing to change their behavior toward cuban people. it will be just as impressive a year from now as it is today. >> you say that congress was not consulted -- >> well, i do not know that they
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consulted other members of congress. i was not consulted. i spoke to no one in the administration about it until 10:00 am this morning. >> what is your nomination on 2016? >> i am not discussing 2016 today, out of respect and the gravity for this issue. i will say that, in congress, we're going to do everything we can. it is something that i am personally committed to being a part of. by the way, i'm also committed to liberty, freedom, and democracy in north korea, and hong kong, and china -- wwhich is why i have been an outspoken critic of the chinese government. cuba is close to home for me, because of my heritage and the people i know. i know, firsthand, how this oppressive regime manipulates families for purposes of perpetuating themselves in
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power. i know what they are capable of doing to people who speak out against the regime. none of that is going to change. none of the measures taken today -- they will do absolutely nothing to change the course. [speaking in spanish] >> translated: this is the worst leader i have seen in my life. he has change basically nothing. >> i just wanted to ask you about how committed you are to blocking the funding for an embassy, and blocking the nomination of an ambassador, given the fact that you have actually a lot more power. have you made a decision on how you are blocking at?
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>> i am committed to do everything i can to unravel as many of these changes as possible. >> have you figured out yet which would you can unravel? >> obviously, it has been just a few hours since this announcement has been made. it is up to the present to implement policy and execute policy. time and again, you have seen that he has forgotten it. but i'll use everything under my authority to see this unraveled. i do this not out of animosity, but out of animosity towards the cuban government's regime and oppression of their people. i have never analyze this issue from an electoral perspective. .this is how it passionately feel
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quite frankly, it is irrelevant. as i told you earlier, i don't care of 99% of people in polls disagree with my position, this is my position. and i feel passionate about it. i am glad that i'm on this side of human rights and freedom. i hope that we can have the conversation turned congress to overturn these policies today. >> the president says that if you do the same thing over and over, it doesn't work. do you agree with him? >> in fact, that is a good point. i think we should increase the measures that we take against cuba. for example, the violation of human sanctions. last year, in the panama canal, a ship that left cuba was intercepted. on that shift was illegal items. the government did nothing. and it should have. this government has been slow to
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criticize cuban human rights violations over the past few months. this government accepted their attendance at the summit, a summit that was put together by a collection of democracies. it was never intended to include a communistic dictatorship, which is what cuba is. i disagree in what he has done about it. this argument that somehow the embargo has not worked, therefore let's try something completely different. sounds good on paper, but here's the reality. just because we change our policy towards cuba, does not mean allow we allow cuba to do whatever it wants. yes, maybe there will be more telecommunications companies in cuba. but what people are able to view on the internet is going to be completely controlled by the cuban government. where people are going to spend
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that money is completely controlled by the cuban government. yes, more chips are going to be allowed. but that is going to be completely controlled by the cuban government. they are not going to agree to anything that destabilizes their grip on power. the sooner the administration realizes that, the less problems will have. >> [speaking in spanish] >> translated: i think that the government is a dictatorship. last year, they -- they support a dictatorship. i will answer cuba's stance. i think cuba is a terrorist government. whether they are kidnapping celebrities or otherwise.
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in a panama canal, ship was intercepted from cuba that violated sanctions. that sounds like terrorism to me. in a statement a few moments ago, the president said it made no sense, and the twenty-first century, for country like you were to be on the list. >> can you talk about the prospects of congress being able to actually listen? >> this congress is not going to lift the embargo. thank you.
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>> senator rubio wasn't the only one reacting today. >> good afternoon. it is a pleasure to welcome from here fromr washington.
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we agreed there would be a good dialogue, which has been absent from our relationship for too long. it was good to be able to welcome them here today to continue the dialogue we began when i was in rwanda. before we begin, it is important for me today to say a few words about the release of allen gross. i'm happy to talk about allen after the unspeakable tragedies of this past week. every single one of us are really grateful to see alan home
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on american soil, to see him free and reunited with his family, to feel and witness the is sharingis family today, that all the people in our country are sharing on their behalf. it couldn't be a better gift for the holiday season. privilege of meeting with alan and his wife shortly after he came back. i want to say that judy, who we have gotten to know over the course of these months has been indefatigable. hope alive today could be a reality. we are happy that alan is now free and reunited with his
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family. i was a 17 euro kid when i first heard an american president talk about cuba as an imprisoned island. for 5.5 decades since our policy towards cuba has remained virtually frozen. it has done little to promote a prosperous democratic and stable cuba. there is no other country in the world to which we have closed our lives for as long as we have with cuba. the berlin wall fell 25 years ago. the wall separating americans and cubans has yet to come down. not only has this policy failed to advance america's goals, it has actually isolated the united states. instead of isolating cuba. to countriesed out
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where our wounds are far deeper than they are in cuba. 20 years ago i saw firsthand how three presidents, one republican and two democrats undertook a similar effort to change the united states relationship with the anon. it wasn't easy. it still isn't complete today. .t had to start somewhere make no mistake, it has worked. we made peace. we normalized relations. we even signed a trade deal with vietnam. anybody who has traveled there today will tell you how much that country has changed and is continuing to change. are there things yet to achieve? of course. but we are dealing with a country in which thousands of americans died or the course of our lifetime. that is not the situation with
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cuba. today, we have a choice. we can ignore change and resist it, or we can mold and channel it into a new set of his. in 2009, when he first became president, president obama has taken steps forward to change our relationship and improve the lives of people of cuba by easing restrictions on remittances and on family travel area with this new opening, the president has committed the united states to begin to chart an even more ambitious course forward. in january, as part of the president's directive to discuss moving toward reestablishing diplomatic relations, assistant secretary for western hemisphere roberta jacobson will travel to cuba to lead the delegation for the next round of u.s.-cuba migration talk. i look forward, at the right time, to being the first secretary of state in 16 years
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to visit cuba. at president obama request, i also asked my team to initiate a review of cuba's designation of -- as a state sponsor of terrorism. in the months ahead, the critical focus of our increased engagement will continue to be improving the cuban government's respect for human rights and advocating for democratic reforms in cuba. the changes that president obama announced today will empower the cuban people to shape their own future. we all -- for cuba to enjoy the social freedoms we have spread throughout our atmosphere. an active society will only help remediate cuba into the
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community. after more than 50 years of trying to isolate cuba, a policy that has obviously not worked, and has isolated us more than them, it is time to try working with the cuban people to build a better and different future. building a new future is exactly what brings us here today for the u.s. strategic dialogue. over the past months, i have spoken often about leadership, and in this moment, the promise and decision for all afghans. we had the african summit here in washington with leaders in more than 40 countries. all of these to help shape the vision of the future. committed to making the most of acommitted to making the most of this moment through this very important role as leader in the region, particularly on these
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issues. i was very encouraged today by the depth of our discussion. the prime minister did not come here today asking me for one specific program or another. today, the foreign minister talked to me about syria, israel, palestine, ukraine, and about the challenges they will face as new members nexgen you are a of the security council of the united nations. we have different relationships now and we need to build on it. it is playing an interval role -- integral role in peace in the great lakes region. the price of the great lakes continues to trouble us all. the eastern part of the democratic republic of congo has been the scene of some of the most perfect crimes of violence
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against women and girls that are imaginable. it is a powerful reminder that -- of the obligations we share not only for fear, but to work for a new generation of stability and hope. i want to and stability and hope. i want to thank their president for his personal commitment to that effort. particularly conference in the great lakes region. the foreign minister, their engagement with leaders has been and remains critical for ending the threat of armed groups, and no group poses a more immediate threat to the stability of the region of democratic forces for the liberation of rwanda. the united states continues to support a two track approach to ending the threat of stl r, which includes demobilization and robust military efforts. we all know the six-month grace period for six-month surrender expires january 2, just round the corner.
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a choice is clear. if they choose the path of demobilization, the international community, all of us, will welcome it. if the fdlr does not make that choice, the un's peacekeeping mission must act to ensure that the region delivers on its commitment to end the threat of the fdlr once and for all. i want to emphasize that great dividends of our partnership extends beyond the drc. on issue after issue, our interest is are aligning like never before. we're working together on maritime security.
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we are combating piracy. we also discussed important issues like human trafficking, which has been a concern. yesterday, a senior delegation of diplomats came to washington for discussions with our team here in washington. we look forward in the days ahead to working very closely with them in their responsibilities and we began the discussion in various ways today. we are particularly pleased and goa has recently taken steps to join the chemical weapons convention. this is a treaty of conscience. for nearly 100 years, the world has stood up for the international norm against the use of chemical weapons in the course of war. i want you to just think, before russia and the united states came to an agreement, they were spread around the country.
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imagine what would've happened now if we had not succeeded in removing those chemical weapons when they had taken over control of a large percentage of the country. that turned out to have been a providential choice and decision and accomplishment. during our conversation today, i am size to the foreign minister that the united states stands ready to assist in meeting the cheetos obligations. the danger of these weapons falling into the wrong hands should compel all of us to build consensus for action. the foreign minister and i also discussed the importance of i lateral trade and continuing to grow the economic relationship
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between us. one of our most important trading partners. the economy has experienced remarkable growth in recent years. in our discussions, we have begun consideration and will continue over the next months and years to talk about the ways the united states and angola can grow our trade in investment relationships. in particular, we want to deepen our cooperation in agriculture, technology, energy diversity, and infrastructure area when i was in rwanda, we talked at some length about the possibilities. these are the building blocks of a modern, dynamic company. i met with energy company executives and learned about the numbers of england's that are being hired and trained in that industry. i also saw firsthand how our invest in its are improving the business climate and increasing and angola's economic integration into the region, actually leveraging angola's
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leadership in many ways. we need to make sure this progress continues. and it is clear that when we stand together, and when we stand with nations that are trying to make the kind of progress angola is today, we all share in success. a moment of great opportunity for the u.s. partnership with angola. we would like to be angola's partner of choice. global security, the u.n., and economic partnership. thank you again for your visit. these are important days, and as i have said, we need to work together and rely each other. i know you do. we very much look forward to building the strength of the partnership you find one we're in rwanda, and i'm very happy to have you back here in washington. thank you, my friend.
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>> translation: i would like to thank secretary kerry for the invitation for us to come visit the united states of america at this particular time. i would also like to thank secretary kerry for his visit to rwanda last may. and after his visit, many things have in happening between our two countries. of course, after that, we have the summit of african heads of state here in the u.s. during
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that meeting. and goa and the u.s. signed the bank agreement, which will allow us to finance transportation projects, as well as energy projects also. with the ambassador in angola, we have been accelerating our cooperation, which has opened the way to meetings of the technical groups, preparing for the summit about security and energy at the gulf of guinea, which will take place at the beginning next year, probably during the first quarter. we observed that the level of the agreements, are witnessed of a corporation between and goa and the u.s. our conversation, today, was especially important, because we
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did not just talk about the bilateral issues, as secretary kerry mentioned. we talked about human rights. we talked about our agreement on human trafficking, and the corporation that we have among our institutions and both governments. also, the u.s., were happy with angola about the chemical weapons convention, which is being reviewed by our
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parliament. of course, all countries in the world should work toward being free of such weapons. therefore, our team with the u.s. was extremely important, taking into account all of the aspects of our bilateral migration. of course, we talked about the great lakes region. the u.s. congratulated what angola has been doing along those lines area so that the country, views our contribution towards peace in that area grows. that is a region that should already be in peace. there are rebel roots, collective efforts of the region, which have allowed the end. fdlr is still a concern for us, and it is a pertinent item on our agenda. and the international concerns
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on the great lakes, the u.n., local organize asian, are all working very hard to see an answer to this. we need a peaceful solution and fdl r has -- has to abide by the promises. such forces will have to demilitarize. under the u.n., they will be watchful and will have to make them do their part. the recent meeting between international conference african union, discussing the importance of this issue, and we all have a duty to make it so, that those forces do their part. and we are ready to act if they do not.
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we also talked about an important issue the secretary of state mentioned. especially global security, the middle east, the situation in israel and syria and the ukraine, and therefore, we talked about many issues and our conversations show that we share our opinion on all of them.
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as far as the u.n. is concerned, we will continue to cooperate. we will continue conversing and africa and angola, of course, representing the african continent, was the other three countries, will work in a coordinated way with the security and peace council of the african union. therefore, i would be remiss if i did not congratulate the u.s. for the decision that president obama made today about sanctions against cuba, to start diplomatic relations with that
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country, because this is a battle in which we were opposite sides, therefore, for many years, there was this oppression of the cuban people for not being able to have a relationship with the u.s. therefore, we congratulate president obama, secretary kerry, because, it was not comfortable to see the u.s. condemn cuba at the general assembly of the u.n. due to its policies and, the u.s. was also looking at cuba as a sponsor of international terrorism.
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this is all changing. this is better and bigger dialogue that is being holding that the health, not only with cuba, but all the countries that supported cuba. therefore, our congratulations to the u.s. for that once more. i would like to thank you for inviting me, mr. secretary. so that in the u.s., we can meet under the offices of the strategic partnership dialogue and i think that we did what -- much more during this period in which mr. secretary has been in office. he visitors -- he visited us this year and we met at the
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african summit. this shows the commitment of the u.s. in a positive way. thank you very much. [applause] >> the first question will be from allie weinberg of abc news. >> thank you. mr. secretary, there is a lot going on the world. i hope you will indulge me in asking about two topics. first come in cuba, several members of congress have artie made their thoughts known. how do you expect the political atmosphere here in the united states to affect your efforts to normalize relations with you but?
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and, you met with alan gross today and talked a little bit about that. how did you perceive his health and demeanor? can you tell us a little bit about how he was doing? second -- >> third. >> fair enough. palestinian leaders are reportedly planning to submit a u.n. revelation earlier this year. perhaps they have artie done it since we have been in this room. what is your understanding of the status of that resolution at this time and how would the united states respond to it and does the submission of this resolution undermined your efforts earlier this week to find common ground between israelis and palestinians? finally, how concerned are you that the gulf of guinea will be become a bigger problem for and goa and its neighbors with respect to terrorism threats,
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and to what extent did that come up today during strategic dialogue? thank you. >> i will answer in english. i think this conference is particularly important. we should congratulate the ambassador in the united states, because, you know, very recently, angola was faced with a terrorist attack and we did not realize until now how important and serious that was on the gulf of guinea. the gulf of guinea represents a lot. 50% of world crude oil in the gulf of guinea. you also have many countries and borders and a lot of trade within the region. it is particularly important, and that is why this conference will be a conference on security and energy.
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most countries in the region produce oil, which naturally are consumed by the international community. and so we think, unless we address very well the issue of having a navy capable in the region, if we cannot do it, we will have to have our partners, the united states, france, and others, our international artist, who eventually can work to make sure we guarantee security in that particular region there it i think one of the issues will also be, i think some of the piracy comes from within the states in the region. with one will have to be handled by the government would build in the region where it we need work on all these aspects of the problem, so that we solve the problem. so, we have got to talk during
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the conference for possible solutions, and then looking at how our local governments will do their part, and how we can bring in our partners as well so we can have security in that region area >> thank you. -- region. >> thank you. with respect to members of congress, the members of congress who oppose what the president did today, and the administration, as lewdly share the same goal. we want a cuba that is free and where humans have the ability to make choices. the president's announcement today is calculated to open up opportunity for the people of
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cuba, but also to break down barriers for all these years, so we can, hopefully, deal with other issues of concern. the ability of people to move, travel, and make choices, and we are confident that what the president did today will make some difference. we hope the process, which we will engage in now, for -- further price -- further progress will be made, but also, in the next months and years, -- that is what i think will happen here. we recognize some members have strong feelings about it. but these are the choices one has to make. we welcome debate. we will look very closely when congress returns next year.
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hopefully, people will ultimately see the wisdom and possibilities of these openings. for many years, far bigger and far more threatening, and in some cases, more repressive in various places in the world, because we had to do with governments there. when you remain isolated, you cut yourself off. if it policy has not work in 60 years, you know the old saying, if you dig in the hole, you're getting deeper and deeper, stop digging. a lot of people feel this is a time for a change. life is different and the world is different. communication is different. people have access to more information. we will not stop fighting for human rights are fighting for democracy. all of those are in the agenda.
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the president very specifically said in going to the summit of the americas and panama, he believes it is this notion by civil society that it will also take part in human rights and democracy will be on the agenda. it should be. so we are quite ready to have a good dialogue with congress. the courageous choice the president made today. with respect to alan gross, this is a man who just touch down in america five years after imprisonment. i know from our efforts over the course of the last two years, even when i was in the senate, we engaged in efforts to see if there really is could be one. it was a number of months ago when alan's mother was very sick and we had to have him released before she passed away. we did not succeed there -- and
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alan was very despondent. i know i wrote him a note at one point in time, because we were concerned and his lawyers and his life was particularly concerned about his state of health. today, i saw a man rejuvenated by freedom, by seeing his wife again, by being restored to american soil, and knowing that he told me he was going only by his sense of humor, and i think you have seen a touch of that today. he asked for his privacy. i am sure at some point, people will get to know him better. for the moment, i think we have seen the man who poignantly and excitedly and passionately extolled the virtues of being american and gratitude for being
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back in the united states. with respect to the u.n. resolution, we have not seen the language yet. we do not know precisely what was filed. we have been troubled by some of the language that has been out there in different points in time. we do not have any problem with them filing some sort of resolution, provided it is done in this. of working with able to see how we could perceive forward and his thoughtful in a way that could solve the problem and does not make it worse and we are focused on reducing the violence, trying to make certain that the people of israel can conduct their election an atmosphere where they can focus on their issues internally, not externally imposed, and our hope
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is to be able to advance the process and not said it here that is our goal. with respect to at undermining the chances for long-term reform, i do not believe that will happen if people act responsibly. if people come together and work together and exert an effort to try to find common ground here, i am confident the people of israel are as interested in peace as the people in palestine and west bank and jordan in the region. but this is not the moment to opine on that process. there is an election under way and i think we need to see it progress and pull our efforts together in the most constructive way possible. that will come through consultations. >> the next question will be
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from angola public television. >> thank you. my bad english. sorry. translator: i would like to know from mr. secretary if, whether after this meeting with our ministry of foreign relations, what can we expect in terms of results in the near future in terms of bilateral cooperation? for example, will we see droves of american investment in our economy, which is not only limited to oil? >> we very much hope so. this effort to expand and broaden the base of our investment was very much the subject of our conversation when we relented. we did not talk about it today, although we mentioned investment.
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but we specifically talked about it in rwanda. but also on the bilateral issues. which means education. infrastructure. are many things we can do on health and health care. we are prepared -- technology transfer. we understand the challenge and of infrastructure development. one of the main challenges. we feel there are many ways in which the u.s. could be helpful in that process. be able would like to to cooperate. in the age of climate change, where many are looking for diversity with respect to energy sources, we want to have a diversified economic relationship with angola.
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that means broadening the base. to attract, as the minister knows, attracting advanced -- investment. requires transparency, accountability. we have to make sure all those ingredients are part of the conversation, which they will be as part of the dialogue we are engaging in. thank you all very much. we appreciate it. >> thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> tonight we will show you president obama passed statement on normalizing relations with cuba while lifting travel and
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economic sanctions in place for over 50 years. this chains comes after cuba released an aid worker and unnamed intelligence agent. lots of social media reaction today. we have been asking the question, should the u.s. normalize relations with cuba? hundreds have posted comments,. including a person who writes, this is overdue. always made peace with our enemies after wars and cutbacks and cuba should be no different. marissa says, good job. tohave opened the doors dictators to hold americans hostage. would like to hear from you as well. log on to a spoke to join the conversation -- facebook to join the conversation.
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earlier today, janet yellen said no major monetary policy changes will be coming out of the federal open market meetings this year. she also discussed oil prices and while prices continue to fall. >> good afternoon. the federal open market committee committee looted -- concluded its last meeting. the policy statement reaffirmed their view that the current target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. the committee also updated the federal funds rate indicating that the committee judges it can be patient in beginning to normalize the stance of the monetary policy. this new language does not represent a change in the policy intentions and it is fully
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consistent with our previous guidance which stated that it will likely be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program. but with that program having ended in october and the economy continuing to make progress towards our objectives the committee judged that some modifications are appropriate at this time. i will have more to say about the policy decisions in a moment but first let me review recent economic developments in the outlook. in the labor market, progress continues towards the objective of maximum employment. the pace of job growth has been strong recently with gains averaging nearly 280,000 per month over the past three months. over the past 12 months, job
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gains averaged nearly 280,000 per month. the unemployment rate was 8.5% in november, three tenths slower than the latest available at the time of the september fomc meeting. broad measures of labor market utilization have showed similar improvement and with the labor force participation down as noted in the statement, underutilization's continue to diminish. even so there is room for further improvement with too many people who want the jobs being able to come unable to find them, too many people working part-time that would prefer full-time and too many who've given up searching for a job that would likely do so if the labor market were stronger. the committee continues to see sufficient underlining strength in the economy to support
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ongoing improvement in the labor market. real gdp looks to increase in the third quarter reflecting solid consumption and investment spending. smoothing through the quarterly ups and downs earlier this year, the real gdp expanded around 2.5% over the four quarters ending in the third quarter. and the available indicators suggest economic growth is running at roughly the pace in the current quarter. the committee continues to expect a moderate pace of growth going forward. inflation has continued in -- to run below the 2% objective and the recent sizable decline in the oil prices will likely hold down overall inflation in the near term. but it's the effect of these oil price declines and other
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transitory factors dissipate and resource utilization continues to rise the committee expects inflation to move gradually back towards its objectives. in making this forecast, the committee is mindful of the recent declines in market-based measures of inflation compensation. at this point of the committee views these movements as likely to prove transitory and survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable. that said, developments in this area obviously bear close watching. this outlook is reflected in the individual economic projection submitted in conjunction with this meeting by the participants . as always each participant's projections are conditioned on his or her own view of appropriate monetary policy.
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the central tendency of the rate projections is slightly lower than the september projections and now stands at 5.2 to 5.3% at the end of next year in line with its estimated long-run normal level. committee participants generally see the unemployment rate as declining a little further over the course of 2016 and 2017. the central tendency for the gdp growth was 2.3 to 2.4% for 2014 , up a bit from the september projections. over the next three years the projections for the real gdp growth run somewhat above the estimates of longer run normal growth. finally, although fomc
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participants project inflation in the near-term to the lower on account of the decline in energy prices, they continue to see an inflation moving gradually back towards 2%. the central tendency of the projections is 1.0-1.6% next year rising to 1.8-2% in 2017. as i noted earlier, the committee reaffirmed its view that the current zero to one quarter percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. regarding forward guidance for the federal funds rate, our october statement indicated that it likely would be appropriate to maintain the current target reach for the federal funds rate for considerable time following the end of the asset purchase program especially if it is the projected inflation continuing
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to run below the committee's two percent longer run goal. today's statement which indicates the committee judges that it can be patient and beginning to normalize the stance of monetary policy does not signify any change in the committee's policy intentions as set forth in its recent statements. as before the judgment is based on the committee's assessment of realized and expected progress towards its objectives of maximum employment and 2% inflation. an assessment that is based on a wide reach of information including market conditions and indicators of inflation pressures and expectations in the reading on financial developments. given that the committee is not doing a change in policy, why did we update the guidance? the reason is that with the asset purchase program having
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been down in october it seemed less helpful to continue to communicate the best possible timing for a first rate increase with reference to an event that is receding into the past. instead we have shifted to the language which reflects the committee's focus on the economic conditions that would make liftoff appropriate. and when it is rising at a healthy rate and the u.s. economy is strengthening reflecting in part to the highly accommodative stance of monetary policy. of course inflation has been running somewhat below the goal of 2%, but we project that is too close gradually over time. as progress in achieving maximum employment and 2% inflation continues, at some point it will become appropriate to begin reducing policy accommodation. but based on its current
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outlook, the committee judges that it can be patient in doing so. in particular the committee considers it unlikely to begin the normalization process for at least the next couple of meetings. this assessment of course is completely data dependent. if incoming information indicates faster progress towards the committee's employment and inflation objectives, then the committee now expects increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than are currently anticipated. conversely, if the progress is slower than expected cut in increases in the target range are likely to occur later than anticipated. once we begin to remove the policy accommodations come it
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, it continues to be the committee's assessment that even after employment and inflation are near mandate consistent levels, economic conditions may for some time or around keeping the target federal funds rate below the levels the committees use as normal in the longer run. this guidance is consistent with the paths for appropriate policy given by the participants. assuming that the economy evolves in line with the participant expectations, almost all participants believe that it won't be appropriate to begin raising the target range for the federal funds rate in 2015. there are views on the appropriate timing of liftoff within the year in part reflecting differences in the participant expectations for how
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the economy will evolve. by the time of liftoff, participants expect to see further decline in the unemployment rate and additional improvement in the labor market conditions. they also expect core inflation to be running near current levels but foresee being reasonably confident in their expectations that inflation will move back towards the 2% long-run inflation objective over time. of course as i previously emphasized, the timing of the initial rise in the federal funds target as well as the paths to the target thereafter are contingent on economic conditions. by late 2016 the median projection to the federal funds rate at 2.5% remains more than a percentage point below the
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longer run value of three and three quarters percent or so projected by most participants. even though the central tendency of the unemployment rate by that time is slightly below its estimated long-run value and the tendency for inflation is closer towards the 2% objective. fomc participants provide a number of explanations to the federal funds rate running below its normal level at that time. in particular the residual effects of the financial crisis which are likely to continue to constrain household spending and constrain the credit availability for some time. but as the factors dissipate further, most participants expect the federal funds rate to move close to its longer run level by the end of 2017. finally, the committee will continue its policy of reinvesting proceeds from maturing treasury securities and
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principal payments from holdings of agency debt. the committee' sizable holdings of longer-term securities should help maintain accommodative financial conditions and promote further progress towards objectives of maximum employment and inflation of 2%. thank you and i will be happy to take your questions. >> a number of officials projected in the lead up to this meeting that was likely the timing for liftoff was around the middle of next year. i wonder if you could clarify that. you said in your statement that it's not for at least two meetings. the forecast seems to be consistent with something like
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a middle of the year lift off. can you speak to that and can you also speak to that which we are seeing now in particular the market-based inflation expectations and whether that gives the committee any hesitancy in the months ahead? >> i did say the statements the committee can be patient should be interpreted as meaning that it is unlikely to begin the normalization process for at least the next couple of meetings. now that doesn't point to any time at which normalization is going to begin. there are a range of views on the committee and it will be dependent on how incoming data bears on the progress the economy is making.
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first, i want to emphasize that no meeting is completely off the table in the sense that if we do see see test progress towards our objectives, then it possible the process of the normalization would occur sooner than we anticipated and of course the converse is also true. so at this point we think that it's unlikely that it would be appropriate that we would see conditions for at least the next couple of meetings that would make it appropriate for us to decide on the normalization and a member of the participants indicated that in their view the conditions could be appropriate by the middle of next year but there is no preset time and
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there are a range interviews as -- of views as to when the appropriate conditions will likely fall into place. so, something that we will be watching closely as the year unfolds. you asked also i think about inflation and as i mentioned in my press statement, especially with the downward pressures on inflation that we expect to see for a little while because of declining oil prices and import prices, we certainly expect headline inflation to be under downward pressure for a while. and as i mentioned most participants do envision the conditions will be appropriate during this coming year to begin normalizing policy and they do largely expect that inflation will be running close to its
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current level. headline inflation could even be lower. but they would want to have a feeling of reasonable confidence that when we start the process of normalizing policy that it will be moving up over time, and of course, if the labor market conditions continue to improve, history suggests that as long as inflation expectations remain well-anchored that that is likely to occur. >> marty, associated press. given what's happening, there seems to be a pattern that the market expects big news to come when you have a press conference and good news to come when you
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don't have one. is that a good expectation and is there any thought to have a press conference at every meeting? >> i would like to encourage -- discourage that expectation. every meeting that we have is a live meeting in which the committee could make a policy decision and we go feel free to do so so i would discourage the expectation that policy moves can only occur when there's there is a scheduled press conference and we have long had in place the ability to hold a press conference and we did do so on a number of occasions in earlier years. so, the committee clearly wants to be all to explain its
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reasoning for normalizing the policies. every meeting is live and if we were to decide in a meeting to begin to normalize the policy i expect that we would hold a press conference call. theas there concern that ls, low oil prices and lower yields around the world is one of deflation and the risk was one that should overshadow the concern about the other side. >> we are very attentive to the global development and certainly discuss them in a meeting. the very substantial decline that we have seen in oil prices is one of the most important
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developments shaping the global outlook. it will have different effects in different regions and could have effects on financial markets as we are seeing. i think the judgment of the committee is that from the standpoint of the united states and the u.s. outlook that the decline that we have seen in the oil prices is likely to be on the net a positive. it's something that's certainly good for families and households and it is putting more money in their pockets having to spend less on gas and energy. so in that sense it's like a tax cut to boost their spending power. the united states remains although the production of oil has increased dramatically we still remain a net importer of oil. of course there may be some
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offset in the form of reduced drilling activity and possibly some change, some reduction in plans in the drilling area. but on balance i would see these developments as a positive or the standpoint of the u.s. economy. with respect to deflation, we see downward pressure on the headline inflation from climbing -- declining energy prices and we certainly recognize that that is going to be pushing down headline inflation. and may even spell over to some extant to the core inflation. but at this point also be we indicated that we are monitoring inflation developments carefully.
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we see these developments as transitory. and the committee continues to believe especially in the improvement that we are seeing in the labor market which we expect to continue that inflation will move back up towards the projected objective over time. as i indicated, i believe that people will expect to deal reasonably confident about that when the process of normalization begins, but we do expect them to be transitory. -- oure is a gap between markets misunderstanding your intentions? >> >> that is difficult for me to say. what i want to say is our objective is to communicate as clearly as we possibly can about our plans and how we see the economic environment unfolding. when the participants in the committee fill out the
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they are asked to give the federal funds rate and the various economic variables that they consider most likely they are not asked to talk about all the different things that could happen, recognizing there is uncertainty and the funds rate that they would consider appropriate if those other alternatives were to happen. but other alternatives i think are priced into the market and one reason that they may be different than the committee's is because they place the probability on other outcomes that looked different than what
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they regard as the model forecast. they may also have a different expectations about how the economic outlook and how it is likely to unfold. i recognize that there are significant differences. i cannot tell you exactly what they are due to but what i do want to do is communicate as clearly as i can and how we would set the funds rate over time. >> [inaudible] >> there are a number of different factors that are bearing on the path of market interest rates. i think including global economic developments. it is often the case that when oil prices move down and the
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dollar appreciates, that tends to put downward pressure on inflation compensation and on the longer-term rates and the flows that may be affecting longer-term treasury yields. we are trying to communicate our thoughts as clearly as we can. reed -- i was hoping you could go into more detail even though you see it as transitory. does that give you more room to keep rates low in the next few months and if the prices bounce back what is that going to do to the ability to change rates to react to that? >> i would say i think that's
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that what we have seen since the mid-80s is that in the environment where the inflation expectations are anchored that movements in oil and commodity prices and import prices tend to have transitory effects on the inflation outlook. there were many years in which we had unanticipated increases in oil prices really beginning in 2004, 2005 that put upward pressure on headline inflation and even spilled through into core. typically the committee looked through those impacts in the view that they would be transitory. i think that is the committee's expectation here. inflation has been running below
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the objective and movements in oil are now down and will move inflation around. certainly headline inflation. but the committee finds those to be transitory. so, as long as the participants feel confident that the information projection is one that we expect to meet our objective over time i think they will be looking at things as we decide on the path for the funds rate. -- cold thene
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decline transitory. you were talking about expectations that inflation would be below target. some market participants see this as evidence of declining credibility any long-term objectives. why do you still view that as transitory? question is why does the committee see inflation theining slightly below long-term natural rate. the reason is inflation is running below our objective. the committee wants to see moved back toward our objective over time. short time of undershoot will
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facilitate faster return of inflation to our objective. it is very small. where there is great uncertainty about exactly what constitutes maximum employment. see the different measures of slack in the labor market. pointing to different maximumnts of what employment is. the standard unemployment rate for quite some time now has been signaling a little bit less slack in the labor market than measures that are somewhat broader, for example, include the unusually large number of
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people who are part-time employed but would prefer full-time jobs. and the portion of the decline we've seen in the labor force participation that looks like it would disappear in, or be eroded in a stronger economy, and so it may be that with a very small undershoot of this longer run normal level of the unemployment rate is measured by the standard unemployment rate, we'll be seeing some further progress on those margins of slack. but it's important to point out that the committee is not anticipating an overshoot of its 2% inflation objective. [inaudible] what i would say, we refer to this in the statement as inflation compensation rather than inflation expectations.
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the gap between the nominal yields on 10 year treasuries, for example, and tips have declined, that's inflation compensation and five year, five year forward as you said have also declined. that could reflect a change in inflation expectations, but it could also reflect changes in assessment of inflation risks, the risk premium that's necessary to compensate for inflation that might especially have fallen if the probabilities attached to very high inflation have come down. and it can also reflect liquidity effects in markets and, for example, it's sometimes
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the case that when there is a flight to safety, that flight tends to be concentrated in nominal treasuries and could also serve to compress that spread. so i think the jury is out about exactly how to interpret that downward move in inflation compensation, and we indicated that we are monitoring inflation developments carefully. >> madam chair, bloomberg television. want to follow up if i could on firming going forward on the normalization once liftoff takes place. i know you said it will be data dependent. does that suggest to markets to those watching that the measured pace we've seen in the previous tightening cycle, those quarter-point increments, that's not something markets should expect? what's your own take away about how effective that measured pace was back in the previous tightening cycle?
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let me follow-up on the dissent of this meeting, three dissents a notable number. what does that say about the debate around the table in your ability to forge consensus going forward? are you disappointed a number of dissents> >> so let me start with the number of dissents. there is a wide range of opinion in the committee. i think it's appropriate for people to be able to express their views, and in the sense you see dissents on both sides, i think the statement, does a good job of reflecting what the majority of the committee thinks is appropriate policy. so you know, at a time like this where we are making consequential decisions, i think it's reasonable to see divergents is of opinion. just remind me, what was the other -- measured pace. there certainly has been no decision on the part of the
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committee to move at a measured pace, or to use language like i think quite a few people looking back on that language, i can't remember if it was 12 or 16 meetings with over 25 basis point moves, would probably not like to repeat a sequence in which there was a measured pace in 25 basis point moves at every meeting. so i certainly don't want to encourage you to think that there will be a repeat of that. many members of the committee participants have said that they think policy should be based on the actual evolution of economic activity and inflation which tends to be variable over time, and that's why i said i anticipate it will be data dependent. we have continued to provide guidance, the same guidance that we have for some time, that says
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the committee anticipates that even after employment and inflation are near mandate consistent levels, that economic conditions for some time warrants keeping the target funds rate before the levels the committee considers normal in the longer run. i know that's a mouthful but says in effect that the committee believes that the economic conditions that have made recovery difficult were getting beat on them. they are optimistic that those conditions will lift. they see the longer run normal lift interest rates as around 3.75%. so there's no view in the committee that there is the secular stagnation in the sense we won't eventually get back to pretty historically normal levels of interest rates, but
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they have said, you know, the economy is required to get where it is, a good deal of monetary policy, accommodation. we expect to be able to normalize policy, but until those conditions have lifted that have held back economic activity, monetary policy will need to stay accommodative. so in that sense perhaps that's equivalent to saying that the path of normalization is anticipated to be relatively gradual. but again, the path of rates will depend on how economic conditions actually evolve. that's nothing more than an expectation on the part of the committee. [inaudible] >> dow jones newswires. enough about rates.
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the new york fed has been in the news a lot lately. president dudley was invited to congress to testify about conflicts of interest there. you have things like the cigar tapes, abide report and most recent the revelation that former new york fed official was exchanging information with someone at golden sachs who was also at new york fed connections. i just wonder, and also there was scant during the crisis regarding the new fed and its purchase of goldman sachs stock. pc then you bed as a blackboard on the fed system because of these regard scandals? have you talked to bill dudley about reforming the image of that particular regional fed? do you think a person that spent 21 years of his career at goldman sachs is in a position to regain public credibility about conflicts of interest? >> well, let me say that i think it's very important to the federal reserve system to have confidence in the quality of its supervision.
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and i do have, i have a good deal of confidence in the quality of our supervision program, for the banking organizations we supervise in general, and that also applies to the largest banking organizations. we rely on examiners who were in the field and at the reserve banks to be providing information about what's happening in those organizations. organizations. but that information feeds into a process in which it is not individuals at any single reserve bank, but at the board, it's a board led process, and it involves senior officials at a number of different reserve banks. it's also a multidisciplinary process that involves not only people from supervision, but those from markets, from
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economic research, experts who focus on financial stability all come together to evaluate the information that they have, and to assign supervisory ratings and decide on the appropriate program for all of those large institutions. we have strengthened the process of supervision enormously since the crisis, and i feel, i feel a very good sense of confidence in how we are carrying that out. now, it is important to make sure that we have fed into this process all the information that's relevant to making the right decisions. and when there are individuals who are examiners who may disagree with others in their
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team about how to interpret what's going on at a particular institution, it's important that there be channels by which they can make sure that disagreements are fed up to the highest level. this is true throughout the work we do. we do economic forecasting, and the fomc receives information to help us make decisions. but obviously there are disagreements about, among economists about how to interpret developments. it's also important for us there to make sure we understand alternative views. so this is important in supervision. we've announced that the board has undertaken a review of whether or not there are appropriate mechanisms in place in all of the reserve banks that individuals who disagree with decisions can make their own
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views known and feed into the process. and we've also asked our inspector general to look into that. >> "bloomberg news." i would also like to get off monetary policy and ask you about the federal research relationship with congress. specifically, how worried are you about legislation that has been proposed and may be proposed again in the next congress that would reduce fed independence? would you see yourself trying to fight back or would you see yourself trying to go to congress to work with them to do more with transparency or something else to reduce their concerns? without making them lost. >-- law.
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and if there were bills sent to the white house would you talked to president about the joint them, or give any confidence that he would veto bills that would reduce independence? thanks. >> so, let me simply say that congress has assigned us important tasks in monetary policy and in other roles that we perform, and the federal reserve is highly focused on attempting to carry out the mandates that congress has given us in the area of monetary policy. to promote maximum employment and price stability, and that's what we are working on. you know, i would say that the ability of the central bank to make the decisions about monetary policy, that he it regards as in the best longer run interest of the economy, free of short run political interference, is very important
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to the effective, conduct of monetary policy, and i think history shows not only in the united states, but around the world that central banks independence promotes better economic performance. so i do think central bank independence is very important, and and it's important to make sure that we can make the decisions we think are best, free of short run political interference. with respect to monetary policy. we should be accountable, and we are accountable, to congress in explaining what we do. i believe strongly in transparency, and i believe strongly that we should communicate as clearly what we are doing in the rationale for doing it and am very open to looking for ways ourselves to
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improve our communications and transparency and working with congress to do that. but i would be very concerned about actions, back in 1978, congress explicitly passed legislation to ensure that there would be no gao audits of monetary policy decision-making, namely policy audits. i certainly hope that will continue and i will try to forcefully make the case for why that's important. i cannot speak for the white house, wouldn't attempt to do that. >> i will stay off interest rates and first want to wish you a happy holiday. >> thank you. >> second want to ask you about the russian economy.
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did that come up in a meeting in a discussion of global economic developments? as you know there's a lot of concern the drop in oil prices the russian economy could be in some trouble. russia owes a lot of money to u.s. and foreign banks and russian companies. is there any concern about default? any concern about possible contagion? and if so, is the fed taking any steps to prepare for that? thank you. >> well, we certainly did review global economic developments, including developments in the russian economy. clearly, russia has been hit very hard by the decline in oil prices, and the ruble has depreciated enormously in value. and this is posing a series of very difficult economic conditions in the russian economy. of course, we discussed what the
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potential spillovers are to the united states, which could occur both through trade and financial linkages. but these linkages are actually relatively small. russia accounts for less than 1% of u.s. trade volume, and u.s. banks exposure to russian residents is really quite small in terms of relative to their capital. in terms of the portfolios of u.s. residents, there are russian securities, but they account for a very small share. so i expect that the linkages backed the spillovers to the united states, both through trade and financial channels would be small. europe, of course, is somewhat more exposed to russia, both
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russia is an important supplier of oil and natural gas to europe, and the financial linkages are somewhat greater. but in the case of the united states, i see the spillovers relative, it is pretty small, but we are obviously watching that closely. >> also happy holidays. >> thank you. and to you. >> there's a contagion risk from low oil prices that people are talking about in the market. what does it mean to the banks that have lent into the oil patch with a low oil prices? i guess, you know, your warnings
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about leveraged loans, you've made warnings over the past year about leverage lending. are you worried they have not been heeded? >> so, i mean, there is some , in the united states exposure? we have seen some impacts of lower oil prices on the spreads for high yield bonds where there's exposure to oil companies that may see distress or a decline in their earnings. and we have seen some increase in spreads on high yield bonds more generally. i think for the banking system as a whole, the exposure to oil, i'm not aware of significant issues there. this is the kind of thing that is part of risk management for
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banking organizations, and the kind of thing they look at in stress tests. but the movements in oil prices have been very large, and undoubtedly unexpected. in terms of leverage and whether or not leveraged entities could be badly affected by movements in oil prices, leverage in the financial system in general is way down from the levels before the crisis. so it's not a major concern that these would be badly affected by this, but we will have to watch carefully. there have been large and unexpected movements in oil prices.
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>> good afternoon, chair yellen. i will go back to interest rates if you don't mind. actually it's a question about balance sheet effects on the over all appropriate level of monetary policy and reaffirming the investment policy, the fomc says once again that this will help maintain accommodative financial conditions. in the past it said that the large portfolio securities will exert a downward effect on long-term interest rates. as you look forward to raising short-term rates, to what extent does the fomc need to take into account the sort of residual accommodative effect of maintaining a large balance sheet? >> i agree, and that's why we stated it, that we typically think of the monetary policy
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impact of our asset purchases as depending on the stock of assets that we hold on our balance sheet, rather than the flow of purchases. and so we are reminding the public that we continue to hold a large stock of assets. and that is tempting to push it down term premiums and longer-term yields. we made clear when we come or tried to make clear, when we issued our normalization principles in september that we intend to use changes in our target for the federal funds rate as the main tool that we will actively use to adjust financial conditions, rather than actively planning to sell the assets that were put onto our balance sheets sometime
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after we began raising our targets for short-term interest rates, depending on economic and financial conditions, we are likely to reduce or see three investment and gradually run down the stock of our assets. but our active tool for adjusting monetary, substantial monetary policy, so that it is appropriate to the economic needs of the country. that will be done through adjusting our short-term target range for the federal funds rate. >> i can't believe nobody has a the most important question about what's going on with your san francisco 49ers,
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but since everybody already wish you happy holidays. can you talk about housing? a few things are more important to americans and their wealth creation than housing. you in your statement noted it continues to be a drag. mr. dudley was actually relatively upbeat in his forecast. i don't know if that's a cute shirt on the committee. what you think is holding housing back. what can congress do. what can you tell cox in the coming year. the clarification on the deadly question, you didn't mention him by name by calling a supervision. are you pleased with mr. dudley's handling of these events? >> so let me start with that. i have great confidence in president dudley. he's done a fine job of running the new york fed, and i want to be very clear that have great confidence in him. he's a distinguished public servant, and he has worked very hard in the aftermath of the crisis to make sure that the new york fed is doing all that it
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needs to do to continue to the work that we do both in financial stability and in supervision. and the other question you asked was about -- about housing. you know, i have been surprised that housing hasn't recovered more robustly than it has. in part, i think it reflects very tight credit, continuing tight credit conditions for any borrower that doesn't have really pristine credit, you know, credit ratings. and my hope is that that situation will ease over time. in addition, household formation has been very depressed. my expectation is, as the labor market continues to improve and
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households feel better about their financial condition, that we will see household formation pick up and somewhat stronger recovery than we've seen thus far in housing. >> okay, thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] are some of the programs you will find this weekend. saturday night at 9:30. so throw discussing politics and humor with daily show cocreator liz. sunday, editor katie and what she perceives as the hypocrisy of liberals. williamn2 at 10:00,
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argues the top universities are missing the mark in education. students should learn lessons in critically, be creative, and have a goal in life beyond the material. westhen we visit lafayette, louisiana. american history tv on c-span3, saturday at 6:00 p.m., historian damien talks about the clayborn.trick afternoon, a 1974 investigative piece by san francisco's station on the history of police brutality and oakland. finally complete schedule on find of the-
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complete schedule on c-span.org. call us. e-mail us. send us a tweet. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook. >> coming up tonight on c-span, reaction to the release of alan gross. first, we hear from president obama on the release and the new u.s. policy toward cuba. then we hear from mr. gross, who spoke to reporters. later, senator marco rubio on his reaction into the change in policy. following his remarks we will take your calls and comments. obama'sesident announcement that the u.s. would normalize relations with cuba and lift many travel and economic sanctions that have been in place since the caribbean

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