Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 29, 2014 8:00pm-10:01pm EDT

8:00 pm
states-israeli citizen that began on june 12, 2014. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read a third time, passed the motion to reconsider considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the senate proceed to h. con. res. 103. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h. con. res. 103, concurrent resolution authorizing the use of the capitol grounds for the district of columbia special olympics law enforcement torch run. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to h. con. res. 106. the clerk: the clerk will report. the clerk: concurrent resolution authorizing the use of
8:01 pm
emancipation hall in the capitol visitors' center and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the resolution be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 2 -- 527. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 527, congratulating the members of the phi beta sigma fraternity and so forth. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid -- considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to s. res. 528. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 528, commemorating the 125th anniversary of north dakota's
8:02 pm
statehood. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table and there be no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: s. 2685 is due for its first reading, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill for the first time. the clerk: s. 2685, a bill to reform the authorities -- to inform the authorities of the federal government to require the production of certain business records, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: i ask for a second reading, mr. president, but object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the bill will be read for the second time on the next legislative day. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask consent the judiciary committee be discharged from further action on s. res. 521.
8:03 pm
the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 521, designating july 26, 2014, as united states intelligence professionals day. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the committee is discharged and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. reid: i ask consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 22, following the vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to s. 2638, the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendars number 535, 783 and 729, that there be two minutes for debate equally divided between the two leaders or their designees prior to each vote and upon the use or yielding back of that time the senate proceed to vote with no intervening action or debate on the nominations in the order listed. any roll call votes following the first be ten minutes in length. any nominations confirmed, the motion to reconsider be
8:04 pm
considered made and laid on the table, there be no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nomination, that any statements related to the nomination be printed in the record and that president obama be immediately notified of the senate's action and the senate then resume legislative session. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: for the senators' information, we expect nominations to be considered in this agreement by voice vote. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent -- mr. president, i ask that we now proceed to calendar number 475. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 475, h.r. 4028, an act to amend the international religious freedom act of 1998, and so forth. the presiding officer: is there
8:05 pm
objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. reid: i ask that the bill be read a third time, passed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 9:30 a.m. wednesday, july 30, 2014. that following the prayer and pledge, the morning business be deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following any leader remarks, the senate resume consideration of s. 2569, that there be an hour for debate equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. that upon the use or yielding back of that time, the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on s. 2569. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, at approximately 10:45 a.m. tomorrow morning, there will be a cloture vote on the bring jobs home act. if cloture is not invoked, there will be an immediate cloture vote on the motion to proceed to s. 2648, the emergency supplemental appropriation bill.
8:06 pm
mr. president, if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order following the remarks of senator grassley for up to one hour. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: before i speak, i ask unanimous consent to -- that kelly andrews and carter burwell, who have been detailed to my staff, be granted floor privileges for the remainder of this congress. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: today i come to the floor to speak about the unconscionable way in which the drug enforcement administration treated daniel chung, a san diego college student, back in
8:07 pm
2012. unfortunately, the american people still do not know all the facts. they do not know what lasting changes are being made to make sure something like this never happens again, and they do not know what is being done to hold the d.e.a. agents involved accountable. because if people aren't held accountable, there aren't going to be any changes made, and most of the time for people to be held accountable, heads have to roll, and there is no evidence that that's the case in this particular case. but here is what we do know. it is a story that you might expect to hear set in some third-world country but never in the united states of america. so here it is. back in april, 2012, daniel
8:08 pm
chung, a college student at the university of california san diego, was arrested by law enforcement conducting a sweep for drugs at a college party. he was taken into custody by d.e.a. and transported to the local d.e.a. field office. he was questioned by the agents who had arrested him, and the agents apparently concluded that there was no basis to charge him with a crime. the young man may have well simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time. and so the agents told him that he was going to be releaseed, but daniel chung was not released. instead, he was taken back to a holding cell in handcuffs and he was left there for dead for five
8:09 pm
days. five days without food, five days without water, five days without sunlight, five days without any basic necessities of life in a holding cell not much larger than a bathroom stall. he cried out for help. he kicked and banged on the door of the cell but to no avail. he became so desperate and dehydrated that he even drank his own europe in an effort to survive. incredibly, the one thing that daniel chung found in his cell that he tried to live on turned out to be some methamphetamine. that's right. he found an illegal drug in the d.e.a.'s own holding cell. apparently, it was never searched before mr. chung was tossed inside.
8:10 pm
it got so bad that this young man tried to kill himself. he tried to carve the words --quote, unquote -- sorry, mom, into his own skin. he intended it to be the last message for anyone to pass on who might one day discover his lifeless body in that d.e.a. holding cell. after five days, someone finally responded to daniel chung's call for help. he was taken immediately to the hospital. he was found to be suffering from extreme dehydration, hypothermia, kidney failure and cuts and bruises on his wrists. it took four days to nurse him back to health. now, this all occurred april, 2012. soon after i learned of it, i sent a letter to the d.e.a.
8:11 pm
administrator demanding to know what could have led to such a calamity. i asked how in a modern age of computers and surveillance cameras it was possible that an innocent person could be left for dead in a d.e.a. holding cell. i asked about the d.e.a. policies and the procedures in place to help prevent this from ever happening again, and i asked whether those responsible for what happened to mr. chong were going to be held accountable. it took the d.e.a. more than a year to respond to my questions, more than a year. in june, 2013, the d.e.a. trotted out the familiar response that we so often hear from bureaucrats when they don't want to tell you what really happened. they said at that time that the
8:12 pm
d.e.a. could not comment on many aspects of the matter because the department of justice's own inspector general was conducting a review. the d.e.a. assured me that a, in their words, interim policy had been adopted to make sure no other innocent people would be abandoned in a prison cell and left for dead. but the american people would have to wait for a permanent policy change and a full accounting until after the inspector general finished its investigation. so just a month later, july, 2013, the d.e.a. announced that it would be handing over $4.1 million to daniel chong to settle his lawsuit.
8:13 pm
$4.5 million of taxpayers' money, almost a million dollars for each day that he spent forgotten and also ignored in that dark and drug-infested d.e.a. holding cell. now, up to date, finally, just this month and more than two years after this debacle, the department of justice's inspector general finally issued its report of the investigation. we still do not know the full truth about what happened to daniel chong. in many ways, the inspector general's report raises more questions than it answers. and what the report does tell us is quite disturbing. according to the report, daniel chong was not just forgotten by the agents who arrested him. he was ignored by other d.e.a. employees who knew he was there
8:14 pm
but assumed that he was somebody else's problem. and the report suggests that the d.e.a. may have tried to cover up the whole event. according to the report, there were three d.e.a. agents and a supervisor directly responsible for making sure that this young man was not abandoned in that holding cell, so it's obvious that these four agents failed miserably in their responsibilities. but it gets even worse. according to the report, at least four other agents passed in and out of the holding cell area during the five days when daniel chong was in prison. these four agents admitted that they had either seen or heard chong in his cell, but they simply assumed that someone else was going to take care of him. in other words, somebody else --
8:15 pm
he was somebody else's problem. daniel chong was arrested on a saturday. one of those agents saw him in the cell on sunday, and one saw him there on monday, and another two agents either saw him or heard him on wednesday, but nothing compelled these law enforcement officers to address his plight because they did not believe anything was amiss. now, i hope to all my colleagues that what i just told you is very difficult to believe. in addition, daniel chong's holding cell was near a work space area used by dozens of d.e.a. personnel. according to the report, anyone in that work space could have
8:16 pm
clearly heard banging and yelling from inside the cell. but not a single one of the 25 d.e.a. employees interviewed by the inspector general who worked there could recall hearing any unusual nerves during -- noises during the time that daniel chong was imprisoned there. so this is very, very difficult to believe. it defies all common sense. it contradicts what daniel chong says he did by crying out for help and banging on his holding cell door. it contradicts what his injuries tell us he did, and it contradicts what anyone left in the -- in a holding cell without the basic necessities of life for days would do. why did no one respond to daniel
8:17 pm
chong's cries for help? the report does not even attempt to answer that question. at least eight d.e.a. agents were in some way responsible for this young man's wrongful captivity. the report does not say what happened to these agents. this is where you get into accountability. who's responsible? are heads going to roll so this behavior changes? well, are these agents still working for the d.e.a.? have they been disciplined or are they still arresting other people, tossing them behind bars and leaving them for dead? the problem does not stop here. according to the report, the d.e.a. may have tried to cover up this entire event. the inspector general learned about what happened to daniel
8:18 pm
chong from an anonymous whistle-blower who called one of its field offices. this is another example of the value of whistle-blowers, heroes who stand up for what's right, sometimes at great personal risk. according to the i.g. report, the whistle-blower indicated that the d.e.a. -- quote -- was trying to contain this matter locally, end of quote. that's another way of saying essentially that a cover-up could be in the works. incredibly, as it turns out, the office of -- the office of -- the d.e.a. office in san diego assigned the very agents who were responsible for daniel
8:19 pm
chong's captivity to process the holding cell area where chong was held for days. that's right. the agents who left chong behind bars for five days were assigned to investigate their own egregious mistakes, kind of like the fox guarding the chicken house. and the d.e.a. management also decided that it was going to conduct its own internal management review of the incident. that is, it would conduct its own interviews and investigations before d.e.a. notified anybody else. d.e.a. management justified its decision by telling the inspector general that it assumed that the conduct -- quote -- which resulted in chong's detention did not amount to misconduct and was not
8:20 pm
criminal, end of quote. but, of course, as the inspector general found, it should have been readily apparent to d.e.a. management that this was not true. of course, d.e.a. management may have calculated that undertaking its own investigation could head off an independent outside warrant. indeed, perhaps the investigation could even be contained locally. how many other d.e.a. misdeeds have been similarly contained? so it's obvious what happened is outrageous and how it was handled is outrageous. we need to know more about why the inspector general wasn't called in immediately, and that's even as d.e.a. policy requires rather than having
8:21 pm
people that conducted the wrongdoing investigating it -- in a sense investigating themselves. we need to know if indeed this was a deliberate attempt to sweep this dereliction of duty under the rug. now the d.e.a. has entrusted -- is entrusted with a lot of responsibility and authority. we asked the d.e.a. to enforce our drug laws. we asked the d.e.a. to protect our communities. the d.e.a. has a very tough job, and the obama administration isn't making that job any easier. because this administration is undermining the d.e.a. by turning a blind eye to illegal marijuana trafficking. it's trying to release convicted drug dealers from our prisons and it's trying to reduce the criminal penalties and mandatory minimum sentences for drug dealers who are still on the
8:22 pm
streets peddling death in our communities. so i understand that these are very challenging times for the d.e.a., and when the d.e.a. or any law enforcement agency neglects their responsibilities and then possibly even covers up wrongdoing, then those responsibilities -- those who are responsible just be held accountable. so i have to ask if the employees at d.e.a. aren't held accountable here, what needs to happen in order for action to be taken? do we need to wait until someone dies? the d.e.a.'s conduct in this case is inexcusable. after two years and more than $4 million of taxpayer money, the d.e.a. owes the american people more answers. the american people deserve answers to the questions i posed
8:23 pm
in my letter to the d.e.a. back in may, 2012, so not getting proper answers, i will be writing to the d.e.a. again this week to pose additional questions, including about the possibility of cover-up. most importantly, the american people know -- the american people deserve to know that those responsible for the detention and the mistreatment of daniel chong will be held accountable for this horrendous event. mr. president, on another matter, i come to the floor also today to discuss a constitutional amendment that the judiciary committee has just reported to the senate. the amendment would amend the bill of rights for the first time. let me repeat that. the amendment would amend the
8:24 pm
bill of rights for the first time. that's a slippery slope, i think. it would amend one of the most important of those rights, the right of free speech. the first amendment provides that congress shall make no laws abridging freedom of speech. the proposed amendment would give congress and the states the power to abridge free speech. it would allow them to impose reasonable limits, whatever those limits -- whatever the word reasonable might mean at a particular time, but anyway, impose reasonable limits on contributions of expenditures, and by so doing, that happens to be putting limits on speech. particularly speech that's very valuable in this country, political speech. in other words, trying to
8:25 pm
influence the direction of our country through elections. and it would allow speech by corporations that would influence elections to be banned altogether. this amendment is as dangerous as anything congress could pass. were it to be adopted -- and i believe that it will not be adopted -- the damage done could be reversed only if two-thirds of both houses of congress voted to repeal it through a new constitutional amendment. and then, of course, 3/4 of the states ratifying that amendment. so i would like to start with some basic first principles. the declaration of independence states that everyone is endowed by their creator with unalienable rights, that governments are created to protect.
8:26 pm
those preexisting rights include the right to liberty. the constitution was adopted to secure the blessings of liberty to americans. americans rejected the view that the structural limits on government power contained in the original constitution would adequately protect the liberties that they had fought the revolution to preserve. so when the people come to the conclusion that the original constitution would not protect their liberties, the people living in the states at that time insisted on the adoption of this very important bill of rights. the bill of rights protects individual rights regardless of whether -- of whether the government or the majority approve of their use. the first amendment in the bill of rights protects freedom of speech. that freedom is basic to
8:27 pm
self-government. other parts of the constitution foster equality or justice or representative government. but it's the bill of rights. that bill of rights is only about individual freedom. free speech creates a marketplace of ideas in which citizens can learn debate, persuade fellow citizens on the issues of the day. at its core, it enables the citizenry to be educated, to cast votes to elect our leaders. today, freedom of speech is threatened as it has not been in many decades. too many people will not listen and debate and persuade. instead, they want to punish, intimidate, and silence those with whom they might disagree. a corporate executive who opposed same-sex marriage, the
8:28 pm
same position that president obama held at the very time, is to be fired. universities that are supposed to foster economic freedom canceled graduation speeches by speakers that some students find offensive. government officials order other government officials not to deviate from the party line concerning proposed legislation. so this resolution introduced -- or filed by the judiciary committee, s.j. res. 19, is cut from the same cloth. it would amend a constitution for the first time to diminish an important right of americans; that is, a right contained in the bill of rights. in fact, it would cut back on the most important of these rights, core free speech about who should be elected to govern
8:29 pm
ourselves. the proposed constitutional amendment would enable government to limit funds contributed to candidates and funds spent to influence elections. that would give the government the ability to limit speech. the amendment would allow the government to set the limit at low levels. there could be little in the way of contributions or elections spending. there could be restrictions on public debate on who should be elected. incumbents would find that outcome, well, you guessed it, to be very accessible because it protects incumbency. they would know that no challenger could run an effective campaign against them. what president would -- what precedent would this amendment create? suppose congress pass limits on what people could spend on abortions or what doctors or hospitals could spend to perform
8:30 pm
them? what if congress limited the amount of money people could spend on guns or to limit how much people could spend of their own money on health care? under this amendment, congress could do what the citizens united decision rightfully said it could not -- make it a criminal offense for the sierra club to run an ad urging the public to defeat a congressman who favors logging in the national forests. or for the national rifle association to publish a book seeking public support for a challenger to a senator who favors a handgun ban. or for the aclu to post on its web site a plea for voters to support a presidential candidate because he is of his stance on free speech. that should for everybody be a
8:31 pm
frightening prospect. under this amendment, congress and the states could limit campaign contributions and expenditures without even complying with the existing constitutional provisions. congress could pass a law limiting expenditures by democrats but not by republica republicans, by opponents of obamacare but not by its supporters. and what does the amendment mean when it says that congress can limit funds spent to influence elections? if an elected official says he or she plans to run again long before any elections, congress under the amendment could criminalize criticism of that official as spending to influence elections. as a senator on the senate floor appearing on c-span free of charge could with immunity defame a private citizen. the member could say that the
8:32 pm
citizen was buying elections if the citizen set as too much money to rebutt the charge, he could go to jail. we would be back to the days when criticism of elected officials was a criminal offense during the alien and sedition acts. and yet its supporters say that its amendment is necessary to preserve democracy. the only existing right that the american says it will not harm is freedom of the press. so congress and the states could limit the speech of anyone except corporations that control the media. that would produce an orwellian world in which every speaker is equal but some speakers are more
8:33 pm
equal than others. freedom of the press has never been understood to give the media special constitutional rights denied to others. even though the amendment, by its terms, would not affect freedom of the press, i was heartened to read that the largest newspaper in my state, the "des moines register," editorialized against this amendment amending the bill of rights. they cited testimony from our hearing and they recognized the threat that the proposed amendment poses to freedom. but in light of recent supreme court decisions, an amendment soon may not be needed at all. four justices right now would allow core political speech to be restricted. or a fifth justice with his view be appointed, there could be no -- there would be no need to amend the constitution to cut
8:34 pm
back on the freedom. justicjustice bier's breyer's de justice decision does not view freedom of speech in and of itself the same way our founding fathers did. he thinks free political speech is about advancing the public's interest -- this is a quote -- "the public's interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matter matters." to be sure, individual rights often advance socially desired goals, but our constitution's -- but our constitutional rights do not depend on whether unelected judges believe they advance democracy as they conceive it. our constitutional rights are individual not collective, as
8:35 pm
breyer says. never 225 years has any supreme court opinion described our rights as collective. our rights come from god and not from the government or the public. at least that's what the declaration of independence said. consider the history of the last 100 years. freedom has flourished where rights belong to individuals that governments were bound to respect. where rights are collective and existed only at the whim of a government that determines when they serve socially desirable purposes, the results have been literally horrific. no freedom, no democracy. we should not move even one inch in that direction that the liberal justices did and
8:36 pm
simultaneously this amendment would take us. the stakes could not be higher for all americans who value their rights and freedoms. speech concerning who the people's elected representatives should be, speech setting the agenda for public discourse, speech designed to open and change the minds of our fellow citizens, speech criticizing politicians, and speech challenging government and its policies are all vital rights. this amendment puts all of them in jeopardy upon the penalty of imprisonment. it would make america no longer america. contrary to the arguments of its supporters, the amendment would not advance self-government against corruption and the drowning out of voices of ordinary citizens.
8:37 pm
no, just the opposite. it would harm the rights of ordinary citizens, individually as well as in free associations, to advance their political views and to elect candidates who support their views. and by limiting campaign speech, it would limit the information that voters receive in how -- in deciding how to vote. it would limit the amount that people can spend on advancing what they consider to be the best political ideas. its restrictions on speech apply to individuals. politicians could apply the same rules to individuals that govern corporations. perhaps individuals cannot be totally prohibited from speaking but the word "reasonable" in the amendment -- the word
8:38 pm
"reasonable" is in the amendment but that word limits -- word's limits can mean anything. incumbents likely would set a low limit on how much an individual can spend to criticism them. that's incumbents protecting their office. then the individual will have to risk criminal prosecution in deciding whether to speak, hoping that a court would later find that the limit he or she exceeded was unreasonable. this would create not a chilling effect on speech but, in fact, a very freezing effect. this is not further democratic self-government. the amendment would apply to some campaign speech that cannot give rise to corruption. for instance, under current law, an individual could spend any amount of his or her own money
8:39 pm
to run for office. an individual could not corrupt himself with his own money and could not be bought by others if he or she did not rely on outside money. but the amendment would allow congress and the states to strictly limit what even an individual could contribute to his -- contribute to or spend on his or her own campaign. that would make beating the incumbent, who would benefit from the new powers to restrict speech, much more difficult. in practice, individuals seeking to elect candidates in the democratic process must exercise their first amendment freedom of association to work together with others. this amendment could prohibit that altogether. it would permit congress and the
8:40 pm
states to prohibit -- quote -- "corporations or artificial entities from spending money to influence elections." now, that even means labor unions. that means nonprofit corporations like the naacp legal and educational defense fund. that means political parties. the amendment would allow congress to prohibit political parties from spending money to influence elections. if they can't spend money on elections, then they would be rendered as a mere social club. the prohibition on political spending by for-profit corporations also does not advance democracy. were this amendment to take effect, a company that wanted to advertise beer or deodorant would be given more constitutional protection than a
8:41 pm
corporation of any kind that wanted to influence an election. the philosophy of the amendment is very elitist. it says the ordinary citizen cannot be trusted to listen to political arguments and evaluate which ones are persuasive. instead, incumbent politicians interested in securing their own reelections are trusted to be high-minded. now, surely they would not use this new power to develop rules that could silence not only their actually -- actual opposing candidates but associations of ordinary citizens who have the nerve to want to vote them out of office. as first amendment luminary floyd abrams told our committee -- quote -- "permitting unlimited
8:42 pm
expenditures from virtually all parties leads to more speech from more candidates for longer time periods and ultimately more competitive elections." isn't that the goal that we should seek through the political process? having parties led to more speech from more candidates for longer periods of time and ultimately more competitive elections. incumbents are unlikely to use this new power to welcome that competition. in fact, the committee report indicates that state and federal legislators are not the only people who would have the ability to limit campaign speech under this amendment. it says that the states and the federal government can
8:43 pm
promulgate regulations to enforce the amendment. so you've got unelected state and federal bureaucrats who do not answer to anyone being empowered to regulate what is now the freedom of speech of individuals and entities that for 230 years has been protected by the bill of rights. that all makes a mockery of the idea that this proposed amendment would advance democracy and that's the argument used by its proponents. another argument for the amendment, some voices should not drown out others, also runs counter to free speech. and it also is elitist. it assumes that voters will be manipulated in to voting against
8:44 pm
their interests because large sums will produce so much speech as to drowned out others and blind them to the voter's crew - voter's true interest. now, tell that to the voters in virginia's 7th congressional district. that incumbent congressman outspent his opponent 26-1. newspaper reports state that large sums were spent on independent expenditures on the incumbent's behalf, many by corporations. no independent expenditures made it -- made for his opponent. but yet his opponent won. now, that doesn't seem to be drowning out people making their
8:45 pm
own decisions in the ballot box. and it is not some undue influence that proponents of this amendment want you to believe that -- that this constitutional amendment can do away with undue influence. just think, 26-1 trying to influence people to vote for an incumbent congressman and he loses. let me say this -- the exact amount of money that was spent, the winner of that primary spent just over $200,000 to win 55% of that vote. since a limit that allowed a challenger to win would presumably be reasonable under the amendment, congress or the states could limit spending on house primaries to as little as $200,000, all by the candidate with no obviously unnecessary outside spending allowed.
8:46 pm
the second set of unpersuasive arguments concerns the supreme court decision citizens united. that case has been mischaracterized as -- quote, unquote -- "activist. and, again, i want to say what mr. abrams testified before our committee. he said that case continues a view of free speech rights by unions and corporations that was expressed by president truman and liberal justices in the 1950's. what the citizens united overruled was the departure from precedent, and citizens united did not give rise to unfettered campaign spending. the supreme court case in 1976
8:47 pm
in buckley versus vallejo ruled that independent expenditures could not be limited. that decision was the work of a supposeed conservative judicial activist. wealthy individuals have been able to spend unlimited amounts since then, and corporations and others have been able to make unlimited donations to 501-c-4 corporations since then as well. as mr. abrams wrote to the judiciary in questions for the record, -- quote -- "what citizens united did do, however, is permit corporations to contribute to pac's that are required to disclose all donors and engage only in independent expenditures. if anything, citizens united is pro-disclosure ruling, which brought corporate money further
8:48 pm
into the light" -- end of quote. and it is this amendment, not citizens united, that fails to respect precedent. it does not simply overturn one case, as mr. abrams responded, it overturns 12 cases, some of which date back almost 40 years. as the amendment has been redrafted, it may be 11 1/2 now, spending on what the word "reasonable" means. justice stevens whom the committee democrats relied on at length in support of the amendment, voted with the majority in three of the cases they would overturn. some may not like the long established broad protections for free speech that the supreme court has reaffirmed, but that
8:49 pm
does not mean that there are five activists on the supreme court. the court ruled unanimously in more cases this year than it has in 60 or 75 years, depending on whose figures you use. its unanimity was frequently demonstrated by rejecting arguments of the obama administration. i have made clear that this amendment abridges fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of americans. the arguments made to support it are unconvincing. the amendment will weaken, not strengthen, democracy. it will not reduce corruption, but will open the door for elected officials to bend democracy's rules to benefit themselves. the fact that the committee reported this this amendment isa very great testimony to the wisdom of our founding fathers
8:50 pm
in insisting on and adopting the bill of rights in the first place. as justice jackson famously wrote -- quote -- "the very purpose of the bill of rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to apply -- to be applied by the courts. one's right to live, liberty and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly and other fundamental rights, may not be submitted to vote. they depend on the outcome of no elections" end of justice jackson's quote. we must preserve our writhes bill of rights, including our right to free speech. we must not allow officials to
8:51 pm
diminish and ration any one of the bill of rights but especially the first one which is so important. we must not let this proposal become the supreme law of the land. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the the presiding officer: the
8:52 pm
>> the house debate the resolution against president obama we are joined from capitol hill from mike willis of the hill whose reporting on this upcoming debate why does the speaker want to see the president? >> guest: this plays into the republican narrative ever since obama has taken the white house that he has abused his executive authority, stepped out of
8:53 pm
bounds with the constitution and boehner said we had the vast and we will sue and according to a provision of obamacare that the democrats passed without support face says certain delay of that provision is what congress did not approve and we are suing because of it. >> host: what does this resolution do or what does it mean? >> guest: authorizes the chamber to sue the white house. of how the debate over one facet is if they have a standing to do so. some say they do not and others say they do and it will be tied at sea will not see any decisions legislation based on this pre-election so the fact they go through these motions so it is political
8:54 pm
fodder for both sides. >> host: the speaker treated we will pass a resolution authorizing the lawsuits openly and ended regular order. what is the response by the white house and democrats? >> predictably they say republicans don't have standing this is another instance to undermine a president that they simply don't like rather than focusing on the economy or other issues that people care about more. this plays into the republican narrative that obama exceeded the executive authority that rallies the republican base and then democrats fund-raiser on that and how does this affect independence and we won't know until after the
8:55 pm
election. >> host: the senate has no say? >> no. >> speaker boehner match with a number of reporters and a headline sums it up the of impeachment is the scam and he said in particular it was all started by democrats at the white house we have no plans to is impeach the president. how did it come out of the lawsuit? >> guest: another interesting fact. both sides disagree and are shocked to hear there is a disagreement how it began. the senior white house adviser was that the "christian science monitor" breakfast and mentioned this is the first dip toward impeachment. this did it come from nowhere. sarah pavement and allen west have been pushing a patient -- impeach resolution for a long time
8:56 pm
the republican leaders have not gotten aboard so there is a distinction for those in and out of congress and the leadership so when gaidar says he will not do it he is pushing back for those who have wanted to impeach him for quite some time. >> host: and they indicate this talk has driven fund-raising for the democrats. >> it has. and with that resolution with that impeachment day jump on board and is approaching about 20 that we have seen since thursday. and it's just the matter of days in the election cycle so it is working.
8:57 pm
>> host: so could the same the same port republicans as a fund-raising tool? >> guest: i have not seen direct evidence but yes. and then to say that obama has exact -- exceeded his authority they want to see speaker boehner suing the president over executive overreached. >> host: read more at the hill.com. mike lillis thank you for the update. form. mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: as the chairman of the senate committee on veterans' affairs, i rise today veterans' affairs, i rise today >> as chairman of the senate committee affairs for veterans in short support of
8:58 pm
robert mcdonald to serve as secretary of the veterans affairs administration. madam president i also want to think majority beater reid for moving this nomination for word as quickly as a has and i hope very much with the very strong'' the u.s. senate will vote to confirm robert mcdonald as secretary of the veterans administration. before i talk about his qualifications i want to take a moment to express my sincere said -- thinks touche and secchi for his dedication to our nation as a soldier and head of the da 2 take care of those better injured and those who perished on the battlefield. he set ambitious goals and under his leadership said v.a. made strides to reduce
8:59 pm
homelessness to transform the of system from the 21st century i think him for his service. >> it is my strong belief that mr. macdonald will bring to important qualities for veterans affairs. with the military as well as with their families mr. macdonell and his family has service to our nation began as a cadet at west point and graduated 1975 and the top 2 percent of his class with a degree in engineering and went on to serve as the infantry officer in the army 82nd airborne. sova faller serves in the army air corps and as held
9:00 pm
as a pow after being shot down. serving in vietnam and still receives care at v.a. also his nephew is currently serving and deployed in the u.s. air force. said mr. mcdonald and his family have a deeper understanding with the united states military and upon hearing for the confirmation m process i am convinced he has a deep passion to do everything he can to protect our veterans. the other quality that mr. macdonald brings to the job is that he is the ceo of the leading corporations a company which does tens of thousands of employees. more than 33 years proctor and gamble gave the tools to
9:01 pm
create. with the tools of the ceo and a private corporation has day bureaucracy that has significant improvement of accountability. looking up the nomination it is important to my colleagues understand the reality to lead the v.a.. madam president it runs the largest integrated health care system in the united states with over 1700 points of care that include 150 hospitals and in fiscal year 2013. 89.7 million of patients but
9:02 pm
the v.a. conducts approximately 236,000 health care appointments it is a huge system. the problems that mr. mcdonald will have to address the really have been widely reported in recent months and acting secretary gibson has done an excellent job to take radical steps to address the problems plaguing the v.a. but there is much more to be done. knell of long other issues with mental health providers as well as the physical space necessary to quality care. this is a major problem because at the end of the day we will not be able to
9:03 pm
provide quality your timely care with medical personnel available to do that. as a result with tens of thousands of veterans today in many parts of the country have a list that are much too long to gain access and hundreds of thousands of veterans are waiting to long to be seen and receive care. madam president it is important everybody recognized over the last five years millions more veterans have come into the v.a.. from their careers from vietnam and they need care but you combine with a very
9:04 pm
serious problems including 500,000 veterans from iraq and afghanistan with ptsd with an aging population that is where we are at with the issues that the v.a. will have to address. madam president let me say while i am on the subject subject, that most people understand and that includes many veterans that i talked to every day in vermont and around the country and the national veterans' organizations that represent millions of veterans. once people get into the v.a. system in general the quality of care is good. that is not just the veterans and organizations put the number of independent studies show it. our problem now is when
9:05 pm
people apply for the v.a. health care to get it quickly in once they are in with the appointments that they need in a timely manner. it is not an easy job but the job that we face. madam president my hope is the united states house and senate will vote on a comprehensive piece of legislation from the house veterans affairs i think it is terribly important we pass that legislation and passed a bipartisan legislation with a strong pro --''. that will give the new secretary the tools that he
9:06 pm
needs to go forward aggressively to address many of the problems facing the virginia. it is unacceptable that veterans in this country cannot get the health care that they need in a timely manner. this legislation to pass this week by the house and senate. for emergency health care can go a to a private physician -- physician at a community health center or ll be able to hire the doctors, the mental health counselors, the nurses, the other medical personnel that they need so that as soon as possible, when veterans apply for v.a. health care, they will get not only quality care but
9:07 pm
timely care. in addition to that, this legislation addresses an issue that many veterans around the country, especially in rural areas, are worried about, is that if they live long distances away from the v.a., that they will not have to travel a hundred miles to get the health care that they need, that if they're living 40 miles or more away from a v.a. facility, they will be able to go to a doctor of their choice in that community. that's an important step forward. and this legislation also will do some terribly important things in making sure that widows, women who have lost their husbands in battle, will be able to take care of -- will be able to get the education that they should be entitled to under the post-9/11 g.i. bill. this legislation deals with an this legislation deals with an the education they should be entitled to. the legislation deals with a and issue by the house with
9:08 pm
the in-state tuition for veterans who cannot take advantage of the post 9/11 gi bill and this also addresses a very serious crisis and the military today of sexual abuse and providing women and men in the military with the v.a.. madam president, we are at a very important moment in terms of the v.a.. we will have new leadership after mr. mcdonald is confirmed, we have the peace of legislation that i hope and expect will pass this week to give the tools that it needs to start addressing
9:09 pm
the problems facing our veterans. madam president it seems to me that if the nation stands for anything that must protect and defend those who have protected and defended us. when people put their lives on the line and come back wounded either in body or spirit it seems absolutely immoral if we turn our backs of those men and women and this legislation we pass to address those concerns and i hope we will do so under the new leadership that mr. mcdonald will provide a and i yield my remaining time to senator brown to hear his comments on the
9:10 pm
nomination. >> the senator from ohio. >> thank you madam president. first of all, i applaud senator sanders for his work i was with the presiding officer with the caucus it is important to it is equally important with patterson air force base and one of the things that i talked about was how proud i was when the senate does not get as much done as we like but senators sanders and mccain especially are able to negotiate from reluctant or erratic house of representatives they could negotiated good veterans bill that will make those
9:11 pm
accountable actually accountable and second those that have to wait long third 30 days for their care and to scale up so there is enough doctors and nurses and occupational therapist in debt to community-based outpatient clinics if you were in the system you get good care but to many could not get into this system because when we went to four the people that are running the administration said the war is short and it was shameful they were dead wrong far too many have paid the price the timing is perfect to get this reform at the same time to have an opportunity to confirm robert mcdonald from ohio
9:12 pm
running a company with more than 100,000 employees he went to west point and serve veterans before and understands veterans' issues and to talk with them a number of times as the soon to me i hope as the new secretary will have these tools because of the conference report that i hope we pass this week. he a understands the importance of the v.a. health care he told me in my office that he knows this is a hospital system unlike any in the country he knows how to treat those unique injuries those invisible injuries that's why it makes sense to be the new
9:13 pm
secretary when that conference report is so very important that the chair i yield my time. ahead to unanimous consent request i ask these be agreed to in the record. >> without objection. >> i yield the floor. >> ask permission to address for five minute. >> without objection is a democrat want to commend chairman sanders for his leadership by came back to the capital at 9:30 p.m. and he has worked very hard and ranking member richard burr to pull together desperate factions with the bill that is a tool kit to robert mcdonald i hope is unanimously approved to be the next v.a. of minister router but i want to talk about the conference report
9:14 pm
our veterans have been abused because of medical services that have not performed what they need to perform and one of the reasons is the former secretary was insulated as it was going on in his own department it became comfortable and passive but the bill that we signed last night is the bill that gives them the tools they need to make it a responsive organization into this 774,000 veterans from my home state of georgia who deserve and demand the services they were promised. bob mcdonald is an
9:15 pm
outstanding american as one of the most respected companies in america is procter & gamble and of the father of two the and the outstanding american and he will need that support at the virginia. he was captain of the united states military graduated from west point and was trained in desert warfare and he will need those talents for each and every case because it is the ms. the conference committee has to tools that are a central to have the authority to hire and fire with it the title five employees than the next town which is what the v.a. needs. having 340,000 people in the last three years and average 3,000 disciplinary actions per year each of those says they were moved to one job
9:16 pm
within an adult -- within another and there is no accountability that is when there is a problem with services and everything else. by giving him the authority to hire and fire he has the respect in the attention to understand full well they have to carry out the game plan of the leader. the understands the tricks, accountability, lead ership and took a job he does not have to except or did not have to do but what he wants to do to give back to the country that he loves. and i commend to my senators and then i yield the floor. >> the senator from louisiana. >> i stand today also with high hopes that the new leadership at the v.a. will
9:17 pm
bring much needed changes to a department that is quite frankly in shambles feeling our veterans during the hearing robert mcdonald promised to bring a high level of accountability and transparency to the v.a. this is extremely important in the agency andrew the previous secretary would take answers to routine questions were never get answers at all but i am hopeful with the access joyce and accountability act that includes many needed reforms including bringing that accountability to the department to provide our veterans with traces and where they can receive care.
9:18 pm
and most importantly from louisiana finally authorizes much needed community-based clinics around the country including the two that were long delayed in louisiana with your ineptitude with of screwups with expanded clinics with lake charles. the four years i have been fighting bureaucracy to stand they'll to get the new expanded outpatient clinics they are vitally important to louisiana residents who have to drive for hours to receive services that have been promised to them much closer to their communities. the current clinics are overcrowded and don't offer the full range of services that these new clinics will. as i said that v.a. ineptitude delayed the clinics in the first place and if not for their
9:19 pm
mistakes they would already be built. once finally ready to go the cbo made a ridiculous decision that it again through the clinics into limbo because of a scoring issue out of the blue. finally in december the house could pass a bill that dealt with the cbo concerns. normally when a bill passes with a margin like that the senate usually passes by unanimous consent but unfortunately that did not have been. first redid to attach an amendment to address concerns than even after we had done that with full agreement in the u.s. senate for today's senate democrats led by the chair held up the legislation as a hostage to
9:20 pm
get the broader the a package and it to come down from unanimous consent six times on the floor unfortunately is six times senator sanders denied unanimous consent. only after the v.a. scandal broke that the momentum shifted and thankfully it looks that we will finally pass this into lot of legislation along with this important reform bill. warranty authorization ochers i strongly urge mr. macdonald and the v.a. to streamline the process to get the two clinics billed as soon as possible given the long and arduous history of the v.a. delays and screwups. veterans of the louisiana have waited patiently liverleaf for years and the clinics are overdue and let's get on with it.
9:21 pm
with those numerous delays the lease the department can do is to make sure they are now adults with the utmost efficiency. i yield the floor.
9:22 pm
9:23 pm
to panels today to give us the status of the talks looking back at what we have learned over the last six months and looking ahead by what might change ultimately
9:24 pm
gets of a type of deal we are hopeful for. i would like to hear from the of witnesses across the table from the iranians giving the underwhelming concession is achieved today is what you have learned over the last six months that we can reach a comprehensive deal in the next four months. i think everyone knows where i stand. i have been skeptical of the iranian sincerity from day number one and i cannot say i and many less skeptical today than i was six months ago i do not believe tehran has a change of heart about the nuclear program. if it did i would think that the hold militarization aspect would be a part of something that still has to be negotiated but so that we
9:25 pm
could define truly the nature of these negotiations so the world is not just suspect was pursuing nuclear weapons but would know it but i do believe they want relief from sanctions that is why there at the table. also we have leverage to use it to get a good deal or no deal at all. in secretary sherman has on occasions that no deal is better than a bad deal. i hear refrains from the administration if no deal, what? that suggests the fact if you have no deal it is a choice from getting some
9:26 pm
type of deal or to military action by reject as the choice. there are significant steps in between that is far from that conclusion. i am also concerned when i hear no deal, what? then it implies getting a deal at any cost. there are those with the disarmament community and editorial pages that suggest those of us to make sure we get a good deal somehow have the pension that i find using it as it relates to myself i was a handful of people that voted in the of war in iraq. as someone from my days in the house of representatives
9:27 pm
of the house foreign relations committee the irradiance have gotten us to a point that by defying the international community we now except the things we never thought were acceptable. enrichment, it changing facility, not closing it, changing the nature of their plutonium reactor. they have succeeded to move the us well along the lines of what they wanted to defy the international community including the present president of the iran who has boasted while he was moving that program of law and he keeps the west significantly sanctioning i rinceau my skepticism as well founded. sodium believed an extension with the deal that alters the heading the to dismantle
9:28 pm
the infrastructure to puts us in place with the of long term regime and calibrates sanctions leading to benchmarks' including a resolution. i want to be very clear i am not looking for the state department's talking points today i want to hear why our panelists believe based on their experience there is a difference. and to is there view if only they had another four months. let me close by saying what i have always said. i support the administration as diplomatic efforts i have always supported the two track policy and sanctions at the same time i have always believed by only relieved pressure on iraq in
9:29 pm
exchange for a long term verifiable concessions that fundamentally dismantle the program and any deal restructured as such of way should iran restore is program any time in the next 20 or 30 years. someone to be clear i do not support another extension of negotiations. then it has exhausted its opportunity to part real concessions on the table and we are prepared to move forward with real sanctions. i'm afford for the senator's remarks. >> that is an excellent opening comment than there has been bipartisan concern where iran is. looking back over our notes we look back at the hearing october 2013 where when d
9:30 pm
and david both word here. . .
9:31 pm
continue to move. i know that david's testimony today has been a good job i think with sanctions. he's going to talk about the relief that iran is getting during the next four month extension but i think all of us are concerned that the right place though i thinwayso i thins that the international community having come together to put pressure on iran the way that we have is dissipating and it will be very difficult to predict together if we end up in the wrong place. so i will close. i think the chairman and comments speak well for most of the committee and i will close by saying i hope that today you will publicly commit that there will be absolutely no more
9:32 pm
extensions that are fairly are at the end of the former period there will not be additional expansions. we will come to a final agreement or not. they are interim agreements if you will and second, i hope you will commit as john kerry said there needs to be a congressional buy-in. it gives congress the ability to weigh in on this final deal. this engines cannot be waived without congress. without the congress weighing in. i believe that acknowledging the congress playing a role in one of the biggest issues that this administration is going to deal with relative to reaching the agreement and relative to nuclear issues i think that congress can be an important and valuable backstop to the administration as they negotiate this because the congress has
9:33 pm
sent out very strong signals as to what the belief, bu but we believe would be an acceptable arrangement. all of us want to see this kind of success but we are concerned about where we are at this moment. >> for the record your statements will be a good without objection. summarizing about five minutes or so s so is the so so he can e with you. you. secretary, you are recognized. >> good morning. thank yothank you chairman and distinguished members of the committee. i'm pleased to be here along with the secretary to discuss the status of negotiations related to iran's nuclear program as you have the written statement so i will summarize the key point. mr. chairman and members of our goal was to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. the process in which we are
9:34 pm
currently engaged was designed to achieve that goal peacefully. we have a basic metric for a good agreement, one that cuts off all of the potential path toward a nuclear weapon. weapon. the plutonium path with a current reactor, the path for the underground facility, the path through the breakout of the richmond plant and the path that would occur in secret that people deal with fruit intrusive measuremeasures and tied the sas relief to the performance only providing relief to iran after it has taken verifiable steps as a part of an agreement and maintain the capacity to tighten the pressure if iran fails to comply. i cannot tell you today that our diplomacy will succeed because i am not sure that it will. i can tell you that in the past six months, we have made significant and steady progress
9:35 pm
and exchanged ideas and now we have gaps on key issues and identify areas where were hard work is required. we have had productive discussions which reduced the danger is posed by facilities at iraq. other protocols necessary for transparency and about the disposition of iran stockpiles of enriched uranium. no issues have been neglected and none have been finally decided because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, and on sun and still have substantial differences including the question of enrichment capacity. as you know mr. chairman there's a limit to how detailed i can be in this open session and still preserve the leverage we need and support that we seek. the bottom line is all of those obstacles do remain the art moving in the right direction. for that reason roughly two weeks ago the parties agreed to extend the deliberations for four additional months.
9:36 pm
we agreed to this extension because we have seen significant progress in the negotiating room, and because we can see a path forward however difficult to get to the comprehensive plan of action. we will use this time to continue working towards the confidence of plan for ensuring that iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon and its program is exclusively peaceful. i noted that a year ago the program was growing and becoming more dangerous with each passing day. that is no longer the case. last november in the step of the negotiation we reached consensus on a joint plan of action in return for limited and targeted sanctions relief and iran agreed to fullback elements of its nuclear activities. in fact, they've temporarily blocked each of the paths around that we need to go down to building nuclear weapons. many observers doubted whether they would keep the commitments under the plan. but according to the iaea, iran
9:37 pm
has done what it promised to do. the result is a nuclear program that is more constrained, more transparent and better understood than it was a year ago. a program that has been frozen for the first time in almost a decade. meanwhile as the under-secretary will make clear the sanctions relief for iran will remain limited to announce that will do little if nothing to heal the deep-seated economic problems. over the next four months the valuable safeguards that freed the program will remain in place as they strive to negotiate a comprehensive plan. i will be blunt and say that we will never rely on words alone when it comes to iran. we will and have insisted the commitments be monitored and verified in the terms of access and inspection be thoroughly spelled out. the goal is to structure an agreement that would make any attempt to breakout of such an agreement so visible and
9:38 pm
time-consuming that iran would either be deterred from trying was stopped before it could succeed. speaking more generally, i want to emphasiz emphasize an invasin one issue does not require and will not lead to silence on others. the united states .-full-stop hesitate to express its view and put pressure when it is warranted whether in relation to the governments of the human rights record in support for terrorism, it's outright hostility towards israel or detention of political prisoners, journalists and citizen's. mr. tran and members of the committee, on this issue we are united in our goal and determined to be not obtain a nuclear weapon. it is only because of the leverage created by the executive and legislative branches of the government by our allies and partners into the u.s. security council that iran has come to the negotiating tabltable and what we believe te a serious way. but we know they are a means not
9:39 pm
the end and for determining whether the end can be achieved through a diplomatic process. that effort is worthwhile because a positive outcome would be preferable to any alternati alternative. a comprehensive agreement with ease anxiety and enhance stability in the middle east. it would reduce the likelihood of an arms race and eliminate the potential threat of nuclear blackmail and contribute to the security of israel and our partners in the region and make our own citizens safer between now and at the end of november we will continue our pursuit of these ends and it is with those high purposes in mind that i respectfully think you and ask you again for your support. thank you for the opportunity to be here. i will be pleased to respond to every question and be as specific and detailed as i possibly can in this open session. thank you. >> secretary? spinnaker charan, ranking member
9:40 pm
corker, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for your invitation to appear before you today along with my colleague the under-secretary to discuss the extended joint plan of action. i will focus my testimony this morning on our efforts to maintain pressure on iran to help achieve a successful outcome in the negotiations on its nuclear program and the ever mounting pressure iran will continue to face during the extended joint plan of action period. as the p5 plus one seeks a comprehensive long-term resolution to the international community concerns over the program. when we announced the planned tn n-november wplannednovember we t expect the package to approve the economy, and it hasn't. the depth of the economic distress that resulted in large measure from the collaborative efforts of congress, the administration and international partners to the limited release in the joint plan of action, and
9:41 pm
so today as we start to implement the extended, iran remains in a deep economic hole. the value of iran's currency has declined by about 7% since the jpoa was announced and iran has lost $120 billion in oil revenue and $20 billion of revenue in the first six months of the jpoa and stands to lose an additional $15 billion in oil revenue during the next four months alone. iran's economy today is 25% smaller than it would have been had it remained on its pre- 2011 growth trajectory. when we entered in some predicted the regime would crumble and some also argued that the economy would rebound dramatically. neither occurred. the fact is as we enter the extension of the joint plan of action, the sanction regime
9:42 pm
remains robust and of the economy continues to struggle. we remain confident that the sanctions will continue to fight and the economy will remain under great stress. the three to $4 billion worth of relief the extended joint plan of action may provide iran pales in comparison to what iran needs to dig itself out of its economic hole and we expect firms will continue to shun iran as was the case in the joint plan of action. firms have good reason to remain reluctant about doing business in iran. the overwhelming majority of the sanctions remain in place. iran continues to be cut off from the international financial system and is unable to attract foreign investments. iran is still shut out of the united states, the largest most vibrant economy and precluded from transacting in the dollar. dollar. they're sweeping the theft of nearly 680 designations
9:43 pm
developed in concert with partners around the world remains in place. throughout the jpoa period we have also vigorously enforce our sanctions recognizing that a central role that financial pressure played in the lead up to and now during the joint plan of action and how important maintaining the pressure will continue to be during this extended joint plan of action period. since the plan was negotiated with having opposed the sanction of the entities and individuals around the world for the u.s. sanctions against iran getting the nuclear proliferation and supporting terrorism and for abusing human rights. throughout the short-term extension of the joint plan, i can assure you that we will continue to make certain through the word and the need to banks, businesses, brokers and others around the world understand that iran is not open for business and will not be unless and until
9:44 pm
it assures the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its program. while this extension will provide additional time and space for negotiations to proceed, it will not change the basic fact that the sanctions and induced economic distress has not receded. over the next four months my colleagues and i in treasury and in the administration will continue to echo president obama's message that we will come down like a ton of bricks on those that seek to evade our sanctions. that will provide the leverage as we explore the possibility of a comprehensive and long-term resolution to the international community concerns of iran's nuclear program. i'm happy to respond to any questions the committee may ha have. i have a question for you madame secretary about the detentions of the "washington post"
9:45 pm
correspondent who i understand is a dual citizenship including the citizen of the united states and his wife who arrested in the home last tuesday. since the arrest, no one has heard from them and the u.s. citizens working as freelance photographers are also being held and to my knowledge there have been no charges into the detainees apparently have no access to legal counsel. can you tell me what you're we e doing in this regard? >> it is a great concern to all of us as it is the continued detention of the pastor and our concerns about robert ivins and who has been missing for a very long time and we believe we have in fact used our appropriate channels to make it known our concern about this attention of american journalists and his
9:46 pm
wife and the additional photojournalist. there is no reason for this to occur. i read the interest of the "washington post" editorial of which i entirely agree we are a country that believes in the recipe -- press freedom. he called on iran to release all of the people including the pastor and to help us in every way possible to return robert levin sent home as well. thank you for raising this and we will use every channel that we have, mr. chairman and to continue to bring -- >> i am concerned when u.s. citizens are detained by the iranian government. and in the case of the report it seemed rather i won't say
9:47 pm
favorable but certainly balanced in his reporting how was it that they detained u.s. citizens for what it' is for all of care and services nothing of any great consequence is? i don't get it. i don't get to the ayatollah talking about centrifuges in the time that we are trying to reduce the number of centrifuges even if they didn't have a time specific 190,000 centrifuges beyond the pale of what we need. i hope that we are going to pursue this with the iranians and i hope they understand very quickly that actions like these undermine whatever negotiating policy they have at the table. with the ascii with reference to something that i think should have been a condition precedent. i think that you and i have discussed this but it is a concern to me which is the
9:48 pm
possible military detentions of the program. i don't look at this as to understand the path to see what to see. i look at it as a measurement for the future. if you do not know what iran's military program was coming you don't know to what point they progress that will cause us concern that they are at the point may be further along than anyone suspects in a short jump to its being able to militarize the nuclear program for the nuclear weapons. and i think the world would have looked at these negotiations in a totally different way if that had been established up front. my understanding of the public reports is that they are incredibly reticent to come clean on this issue. so, what options are on the table for addressing the possible military dimensions in iran's program?
9:49 pm
and will you insist? i don't think that this is giving away a negotiating posture on access to persons, places and documents for the iaea to make this determination. >> thandetermination. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. we absolutely agree that the possible of the three dimensions must be addressed as part of a comprehensive agreement. as you know the atomic energy agency has a protocol under way to do that. it's been very difficult. iran has been reluctant to come forward with that kind of information about people, places and documents. documents. >> didn't they say they are missing a deadline? >> there is a deadline coming up for some of the considerations. we have been in close touch with the director general because dealing in the convenience of agreement we want to make sure we don't undermine the
9:50 pm
independence of the iaea but rather use the negotiations of leverage to get the compliance required by to let the same time insuring that they can do its job and that we don't interfere with that given their independence. that said, i quite agree with you. if there is not access to what the iaea ea needs to have about its past, it is difficult to know that you will have compliance about iran's future. how this would ultimately get resolved, we've had quite a bit of discussion about. we haven't reached a resolution on this issue. it's a very serious issue and it must be resolved as part of a negotiation. >> let me ask you with reference to assuming a good deal that we could all embrace what's going to be critical after 20 years of deception is the monitoring and
9:51 pm
verification regime which is why i call for long-term inspections and verification regimes. some call that a suggestion of a deal and i don't quite get it. it seems if you deceive for 20 years in advance to the point that we are now accepting a level of enrichment that we accept that was supposed to be closed and we were told that iraq was going to be dismantled by them or by us and now we are accepting all these things that the monitoring is important, not a dealbreaker but a dealmaker. with monitoring and verification measures beyond the additional iaea protocols are seeking in the final agreement in type of a verification measure is being considered to hold the procurement of the key proliferation sensitive goods as well ask >> thank you mr. chairman. transparency and monitoring is
9:52 pm
critical to any agreement. as i said, and of the pathways of concern is of course covert action and transparency and monitoring are v. elements that help ensure that if there is a covert program one does to stop it from happening in the first place. the fact we can have access to the centrifuge production and uranium mills gives the intelligence community and experts that kind of information that allow us to know whether something is being sent over to some other place and isn't in the pipeline as it is required to be inspected. to succumb in addition to the modified 3.1 in the additional protocol which are critical to the contents of agreement, and i believe iran understands that on each of the measures that will be agreed to people decide whether they had additional element of transparency is
9:53 pm
monitoring and needed over the entire duration of the agreement and the duration of the agreement that we agree with you ought to be quite a long time given how many years of concern have been raised by the international community. so, in some cases, there will be access to the sites. in some cases there will be other technical means of the verification. but, we will go element by element and make sure that there is in fact a specific monitoring and verification measure that matches up with the bad. >> let me ask a specific question i asked before and then turned to senator corker. persons, places and documents. is it not a reasonable expectation to have the verification both of the possible military dimensions are prospectively for three years before we found the underground facility i don't know that file the agreed to something that allowed them to do the capacity
9:54 pm
it would be too late? >> we will do whatever is required for verification. they have required persons, places and documents. i think they see the places and documents as the most important because they want to go and have direct access and look for themselves. a person's issue as i think you know is an issue for iran but it is one in the table that is of a great concern and that is to be very blunt and open about it it is if you need individuals that those individuals might find that their lives are quite sho short. >> the individuals and facilities would guarantee that their lives would be extended. >> i agree. >> is the administration in agreement that november 24 is
9:55 pm
the end of these negotiations and there will be no more extensions that we either reach an agreement by that date or this negotiation is over? >> senator, i've learned in negotiations that it is very difficult to see what will happen at the end of any given period of time. if you ask me where we would be at the end of this six month but has stressed preceded it, it would have been harder to predict that we are exactly where we are today. our intent is absolutely to end this on november 24 in 1 direction or another. but what i can say to you is we will consult the congress along the way. i greatly appreciate that the congress has permitted classified briefings during the negotiation to maintain whatever leverage we have and we will continue those classified conversations. and when november 2 24th comes with every decision we make will
9:56 pm
be a joint one with the united states congress. >> and you understand the concerns? >> i do. we made a very conscious decision not to go for six month extension which was possible under we thought that we would just get to month number five before anything would happen. so we were concerned about talking for talking sake as you are. >> and the regime as the chairman and he alluded to and many others have alluded to, have the inspection and period is something short of 20 years or so, we've really not done much right? if this agreement doesn't last for a long line we have dissipated all of our leverage for something that doesn't matter. what is the minimum length of time that is being discussed for an agreement of this type? >> and the duration should be
9:57 pm
double-digit and we believe that it should be for quite a long time. i'm not going to put a specific number on the table because that is a subject of the very sensitive negotiations but i'm happy to discuss that with you. >> i think you understand the concerns we have to something that isn't very long-term. >> and we share that. >> are they agreeing to all of the obligations? spinnaker they have verified which is more important in my judgment. >> in one of the areas we have disputed and we talked about it back and forth is they agreed there was an agreement they were not going to export more than 1 million barrels per day. they are above that number significantly, and i guess i just ask if they are significantly above the number they've agreed to howard e. in agreement? we believe they are 1.4 million. i think you all can verify that
9:58 pm
to be true so how are they an agreement? >> i talked with our experts yesterday and imagined that it would get asked today and it is our assessment having most of the data not having the last 20 days of july that we will be in the range of 1.1 billion barrels per day which is what in fact we had said would be the aggregate amount. some of the public data that is published includes two elements that are not a part of that assessment. for those countries that are still allowed to import the ordeal at the aggregate amount at which they were at the time that does not include some of the public data pushes up the number and some of the public data includes the loyal that is
9:59 pm
headed to syria and that pushes up the number and iran gets money directly from the oil so they get no economic benefit is that if you take out -- >> we are at about 1.1. >> i think for what it's worth, the subtraction -- i forgot what they called the new math when i was a young man but it's a very creative way of not counting all of their exports come and we disagree strongly with those numbers. but think about what you just said. they are shipping label to his -- to syria. they are working against us in that regard, and you don't count that as an export. i just find that to be -- and >> of the do have other sanctions through other channels
10:00 pm
of the export. we do take advertisement actions on that. >> secretary terry said on april 8 the administration is obligated to come back to congress for any relief of the statutorily imposed sanctions on iran and in the agreement they have to pass muster with congress. can you confirm that is the case and will you come to the congress prior to any relief associated with a comprehensive agreement? not, why not? >> senator, we believe strongly that any lifting of sanctions will require congressional legislative action. >> i heard you talk about the war it is tough to result. resolve. i want you to clearly state to me will you or will

37 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on