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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  December 4, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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instability upon which would be very adverse the flow of trade, 90% of the world trade by volume of course. so trying to -- china is a much interest in canadian energy and natural resources. we are very much interested in building trust, strategic trust and cooperation with china. and from enable perspective, of course, i'll give you one sort of anecdote. you were referring to this the islands, two months ago i attended the western pacific naval symposium hosted -- and have the opportunity to sit between the deputy commander of the people's liberation army navy, and the commander of the
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ambassadors japanese maritime self-defense force, a euphemism for the japanese navy. it was at a time when the island was leading on cnn and bbc. i thought as i was sitting between two them there's an opportunity for a canadian to do something extraordinary from an naval diplomatic perspective and put this thing to bed. [laughter] >> how did that go? >> not too well, not too well. [laughter] which is my point. i spoke with the chinese admirals interpreter. i spoke with admiral commander in english, a great conversation. but never was the bridge build or even considered. and i think one of the key issues here, with respect to china as they emerge, as a real leading nation is the ability to build bridges, to communicate to build strategic trust and cooperation, to enable every
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forum, the east asian summit, asian, and others, all bilateral come multilateral relationships in order to keep the volume as well as possible spent last year i had the privilege of interviewing henry kissinger about his book on china. in their there's a chat about strategic trust. i said i can ask kissinger if you still kissinger. so i opened it up and talked about an agreement with henry, and i said i'm going to ask if you're still yourself because you talk about strategic trust. kissinger said i would never write such a thing. i said in a cottage in the book. he said, well then i will defend it. [laughter] now we have had some quick slice of looking at these issues. there's a great article in foreign policy recently. has been was a china adviser to
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mitt romney. he now heads the university of chicago. but he basically wrote about the sort of two chinas or to the ages. he said there's sort of a doctor jekyll and mr. hide that's evolving to a doctor jekyll, which is the nicer of the two is the economic issue. the dr. height is the strategic asia, is the security agent. if you look at the economic asia there's heavy amounts of interdependence, everybody is investigating each other. $19 billion in regional trade which includes india. if you look at the security asia, national entity, orders dispute, historical grievances just are driving things apart and you're seeing real impact on these. in the has its own problems in the region across china region across china. region across chandigarh on the border dispute. if you look at this is something that you want to be deeply engaged in or do you look at this is basically something that you can ride along and freeload and let america and canada and japan handled?
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>> steve, your question -- >> i'm and freeload, by the way. >> that by the way is how the chinese would describe any relationship between japan and america. the interesting aspect of all these conflicts is that as india and china and india and china have a proximate geographically, but we've never been neighbors. >> right. >> in order to be neighbors you either have to love each other or hate each other. we have done neither. in fact, in 1962 during the first strategic conflict, between these two, you have to understand, it's hard to understand why we are not neighbors. [inaudible] in terms of inaccessible. but the positions, the lines,
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the strategies, the lines, what would they resonate to? the positions that are taken by postcolonial nations is that we will not be bound by decisions made by colonial powers. one, or in china's case, that we had to abandon our national positions. and now that we are strong, we need to resurrect them. right or wrong is not, that is very little to do with national positions. now, the words that were there in the title of today's discussion, confusion, i come from a country i'm proud to say that we've reached high, high levels of confusion without confucius. [laughter] >> but it's very interesting that the debate on confusion is
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actually in india and china is running parallel lines. in our country the debate on confusion was started by his eminence, wilson churchill, when he decided that at the moment in their would become free, it would descend into chaos. indians and understand what he's talking about, not because they could understand churchill's english, which is also difficult to understand, but because churchill had just presided over four years in which india lost 3 million people to famine. he presided. his policy, he would not allow food. over an annual growth of near 1%. so indians don't understand what this order of the grape is all about. they want the confusion of independent. they want to confusion.
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china, for me 1947 is important because 90% as the modern 1776. americans for some reason called in this country and ordered it is not. america is the oldest country in the modern world. because the american constitution provided us with a template for classless democracy. not the america that she did but certainly that was the ideological template around it. india is important, 1947, because india is the oldest nation and the postcolonial world. and the indian constitution similarly creates an ideological template for democracy. but with the emergence of india also emerged china, and china had a different template. again, not getting into what is right and what is wrong, but these are alternative -- how to run your nation and postcolonial society. and very interesting we received in comparison to parties, won
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the congress and the chinese communist party. actually became the dominant force in the post-independent state. one advocate would have to be -- because both emerge from ravaged economically driven set of needs. the congress offered soft left. the chinese offered hard left, or autocratic left. a long story, both had -- >> you said long story shorter i want to get to the short part. spent discussing it with americans. [laughter] >> just slightly longer. anyway, both have charismatic leaders but by the 18th both realize that the economic policies that they had been following were not working. and in one case you had from
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soft left, soft reform. and in china's case from hard left too hard reform. >> right. >> in both, a correction that is causing so much turbulence has actually emerged from economic reform. because in economic reform, a handful of people, politicians and bureaucrats, discovered that decisions made by them with creating billionaires. and these decisions, it was the old corruption but it really revolves around natural resources. land, principle, sanction, mining, forests. natural resource. the conventional industries are not encouraging corruption. so this great, you know, tremendous septic bubble that has taken over is the most dangerous thing that face both countries are facing, and have to find solutions which will
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come out of the anger of the people. >> let me just go to the panel and we have a few minutes to talk amongst ourselves, but as i look at china and the been there, i wrote a piece out there that when i saw china emerging with a fragile swaggers come you clearly saw an increase in swogger. you saw in the contest with japan. you also saw an insecurity complex inside china about fragility, about concern. and if i were really to put -- they were complaining to me about couldn't i get president obama to be more clear and forceful in the things he cared about, and less inconsistent? they wanted to see structure. i don't want to get into the death of can fusionism, but part of it is picking is the king, the minister is the minister, the father is the father, the sun is the son and jeff government. so if everyone in his, and i should say or her place though confucianism doesn't leave much fun for the element.
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and that within the region and with the world as china looks at, a sense of harmony, japan would be law, that sense of harmony and how you would achieve it is that their frustration is that the work is not just acquiescing to the notion that they are a rich country, that they are returning, that they're powerful, that they want respect. and they want to see the world kind of step back and give it greater latitude, but doesn't see this. this is what i think whether i personally think we are on a collision course. because when you look at what china's expectations of the world are, you also look at its paranoia, you look at jim, i'd love to hear utah, you're such an expert insider, what's going on in the cyber world. you see something which seems hard to me, despite her best efforts in not one to replace history, that the rise of a great power usually and often leads to messiness. usually and often leads to conflict. let's get some conversation from those of you who are thinking
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sisley that this is supposed to be a no-nonsense forum on military and secret strategy. i don't want you to predict war, but i think easy to protect conflict, given history, given what we see as mutual expectation. i'd love to hear why that's not going to happen given the work of all of your government. and india today. >> i just wanted to ask a question here. which is one of the things important elements of the new structures both in india and china is the role of the family. which is very confucius in traditional ways of looking. never seen as a sort of simple modern duty. what is the role of the family in japan? >> i think japan's kind of democratic free society. so the social values are also changing. but, of course, we very much cherish the family ties.
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and also maybe in our ex-president ourselves, we tried to be kind of polite. [inaudible] kind of defense. but when it comes to international relationship, i don't think that that kind of thing -- >> what matters is japan does have election on the summer 16th. are they worried about china trying to put together a leader democracy in the region including india because that was his strategy that if you put together things, much more like your when you think, i know you can't in your position talk one way or another about prime minister but this notion about a strategic -- is japan really need to invest in structures that balance -- are you worried that given your experience you have to balance china much more vigorously than you did in the past? >> yes. most frequently you ask question for japanese people is whether we regard china as a threat or a
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chance for an hour and should is would like to see china development as a chance rather than threat. >> what you think will really happen? >> there is a assumption that china continues to be kind of international stakeholder, stakeholder, international community. international order and they respect the communication with the other countries. on the assumption i think we can welcome the china advancement, the development. and in order to maintain the prosperity of east asia, east asia as a whole, china is a very, very critical element. and we'd like to embrace china of the kind of source of prosperity in the region. but it's really up to china, you know. which course they're going to
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take. >> go ahead. >> obviously we have a strong interest in a stable prosperous and growing china, and as we look at how to engage that china and how we engage more broadly in the region, just outlined very briefly for a key element. the first is principles, and that includes, that includes as we think about the south china sea moving towards a code of conduct. it includes the principle that these disputes will not be resolved by force, but to diplomacy. it also includes as we think about broadly economically the idea of a level playing field, and that means, it means that we have i think very legitimate concerns about the theft of intellectual property, including through cyberspace. so the principles of critical -- >> which is a pretty profound problem. >> it is a very significant issue, very significant. part two, it's represented by
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the team appeared is partnerships. and as we look at the trent eight rebounds the asia-pacific, both our existing alliances, and new partnerships including with india and indonesia. not really new but integrating partnerships but our partnership with china is critical. as we look at both opportunities to build on cooperation and franken opportunity compete economically and then to avoid any prospect in light of conflict. so those are a critical element. as we think about international institutions including both regional and more broad international institutions, those are a key part of that as well. to us, the other two pieces i'm going to put in our presence. with 60 years of history where the united states has provided a stabilizing role toward economic development, and the fact that
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most of international trade floats, as the apple noted, is a key part of that. and with a strong interest, not just the asia-pacific region by the international community does. so as we continue to sustain and enhance our presence through a stabilizing function and fun at the end of the day when you have the capacity as a u.s. military to have policy as well. that's a global capability. but that means that they respected the choices that are made by other powers we want to sustain a presence in the asia-pacific. same to is the middle east. as you look at these different areas i think that there are terrific opportunist who engage with china on each of them. and to fundamentally ask the question and try to answer the question secretary clinton and state counselors have been engaging for some time, and that is can we get a better answer than we have had in the past two
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how a new rise in power comes to the international system. and can we do so without running significant risks or indeed fall into conflict. >> thanks. please. >> i agree with everything the undersecretary has said your, and, in fact, admiral sam locklear underscore those pushes a couple days ago in australia. talking about engagement and that strategic trust. but it's interesting that the chinese tend to look at the american, ma asia pacific give it a sort of a continuing strategy. which speaks to the inability to really communicate with strategic effect. and i think you touched, steve, on a very important piece which was a seniority complex and if i can put it that way. china has felt that they were
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abused by major powers to the 19th century and well into the 20 century, and that has an interesting counterbalance, which is a seemed a bit of a superiority complex about the solutions that they are building on how china images as a global power. the discontentment peace is a bit of a challenge. the south china sea, the entire challenge of their -- challenge there. the chinese are making claims that really with respect to united nations convention on this they are fairly outrageous. and what they're looking for, at the end of the day is respect, respect out the table and respect for who they are and what they are doing. and semi-we can define the means to bring these two solitudes
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together because at the end of the day any conflicts, whether it's kinetic or otherwise, that adversely affects the sultry to that part of the world will have a fundamentally adverse impact on the global economy spent it's doing it now with china and japan. that's interesting, as you've got two of the biggest economies in the world in a nightmare situation that raises a fundamental question, and it's of ending this myth that economics draws people closer together. part of the title today is "mischief or miscalculation?." during the cold war, what was interesting is you can have 17 different spheres of contact with the soviets and if two and if to implement you it's about 15 others. there was a lot of heavy investment figuring out how to communicate and how to coordinate, how to deal with escalation, how do you talk about that. and in this era, when i look at
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the amount of time, particularly in the obama administration, even more so than the george w. bush of administration, you look at senior officials who go to asia, throughout the region, and also the discussion and attempt to courtney with china. there seems to be a lot of that to try to coordinate. but again coming back to jim steinberg was the fourth member of this panel would happily and armitage and joe knight looking at the die you island dispute, and said they were shocked and surprised why the level of miscommunication, ms. assessment and dangerous of that between china and japan. so it raises them up question of whether or not, i agree. i know china wants respect to whether or not what you are seeing is a strategic game, or tactical game by china to use its potential ms. assessment to kind of look like the unstable
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part in some of his to basically help push out some interest. and that we've been a little bit. >> steve, i think the essential question is not of domination or respect, it's about whether it will be static of whether it will be dynamic. and there is no way that nations are going to agree on what they are considered to be the point but and you drop a little bit of energy into this thing. and it becomes explosive. as you know -- many of these claims. but the issue really isn't that what the emerging world, whether india, from completely different perspectives. i have seen india and china when we went to china in 2004, maybe 2003, the period with an india and china was maybe $2 billion. it was a mango driven trade. today, i think this month the
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chinese prime minister promised to india we are going to talk 150 billion as the next horizon. this is without, without drawing on line issues but it is drawing on claims. so i think what asia is looking for is that we can have coalitions within each other without necessarily being get david to. now, it's a dangerous game but all games are dangerous, as kissinger made a lifetime career out of asia. but this is the way it is, and military power as a dominant element of strategy will not work. as a background element of strategy, yes. essential, important. it could have for the first time three years ago, there was a conference in which we discussed
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india and american cooperation in the pacific. never happened before. it doesn't mean that navies are going to march and conquer the items. but we are taking positions which are cooperative, which are dynamic, and which recognize that nations change, people change. and we have to keep -- spent before you open to the audience i just want to throw one last thing. i look today to see how much china held in u.s. treasuries in u.s. treasuries are us 1.5 auditorium in japan. 1.3 to him but they're going like this. would often talk about national security issues in terms of ships and tanks, planes and power in a classical sense. but there's just no doubt that the economies matter. i think whether it's been leon panetta, bob gates, admiral mullen, the constant focus on economic feminism, i don't know canada's net position with
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china, but it does raise this fundamental question of whether american debt is an asset or a liability. you know, the conference in dallas yesterday were recently, where someone made a comment that an american source of power to every different in the past that it defies the pentagon and the size american debt that we're too big to fail. deadhorse lake bigger problem than us. i be interested when you're anything about policy do you look at that as a source of leverage or does it strain american options tremendous a? >> steve, very simply, the u.s. situation with respect to our deficit and debt is a national security liability. we need our senior leadership. we need a senior leadership to take it on. we have an opportunity to do so. we have a requirement to do so. at the foundation of national
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power is ultimately economic comment and in terms of global influence, in terms of the ability to support a military, the economic is foundation. and we have i think the united states, both an opportunity to require it to get our house in order, and i believe that our 100 senators and members of the house will step up on this and sufficient majority in the coming months. >> how do you look at your surplus of the u.s.? does that say we have america under our control? >> we are one of the closest allies of the united states. so of course our position today to united states is very, very decisive, strengthen our relationship. so these are not, there is no
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intention for us to try to use this kind of economic relationship in different context. so we are very satisfied with the current relationship with the united states. that's all spent let me open up to the florida. we have four microphones around the room. let me -- we're going to go fast. josh rogin over you. and i will call on people i don't know so. but that is josh from the cato policy. >> thank you very much, and thank you for your time today. so, i think we can all agree the number one issue that poses a risk of conflict with china is dispute over islands and territories with its neighbors to the resolution of those disputes is to urge china to subjugate itself the international code of conduct, multilateral dispute mechanisms and so. the chinese or sponsor the user
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is that's fine but there's no reason to use those mechanisms in the case of x. because the island or territory is ours so there's no dispute. of course, the china -- nude japan or south korea for that matter is going to follow that logic on whatever i can or territory they claim was theirs since the 14 center or whatever. so my question is, will the japanese submit to these types of multilateral dispute mechanisms regarding islands they claim? and will the u.s. urge allies to use of these mechanisms in the same way the chinese use these mechanisms? thank you. >> when it comes to the island, i don't want to get into the details but it is very, very clear and simple that that item belongs to japan. and there's no, from our viewpoint there's no element to the district, and -- >> it's very interesting, and
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article basically set there was a recognition, maybe i'm wrong, but there was a recognition controlled by china over the island. it's an interesting piece that raise questions, because i always read that japan line, came in and said let's look at the material and how does the okinawa kingdom look at these islands and how does japan, that there does seem to be a legitimate historical dispute. i just want to put that marker out there. >> i cannot speak for others. it's private also. i can speak for china -- >> kristof is wrong. >> but for example, as far as i know china's claim is the meantime steve which is from 13th century, some ships coming into, come closer to the
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island. and sold the island, that's all. -- and saw that i then, that's all. that's our understanding. so this is not, we're discussing based on -- [inaudible] >> i know the message recogniz recognized. ..
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this important aspect of economic development and political development, county see this playing out? india and japan have engage china on research cooperation, is this serious sorry missed opportunity? >> the dr. jekyll technology parts. >> science, technology, engineering and math are fundamental to the growth of the economy and the united states obviously has work to do, my oldest daughter is doing her doctorate in math. there's a substantial contribution to national security in any case. with respect to the dr. jekyll
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and mr. hyde bit, economic growth is fundamental and innovation is the key engine for that and freedom is the foundation for that. i think we will see this play out in interesting ways globally including within china, and as we work to have a very open system economically and take advantage of technology, we also need to look at what needs to be done to deal with the threats of not just cyber but biotech and so on and look at doing that in partnership, and the partners we look at, and a substantial conversation about the rules of the road in cyberspace, we do that with many others, a
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fundamental issue. >> got a little bit from global security, the issue of the islands is primarily an issue of energy, and we are seeing it all over the world today, we don't have good mechanisms, maritime energy disputes, not only in the united states and eastern mediterranean, our pick is coming up. with regards to china and japan, those two countries are not fighting over a bunch of rocks. they are fighting over a potential energy reserve that nobody even knows what is in there. they might be fighting over something very little, they may be fighting over something very best. the nature of maritime energy reserves is until you go in and
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really explore and understand what you are actually fighting over, you will be positioning yourself, big navies, for the day you will know what is happening down there. at that point japan will be -- if it pursues its current energy proposal of getting off of nuclear power, it will be heavily dependent upon natural gas. china is running out, heavily dependent on natural gas, at that point, a very in flaming situation so what needs to be done is figuring out the extent of the reserve, what are we disputing over and begin to establish an international mechanism for dealing with disputes in the context of international energy agency which china is not a member of but should be, or an independent one. this is an energy issue, not --
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we will not be able to get to the root of it. >> i am going to gather some others but have your mike, this is an important point because the distinction between what you said that this could be a fight over an earnest issue, an asset, versus a fight over strategic lines and the perception of power, that is an important distinction. this gentleman in the far back and then louisa. >> i just want to -- >> brevity will get gold stars. >> china economy, more oil intensive than europe, and oil coming to the middle east before that and a dozen chinese from libya, the question i would raise is the need for china to
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stabilize resources of oil and energy resources and the same kind of ambition to sustain that with the geopolitical force as we have, is that going to lead to conflict we are talking about? >> yes, sir. >> what about canada? may be a quick comment on the resource issue, i take issue with whether or not it is better to know what is there or not there. canada and the united states have an interesting discussion about the border between alaska and canada. [talking over each other] >> we were a lot better off when it was not how many barrels of oil will come to each nation's economy but i would like to ask a question as to moving from the flash point of the moment, a longer term issue, the indian ocean and seeing china bases in
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sri lanka, does india regard this as a legitimate protection by china of its sea lanes for commerce with significant -- does it see it as an encirclement of indiana and a strategic threat to india as opposed to a legitimate protection of commercial sealanes. >> let me go to lisa here. >> with all of the talk about jekyll and hyde imus surprise none of the mentioned the question of how china treats its own people and human rights. i wonder, earlier this year, winning human-rights escaped to the u.s. embassy, awkward for secretary clinton at the time but ultimately led her to save human rights are at the heart of diplomacy with china. i would like to hear how each of
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you use the question of how china treats its own people, labor rights, human rights, environmental, in terms of long-term relationships between democracy and china. >> a lot of questions i will give the panel and work to this gentleman around the other half. >> thank you, steve. my question is for mr. miller. america's strategy comes down to borrowing from china, save the world from china. it is not a sustainable strategy. america has to get its economic house in order and there are a couple numbers that are relevant. one is that the current account deficit by this measure of trade runs 4% to 5% gdp down and
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manufacturing is 11% gdp, services hardly produce any exports so how do square the circle? >> a lot of questions from energy, whether we should have ambiguity in the south china sea or not, indian ocean base, human-rights and the question about borrowing from china to save the world from china so i will start with you. >> i will touch on the human rights question first because i know it is a real strategic dilemma for nations that are engaged economically with china because there always has to be human rights imperative. either the elephant in the room or the challenge to getting into the agreement you want to be in but there are five hundred million chinese living in the
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same per-capita income as nigeria at $2 a day and that is a real concern for the chinese in a 1-party state where the military and internal security forces are also party entities. a real challenge. i would like to touch on the question about questions about the island. the island is huge, a tactical, a tactical demonstration of something more strategically important which is whether the rule of law, the united nations convention on the lawn of the sea is one of the most important international agreements, perhaps the most of an important agreement of the 20th century because it resolved the conflict between state control over resources and the need for
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freedom of the sea to enable global trade and whenever there is pressure put on the system, that pressure needs to be challenged because if it is not then there will be other nations who will push the limits in a way that could become destabilizing in the twenty-first century. it is important to look at the south china sea to ask what is china's real ambition, when they talk about the naval strategy and harmonious seas and rapid expansion of the navy they use the term active defense so they're taking that continental interior looking view and applying it at sea to protect
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themselves but also to secure the lines of communication for that energy flow into asia and as long as it is done in a constructive way that enables global governance to be improved that is good. the contrary is not. >> the question on china, the pearl of the ocean, 54, india doesn't take kindly to the construction of water which is -- a massive, massive infrastructure development. it is a new base. this draw your attention not just -- not only the most dangerous war zone but the world's most dangerous civil war
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zone. what we're discussing, we are underestimating the potential of havoc within pakistan, many of these structures developed in china, more concerned about the muslim regions than five years ago if there were attacks on chinese settlements and engineers and so on in the region, karachi attacks within karachi that pakistani forces have not contained and forget about them and investigation. what we are seeing is not simply the construction of facilities but the construction of fortresses that are not within the control of those who built them. with consequences that we will emerge, i wonder also, we are discussing iran, the top of everyone's concern and
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visibility, we are forgetting that pakistan is nuclear and it may be more dangerous potentially than iran's nuclear costs, in fact we are getting is a nuclear presence of continuous nuclear powers, iran and pakistan and india, china, very definitely, japan potentially, and it -- russia. 70% of the world's energy is here. and energy becomes so dramatically contagious, what do you do, briefly on human rights, i do believe actually the big difference between the democracy and dictatorship is simply this, a soft asset but very important one that india doesn't record human-rights that we will
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necessarily be proud of but -- i believe that china may be a successful nation that cannot be a modern nation and the only become a modern nation if it permits democracy and if it permits secularism, the quality and presents and until then if it is successful -- >> let me say three things. i want to follow on the admiral's comments about democracy, it is remarkable to many in the u.s. military that the united states has not ratified the convention. we had a pretty sincere effort to bring it forward to the senate. we were a couple votes short. i think senator mikulski for her encouragement. i hope we will be able to take that up again and get it done as a country. it is challenging to make the
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case we are making which is these potential conflicts over territory from reed bank and so on should be resolved on the basis of principles when the fundamental convention that governs this is one of the we haven't ratified. i would put -- >> don't have very much time but i want to push back on one point. i see you raising this with respect to barbara mikulski but george w. bush supported that tree, richard lugar supported that treaty. i asked harry reid a few years ago, your back in power, you got this, why are you pushing this? i wish we had time. the only -- both parties have let it sit. as a journalist, want to remind people there has been an institutional neglect which i credit the senator for removing the interesting people didn't
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see this before in an earlier period. >> that is fair. the reality in the last session we were one vote short from being able to move forward. it was something the department of defense -- despite its importance i would put that behind taking steps to get the economic house in order. is fundamental to long term security or global leadership and it is really the foundation of our long-term power and influence as a nation and with respect the human rights one of the principles very directly on your comments, one of the principles we need to understand and follow is human rights do matter. >> two issues that are very promising. first thing is energy.
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when president hu jintao made a visit, we made an agreement with the chinese government to exploit jointly the oilwells in the east china sea and we wanted to start the consolidation based on the agreement but china kept refusing to hold the meetings so even though there is agreement between the two leaders of the country's we are very much disappointed in the current administration. and another issue, they're claiming is their island. different dimension from the energy issue, human-rights, importance to the human-rights situation in china, and consolidation with them. but in china for two years, the
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human rights, the information skier in china is totally different from canada, the united states and japan. the people in china do not share the same information as we have here. two nobel prizes that china took, the peace prize and information diffusion in the country is totally different, very little people know about the peace prize so this is one of the examples. there is broad room to be improved in china. >> we have a hard stop at 11:30 which is in four five minutes are left for a 30-second intervention. this gentleman. you go ahead for thirty-second.
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>> all right. >> this is recorded. >> thank you very much. one of the features of this panel is miscalculation. if we go back to the cold war era, we can see one of the important artifacts is between the soviet and american in 1972. >> identify yourself. >> i work with the canadian navy. i am really interested in the whole question of potential for instability at sea in east asian waters as a result of fishing craft as proxies' or various other nonmilitary or paramilitary forces. what is the potential for some sort of agreement to diffuse these. >> that is a great question we will get to during coffee. >> from paris. i wanted to ask the panelists, what did you think of china's plan, china came out recently
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with the four point plan. did you take this seriously? if so could this be part of the new normal? china looking at a crisis that the west is unable to solve far from its shores and saying we have a position to take and we can -- >> in the back row. this gentleman here. thank you for your brevity. >> thank you, richard downie of the center for atmospheric defense studies. earlier in the discussion you asked yamazaki about the dispute and your response was the chinese response was part of what long-term plan. in recent years we have seen china make tremendous efforts certainly in the western hemisphere and africa to build an infrastructure to gain access to raw materials. at the same time we have seen them make tremendous efforts to build military to military relations and my question for
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the panel is, is that military dimension an effort to protect their economic interests, or is that a long-term plan to lay the foundations for their assent to position as a global power? >> one last gentleman in what neil diamond would call the free people, way back. on august 9th. this gentleman, yes? run the mike to him. oh. you too. wait just a second. you go ahead. thank you. >> russell from the strategic policy institute. none of us should be complacent about china's rise and there is likely to be a challenge ahead but i think we should pay closer attention to the things china is saying about themselves and their own priorities and we should be playing close attention to the remarks of the
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soon-to-be new president of china, who chairman hu jintao made to important points about the challenges china has in relation to social change and in relation to the economic engine and in relation to what he called interestingly lifestyle. this was a speech that was very different in style and tone and content to recent speeches and deserves close retention. >> totally agree. you get a final comment. >> first -- [talking over each other] >> you get one comment. >> this is not accurate. they're using a document from the institute library in that defense context. is very inaccurate. >> that is a strong statement that is wrong. that is helpful. just very quickly, i ask our friends on stage what they did with their hobbies, paul's is
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hockey, jim's is tennis, not that you have to adopt a national sport but there was one time -- john made the comment that india or iran will beat the united states because iran plays chess and america plays baseball. in the gulf war, americans play tennis, we play golf. to a certain degree when you think about these kinds of questions about strategy and how you are thinking i do think that those i know that think because we have a question about where is china going and how is it thinking about it world? my sense is chinese strategists are very smart, have a plan, looking at assets. i don't know the chinese name for go but the black chips and white chips when you look at assets around the world and how they're moving them identity
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when i think about u.s. strategy can speak for canadians but i can think with the exception of jim miller we tend to be more reactive in my view that we are strategic but i do sense there is our strategic game but china is playing. so in closing beyond responding to the final comments from those we assembled by would like to get a quick snapshot of your assessment of chinese strategy in the world and whether you take it seriously or whether you think china simply wants to lie low and not ridge these buttons. we will start with yamazaki. >> china is trying to advance to the world and secure our energy resources. in a sense this is not just for any country to do. the program is laid out by the international rules and international kind of consensus.
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that is my prospect. >> thank you. >> i see a lot of very strong strategic fought and good history of strategic thoughts in china and i see them taking a long-term view. as they do that i believe the chinese have the same interests we in the rest of the international community of managing their rise in the international system and that will take active management, that will take a type of discussion that we referred to today and a brief comment on the question about china's role in international diplomacy, we look at what they have done with respect to six party talks and a positive role they played in north korea recently. as we look at their continued role with respect to iran, that will be an interesting conversation in coming months. i think you are seeing them play a more active and positive role in international diplomacy.
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in syria we have work to do. you see where we are headed with respect to styria based on secretary clinton's recent comments but china is strategic, china has strong interest in managing its ascension as a global power, not the only rising power in the neighborhood. it is something that we share. we believe both we, the united states, and the community of democracies have the ability to strategically put that together and do it based on the first two principles and partnerships. >> we just don't have a large advertising campaign. i just want to comment on china's syria plan. it has nothing to do with syria
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which is quite a separate issue. it has everything to do with wounding a america. this -- china and russia have got together and overtures were sent to delhi to send some sort of needlework if you want to use that word and india thankfully has resisted and keeps its options more nuanced and flexible. china's natural game, dr. kissinger has three chapters in his book. the interesting thing about that game is it is very meaningful because the game is not allowed to touch them but they are allowed to touch everyone else and the game is relevant to how they behave particularly with their neighbors. you have to kowtow and the rest is fine. on our national game with india and that helps us all to understand, the good thing about it is it isn't a single game.
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it is many games and so when we want to fast-forward we tend to -- the diplomatic game is that tennis match which goes across five days. the indians and the british are good at it. we tried to teach the australians, but -- >> final word, paul. >> hard to follow the cricket but in closing, i think chinese strategy will be increasingly focused on internal challenges as a huge emerging middle-class and democratic momentum will come into conflict with the 1-party state but a externally they will continue to look for energy as the ambassador has said, meaning they have to engage with the system of world and we hope it is a positive engagement and not one that brings more conflict around the globe. >> i apologize to many of you
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who had questions that i couldn't get to. i want to thank ambassador kazuyuki yamazaki, james miller, m.k. akbar, thank you for your insight. [applause] >> u.s. senate is expected to wrap up debate on the united nations treaty studying international rights for the disabled. a vote is set for noon eastern today with the two thirds majority needed for passage. the senate will recess after that vote for their weekly party lunch meeting and return at 2:15 eastern to resume debate on the defense department programs and policies and legislation for next year. number of amendments are being proposed. the house is voting on a bill to change federal agency efficiency laws. you can see live house coverage on c-span. now live to the senate floor on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain:
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let us pray. lord of life and glory, bend your ears to hear our prayers. lord, deep inside we long to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. give our lawmakers the wisdom to discover your purposes and the courage to obey your commands. lord, teach them to make right decisions without drama and to resist the temptation to waste the currency of the faith and trust of the american people. as they follow your providential leading, may our senators
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strive to be instruments of your glory. use them to do your will on earth, even as it is done in heaven. into each dark and trying hour, send the illumination of your mercy and grace. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c,
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december 4, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable christopher a. coons, a senator from the state of delaware, to perform the duties of the chai. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the disabilities trite. the time until noon will be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. at noon there will be a roll call vote on the resolution of advise and consent to the convention on rights of persons with disabilities. we don't do treaties often and there are requests from both --m senators on both sides of the aisle. i think the they're right, becae this is a treaty, the votes will take place from our desks today. everybody should be on notice. following the vote,
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mr. president, the senate will recess to allow for our weekly caucus meetings. additional votes in resolution to the national defense authorization act are expected during today's session. i'm told that h.r. 6429 is due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 6429, an act to amend the immigration and nationality act to promote innovation, investment, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: i'd object to any other further proceedings at this time. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, it will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president, it's been almost three weeks since we all met with the president to avert that fiscal cliff that we hear so much about. yesterday, after weeks of delay, and as the days dwindle and taxes are set to go up for millions of families and businesses, republicans in the house finally showed up at the negotiating table. and now we know why they've been
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holding their cards so close it their vest. their proposal would raise taxes on millions of middle-class families. their plan to raise $800 billion in revenue by eliminating popular tax deductions and credits would reach deep into pockets of middle-class families. republicans are so intent on protecting low tax rates for millionaires and billionaires, they're willing to sacrifice middle-class families' economic security to do so. at the first of the year, middle-class families, will get an average of $200 i,200 in additional taxes they'll have to pay. their proposal was short on specifics but we do know from independent analysis that it is impossible to raise enough revenue and make a dent in our deficit without using one of two things -- raising tax rates on the top 2% or raising taxes on the middle class. and, as my friend, the senior
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senator from missouri, said on the sunday talk shows, the speaker has to make a decision whether it is more important to keep his job or to do something about the economy that is in such difficult shape here in america. he has to make a choice. the nonpartisan tax policy center called it mat mathematicy impossible to give tax breaks to the rich without harming the middle class. this is something that former president clinton said during the campaign. it's arithmetic. given the choice between the millionaires and billionaires and the middle class, the republicans again sided with the wealthy of this country. their plan doesn't just keep rates low for the richest 2%, it actually lowers them further. the democrats' plan would protect 98% of families and 97% of small businesses from painful tax increases by asking the top 2% to pay a little bit more.
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the republicans' plan, on the other hand, is more of the same. not only does 2 balance the budget on the backs of the middle class, it voids our promise to seniors with steep cuts to social security and medicare, all to pay for even more handouts to the rich. at least we now know where they stand. republicans have sought to cover by invok invoking erskine bowle' name. he has disavowed their plan. we're glad to see the republicans join in the negotiating process. while their proposal may be serious, it's also a nonstarter. they know any agreement that raises taxes on the middle class in order to protect more unnecessary giveaways to the top 2% is doomed from the start. it won't pass. democrats won't agree to it. president obama wouldn't sign such a bill. a understanand the american peot support it. that's in all the polls in the press this morning. the american people are tired of budget-busting giveway is to ths
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to the wealthiest 2%. the american people want a balanced deal. it must be higher taxes on the richest of the rich. republicans would be wise to keep that in mind as negotiations move forward. we're willing to compromise but we also will not consign the middle class to higher tax bills twill millionaires and billionaires avoid all pain. i've been told that the leader of the democrats in the house will file today a discharge petition asking the speaker to bring the bill to the floor. now, all democratic house members, as far as i know, every one of them will sign this discharge petition. mr. president, we have heard republicans who in the house are willing to move forward. if every democrat signs this, we'll only need about 25 republicans to join.
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now, the american people should see that picture. with 25 republican votes -- 25 republican votes -- the middle class of america would be able to rest assured that they will not get a tax increase at the first of the year. 25 republicans is all it would take. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: here in the last several days we have discussed the plans of the democratic court report to make the senate more -- of the democratic majority to make the senate more "efficient" and do it by breaking the rules of the senate. it is what my democratic colleagues roundly criticized during the bush administration as -- quote -- "breaking the rules to change the rules." end quote. and it's something senate republicans thought about but wisely chose not to do.
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the senate has two great traditions, two great rights of members, and by extension the citizens they represent. the right to amend and the right to debate. yesterday and last week i talked about the first of these great senate rights and how the democratic majority has sought systematically to marginal isles the minority in its exercise of this right. i noted how the democratic majority has bypassed committees to an unprecedented extent, how it has blocked members of the minority and members of the majority, too, from offering amendments on the senate floor before cloture is invoked, and how when this didn't shut out the not the majority use add bear majoritarian means to bar the minority from offering motions to suspend the rules after cloture was invoked. this systematic effort to
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marginalize the minority stands in stark contrast to the trend in the house under the republican majority. it has allowed the minority in the house more chances to amend legislation on the house floor than existed under previous majorities. in fact, according to "the wall street journal," last year the house held more votes on amendments on the floor than it did during the two previous years combined when congressional democrats were in the majority. and when one compares the amendments and motions voted on in the house this year with those voted on in the senate, as the nonpartisan congressional research service has done, the difference is truly startling. the house minority has been able to offer 214 such motions and amendments compared to only 67 for the senate minority. which is more than three times as many motions and amendments. well, mr. president, the minority in the house has had
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three times as many votes as the minority in the senate. so in terms of protecting the right of the minority to represent their constituents through amendments on the floor, the house ha is being abouting more like the senate used to be, and the senate is becoming more like the house. -- like the house used to. -- used to be. what about the second great right in the senate, the right to debate? how has the exercise of this right fared under the democratic majority in the answer is, not so great. filing of cloture under the senate rules is the beginning of the process to end debate, and the wielding of this powerful tool is in the hand of the majority leader. so if one wants to simply equate the filing of cloture -- if one wants to equate the filing of cloture with the filibuster, there is a potential for the majority to generate a lot of filibusters with a quick trigger
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on the cloture petition. now, my friends on the other side of the aisle have painted a picture where cloture filings are needed to overcome an object city national minority -- obstinate minority. cloture is needed, we're told, because members of the minority refuse to stop delaying. but does filing cloture hon a matter, be it a bill, amendment, or conference report, on the very same day the senate is considering that matter indicate a minority that is prolonging debate or does it indicate a majority that is eager not to have a debate at all? to me, a habitual effort to file cloture on a matter as soon as the senate begins to consider the matter indicates the latter. and what do the numbers show about the use of cloture by this democratic majority? according to c.r.s., the current senate majority has filed cloture on a amendmen a matter y
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same day it considered the matter three and a half more times than the senate republicans did it when they were in the majority. the current democratic majority has done so well over 100 times. to put it another way, senate democrats are much more apt to try to shut off debate on a matter as soon as the senate begins to consider a matter than were previous majorities, including most recently senate republicans. the disiert of my senate colleagues to shut down debate before it begins has nothing to do with overcoming resistance to the senate take up bills, because as i just noted, this analysis specifically excludes -- excludes -- same-day cloture filings on the motion to proceed. so, mr. president, it is not just the right to amend that has taken a hit under the democratic majority but the trite debate as well. -- but the right to debate as
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well. all senators and citizens are disserved. this was not the golden rule we were promised. when the democrats assumed the majority in 2507, far from it. rather than continuing to diminish the great traditions of the senate rather than breaking the rules to change the rules, we need to strengthen those rights and traditions, because as senator byrd noted, majorities are fleeting. one cap after the first tuesday in november and find one's self in the minority. so, mr. president, i say with respect, i hope our democratic colleagues are mindful of that as we continue this discussion and are prepared not only to live under the rules they would change but to live with the precedent they would establish by making those changes. i yield the floor.
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: it would be hard to travel to a university campus, travel to a chamber of commerce meeting, anyplace in the country, travel just to a supermarket to talk to people, and they would all agree the senate is dysfunctional, has not worked well. to show you how right they are is a statement made yesterday by john mccain. now, john mccain, mr. president, he and i have had our political differences, but no one, no one can quibble with the fact that john mccain is an american patriot. he's a navy aviator, shot down in vietnam. spent years -- years -- i think it was six and a half or seven years as a prisoner of war. four and a half of those years in solitary confinement.
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he and i came to the house of representatives together. i know how the house works. i served in it. and i appreciate my friend, the republican leader, giving a mini lecture on the house, but i don't need one. i served in the house, and i know how the house works. and i know what john mccain said yesterday because i'm reading a verbatim transcript from those proceedings yesterday. here's what he said: "i apologize for what seems to have happened and much to my dismay it lends credence to the argument that maybe we ought not to do business the way we are doing here in the united states senate." john mccain said this. mr. president, as i said in my opening statement, i served in the house. the reason i mention today in my opening statement about the discharge petition is that when i served there under the
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leadership of speaker o'neill, majority leader michel and then jim wright and michel, a republican, there was no way they would consider doing a vote with the majority the majority. they wanted to get 218 votes. that's what they did on reforming social security. that's what they did on virtually everything. get democrats and republicans together and get 218 votes. that's the challenge i gave to the speaker today, speaker boehner. let the house vote. if they voted overwhelmingly, mr. president, one republican suggested, one republican house member that more than half of the republicans in the house would vote for giving the tax security to people who make less than $250,000 a year. so i say let's have speaker boehner call upon the republicans in the house to add 25 or so votes to what the democrats would do, and you'd
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have 218 votes and we could go on to taking care of the fiscal cliff. mr. president, my friend protests too much. the senate is broken and needs to be fixed and we need to change the rules. we change them all the time. last year we changed the rules. why? because, mr. president, what they were doing -- republicans -- just to stop and slow down everything, after two cloture votes -- remember that takes a long time to file two cloture petitions, a couple of days and then 30 hours. two cloture votes, 60 hours. you would think the debate was all over. oh, no, what they decided they were going to do is suspend the rules and have more votes. we put up with it for awhile. a couple here, couple there. the last time they had 15 or 16 motions to suspend the rules. that was enough. they overruled the chair. they can't do that anymore. so, mr. president, what the republicans have done is bring the senate to its knees, and
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that's unfortunate. we need to be able to have the senate operate the way it should operate. and we need to make sure that people understand how dysfunctional we are and how it needs to move forward. they can say all they want about we need more amendments. nobody criticizes amendments, mr. president. but when you spend nine to ten days getting on a bill, you've wasted -- you've wasted. nothing happens during that period of time. nothing. we do nothing here in the senate. everything else comes to a standstill and then they complain because they don't have time to offer amendments? the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the following treaty which the clerk will report. the clerk: treaty doc 127,
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convention on rights of persons with disabilities. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the time until 12:00 noon will be equally divided in the usual form.
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mr. kerry: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: mr. president, thank you. we are now, as everybody knows, on the convention -- on the disabilities convention. and it's my understanding we have about 48 minutes for each
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side. i would ask that the opponents of the treaty do what we normally do here, which is go back and forth from one side to the other. i notice there isn't anybody here for the other side, so what we'll do is use up a component of our time and then because they're not -- i think it would be fair not to chew up the time in a quorum call. so i would ask that if they are not ready to speak, to use their time that the quorum call be charged against them because i don't think we should give up our time as a result of their simply not being here. so i'd ask unanimous consent that if there is a quorum and we're not speaking, the time be charged to their side. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. lugar: reserving the trite
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to object. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. lugar: reserve the right to object, mr. president. i believe the chairman has stated a fair position. on the other hand, in terms of our side, the republican side, i want to preserve at least the rights of our members to have the maximum amount of time as possible. so i'm inclined to believe that the time should be charged equally against both sides. mr. kerry: mr. president, that's fine. i accept that. what i'm trying to do is we use this debate period, as important as it is, as effectively as possible on both sides. i see there is a member on the other side now in position. i withdraw my request, and i would yield -- i would yield ten minutes to the senator from indiana. mr. inhofe: mr. president, before he takes the ten minutes, could i ask what we decided in
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terms of timing and rules? mr. kerry: mr. president, i inform the senator from oklahoma that we've agreed to simply proceed, hopefully alternating from side to side. we have about 48 minutes on each side. and i've yielded ten minutes to the senator from indiana. mr. inhofe: thank you. the presiding officer: without objection, the quorum calls will be equally divided between the sides. mr. lugar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. lugar: mr. president, as we all now know, the senate will vote today on the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. the united states has long been a leader in its treatment of those with disabilities. becoming party to the convention would provide an important platform and forum for the united states to continue this leadership. we received strong expressions of support of the convention, a wide range of groups that advocate on behalf of the disabled. this includes numerous veterans
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organizations who represent those who have become disabled while serving our country in the armed forces. an important factor in my decision to support the convention has been the testimony received by the foreign relations committee that joining the convention will not require any change. and i emphasize that again, mr. president. require any change in existing united states law or policies regarding treatment of the disabled. in their statements before the foreign relations committee, officials from the executive branch as well as former attorney general richard thornburgh stress that current u.s. law satisfies all obligations the united states would assume in joining the convention. in order to underscore the importance of this point, the foreign relations committee specifically addressed it in a
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declaration in the resolution of advice and consent. the declaration formulated by the foreign relations committee reads as follows -- and i quote -- "the senate declares that in view of the reservations to be included in the instrument of ratification, current united states law fulfills or exceeds the obligations of the convention for the united states of america. on a related point, the resolution of advice and consent also underscores the convention will not be self-executing in united states law. this means that its provisions are not directly enforceable in united states courts and do not confer private rights of action enforceable in the united states. these provisions of the resolution of advice and consent establish important parameters for u.s. succession to the convention. they give effect to the intent of the senate that joining the
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convention will not require any changes in united states laws and policies with regard to the disabled either now or in the future.and will not provide a br lawsuits in the united states courts. such matters will continue to be governed solely by united states laws. now, it is my hope that these provisions in the resolution of advise and consent will provide assurance to members who may be concerned that joining the convention can somehow confer new rights on disabled persons in particular areas or the convention can be used to require the united states to change its laws or policies with respect to the disabled. with these provisions, the united states can join the convention as an expression -- an expression -- of our leadership on disability rights without ceding any of our ability to decide for ourselves how best to address those issues
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in our law. the united states can play an important leadership role in helping countries around the world identify ways to expand opportunities for the disabled. i urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the united states secession to the convention as a means of advancing this goal. i would point out, mr. president, that many of us have visited with veterans, disabled hav veterans, as a matr of fact, in the corridors of the united states ca capitol in the last 48 hours. they have expressed without reservation that their lives would be advanced in the event that we are able to pass this treaty because their treatment in other countries would improve as other countries adopt principles that we have found useful, a practical means of helping the disabled. i believe that each one of us ought to be moved by the
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testimony of our veterans, veterans that i have seen here in the corridors who have lost legs during fights in behalf of the united states of america. this is a serious issue and a humanitarian, thoughtful way. and i emphasize again and again, the united states joins together with other countries sharing our experiences, how we can improve treatment of the handicapped, with no possible provision in the treaty. and we've all reserved this completely -- that there could be any, any change in our laws. i thank the chair, and i yield the floor. mr. kerry: mr. president, i reserve the balance of our time u. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: just to make sure people understand, there are different thoughts on this convention. i -- it seems as if most of the 250eu78times when the u.n. treas
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come up, i have been opposed to them. my concern has always been that of sovereign at this moment so. i do oppose the crpd because i think does impinge upon our sovereignty, establishing an unelected united nations body called the committee on the rights of persons with disabilities in the conference of state parties. these unelected bureaucratic bodies would implement the treaty and pass so-called recommendations that would be -- that would be forced upon the united nations and the u.s. as if the u.s. senior senator a signatory. we already have the 190 act. we went through that a few years ago. i was here at that time. it is considered to be the gold standard for the disabled. we don't need the united nations bureaucrats changing it in our country in the name of worldwide
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application. while the obama administration afirst that no changes to -- affirms that no changes to the federal or state law will be necessary, if the crpd is ratified, the crpd can be amended. the senator from indiana talked about the fact that there are really no changes in this. but it can be amended by the bureaucrats and, therefore, require changes into u.s. law. further, the ability of the committee on the rights of persons with disabilities is -- to investigate and recommendation changes chips away at the ability of our -- of a sovereign nation to govern itself. i know there are a lot of people who feel that no idea is a real good idea unless it comes from an international organization. i kind of follow at the other end of the spectrum. specifically, the treaty could be used to interfere with the ability of parents with disabled children to decide what action is in the best interest of their
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children. this would be especially -- this would especially affect those parents who homeschool their children. i have a daughter, the runts of my literate, i say to the president, katie, who homeschools her children. the unelected foreign bureaucrats, not parents, would decide what is in the best interests of the disabled child, even in the home. no less than 40 organizations and tens of thousands of parents that advocate children and parental rights have written us -- and me specifically -- opposing the treaty. one organization, the home-schooling legal defense fund writes, "article 7 of this treaty establishes the best interests of the child." the treaty establishes the best interests of the child.
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"legal standard, which would override the traditional, fundamental rights of parents to direct the education and the upbringing of their child with h special needs. this could result in forcibly transferring a disabled child from the home to government-run schools if these unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats deem it necessary, even if the senate puts reservations into this treaty." i ask that this letter -- i have two letters i'd ask that would be made a part of the record at this point. that is one of the other once coming from the concerned women of america. i ask that they be made a part of the record at this point in the journal. ferraro ithe presiding officer:s there objection? without objection. mr. inhofe: i have been an advocate of human rights around the world, ensuring that the world is accessible to those with disabilities. however, i do not support the cumbersome regulations and potentially overzealous international organizations with
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anti-american biases that inch - that infringe upon american society. you know, if we had not passed what i consider to be the gold standard of the disabled world when we passed -- and i do remember at that time the activity of the senator from massachusetts, very strongly supporting it. but i look and see that we've done our job. other nations maybe don't have that problem. but in our case, i think that we are looked upon as -- from the outside as doing the responsible thing within our nation, taking care of our own disabled. yes, i would be glad to respond to a question. the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: is the senator aware, the senator has raised the specter of somehow there would be a change in this treaty at some point that that might affect america. is the senator not aware that any change to a treaty in order
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to go into effect and have any impact on the united states would require the advice and consent of the united states of america -- let me finish. without the advice and consent of the senate, no change could possibly impact the united states. mr. inhofe: but i would also say that the bureaucrats who would be running the program would have points of clarification, where it is otherwise vague. and i think that could happen. and the point i'm making here is, we don't really need to do that when we have our own here. i understand that there is a difference of opinion on this and there is a lot of emotions. i saw this thi this morning's "l call" magazine, all the people lined up with the distinguished senator from massachusetts. and it doesn't say anything in the article, but it certainly attacks the emotions or atracts the emotions of individuals. so, yes, i am not satisfied that they would be not interfere with -- through their clarification -- and through their clarification could change the
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intent. even if they don't, we have taken care of our problem here. mr. kerry: but, mr. president, it is important in this kind of debate as we make a judgment as senators that we base our judgment on facts and on the reality. the senator has suggested that he is opposed to this treaty because an outside group could impose their will on the united states of america. what he has just acknowledged is, it can't do that because it would require the advice and consent of the senate. but, secondly, is the no senator aware that senator ar risch askd the justice department whether or not the court interpreted the effect of a nonself-execute bein--nonself-executing declaran this treaty, the court said, the united states ratified the international covenant on the express understanding that it was not self-executing. and so it did not create
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obligations enforceable in the federal courts. so the supreme court of the united states has held that the very standard being applied in this treaty -- that it's not self-executing -- means nobody who is a access to any court, there is no enforceable right against anybody in america created in this treaty. mr. inhofe: to answer the senator, i am not aware of the specific risch request and what kind of response it drew. i would only say this: it is important, mr. president, to understand that while the distinguished senator from massachusetts and i differ on most of these treaties, we had the same disagreement on the law of the sea treaty. the question is, i believe this infringes on our sovereignty. with that, i yield the floor. mr. kerry: mr. president, i yield five minutes to the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: let me thank
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senator kerry, senator mccain, and senator lugar and so many others who have brought this to the floor. it was 22 years ago when an historic event took place on the floor of the senate changed the united states of america. it was 22 years ago when we passed the morons with -- the ah disabilities act and we stayed that a disability should not disqualify you or limit you in terms of your opportunity as an american. some thought it was obvious. but what woo was also obvious ws there is discrimination taking place all across this great land. in passing the americans with disabilities act, we stepped forward as a nation sms was there fear and concern? of course. i can recall going to green county in rural illinois and walking into city hall and they said, does this mean we have to build a new restroom for the disabled in the answer was, yes.
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and curb cuts and other changes that seemed so superficial to many but mean literally whether or not a disabled person can be part of america. what we did 22 years ago, though, wasn't really novel, because if you look at the course of american history, i think we have distinguished ourselves in successive generations by expanding the reach of freedom and opportunity. think about how many times we've done that. if you go back to the earlier days of this great nation when older white men sat together and decided who would rule america, they weren't thinking about those of color. they weren't thinking about i am with. they weren't thinking about the disabled. they sure weren't thinking about those who weren't property owners. no, it was a pretty elite group that would form our -- quote -- "democracy." and then successive generations of americans decided that if democracy meant anything, if
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america meant anything, we needed to expand that reach of opportunity each generation. the bloodiest experience, of course, was in the civil war when 600,000 americans were killed, in the course of a war that went on for years and could have divided us once and for all as nation but didn't. with the leadership of abraham lincoln and inspiration of so many others and the blood, sweat, and tears of lives of the victims, we saved this republic. we ended slavery. we created an opportunity which still took us years and years to become a reality, a reality we're still working for today. so now comes this treaty to the floor and this treaty says to the world, what we did 22 years ago as a nation is something we are proud to stand behind. it is basically an ideal that we've created in america that we want to export to the world. and as we reflect on this debate -- and you've heard some of those who oppose it -- it is
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interesting the approach that they're taking. they are fearful of change. they are fearful of what the sprangexpansion of opportunity e disabled might mean to america. senator kerry has made the point very clearly -- this convention, this treaty will not require the united states to change any law. and if any changes are to be made in the future, they will be made with the workings of congress and the president. this treaty, this convention will not force that change. we meet all of the standards that are established in this convention when it comes to disabilities. and president george herbert walker bush, a republican, when he negotiated and crafted this treaty said as much. and of course there are those who still question it. but remember, every time we have opened this door of opportunity in america, every time we have expanded this definition of democracy to include another group that was being at least partially, if not fully,
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excluded, there have always been voice of concern and worry. there have been those who said maybe we're not ready for that much change. they would say i'm not opposed to people of color. but if you force every hotel and restaurant across america and interstate commerce to open their doors, that may be going too far. we've always heard those voices. and after listening patiently, we have ignored them and moved forward with a new definition of freedom in this country, a new definition of opportunity. and that's what this does. as we come together on the floor of the senate here, as we gather to discuss this historic treaty and what it means to us and our future, there is a reception taking place right across the street. it is a reception for people with disabilities, and they are honoring one of our own, a man who served this country and this senate in an exceptional way. his name is bob dole of russell, kansas, who served in world war
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ii, was severely disabled, came home uncertain of his future but dedicated his life to public service. i don't know how many weeks or months or years are left in bob dole's life, but he has made the passage of this convention on disabilities his life's work of the moment. we owe it to bob dole, to all of the disabled veterans like him who stand with locked arms begging us to pass this convention, we owe it to the disabled people across america and around the world to stand up once and again for the rights of the disabled and for expanding opportunity not just in america, but across the world. people say we are an exceptional nation. there's a little bit of aoeg ism in that -- egotism in that statement, but i believe it is -- i ask for 30 additional seconds. but i believe it is factual that america is an exceptional nation
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twhe steps forward in the -- when it steps forward in the belief that freedom, liberty and opportunity should be for everyone within our country and around the world. today is our chance. let no minor argument over some minor political issue stop us from focusing on the reality that what we are doing is historic not just for america but for the world. we owe it not just to bob dole. we owe it to the disabled veterans and the disabled community to stand up and say to the world join us. join us in expanding the reach of opportunity to those who have been left behind. i yield the floor. mr. kerry: reserve the balance of our time. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: i rise to speak in opposition to the ratification on the u.s. persons with disabilities. this i understand is a sensitive topic, one which many of my constituents on both sides of the issue have strong feelings.
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most of us, if not all of us have a family member or a friend with a disability. all of us live in a society that includes the disabled as highly valued members of our communities. i've heard from advocacy groups consisting of people who hope and believe that this treaty will protect disabled americans as they travel abroad and as they go about their lives. but i've also heard from parents of disabled children who are concerned that this treaty, in adherence to the best interests of the child's standards in article 7, will threaten their rights as parents to determine the best education, treatment and care for their disabled children. proponents of this treaty will dismiss those concerns as myth, but i simply cannot support a treaty that threatens the right of parents to raise their children with the constant looming threat of state interference. if this vote and this treaty
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were in fact about protecting the rights of americans with disabilities, i might have a different position, and the debate today would take on a very different tone. but this treaty is ultimately not about protecting the rights of americans with stkabgts -- disabilities because this treaty has no enforcement mechanism to protect those rights, the rights of disabled americans, including veterans that might travel to countries such as china, russia or mali or any other country that might choose to adopt this treaty. if the senate desires to protect the rights of disabled americans who travel abroad, the senate would do better to encourage other nations to model their own reforms, own internal legal structures after the americans with disabilities act which 20 years after its passage still sends a message that disabled americans will always have fair access to housing, employment and education in this nation. i've mentioned a few things that the treaty does not do.
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now i'd like to mention a few things that the treaty does do that cause me some concern. first, article 34 establishes a committee, a committee on the rights of persons with disabilities. now, this committee will establish its own rules of procedure, and parties to the treaty are required to submit reports to the committee every four years. in general, u.n. human rights treaty committees have made demands of states parties that fall well outside of the legal, social, economic and cultural traditions and norms of state parties. sometimes their recommendations also fall far afield from the stated topics of concern within the individual treaties. for example, the u.n. convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, or cedas, included a recommendation that china decriminalize
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prostitution. they went to great lengths to scold the united states on its detention policy at guantanamo bay. these recommendations often fall well beyond or even in direct conflict with the treaty's goals. article 7 of this treaty provides the best interest of the child standard, stating in all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interest of the child shall be primary consideration. we all want to support the best interest of the child, every child. but i and many of my constituents, including those who home school their children or send their children to private or religious schools, have justifiable doubts that a foreign u.n. body, a committee operating out of geneva, switzerland, should decide what is in the best interest of the child at home with his or her parents in utah or in any other state in our great union. article 4 of this treaty
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obligates the united states to recognize economic, social, and cultural entitlements as rights under domestic u.s. law. the senate, in my opinion, has not adequately investigated how this standard will affect domestic u.s. federal and state law. we have had one hearing on this issue that included both proponents and opponents of the treaty, but did not substantively address my concerns about this standard, about this significant addition to what would become the law of the land in the united states of america. for these and other reasons, mr. president, i must oppose the u.n. convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and i encourage my colleagues to do the same. thank you, mr. president. a senator: would the senator yield for a question? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: i've listened carefully to the senator and i understand there are colleagues on the other side of the aisle who have concerns about the united nations, and i respect that. we've had these fights before.
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but i'm having difficulty finding where the threat gains any reality that the senator has described. specifically, with respect to children, the senator mentioned the question of the committee being created. and sometimes committees make recommendations outside of the purview of something. well, that may be true, but when have words, i ask the senator: when have words or suggestions that have no power, that cannot be implemented, that have no access to the courts, that have no tpebgt on the law of the -- no effect on the law of the united states and cannot change the law of the united states, when has that threatened anybody in our country? mr. lee: whenever the -- mr. kerry: does the senator agree there is no power to change our law? mr. lee: no, i don't agree with that. mr. kerry: can the senator show where it is specifically
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when the supreme court has held this is not self-executing, there is no access to american courts, when it is clear by the statements of the treaty itself, there is no law of the united states that is changed. when attorney general thornburgh, who helped to negotiate this on behalf of president george bush, says there is no change in law, what is it that the senator suddenly has that suggests otherwise that has any basis in fact? mr. lee: first of all, whenever we ratify a treaty, it becomes the law of the land under article 6, u.s. constitution. secondly, whenever we have a body of law, whether embodied in a u.n. convention or otherwise, it becomes part of the corpus of customary international law that often makes its way into judicial u.s. opinions. is it direct? no. does it directly undo any statute? no. but that doesn't mean it has no effect. if it had no effect, we wouldn't be here debating it today. it's the type of effect that we
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worry about when i see things differently as far as what type of effect it might have. but that is not to say that it has no effect. we shouldn't be ratifying a treaty that we think might offset u.s. law as it exists now. and we believe that this could have that impact. now exactly where that's going to come up, i can't prove to you where that's going to happen. but it does have some impact. and when we ratify a treaty, we make it the law of the land. mr. kerry: mr. president, i'd ask the senator further -- i know he's a good student of law and practitioner of law. i believe he understands that a treaty does not become customary international law just because the u.s. or other country ratifies it. the senator is aware of that, i assume? mr. lee: of course. it doesn't become the law of the land just because it's in a treaty. but it often does.
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and its entry into customary international law can become facilitated by the u.s. ratification of it. mr. kerry: again, the senator has acknowledged that it doesn't become customary law as a consequence. it has to somehow change. and within this -- the senator will agree that because the treaty adopts in the body of the treaty the statement that this is not self-executing and the supreme court has held that a nonexecuting treaty -- let me reference the specific case. sosa v alvarez, a 2004 case, the supreme court said that it's dispositive, nonself-executing declaration is dispositive. the court noted united states ratified and said it's not -- it does not create obligations enforceable if federal courts. so there's no obligation created
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here. now the senator then said, why would we do this? well, because we are the gold standard. and every other country is encouraged -- encouraged. we can't require them. but they're encouraged to raise their standard to united states standards. so why would the senator resist? i know the senator and many of his colleagues argue we want other countries to be more like america. this is a treaty that in fact embraces that notion that they must be more like america. why would the senator not embrace that? mr. lee: if my distinguished colleague and friend, the senior senator from massachusetts, is correct that this would have no impact on our law, if in fact it does nothing, why would we make it part of u.s. law? why would make it law of the land by ratifying it and making it the law of the land under article 6 of the u.s. constitution? mr. kerry: a number of reasons. that allows the united states to sit at the table and advocate on
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behalf of our veterans. mr. lee: what table is it at which we have no seat because we have not ratified this treaty? what is it that we cannot do by having the most aggressive, most robust laws protecting americans with disabilities that we somehow achieve simply because we ratify this if in fact this does nothing more than embrace that set of laws that we've already passed? and if in fact, as my friend says, this does nothing, then why do we ratify it? mr. kerry: mr. president, let me make it clear to the senator that i've not said that it does nothing. i have said that it does not require a change in american law. i have said that it does not obligate the united states to a new set of standards or anything different from what we do today. i have said that it does not allow anybody access to the federal courts. that's different from saying it doesn't do anything. if it didn't do anything, i wouldn't be here either, and nor would george bush have signed this. nor would george herbert walker
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bush have begun the negotiations. this is not a democrat-inspired treaty. this is a universally accepted set of principles about how we would like to see people in the rest of the world treat people with disabilities. and there's more to be said about that and there's more to be said. i want my colleagues to speak about why we're here. let me recognize, if i can, the senator from arizona for -- no. i'm going to hold off on that if i may. let me recognize the senator from new mexico for five minutes. mr. udall: mr. president -- and thank you, senator kerry, for the recognition, and, mr. president, really appreciate it. i've been an early supporter of the ratification of this important treaty, and i'm pleased to have been able to work with senators durbin, mccain, harkin, moran, coons, and barrasso and in particular want to say thank you to the chairman and the ranking member on the foreign relations committee. i thank all of these fine
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senators for their bipartisan work on this bill. we still have work to do to improve our treatment and acceptance of disabled persons, but through the americans with disabilities act, the united states has been at the forefront of protecting the dignity of people with disabilities. this treaty will help expand american values and leadership throughout the world. it is a vital step forward in respecting the rights of the disabled. as a member of the foreign relations committee, i am aware of the challenges that many countries face. these challenges include supporting their disabled citizens. our nation has set the standard for improving access to buildings, technology, and other areas for the disabled. without the u.s. accepting its leadership role, it's possible that different standards could be adopted internationally. this would, for one example, place disabled travelers at a
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disadvantage. they would be forced to deal with different standards while traveling overseas. and in many countries, there has been insignificant investment to improve access for the disabled and there is a misunderstanding about what rights disabled persons should be afforded. ratifying this treaty will help the u.s. clarify to the world that people with disabilities have dignity, that they are capable of living full and meaningful lives. for instance, article 6 of the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities addresses the issue of women with disabilities. the article provides that state parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the full development, advancement, and empowerment of women for the purpose of guaranteeing them the exercise and enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the convention.
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many countries are falling short in protecting the rights of women. it is tragic that so many women are subject to human rights abuses in a number of countries. secretary of state clinton has made empowering women an important part of our diplomatic priorities, and i support her efforts. fortunately for the united states, we do not need to implement additional legislation mured tlegislationin order to bl compliance with the legislation. laws such as the civil rights rs act, title 9, the family leave act strengthen our position. most importantly, i'm reminded of the veterans who have returned from the wars in iraq and afghanistan. the brave veterans who have served in all the places we have asked them to go, who have advanced the interests and ideals of the united states. we owe them a debt for their
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service. many of them have returned with severe wounds, some requiring lifetime care. and i'd like to just read a statement from one of the veterans that appeared in front of the foreign relations committee, a disabled attorney and veteran -- marine veteran john lancaster. and this is what he said. and i quote here. "in 1968 i arrived in vietnam in the tet ow offensive as an infay platoon commander. five months later i was shot and injured in a fire fight. after months of rehas been takers i arrived back home in western new york a disabled veteran. although my friends and family welcomed me home, society did not receive me quite as we will. while there is certainly tension around the politics of the vietnam war, it was the inaccessibility of my environment that made me feel the least welcome.
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i returned to a country not ready to receive me as a man who now used a wheelchair." that was the reality of an honored soldier who had overcome -- it was the reality that an honored soldier had to overcome until the united states improved its laws to protect the disabled, and it is still a reality in many places overseas, places where our veterans and other disabled citizens will likely travel in the future. either for business or pleasure. we must ratify this treaty because protecting the rights of the disabled is the right thing to do in the united states of america, and it's the right thing to do throughout the world. and let me just again thank senator kerry and senator lugar for their hard work on this treaty, and we look forward to our colleagues voting for it in just a short hour from now. i yield the floor. mr. kerry: mr. president, how much time remains?
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the presiding officer: we have 27 minutes remaining. mr. kerry: how much time on the opponents? the presiding officer: about the same. mr. kerry: mr. president, i yield four minutes -- three minutes to the senator from delaware. mr. coons: thank you so much, snore senator kerry, for your leadership on this important issue and to senator lugar. the two of you in combination i think have led very strongly on this important issue. let me just briefly add two points to the chorus on this floor today. first, to the senators who've spoken pointedly about their fears, their concerns about home schooling, i listened while presiding, mr. president, while senator inhofe spoke about his youngest daughter who home-schools her kids. their fear that this could hand the power to an unelected group of bureaucrats to direct the
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schooling of children in oklahoma, and i heard senator lee of utah add to that negative chorus, a question -- he said, i have justifiable doubts that a u.n. committee in geneva can judge the best interests of children in utah. i agree. and this convention does nothing to empower an international convention of bureaucrats to direct the schooling of children in delaware, in west virginia, in indiana, or in massachusetts. and i am frankly upset, mr. president, that they have succeeded in scaring the parents who home school their children all over this country. my own office has the goen dozens of calls and lowers demanding that i vote against this convention as a mast international law and as a matter of u.s. law, this convention does nothing -- does nothing -- to change the home schooling of children in america. rather, it does something positive. the americans with disabilities act, led so brilliantly in its
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ratification by senator tom harkin, who will speak shortly, and where senator robert dole was a central architect of its palingpassage in this chamber, s as one of the greatest accomplishments in this country in our steady progress towards freedom and inclusion. this treaty would allow our voice to be heard in international forums all over the world. a billion citizens of this world live with disabilities every day. and, mr. president, our voice deserves to be heard when we open the senate every day, we say the pledge of allegiance. and at the end of it, we hold up our standard -- liberty and justice for all. in this country, the americans with disabilities act says we have accomplished real progress towards liberty for the disabled and justice for all. by ratifying this convention, our voice would be heard on
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these vital issues all over the world. it is a voice that deserves to be heard. i urge my colleagues to ratify the convention. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. kerry: how much time do we have remaining? the presiding officer: almost 24 minutes, sir. mr. kerry: mr. president, i yield five minutes to th the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: mr. president, first -- the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: first, i want to thank senator kerry, senator lugar and senator mccain for their great leadership and their dogged persistence in taking sure we could get this committet this treaty through the committee and to the floor. it has beenen expirational to watch them work together in a bipartisan fashion, to bring us to this point. i just hope we don't lose that in terms of the vote. we just came from -- i just came over from the dirksen building where we had a wonderful
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ceremony honoring former senator bob dole. mr. president, some time ago i went back and i read senator dole's maiden speech on the senate floor, april 14, 1969. i commend it to everyone. and, mr. president, i would ask at the conclusion of my remarks that his speech be printed yet again in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: -- in which he spoke of the future of people with disabilities in america and what we needed to do to change our society. that was 1969. it was 21 years later when we passed the americans with disabilitiesage odisabilitydisa. and the country has changed so much for the better because of that. and now what we are, we're sitting here now with a convention by the u.n. that basically says to the rest of the world, you know what? you got to do what america did, because the u.n., in establishing this convention, was informed by the americans
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with disabilities act and a lot of it is based upon what we did here. as the committee shows, not one of our laws or anything has to be changed -- not one -- because we are the best in the world at this. yet what this convention gives us, it gives us a seat at the table when other countries have signed on to the treaty. it gives us a seat at the table, to be able to work with other countries and to help them upgrade their laws so that people with disabilities have more opportunities in other countries. why would we deny ourselves a seat at the table? when we have been the leader in this effort for so long? i listened to the speeches by both senator inhofe from oklahoma and senator lee from utah, and i -- these are unfounded fears. unfounded fears. there's nothing in here, i repeat, that is going to allow anyone from the united nations
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to take a child away from a family or tell a family they can't home-school a kid or nothing like that. these are just totally unfounded fears. we should not be driven by unfounded fears. we should be driven by what we know of our experience. and what we have done and what the words of the convention is. -- and what the wording of the convention s and that the fact that none of our laws have to be changed because of it. the other point i wanted to make is the senator from utah made the point that we all know people with disabilities. we have family members or friends. and we value them. we truly do value people with disabilities in our society. well, if we truly value them, why don't we listen to them? over 300 disability rights groups support this. not one -- not one said they won't support it. so if we value them, why don't
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we listen to them? ambassador we just want to -- or do we just want to keep patron patronizing them? we won't listen to you because we know what is best for you. mr. president, we don't know what's best for people with disabilities. you know what's best for people with disabilities? people with disabilities. and they all say -- 300 disability organizations asking us to support this ratification. so i think we should listening to them and listen and get their advice. think about what the disability community here in america could do with that seat at the table and how we could work with other countries to help them upgrade their laws. this is -- i just -- i don't understand. i have a hard time understanding why people would be driven by unfounded fears to vote against this when all of the evidence of
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22 years now of the americans with disabilities act, all of the evidence of the hearings held by senator kerry and senator lugar, bringing all the information out, pointing out that not one of our laws have to be changed at all, in face of all that evidence, someone will vote on the basis of an unfounded fear. well, mr. president, i remember when we passed the americans with disabilities act in 1 990. it took a long time. and there were a lot of fears out there. there were. there were fears, oh, my gosh we're going to have to do this and that, and you mean bug buses have to have lifts on them? we have to get rid of the curb cuts? unfounded fears. we became a stronger and better society because of it. and, mr. president, this treaty -- this treaty will make us a better world in which to live for all people, mott jus, not je
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with disabilities. don't give in to your unfounded fears much take the good advice of a senator bob dole and president bush and a former congressman steve bartlett and john mccain, john kerry, and dick lugar. take the advice of the disability community here and abroad. if you'll do that, we'll win a resounding victory today. thank you, mr. president. mr. kerry: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: mr. president, i renew my request now. we've had about four successive democrats speak. there is nobody here from the other side. i put in a quorum call and ask the time be charged to the opponents. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. kerry: i thank the chair. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i would ask that i be notified after seven minutes. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, when the senate gives its advice and consent to a treaty, it becomes the supreme law of the land on par with federal statutes. this is article 6, clause 2, of the u.s. constitution. it's in our constitution. that's why we must take great care in ratifying treaties and doing so only if it advances the united states national interest. the overwhelming majority of constituent comments my office received has been in opposition to the convention, approximately 1,000 letters in opposition, 40 letters or so in support. moreover, i along with 36 senators joined a letter to the senate leadership requesting no treaties be brought to the floor during the lame-duck session. a treaty is a powerful document equal to or above sometimes perhaps statutory law. treaties are to regulate
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historically -- historically treaties are to regulate the relationship between sovereign nations. they do things like settle border disputes and enter into trading relations between those two nations. and while treaties on occasion have a blurred deadline between international relations, the line, the principle still remains a good one and fundamentally intact. this nation has on a few occasions but only a few ratified a treaty in which the entire focus, maybe never when the entire focus has been to empower an international agency, here the united nations, an organization that truly is proving to be dysfunctional and often hostile to the most legitimate interests of the united states. to monitor the internal policies of the united states.
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monitor and tell us how we ought to operate. this is particularly curious in that the united states has the world's best record on disability issues. we lead the world in those. so we're told, let's ratify the treaty because we already meet at least today. all the requirements of the treaty and all these commissions that are going to be established, and that will be fine. and we'll set an example worldwide on advancing the legitimate cause of the disabled. well, in truth, i think we've already set an example. we already have the most advanced laws in the world. we do lead the world. this treaty, however, has misdirected the focus of the united states and the world community, i think, in a way to focus on the united states instead of really the lack of
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action by so many other nations around the world. we have a most magnificent system of law. it is the foundation of our liberty, our prosperity and our happiness. thus, if we were to ratify this treaty, we can be sure that a lot of international hypocrites will soon demand the united states do this or that. all the while their countries would have been in full violation of virtually overprovision of the treaty. that's the way it works in the united nations. many other mischievous actions will certainly arise to bedevil our country and we'll have hypocritical meddlers complicating our internal efforts and our internal social and health policies. i don't think this is necessary. i agree that the united states and the world can do more to advance the cause of the
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disabled. i truly do. i recently visited the very fine alabama school for deaf and blind. i personally saw how inexpensive computers can transform the lives of the disabled. deaf and blind can move from being disconnected to connected, from unemployed to highly productive. it was such a moving and positive experience to see what can be done today with the technology this world has. when one visits our magnificent military hospital at walter reed national military medical center, we can see the devices that are used there on a regular basis to make the lives of those who have been injured better. the whole world will benefit if more of this technology is made available and more skill is made available. so the right way, i think, to advance assistance for the disabled worldwide is to be
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active internationally, to be out there on the front lines in promoting these good techniques and policies, to use our -- to use more of our existing foreign aid, our existing foreign aid, billions of dollars in foreign aid for this purpose rather than wasting it on many of these governments who take it and do little for us and little for their people. often corrupt the governments so i think the statement department should strengthen its outreach in this important area. i even drafted a statute in law that would require them to establish such a department within their agency. they have it as one of their goals now. it's on their web site. but i don't think they're giving it enough leadership. but i think that's the way the government normally runs around here. you have a secretary of state and a president of the united
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states, and the secretary sets certain priorities with the approval of the president. we ought to raise the level of priority we give to the disabled. i truly believe that. i just have this real clear vision of people at that school for deaf and blind, when you have a computer with print two inches high and a blind person or severely weakened vision can read it. or it talks to them. they talk to the computer and it talks back. this is not that expensive. that's the kind of thing we ought to be doing in advancing and ensuring equipment, devices and treatments that are life-transforming are given more emphasis by our government and promoted more worldwide. i think that is really okay. that's really what we should be doing. so, yes, i acknowledge that such
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expenditures are not purely a part of our nation's national security policy, but america has always responded to the call to be a force for good in the world. i just left a meeting 15 minutes ago with the united methodist and the north alabama conference who have a project to fight aids, h.i.v., and malaria in africa. this is part of american heritage. we do this every day, and it should be done. mr. kyl: seven -- the presiding officer: seven minutes are up. mr. sessions: this is our heritage and our heritage has proven to be a blessing to the world. another part of our heritage is the rule of law, a clear and strong understanding of this nation and our national
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sovereignty. we are honest people. we are productive people. we are lawful people. we know that we will be able to be more prosperous and less able to help others if we protect our economy from reckless, dangerous spending that's going on now. and if we protect the authority of our legal system from erosion and protect the sovereignty of this nation. thus, i conclude this treaty is unnecessary in fact and dangerous as to our sovereignty. so let's do more for the disabled worldwide. i will be supportive of that. let's do it without enmeasuring enmeasuring -- enmeshing our nation into something that will cause more grief than benefit. let me conclude with one more thing. i am coming to the view that we
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as a nation need to be more legally aware of the dangers of signing agreements with foreign nations that regulate internal affairs, even if it's not -- we're not giving away direct powers over the united states. i just don't see that's necessary. i think that's a bad step. i'm opposed to that. i think in the long run we'll have difficulties. and, mr. president, i appreciate the -- the chair would yield the floor and reserve the balance of my time for my colleagues who i know will want to speak on this matter.
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mr. kerry: mr. president, i recognize the senator from arizona for seven minutes. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i come to the floor with a bit of a heavy heart today because i think the senate may not act to approve the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. i would say the issue is not going away. i think the there are too many americans and too many veterans organizations, too many people who are committed to this cause that over time we may have every chance, every opportunity to succeed. i would remind my colleagues that virtually every major veterans organization in
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america, people who represent those men and women who have fought, and particularly tried to assist those with disabilities that are the result of combat, they are the amvets, air force sargeants association, air force women officers association, american g.i. forum, association of the united states navy, blind veterans association, disabled american veterans, iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, jewish war veterans, military officers, association of america, national association of black veterans, national guard association of the united states, national military family association, paralyzed veterans of america, the american legion veterans for common sense, veterans of foreign wars, veterans of modern warfare, vets first, program of united spinal association.
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vietnam veterans of america and the wounded warrior project. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that their statement of all these veterans organizations be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i would also ask unanimous consent that a very moving letter from a very famous man, a chinese dissident who was blinded, who recently was able to leave china, and i'd like to ask unanimous consent that his letter be, to the united states senate be included in the record the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: and i won't quote from his whole record statement. he says that this treaty is making this idea real in significant ways around the world. today there are over one billion people with disabilities and 80% of them live in developing countries. disability rights is an issue that the world cannot afford to
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overlook. when the united states enacted the americans with disabilities act over 20 years ago -- i'm quoting from his letter -- the idea of true equality for people with disabilities became a reality. many nations have followed in america's footsteps and are now coming together under shared principles of equality, respect and dignity for people with disabilities as entailed in the treaty. the united states, which was instrumental in negotiating this treaty, can continue to advance both its principles and issues of practical accessibility for its citizens and all people around the world, and by ratifying the treaty so take its rightful place of leadership in the arena of human rights. mr. president, that's what this is all about. american leadership, american leadership in the world. i don't know how many millions of people around the world are deprived of the same rights, but
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thanks to bob dole and so many others and tom harkin and so many others made possible, but i do know that this is an expression of american leadership throughout the world. i think an obligation that america should embrace. so, mr. president, i'd like to read a statement by our distinguished former colleague and leader bob dole." more than a dear friend, bob remains an authentic hero. to millions of his countrymen, someone whose personal example of wartime sacrifice was equaled, if such a thing is possible, by his service in this body and is respected wherever people value political courage and civility. bob dole returned from world war ii one of the countless wounded warriors whose defense of our liberty curtailed his
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own. bravely injured, disabled for life, he developed a unique personal understanding of his fellow americans excluded from the mainstream. in the years that followed, bob fought to ensure not only that no american would be relegated to the back of the bus but in the case of the disabled that no one would be prevented from boarding the bus. bob dole has been our leader on the issue of disabilities from the moment he stepped foot into the chamber. to bob, it's unthinkable that americans could not get over a curb or enter a school building or even watch a debate in this chamber if they were in a wheelchair. on april 14, 1969, the same date he was injured in the hills of italy 24 years earlier, he made his maiden speech on the topic of americans with disabilities.
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in every legislative initiative since then, bob dole has been a leader on behalf of people with disabilities. bills like the rehabilitation act of 1973, the individuals with disabilities education act, idea, the developmental disabilities act and the americans with disabilities act. he was responsible for including people with disabilities in the telecommunications act of 1996, and for ensuring that people with disabilities are part of the state department's annual report on human rights around the world. after leaving this chamber, bob dole prompted the congress to pass the ticket to work and work incentives act of 1999, breakthrough legislation on health care and employment for people with disabilities. this past year, he has been instrumental in working with the administration and congress to ensure bipartisan support for the convention on the rights of
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persons with disabilities to reflect american leadership and values and safeguarding the rights of every individual in the world. mr. president, i ask for an additional three minutes that will be added on to the time of the vote. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: is that agreeable to my friend? the presiding officer: so ordered. mr. mccain: if you would permit me, mr. president, i would like to read bob dole's statement, my colleagues, on the treaty under consideration and ask that it be made part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: the statement by senator bob dole -- "i'd like to thank my former colleagues and members of the administration and many friends whose efforts have brought about the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. in their diversity, they reflect america itself. i'm thinking of people, including our former colleagues, tony coelho, former attorney general, dick thornburgh and the former white house counsel c.
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boyden gray, key leaders on the landmark 1990 americans with disabilities act. they have taken great pains to ensure that this treaty is in the best interests of our nation and reflective of the values that we all believe transcend any party label. i especially thank president george h.w. bush for his indispensable leadership and support. the approaching vote on the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is a proud moment for the senate, the latest chapter of an untold story, including the americans that say no first-class democracy can tolerate second-class citizens. in recent years, we have recognized that people with disabilities are integral in our society, that we cannot afford to waste their talents nor can we proclaim our beloved america demonstrably the home of the brave, the land of the free as we overlook the abilities that
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trump any disabilities. as the ranks of the disabled and their families swell, so does popular support for measures to ensure equality of access and opportunity. one way or another, disability issues touch nearly every family in america. eight years ago, dedicating the national world war ii memorial on the mall, i tried to put into words what makes america worth fighting for, if need be, dying for. i spoke of the american promise, imperfectly realized and too long delayed for some of our fellow citizens, but a promise of individual opportunity and universal justice to which we all aspire. quote -- "this is the golden thread that runs throughout the tapestry of our nationhood, i
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said. the dignity of every life, the possibility of every mind, the divinity of every soul. ratifying the crpd, we can affirm that these goals for americans with disabilities, we can join with our allies in entrusting the blessings of freedom to millions outside our borders. i urge your support for this important treaty, and i thank you for the courtesy of your consideration. i yield the floor. mr. kyl: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: thank you, mr. president. i rise today in opposition to the ratification of the crpd. the united states has a long and proud tradition of protecting human rights, especially those of the disabled. i don't believe that we need to ratify an international convention to demonstrate our firm commitment in this area.
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crpd ratification could do nothing to improve the lives of the disabled in the united states, and if other countries are looking for good examples of how to improve their laws, they could do no better than to refer to u.s. laws. just as with many treaties before this one, the crpd would offer cover to regimes that have no intention of actually helping their citizens, while needlessly tying the hands of countries like the united states that have actually made great strides in this area. i take china as just one example. according to human rights watch, chinese citizens, even suspected of having a mental disability can be arbitrarily committed to institutions because chinese law offers no protections against involuntary civil commitment. moreover, beijing is now considering a draft mental health disability law that would, and i quote -- "permit the indefinite involuntary detention, forced medication and forced labor of persons
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suspected of having a mental disability." end quote. obviously, this is a direct contravention to both the spirit and the letter of the crpd. even though beijing has ratified it. i repeat, even though beijing has already ratified the treaty. so while this convention has no mechanism to force countries like china to actually respect their disabled citizens, what it does do is allow their leaders to falsely present themselves as forward leading on disabled rights, just as they continue to run roughshod over such protections at home. supporters of this convention claim that ratifying it would allow our country to assume the moral high ground when it comes to addressing other countries' gaps in disabilities rights. i would argue just the opposite. as i just mentioned, becoming a
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party to this convention would actually put us in the company of nations that are nowhere near the high ground on this issue, moral or otherwise. moreover, we already have the most comprehensive disability rights laws and protections in the world, period. in fact, the u.s. record of disability rights related laws stretches back more than four decades, unequivocably demonstrating our commitment and leadership in this area. that's why many nations look to us for guidance in developing their own disability laws and discrimination protections, and we do not need a treaty to provide that guidance, obviously. for example, the european union is looking to current u.s. law as a model for its own accessibility initiatives. in january of 2011, european commission vice president ivan redding discussed proposals for what is designated a european accessibility act, citing progress made in the united
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states under the provisions of the americans with disabilities act of 1990, which i was proud to support. redding believes, and i quote -- "that the e.u. should learn from this positive experience and go ahead in europe, too." the convention's supporters also erroneously contend that the united states ratification would result in tangible benefits for americans with disabilities who choose to live, travel or work abroad. they assert that it would allow the united states to have greater influence over disability rights in such areas as employment or accessibility among other states that are party to the crpd. i think this is far from certain. to be sure, americans with disabilities face serious challenges when they travel abroad, precisely because those nation's laws are not as supportive as are those here in the united states, the matter that i just spoke of a moment ago, but it is the example that we have set through our
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legislation, not ratification of this convention, that could improve their access. for example, to technology, as our telecommunications act of 1996 does or accommodations that would be available as the american fair housing act does, for example. only individual member states can draft and implement and enforce the type of wide-ranging laws that are necessary to actually protect the right of persons with disabilities. laws i might add again that are already in place here in the united states of america. and we know all too well from experience with other treaties that again states like china routinely flout their treaty obligations. mr. president, i believe it boils down to this -- countries look to the united states for leadership in this area not because we are party to an international treaty but because we have actually demonstrated our commitment through tangible and sustained action.
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our commitment to the rights of the disabled does not end with the passage of laws or the enforcement of regulations. rather, it's an going commitment through civil society and a myriad of civic groups, n.g.o.'s and religious organizations, many of whom work abroad to help improve the lives of persons with disabilities, and it also extends to individuals including entrepreneurial americans who continuously seek to develop new cutting edge technologies, improve the lives of anyone who might benefit from such tools. i'm not naive regarding the challenges we face in ensuring that persons with disabilities around the world can benefit from the kind of education, employment and housing access that americans with disabilities already enjoy here in the united states, and i firmly believe that the united states must continue to pursue this disability diplomacy on both a bilateral and multilateral basis where it's appropriate, but it
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is not at all clear to me that it is necessary to ratify this convention to achieve our goal of promoting disability rights and protecting the disabled from discrimination. at the end of the day, i believe proponents argue two contradictory positions. first, that it's really important that the united states ratify the convention so that nations will have to respect the rights of disabled persons. the second argument they make is that the u.s. need not be concerned about obligations under the treaty because it isn't enforceable, really has no effect on us. well, mr. president, both things cannot be true. either it's a problem or it's not effective. in either event, it's not argument for ratification of a treaty. so while i respect the goals and the aspirations of the proponents, they do not justify committing the united states to another international obligation. as a result, i will oppose the
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resolution of ratification. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts. mr. kerry: mr. president, what is the time allocation? the presiding officer: the senator from massachusetts has ten minutes. the time in opposition is eight minutes. eight minutes. mr. kerry: the senator from arizona, it's my understanding there is no other speaker on the senator's side. so i'd ask simply if we could have an additional five minutes on this side if he wouldn't object and that will bring to us the vote at noon. i'd ask for that. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. kerry: let me just say to the senator from arizona before he leaves, the senator and i have engaged on these issues for some years now, and we have disagreed respectfully and in a
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friendly way. i would say to him very respectfully that there really is no contradiction in the position of the proponents of this bill, and while i understand what he said about china, the fact is that because china has signed up and russia and other countries, if we were a party to this and at the table discussing it we would have greater leverage in order to be able to advance the rights of persons in china and elsewhere. now, don't take that from me, i would say to the senator from arizona, guangcheng chen is the act rit vi vis in china who sought refuge in america for a brief period of time, his family has suffered and he has written a letter to us and says "dear senators, i am trigg wrig to personally ask your support for the convention for the rights of persons with
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disabilities. as he says, my rights began were afforded the same rights as everyone else. the convention on the rights of persons with disabilities is making this idea real and in significant ways around the world today. and he goes on to say that i'm hopeful you will support ratification and allow others to benefit from these triumphs. and he's referring to the americans with disabilities act and the other things we've done. mr. president, i'd say to my friend from arizona, and i ask unanimous consent this be placed in the record, over 328 veteran and disability organizations, all of our veterans organizations who deal with people with disabilities and challenges, support this. and believe it will make a difference. so when the senator says i don't believe it will make a difference, every working
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member of the disabilities community disagrees with the senator. i would just say to him respectfully that the facts here are clear. he said this ties our hands. it doesn't tie our hands. senator lee came to the floor earlier and he agreed this doesn't require any change of united states law. so i'd really say to my friend there's no tying of the hands, we understand the fears that people have here, but i really think it's important to try to decide this on the basis of fact. now, without -- i'd yield to the senator on his time for --. the presiding officer: as per your previous request, without objection, so ordered. mr. kyl: thank you. first of all i want to say to my colleague from massachusetts that i have very much enjoyed the conversations we've had and perhaps even more so when we've been in disagreement because we have brought out i think important points on a variety of issues so i always appreciate
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his views on these things. and -- but secondly, since you specifically referred to the points i made let me just respond in one way. i don't gainsay the argument that people who have a deep belief in trying to pursue a particular human right or other goal believe that getting together in the international community and talking about these things is a useful exercise. it's hard to argue in the abstract with that proposition so i can understand the letters that would be written. the hard reality is there are nation states like china who like to sign up for organizations and gain the reputation for doing good things while in fact not doing good things, as i pointed out. so to some extent it can serve the offense goal of giving cover to countries that really have no intention of acting in good
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faith or in the good ways we have demonstrated as the united states and that's one of the problems here. and so i do acknowledge and i'll not use any more of your time here, but when one of two things is true, either it is fairly meaningless or it is really meaningful and i don't think you can make both arguments in support of our signing up for the treaty. mr. kerry: mr. president, we obviously differ on that but let me emphasize the importance of the 328 groups, i've submitted that for the record. mr. president, plpts we're going to vote in a few minutes, and we're going to vote on a treaty that i regret to say some people are making controversial when, in fact, it really isn't controversial. what this treaty says is very simple. it just says that you can't discriminate against the disabled. it says that other countries have to do what we did 22 years
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ago when we set the example for the world and passed the americans with disabilities act. in five simple words, this treaty says to other countries that don't respect the rights of the disabled, be more like us. that's what we're asking people to do. it doesn't require any changes to american law, zero. this has no tying of the hands of america. there isn't one law in the united states that will be negatively affected. but it will push, it will leverage, it will the countries by their commitment to be held accountability -- accountable to the standard we have set and take our gold standard and extend it to the rest of the world. so there are three reasons that i've heard that we can't do this. when i hear them, i'm reminded what i learned when i was a prosecutor quite a few years ago
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now. i learned that, you know, if -- if the facts are against you, then argue the law. if the law is against you, then argue the facts. and if both of against you, just make it up. well, that's exactly what's happening here, mr. president. neither the law nor the facts support any argument that has been made on the other side of this treat. so accordingly we're facing an entirely fictitious set of arguments on abortion, on home schooling, on lame-duck sessions. all of their arguments have been contradicted by the facts and the law, let me document that. this treaty is based on the americans with disabilities act. we passed that 20 years ago. in all those 20 years, the father of the act is sitting here, the senator from iowa, has any child been straight spraited from a parent because of the a.d.a.? no. has home school been hurt? no. in fact, it's grown and
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flourishing across the nation. how is it possible that a treaty that according to our supreme court offers no recourse, no change in american law, no access to american courts, how is it possible that such a treaty could threaten anybody in our country? the answer is simple, it doesn't, and it can't. but let's go through the arguments one by one. first they say it would undermine our sovereignty. i've heard several people suggest that. you know, the laws governing the disabled. well, that's wrong. and senator lee just admitted it doesn't affect any law in the united states. all it does is create a committee on the rights of persons with disabilities. what can this committee do? all it can do is review reports and make a suggestion. are we scared in the united states of america of someone making a suggestion to us about how we might do something? has no recourse in the court,
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no legal standing. the foreign relations committee even included language in the resolution of advice and consent to make it crystal clear. so what are we agrade fraid of? -- afraid of? that the committee would give us this advice? the second misconception is that this will allow the federal government acting under u.n. instructions to determine what is best for children with disabilities. again, mr. president, that is just flat wrong. the treaty does not give the federal government or any state government any new powers with respect to children with disabilities. it doesn't change the balance of power between federal and state government. it doesn't require any change to existing state or federal law. the justice department, former republican attorney general dick thornburgh testified before the foreign relations committee that any assertion to the contrary is incorrect and our committee even included language in the resolution of advice and consent
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to absolutely crystallize those limitations. and finally there are those who argue that a lame-duck session is the inappropriate time for senators to consider this treaty. my colleagues, please. since the 1970's alone the united states senate has approved treaties during lame-duck sessions a total of 19 times. there's nothing special or different about a lame duck. it's a session of the united states congress. and just as we are going to consider important fiscal matters, we should consider other important matters. our constituents expect us to do our jobs, and there's no difference between a lame duck or a dead duck or a regular duck. we ought to be here doing our jobs. more than any of the straw men, though, we've had to deal with in this debate there is, in fact, something much bigger at stake here, mr. president. this treaty and this vote will say a great deal about how we
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are in the united states senate and who we are as a country. in the nearly 30 years that i've been here, i think this is the first time i've seen a former majority leader of the united states senate come to the senate floor for a vote, and it's certainly the first time i've seen it happen when he had every right to be at home at age 89 taking care of his health. but that's not bob dole. almost 70 years ago, when he came home to kansas from battlesfields of italy in a full body cast, people said that bob had never had to work another day in his life. that's what they said. he was a hero. he'd made his contribution. but bob dole worked every single day to stand and to walk and to use his arms again. he made himself get out of that bed and he made himself a public servant and a united states senator and the republican nominee for president in 1996. but his greatest pride was
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passing the americans with disabilities act. bob dole, why is he here? he's not here because he's here to advocate for the united nations. and certainly this man who served his country is not here because he doesn't want to defend the sovereignty of the united states of america. he is here because he wants to know that other countries will come to treat the disabled the way we do. he's here because he wants to know that what -- when a disabled american veteran, our wounded warriors, travel overseas, that they're treated with the same dignity and respect that they receive here at home. that's why an 89-year-old veteran, one week removed from bethesda naval hospital, comes back to the senate on an early december day, because it matters, because what we do here in the united states senate matters, not just to us but to people all across the globe. and maybe some people here need
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to be reminded of that. this is not about politics, this is not about ideology. this is about people. this treaty helps thousands of vets, men and women, who paid the price of devotion to our country with their limbs, with their lirves, presidents, and -- limbs, mr. president, and they struggle every day to get up, button their shirt, get out of bed and some of them struggle to be able to share in life as all of us are able to share in it. i met one of them yesterday, army afghan vet dan rashinsky, a double amputee as a result of the war in afghanistan. he's got back and he's recovered enough to create a small business. and here's what he said, this west point grad of 2007. he said and i'm quoting him, "i'm proud to be able to walk using prosthetic legs, yet


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