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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 7, 2013 6:30am-8:31am EST

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>> i also wanted to acknowledge ms. newhouse who's in the audience from silver spring, maryland. attended my alma mater. she's also a bilateral and
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beauty and wears prosthetic legs. she's traveled to over 40 countries for work and study abroad for individuals with disability. nice to have you here. mr. chairman, i guess to general thornburgh, or to secretary ridge, i'll give you the chance to respond to this. we all acknowledge that the treaty is based upon basically the u.s. law, the ada. we passed that in 1990. i remember in 1991, congressman hoyer who was then chairman of u.s. helsinki commission traveled to moscow and became part of the moscow declaration document, which started the international effort to use u.s. law as the model to protect universal -- university the rights of people with disabilities. so the united states has been leadership. the point i would raise, that
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failed to ratify i think compromises the u.s. ability to advance these standards globally. it weakens our own credibility to participate in the development internationally of the rights of people with disabilities and is the chairman pointed out and as others have pointed out it also compromises very much american citizens who are in other countries and their own protections if we happen to ratify the treaty we're sorting out in the same position as we would for the rights of people in our own country. secretary ridge, your comments, generally. >> i just wanted to respond to a but a very appropriate question from senator johnson, if i might. i think regardless of where you are on the political spectrum, we all feel very fortunate and grateful that we live in the united states of america. it's a very unique place. and if america was considered to be a product, and we do try to sell our product overseas, what's our brand? i think our brand is the
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constitution, the rule of law, and our value system. under that brand and under that value system there is that notion of equal under the eyes of the law. under that brand and value system is the ada and trying to elevate the rights of americans with disabilities. when we have an opportunity to advance america the product, not through the military and not through diplomacy, but to be the convener around an issue that's humanitarian in nature, and that is elevating the rights of people globally with disabilities, i think we enhance the brand and we enhance the product by enhancing ourselves. so we say to the rest of the world, let's think about it from their point of view. we are asking the rest of the world to adopt the american standard. we found from time to time that's pretty difficult to do, but with the ratification of 100 plus countries we see a lease on this issue regardless of whether
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are they like the brand. they like the value system. they want to embrace the notion of elevating the rights of people with disabilities. the gentleman behind me is from the kane institute for international leadership. he's a remarkable young man. he was disabled in 2003. he established an organization in the country of georgia. he's working on ratification over there and he will be the first one to tell you, do you know what the country george will look to? they will see whether or not whether america ratifies the treaty. so i suggest that regardless of where we are on the political aisle, all of us have an interest in promoting america and i doing so in promoting the brand and our value system i think has as much a lasting impact of anything else we can do diplomatically. there's no better place to convene a discussion and leave that discussion globally and the united nations. i think it's a very appropriate question. i hope you embrace the notion
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that there's great value globally, internationally. you don't sacrifice sovereignty. we don't change in the american loss to advance our interests and we advance our brand and value system. i thank you for giving me an opportunity to share those thoughts with you. >> thank you. senator flake. >> thank you. if i could follow-up with regard to the case the supreme court is currently hearing, on the versus u.s. mr. thornburgh, were you surprised when you heard the federal government was actually suing -- or using treaty or convention in order to bring charges against an individual, a chemical weapons treaty? were you surprised this was used in this fashion? >> yes. >> if you're surprised by that, what can reassure us that you won't be surprised that this
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treaty is used for similar purpose? >> i think by that time the supreme court would've thrown out data, the basis for it. >> but the fact it even brought and it's survived one challenge, gone up one level as well. >> let me mention that it's sad to say the department justice doesn't always act wisely. and that there are occasions when mistakes are made in the pursuing of cases and controversies that really don't rise to the level where they're appropriate. examples, however, under the site and that is where the department has rightfully stretched the law to cover situations that clearly were not contemplated. i think of the rodney king case, for example, where he was ultimately convicted under the federal civil rights laws when
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what, or the police officers were convicted, excuse me. here was a police brutality case. it wasn't a civil rights case. but our laws maintained a degree of flexibility that we can use them in particular situations where the occasion arises. i don't anticipate that happening on a day-to-day basis under a treaty like the u.n. treaty. and clearly we have to put some semblance of judgment, confidence in the judgment of our lawmakers and those who execute those. they make mistakes. and i think that was a mistake in the chemical warfare cases, clear example. >> governor ridge, were you surprised at your that bond case? [inaudible] >> it was brought to my attention a few hours and, frankly, i don't know enough to comment. i would say, however, that based on the experience of the individual i respect enormously and he is seated to my right, i
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would ally myself with his response. i think we all know, we all know from recent experience, we've all question of the department of justice on several recent occasions and i don't think there could be any guarantee that there wouldn't potential to be litigation. we live in a litigious society. somebody out there may take it to court. that doesn't miss a show in ulysses be the this isn't the federal government suing and using this. >> but we should expect a little better judgment. >> we should. with a tough time legislating a lot of other things let alone judgment so we will never be able to do that. i think if you make the perfect the enemy to good and to include somehow some litigation will undermine this, i just haven't drawn that conclusion whom -- from what i've read but i can't draw any analogy or comparison between the present case before the supreme court and this treaty. >> let me just tell the, it
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surprised the heck out of me that the federal government was suing and using this. it would also surprise me if the works its way to the supreme court they agree. with the department of justice year. having said that, when assurances are being made in this hearing and elsewhere by those that this would never be used as a basis to hold anyone in the u.s. account, to account for this treaty, then that rings pretty hollow today when this case is being heard by the supreme court. i would think that it would behoove us, at least, to see just as mr. thornburgh, you say you're surprised that the case was brought. i think we would all be surprised the supreme court ruled this way as well, but it would behoove us i think to see
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how the rule before we go ahead with this. that's just the way i feel here. and i tend to discount some of the claims about the supply to u.s. law. i've had my own questions about whether it's worth it simply because we are saying on one hand, it matters a lot, and then on the other hand we are saying it really doesn't matter. what's the use of a treaty if it's treated like that? but here, i think we are all surprised at the action of the department of justice year and i think we ought to see how the supreme court rules before moving ahead. thank you, mr. chairman. >> just an observation. i understand the senator's concerns. i appreciate it. justice department has prosecuted cases on the federal statute, not implementing treaties that go far afield of what the federal government intended. and it has nothing to do with a
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treaty. on the honors of services act the supreme court turned provisions of what prosecutions were. so you can never totally rely bad, you know, justice department is made -- >> would the gentleman yield? >> that's an example of a non-treaty piece of legislation that was used in an inappropriate way for prosecution as the supreme court determine. so there's no absolute guarantee. i would just say since the bond case of in re several times i think a bit of a differentiation here that should be considered your bond and false congresses authority under both the commerce clause and the treaty along with the message of proper clause. the treaty power would not be relevant to u.s. implementation of the disabilities convention because the ada does not rely on the treaty power. in fact, it was passed before the disabilities convention had ever been negotiated. the commerce clause analysis addressing a chemical weapons
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convention implication act is unlikely to be relevant to the ada. a statute has been extensively litigated in the supreme court so i understand the concern, but i think there are differentiations in this respect. >> if the gentleman would yield for just a second. the bond case has nothing to do with the commerce clause. it's under the treaty here. but second, i would just say the certainty with which we are all saying this won't fly -- apply d to is here a shake and a bit by the bond case. that's all i'm saying. >> i am simply saying that as in that of the case under the honors services act there's nothing to do with the treaty. supreme court found that element of how that was used to prosecute people was an overreach and unconstitutional. and yet you can't protect against that and take it to the supreme court which is why we have the supreme court. i do think that the bond case has three elements to it. it has the treaty power but it also has questions that arise under the commerce clause.
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and so in that respect it's a little different. senator durbin. >> i want to contain -- continued this because we raise the issue as if it stops a school. we can go forward until we work out this bond case. i would say to professor meyer and mr. thornburgh, i think there's a clear distinction here. the bond case is not being raised under the treaty, the convention, when it comes to chemical weapons. this case is being prosecuted under the implementation act, a separate act of congress implementing the treaty. two different things. so when they come to the disabilities act, what is the implementation act under the convention for disabilities? there is none. the only implementation act is the americans with disabilities act which has been on the books for 20 years.
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and we tested that over 20 years. has it a limited homeschooling, mr. farris? i don't think so. hasn't mandated abortion across america? dr. yoshihara? know it has an. the americans with disabilities act is the implementation -- implementing act that we adopted ahead of the treaty on disabilities. the bond case is dealing with the implementation act on the convention weapons treaties. two separate actions by congress. one ratifying the convention on chemical weapons. two, passing a law called the implication act, the law of the land. and at the supreme court will decide if the law is proper. so conflating these two and saying it's all about the same thing, one of our scholarly colleagues, the junior senator from texas, said in a piece in the "washington post," if the supreme court concluded a treaty can be used to prosecute americans regardless of the constitutional rights, the
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ramifications could be alarming. he goes on to all sorts of opportunities. the prosecution is not under a treaty. it's under the implementation act. it's different. it's a law of congress. and i am just stopped cold here with this argument by mr. farris that the americans with disabilities act is going to put an end to homeschooling in america. is better positioned? >> that's not my position. my position is that the treaty changes the legal requirements in this country, that it's just not correct to say that there is no duty to change american law in accordance with the treaty. so since i believe there will be required to be and not limitation act that complies with requirements of the treaty, i think at that point in time that's when the problems will arise. not under the ada itself. >> mr. farris, the fact that the administration is not asking for an application act, and made it clear that it's not seeking it because the americans with disabilities act already is controlling and has been
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extended litigated sets this bill standards in our country what you're higher than any in world. you don't find that convincing? >> that's the same administration is prosecuting a homeschooling family to try to expel them from the united states, who came here speed is under the ada? >> no. they came here under our law of us on the. but the question in the case that's pending, that cases also pending before the supreme court, and it's for -- >> let me just say mr. farris, i don't know -- >> you don't only to answer the questions because you want to talk about something other than the americans with disabilities act or the invention of disabilities. >> the convention of this post has a different legal standard than the ada. there are numerous disability organizations that say something i include their citations in my written testimony. i am not the only one who says that. the committee agrees with me. >> i would just say that if are going of the battle of
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organizations supporting and not supporting this, i think we will prevail because we have the mainstream disability organizations across america who are supporting the adoption of this convention on disabilities. i struggle with the notion that we are somehow going to stop this effort, this effort to extend the rights of disabled around the world for fear of something which you can't even clearly articulate when it comes to homeschooling. mr. ridge says. i don't know whether to call a congressman or secretary, but we've been friends in both capacity. what he has said he supports homeschooling. i do, too. this is not going to affect homeschooling. it's very clickable not and the americans with disabilities act for 20 meters has not affected e homeschooling. i yield back my time. >> senator mccain, who i want to extend my appreciation for his advocacy in this effort, and in this effort has been an invaluable voice in this regard. senator mccain.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank all the witnesses. i especially thank dick thornburgh and tom ridge. i think you prefer governor to those others, don't you? [laughter] i remember the day, then the president of the unit states, sunday americans with disabilities act on the lawn of the white house and someone of our friends from the disabilities community were there to celebrate what has been. i don't know anyone who doesn't believe that the passage of that act was not an unqualified success. it gave opportunities for some of our disabled community to get ahead in our society, and have rights which they previously had been deprived of. mr. meyer, you made some very important constructive recommendations, in my view, in
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this legislation come in your statement. and i would just like to ask you a couple of additional questions. on the issue of abortion, the resolution of advice and consent that this committee passed last year that contained the following understanding on how this attribute relates the u.s. law concerning abortion, quote, nothing in the convention, in the convention including article 25 addresses the provision of any particular health program or procedure. now, do you think that's sufficient to address the concerns raised about what effect that this treaty might have on the u.s. laws and policies regarding abortion quacks and if not, how would you recommend that we improve that provision that we adopted last year? >> senator, of course as secretary ridge mentioned, we live in a litigious country and so one can't guarantee that the will never be a lawsuit asserting that this is, that the
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convention creates certain abortion rights. nor can one get into the committee on disabilities will not take such a position. >> but they have suggested language that could strengthen that the lesson that the likelihood of? >> yes. so with respect to the role of the committee, i think the language that's referenced in my written test one or similar language that makes clear that the committee's interpretation of the convention are not entitled to any weight whatsoever, wood, or any deference, for example, u.s. courts, could go a long way towards assuring that federal courts are not going to be prone to following interpretations that the committee might adopt that, for example, congress would find objectionable. also, the language you referenced, the convention in general, and the rud makes this clear is not discrimination convention to a very large extent. therefore, it doesn't reference
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the particular, the language doesn't reference the particular, any particular procedure. it instantly states that there shall be no discrimination. >> i would appreciate it, specific language, if you would submit to us to lessen -- obviously a abortion is a huge aspect of this issue with many americans. and it may affect the judgment of some members of this committee. so i want to close that as tightly as we can, recognizing that there may always be some challenges, so i think you see my point. >> i do. i would be happy to read to you the language on the understanding that i think might help address the role of the committee. one might, for example, include language that states the united states understands the committee's interpretation of the convention are not entitled to any weight apart from that given to them by states parties
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to the convention. one can imagine modifying that, specifically referenced federal courts. or one could imagine modifying that let which to specifically reference that the united states understands that there shall be no way to give an within u.s. courts, unless the united states has adopted an interpretation consistent with the domestic procedures regarding the creation of international obligations. >> thank you i hope that maybe we could look at that language as we move forward. we need to assure the pro-life community, obviously, that this would not have any affect on present u.s. policy. mr. meyer, have you seen any system restriction or violation of the rights of parents regarding the education of their children as a result of the treaties that we have ratified? as you know, the convention on the rights of the child, children and armed conflict,
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optional protocol on children who -- i guess in armed conflict. have you seen any serious restriction or violation of the rights of parents regarding the education of the children as a result of these previously senate ratified treaties? >> i'm not aware of any. >> would you agree that the senate to ratify the crp d. in a way that protects the prerogatives of parents andrea from the primacy of u.s. law, just as we have in these other instances speak with yes, but i think it's possible there's a package of rud that would satisfy these concerns. >> d.c. sufficient rud's worst we have additional language? >> i think some of the additional language with respect to the role of the committee would be helpful in addressing some of these concerns going forward. i think also as i mentioned to senator corker one could imagine on federalism point potentially
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a stronger reservations to do with the federalism issue but i think these rud are available and they think they can be drafted. >> i would just like -- i'm out of time, mr. chairman. thank you. >> senator kaine. >> thank you, mr. chair. good testimony, and the questions have been helpful. one of the reasons that i love being assigned to this committee as a new senator is the mission statement is very simple. american leadership in the world is really the mission statement of this committee. and that is a common mission of economic, military, diplomatic and moral leadership. many of the witnesses have spoken to this. we have as the country shown great moral leadership on the issue of rights of folks with disabilities. off the top of my head and with my handy research tool during testimony, the rehabilitation act of 1973, the education for all handicapped children, 1975. individuals with disabilities education act 1990, americans was visibly act 1990.
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there are others as well. those are the ones i thought of off the top of my head. they really do set the gold standard for the world. i think it's appropriate for us to make it part of our brand, governor ridge and brag about it in the way you mention. i think entering into this treaty would be good for our citizens with disabilities. it would be good for citizens around the world with disabilities, but it also, just my colleagues, i think would be good for this body, this body, the senate and our committee. this is one of those issues where i think the diagram overlapping between the various partisan positions is near complete. i couldn't help but notice, i was looking at the dates of the passage of all four of those seminal statutes with respect to disability rights, they were all passed and signed by republican presidents. 73, president nixon. president ford, president bush
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41. this is an issue where it's not what you normally see up here where democrats want to do something and republicans don't, or republicans want to do something and democrats do. this is traditionally been about as bipartisan issue as you can find in kind of modern public policy in american life. i think we ought not sacrifice that. i think cinda mccains questions for both professor meyer and attorney general thornburgh's testimony about, and ranking member of workers questioned about the drafting of the rud and making sure we can solve some of the internal concerns that are fairly raised through the process, we should diligently make an effort to do that. dissident such a good example of an issue on which we've been together and with exercise leadership in the right way that i don't think we should sacrifice an opportunity to continue to lead in this particular a. so again to the members who have testified today i appreciate.
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mr. chair, i yield back my time. >> thank you. senator barrasso. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i want to graduate you as one of senator mccain for an excellent op-ed in the "usa today" this monday. so i appreciate your efforts. i just want to thank all of you for being here today to discuss this important issue. as a physician has practiced medicine for over 25 years, i've seen firsthand the challenges facing people with disabilities. every individual regardless of the obstacles in their lives should have an opportunity to work, live and would take part in our society. the united states has been a leader in working to end discrimination and to break down barriers that prevent the full participation -- >> senator? i want to thank secretary ridge for joining us. us. we had acknowledged and agreed he had a plane to catch. thank you very much. there may be questioned in the record the follow-up and we would ask you to consider them.
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senator barrasso, i'm sorry. >> thanin 2000 discuss over 20 s ago congress passed the americans with disabilities act. this convention is based on the same principles as the americans with disabilities act, general councils occlude nondiscrimination, equal opportunity, independence, accessibility, human dignity and full and effective participation and inclusion in society. the people of this great nation believe in these ideals and principles. it is time for our nation to stand up and show our commitment to these principles in the international committee. i believe the convention offers the united states a forum to utilize our wealth, knowledge and expenses to influence other nations in recognizing the rights of people with disabilities. our nation has opportunity to help countries transition from the isolation and segregation of persons with disabilities to
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remove the obstacles, the opening barriers which ends up helping our citizens in the process. the ratification demonstrates our nation's ongoing commitment to equality and opportunity for people with disabilities. chad mendes, i have an additional letter from general colin powell and rather than read the whole thing i ask unanimous consent to have this included. >> without objection. >> just for a couple of quick questions. attorney general thornburgh, there's been some misinformation i believe that's been circulate regarding the impact of this convention on children. that's the convention particularly parents rights? does it allow courts to interfere with parents decisions regarding their children? and article six specifically, does that provision require a national registry of children born with disabilities? >> the registry anticipated by
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the treaty as someone to the laws we have in this country, which require that birth certificates and gift certificates be taken noted of and enrolled but interestingly enough, many countries around the world have, lacking today, that kind of procedure. and it poses a real threat in many of the worst situations around the world of improper abortion techniques or infanticide even. so that i view this as a very signal advance, not for the u.s. because i think owes the federal and state local level we have those. but when you begin headlines about the kind of things are going on in lesser developed countries were dictators flout the law, this i think is a very positive part of the treaty
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requirements that we could support easily. >> professor meyer, in your testimony you said having the opportunity to nominate an american to serve on the committee and to appear before the committee in an effective way to ensure that the committee does not become a vehicle for creating custom international legal obligations that are contrary to u.s. interests. could you for the laneway think it is india's interests to have an american serving on the committee created by this convention? >> sure. as i suggested to my opening statement one of the ways the committee can have a legal effect even the recommendations are nonbinding, is the integration of customer international law. the committee click does not have the power to great custom international law but if other states back and adopt interpretations and recommendations that could be the basis for a claim that there is customary international law. therefore, the opportunity for the united states to peer into object to interpretations of the
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committee, that might be thought to give rise to customary international obligations. potential to defeat -- that united states would be a cynics of the. there are examples of this occurring in the context of, for example, the human rights committee with the human rights committee has at times taken positions that certain rules are customary and the department has taken positions are not. not ratified the convention does not remove the ability to object to the formation of rules of customary international law either. and likewise, there's some -- with respect to u.s. courts not ratifying reduces the likelihood that a u.s. court would find the to be earl of customary international law but the answer to question is that the ability to have an american, and nominatenominate american to sen the committee and the ability to actually engage in colloquy with the committee likely affects the committee's work and may serve to actually answer that the
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interpretations are adopted are consistent with u.s. interpretation. >> thank you, chairman. >> senator markey. >> i thank you very much, mr. chairman. it's great to have tammy duckworth year, an american hero, and she's in a wheelchair. and in 1990 we passed the ada, and we make sure there were on ramps for those wheelchairs everywhere in our country. it would be great if you could go anywhere in the world as well and know that we were moving in that same direction. and we thank you so much for your service. back in 1990 when we did the ada, i was the chairman of the telecommunications committee, so close captioning for tv sets, or ensuring that a phone system is available for deaf and blind person as well. in the 1996 telecom act, extend that as well. but then in 2010, i authored
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with cliff stearns, a very conservative republican and outside, and mark pryor who will be here on this insight, very concerned republicans, were able to pass a law that said everyone of these wireless devices had to have an on ramp for the deaf and the blind. we had to negotiate with the consumer electronics association, this massive organization of thousands of companies. because they had to sign off on it. and now the deaf and blind can use these devices no matter where they are. now, wouldn't it be a good thing if that were true for the whole world? all deaf, all blind had -- i would like attorney general thornburgh, just ask this question, what does it mean for the consumer electronics association of the united states to have a market open up around the planet for all these devices that would be available to hundreds of millions of deaf and
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blind who would be empowered to become part of their economies? >> to ask the question is to answer it spinning back but not in congress. the words have to be spoken. i understand what you're saying to you believe it's self-evident truth but were having this hearing. >> i did mean to be facetious but obviously it would open up markets that are unavailable now either because of the governing process in the country in question or a lack of resources or what have you. but you get a ruling consensus build about the desirability and feasibility to do any of these things to you can sue remarkable advances around the world which is the basis for ought to be and. >> so the consumer electronics association has written a letter of support for the disability treaty stating quote the u.s. ratification of the treaty would encourage greater demand for u.s. companies skills and services as fellow nations begin to adhere to the new
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international standards. so there should be no doubt, in other words, that this is a great economic benefit for american companies as well. of course we want to help all of those who are deaf and blind. that's the point of my law, to make that possible. but as part of the bargain we have to lead because we passed the law first. and pretty soon there's going to be just about every citizen on the planet that has one of these devices. wouldn't it be great if we were ensuring that there were accessible to the deaf and blind as well because those devices that are made in the united states already have to comply with with that law. and i think that would be something that we could think would actually be in our best interest. there are several countries, including china, australia and argentina who have already submitted reports to the disabilities committee. and i understand the chinese
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admitted that they have a long way to go to protect the rights and interests of persons with disabilities. now, if the chinese get serious about ensuring access to disabled persons, that would open up a huge market for the united states, would it not? >> indeed. >> and given that the conventions will open all of those markets, not just in china but around the world, wouldn't you agree that a vote for ratification is a vote to support american businesses and to create jobs here in the united states? >> i think that's perhaps why the chamber of commerce supports the treaty ratification. >> and right now no one from the united states is sitting on the disabilities committee. if we had a delegate on that committee, do you think that would help u.s. businesses to expand their markets overseas? >> yes. >> and would not help in creating then the rules and regulations that would be used in order to expand in other
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countries? >> one would expect that. >> congresswoman duckworth? >> well, i think that the extent of opportunities for u.s. firms is really underestimated right now. be adapted device industry is a tremendously large one and one that we certainly dominate the world. we're not talking about just phones but wheelchair buses, grab bars for showers, homeschooling supplies for parents who want to teach their kids at home. the range is tremendous, and if we don't do this and american companies don't gain credibility as being the world's leader, we opened the door for other nations who are competing with us in these fields. places like germany and iceland where they do have industries and companies that provide adaptive devices as well. we will is the market share and we will lose our role as leader in the world in producing these devices. >> annie sullivan helped helen keller come deaf and blind your
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using her palm, to teach her. but now it has moved from the palm to the palmpilot and onto the iphone and the ipad and beyond. that's the way how to empower people. without that they are not empowered. we're doing something good across the whole planet as well. we are making sure that we give people the ability to maximize their god-given ability to add without these kind of devices, you are not empowered. you don't have the capacity to be able to communicate, to be able to work. and so this is now the essential ingredients of citizenship on the planet if you want to be a productive person. it makes it possible for the first time in history for every deaf and blind person to fully participate in the economy of the country. i think it would be wrong to do that on a moral basis, but it also be wrong to deny our own companies to be able to make these products and to create jobs here in america. so you can do good and do well at the same time i supporting
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history. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator markey. i does have some final questions. mr. farris, and you described the disability treaty as the ideal quote unquote wedge issue for future political campaigns. is it because the treaty as such a good divisive political issue for you that you've made some claims about the treaty that you've made? is that why you state that the treaty proponents have sort of a soviet agenda? and your organization has made some, what many of us think could be outrageous claims, that you and will determine how many parking spots are at american churches? >> senator, the wedge issue comment was, i believe that this treaty would be the first in atlanta human rights treaties that would be coming before this committee.
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senator mccain ms. volk, i'm sure earlier your we have not ratified that treaty. and so i think that would be coming next. the conventional elimination of all on the discrimination against women would be coming next. i think that this treaty is the first of many treaties that would be in this range. that's what was intended by that comment. on the parking space, you have hypothetical questions in moot court and you can argue that way and a lot of venues. that's what i was doing. when there's no definition of disability and to give this organization the ability to define disability, anything is possible. i was trying to make an extreme case to show that anything is possible. >> i agree with you that you're trying to make an extreme case. and by the way, on the wedge issue you were talking about a whole host of other potential treaty. you were talking about this treaty, the source of the story of washington gridlock in "the
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boston globe" by author michael crane h. and on the question of the parking lot reference as you said yourself is an extreme example, your organization or an organization you are diluted with, parental as a document detailing the 15 issues your organization has as a treat. reason number two, pretty much at the top states that the number of handicapped spaces required for parking at your business, private school or house of worship will be established by viewin the u.n. o local government. i would like to submit that an article for the record. without objection. that's why, you know, i can understand and respect your view although i disagree with it, but when a state like that is made i think it undermines the credibility of the nature of how far one could take this treaty to let me ask you something else. in the disabilities, article seven, parentheses to of
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disability treaty, it states that in all actions concerning children with disabilities, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. that seems like an incredibly noncontroversial statement to me. so can you -- i've read your test and and i've read the testimony last year as well. can you tell me one example where the best interest of a child with disability should not be a primary consideration? >> yes. because the term best interests of the child is a legal term of art and it means the government gets to substitute its judgment for that of the parent. and so -- >> that is your interpretation. it does not -- >> i quoted professor geraldine van buren who is the leading expert at the national rights -- >> let's look at what the conventions as. the text says nothing about the state stepping into the shoes of the parent are, in fact, article 23 describes in detail
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protecting parental rights and the rights of the extended family to care for and to make decisions for children with disabilities so i'm dumbfounded how you can make a noncontroversial statement and twisted into something that's rather sinister. >> senator, the treaty directs -- or text directly -- that language is missing in this treaty. it that language was in this treaty we would be in a different position. but that language is missing. that's the historical practice. there's no direct statement about parents rights in education industry. as a legal term of art that has been used by the german high court to take parents -- children away from them if they're homeschooled speeded this is not the german high court practices the united states of america and the only high court i care about is the
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supreme court of the united states. let me ask you, finally, this. you quoted professor hankin as a buttress for your arguments, your legal argument and i appreciate that you have an lom from london which is understand is a distance learning course. there are no comments permitted before the committee of approvals or disapproval. but as a matter of law, the courts have no authority to ignore reservations understanding and declaration but as a matter of fact, some of the most conservative lawyers, professors curtis bradley and jack goldsmith, concluded that quote in some, since the early days of the nation, the president and senate have attached a variety of conditions to their consent to treaties. no court has ever invalidated these conditions. and, finally, when you quote
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professor hankin, you know, you seem to somehow suggest that he would not have supported ratifying this treaty. >> know. i think he would support ratification. >> i'm glad we agree. >> a number of internationalists would support it. they think it's good that we submit the united states to the supervision of the international community. i don't. we at least agree on the operation of international law. i don't disagree one with a professor i can on how he sees in national and nonaggression -- obligation. what we disagree on is this good or bad? i think american self government is part of a grand we should be exploring. >> i agree with that and that's why, you know, you argue that the treaty creates obligations others do not see. and then you suggest that the united states must follow your interpretations in terms of ratifying the treaty.
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i think we have a fundamental disagreement here, is that under the constitution the president and the senate determined our obligations under international treaties and, therefore, the reservations understanding and declarations of the resolution of advise or consent are binding. i'm going to ask unanimous consent to include a legal memo prepared on this issue to set the record straight on the power of rud. i won't disclose a professor hankin. he would recognize that just because the united states law is adequate to comply with the treaty is not a good reason not to ratify. he would've supported the treaty in my view because it advances human rights and makes us full participants in the treaty. and the fact is that the human rights institute, which he founded, and the human rights first organization on which he served on its board of directors, with support the treaty. so we just have a fundamental
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disagreement as by what impact will be our obligations and what will be the reach. i believe that homeschoolers will be absolutely fine. and i know that there's money raised on this issue but that is -- maybe it's a wedge issue but it's not going to affect homeschoolers because i think there's very broad support for homeschoolers on this committee. >> thank you, chairman, for convening this hearing, to consider the conventions, bipartisanship has historical been the hallmark of american leadership protecting the rights of persons and in particular the rights of persons with disabilities. i was proud of the opportunity to work with you and others, senator mccain, senator durbin, many others and how they are united support for this issue in the last congress, ratification in my view will serve to solidify the american
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commitment to equal opportunity for disabled persons to increase access, mobility and protection of our disabled americans abroad, especially our wounded veteran. promoting the rights of disabled persons has historically garnered the support of a very broad range of americans, and i remain hopeful the senate can come together to protect the dignity and human rights for all by ratifying the crp in this congress. lash we missed a great opportunity to ratify this treaty. it's my hope sure that many of my constituents and americans of the country i think evidence today that we cannot make that same mistake again. we cannot afford to miss opportunity and encourage my colleagues to participate in hearings and to join those of us who might vote again to ratify. if i might first, congresswoman duckworth, first, thank you for your service. your remarkable and continued service to our country, i'm glad you to be here for your testimony earlier. in your view how failure to ratify this treaty actually
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impacted our leadership on disability issues globally? >> thank you, senator. i thought it myself when i traveled to asia earlier this year where i went to talk to disability rights groups and talked about what we've done in the united states. one of the first questions asked from the rank and file folks in the room was, but america didn't go to ratify their convention. sitting in the room as a representative of the united states i had nothing to say except that we are going to work on and try to ratify it soon. this is how our democracy works. but i felt a person because i was in a room full of people who looked to me to talk about ada and all the benefits, and how it allows me to recover from injuries and live this life that i live and be able to serve my nation. but i couldn't do that with authority because one of the first questions i get asked, are you guys going to ratify it? i had egg on my face.
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and if we're going to lead to the world, you know, on a day, it's in so many areas. americans dominate the world of athletics, and we have the olympics coming up. our athletes, our pair of lesbians have now new infusion -- olympians who are now olympians and because of them we are really other than the sports around the world. anywhere there's a paralympics they must make the venue wheelchair and ada accessible. so because of the participation of our veterans in beijing, i will now send date him to go and see the great wall of china which was never accessible before. the way we can touch the world is endless with this but we go into this with a lack of credibility if we do not ratify this treaty we should have had of the table and we are not. >> mr. attorney general, thank
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you for your active part in supporting this. but events on the positive results of the crpd in those countries that have ratified so far, and has made notable progress in promoting accessibility and equality an assumption does the standards the congressman just spoke to? what difference has it made? >> it's probably difficult to quantify at this early stage precisely what differences have been made but you've heard today from many number of people anecdotal evidence of the change and the prospects for change that clearly will flow from our leadership role on this. but i think a good project for this committee, if i may be so bold, would be to catalog the answers to the very questions that you raised. i don't have any particular
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insight into this, but i think you of able staff who could perhaps put together a compilation from around the world of the kinds of positive changes. and i would say with no compunction that that will show a mighty impressive record. it's early in the game yet i think before, if you use that as a basis for judgment, but i would be grea greater surprisedf there weren't some marvelous stories that are available to share with the public. >> last question if i might, mr. chairman. attorney general, and if i might, professor meyer, it was just in the last exchange advanced by mr. fares that were we to ratify this treaty we would be submitting the united states to the supervision of the international community. did that strike you as an accurate characterization of the impact on america and american sovereignty if we were to ratify this treaty that we would be submitting to the supervision of the international community?
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>> i have heard that claim may be for, and searched the records are any indication that that's either intended or possible, given the current posture of deliberations on the conventions and this body. no, i don't think that's a realistic assessment. a bit of an alarmist and perhaps a bit of propaganda, but this is not a country that will submit to any worldwide body. we have shown that in her independence in any number of various. why we would choose to roll over on an issue when we have such a leadership role establish already is unthinkable to me. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. professor meyer, in your view would we be compromising our sovereignty by to submitted to the global community or by demonstrate our commitment? >> i think the church is that we would be submitting ourselves to
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supervision the united states and -- united nations would be an overstatement. the committee does not have any legal authority to compel any changes to federal law. and provided that there's an appropriate package of rud, i think that we would be in a position to say that congress and the united states continues to enjoy the ability to decide what federal law requires spent i would like to thank all the witnesses, because that are in an congresswoman and attorney general, everyone else has testified today. thank you very much. >> i appreciate you letting ask a few more questions and congressman duckworth, i appreciate your inspiration and your comments about being engaging. i think one of the reason we are all concerned about the legalities, i think, i don't think there's anybody on this committee that doesn't appreciate deeply the thrust of this effort. but that we, when we pass laws we go by them. some the countries that we deal with, that's not the case.
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i know the general mentioned that we're a country of the rule of law and i think come it seems to me that all of the advocates of this treaty would agree that delving into the rud's, getting them right so we don't end up having unintended consequences is a worthy effort as we move forward over the next few weeks, is that correct? >> absolutely. they are the key tasks that have to be performed in the drafting of the final version of once voted on. because they are going to spell out, if done correctly, the explicit guidelines that will endure long past the debate that goes on in this body. >> mr. meyer come it seems to me that you've offered some really constructive comments relative to some of the changes that may be made and i do want to say we would love to work with you to try to develop those and try to address some of the issues that were brought a. up. i know we talked about the committee.
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it's my understanding we would have a represented on the committee but it would be temporary. they rotate and we would have somebody on the front and. and overtime this committee can do some things to establish customary international law. i guess, is there a way, in your opinion, to inoculate ourselves from the evolution that can occur with this committee's overtime, 20, 30, 40 years, through the contents that will protect us from customary international law that might be developed by the committee's? >> there's a doctor in known that provides that a state that objects are in the formation of a rule of customary international law persistently as not bound by that rule. one could imagine an understanding that a state of the united states understands that the interpretations of the committee are not the basis for the formation of customary international law and of checks to any rule of customary international law formed on the
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basis of the committee's interpretations alone. i think that would lay the groundwork for the claimed they cannot states was not going to be bound by any customary international law. the state department monitors the activities of the committee and to make sure that we get object in those cases in which interpretations of the convention or purported rules of customary international law emerge, which we find objectionable. >> so the committee come some people have said look, the ada law, standards are the gold standard today, but as the committee evolves over time it could well be that other laws have to be developed here within our country. but you believe or what you just said, that customary international law, we could inoculate ourselves fully from the evolution. and i say proponents of this treaty shaking their heads up and down, that that would not be objectionable. general, from your standpoint to
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the advocates? >> no. it seems to me as was mentioned earlier on, one body cannot make rules that bind its successor in the legislature. so there's going to be a call for oversight. look, the definition of disability under the ada has already been changed and it's been in effect less than 25 years. so experience is a good mentor in that respect and that's why we have congress and the courts, and not some executive branch decisions that are being made. >> dr. yoshihara, it seems to me that you agreed that with stronger transcends that the issues we are concerned about could be dealt with, is that correct? >> i have to say i am not optimistic that we can be fully cannot delete from customary international law is evolving.
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because it doesn't involve us. this is something that's international opinion. of customary international law evolves international to other court decisions such as the colombian argentina cases, jurisprudence another country. we could not and i put ourselves on what the world opinion is. you could certainly make a reservation or an understanding on this. i know that senator rubio had a very strong an minute the last time around that got watered down. and i think that would be at minimum to try to protect ourselves from 25 a in the treaty. but again, i'm not optimistic that the reservation would do it, because the committee is ignoring this reservation. they are already telling countries to move the reservation. so we think we're getting pressure now, wait into we have to go every four years before the committee, we will get pressure to remove every one of our reservations. so again i'm not sanguine fashion as sanguine as i think the professor is.
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>> but that would require congress to act to remove those reservations, and i mean, do you think -- >> forgive me, i wasn't clear. as far as authority, there's a lot of folks have spoken today that we're going to lose credibility, mitigate credibility altogether if we don't ratify, we'll be out on the table. .. >> we already have the authority, the credibility and
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the leadership to make a difference around the world. >> would you work constructively with mr. meyer and others to do what we can to try to get to a place where these roads alleviate most of the concerns you have? i know you still have the concern about customary law. >> senator, i'd be happy to. >> if i could, my final question, mr. farris seemed to strongly disagree with you, mr. meyer, a as to whether the issues that he's concerned about can be addressed, and i'd like for you, if you would, to address that one more time, mr. farris. and then if you would, mr. meyer, respond to that. >> senator, i think it's possible to write a rud that would my concerns, but i think it would be illegal under the terms of the treaty. because ruds that are contrary to the treaty are illegal, so i think the one that would be
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needed -- >> illegal where? >> illegal in any court. the question becomes whether we really ratified the treaty. i think the better view is that if we adopt a treaty with the reservation that's contrary to the treaty, then we're not actually a party to the treaty. it's not that the rud falls or whole participation falls because we're undertaking, we're pretending to undertake the obligation, and we're not really doing so. so i don't think the rud that would satisfy my arguments would be legal for that reason. now, could you write something that was just on the home schooling issue? perhaps. i haven't seen anything to date that has come close to that. but given the experience of the home schooling community in the last year with administration on the case where it was interpretation of international treaty law on the best interests of the child standards, the same
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term of art that we're concerned about here, we don't trust -- given the fact that we're being mistreated by this administration right now on an immigration issue on this very term of art in the law. moreover, this is the same administration that told us if you want to keep your insurance policies, you can. and so trusting the source of the promises is not at a high level right now. >> so if you would respond to that, mr. meyer, i'd appreciate it. >> thank you, senator. first, i think to be clear no u.s. court is going to disregard a rud. regardless of whether or not it's contrary to the objective purpose of the treaty. consistent with professor goldsmith and professor bradley's findings, i'm aware of no instance in which a federal court has ignored a rud. the objects and purpose rule
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comes into play mostly that another party might object that a reservation the united states made is contrary to the object and purpose of the convention. the united states, there's no way through this procedure that the united states can end up bound by anything to which we have not consented. by which i mean it's not possible that by the virtue of some party objecting that the reservation will be struck and the united states will be bound by the treaty without the reservation. either that that the treaty simply would be deemed not to apply, or more likely the objection would just be answered, and everybody would understand that the united states had entered the this reservation. it's also possible that the committee at some point might opine that a reservation the united states made was contrary to object and purpose, but again, as with other interpretations, that would be nonbinding. it would be up to a state party to advance that argument: >> so we're the country that has
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the gold standard, and advocates would like for us to play a role throughout the world in helping develop that gold standard around the world. and you're saying that if we develop ruds that, in our opinion, absolutely inoculate us from any kind of outside issue, outside our domestic laws. and it's struck down as being something that is contrary to the treaty, then the whole treaty falls from our stand standpoint. we're not bound to other portions of the treaty, is that one point you just made? >> correct. there's no court that that woule jurisdiction to strike down a treaty. and the committee doesn't have the authority to formally strike down a reservation. >> and i guess the advocates, one of the advocates, the witness, mr. general, you would say that we'd be better off with adhering and taking up this
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treaty and being bound by this treaty with ruds that did that very thing than -- and that would be acceptable to you as ap advocate for -- an advocate for us having those kinds of disclaimers relative the our own internal and domestic laws. >> i don't think there's really any choice, because what we have exemplified historically in this country is a commitment to assuring to the world's people that benefits and advances that we have made in our own country -- and i don't see disability rights to which there's an obvious strong commitment in this country going back to and preceding the americans with disabilities act -- is any different than the other important principles that we've fought and died for over the years. so i think that, clearly, any
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strategy that is designed to gut our ratification of the treaty would be unacceptable. at the same time, i think it's entirely possible to draft ruds that are satisfactory to most reasonable people in looking at what the problem is. >> mr. chairman, thank you. and tank all of you as witnesses -- thank all of you as witnesses for your time. >> thank you, senator corker. just one final comment. since we are developing a record here, i can't let go the, a different view than the constant reference to the colombia case. and i'm disappointed that you use it in that way. with reference to, you know, the assertion that colombia's high court overturned the country's protection of the unborn, invoking the nonbinding comments of u.n. treaty bodies as it relates to this treaty, the fact of the matter is the colombia case has nothing to do with the
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disabilities treaty. it's a 2006 case. colombia didn't ratify the disabilities treaty for another five years after that decision. the colombia case cites a different convention, a treaty to which colombia had no reservations, no understandings, no declarations. by a contrast, our ratification, should we do so, of the disabilities treaty would be with the declaration that the tree few's not self--- treaty's not self-executing meaning it could not be used as a basis for lawsuits in the united states. and the supreme court has held up the validity of nonself-executing declarations. so, you know, we need to be clear about the assertions that we make when we are creating a record, and i felt the
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responsibility to make that clear. let me thank all of the witnesses -- >> we respond to that? >> -- for their -- i've given everybody plenty of opportunity. we thank all of the witnesses for their testimony. i appreciate be all the members who have attended and the thoughtfulness for which they approach the issue. i think, i appreciate and want to thank those who beared with us and watched the hearing from overflow rooms since we did not hold in the, outside of the traditional hearing room. we appreciate your forbearance and your watching the democratic process in the overflow rooms. the record will be open til the close of business on thursday with the thanks of the committee to all of you. this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> unlike ike, who grew up in a very poor family of all sons, mamie was a very well-to-do family of all daughters. she attended a finishing school, and we have her report card from miss walcott's school in denver, colorado. while she got a b in english, she actually got a c-in european history. who knew in later years as a military wife and future first
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lady that she would be so well traveled and have so much to do with european history. mamie loved charms, and early on ike bought her this west point football charm showing the army and navy game scores in 1913 and 1914 when ike was coach for the army football team. as a military wife, mamie took great pride in creating a home for ike in each of the 36 different places that they lived throughout their marriage. >> watch our program on first lady mamie eisenhower at our web site, or see it saturday op c-span at 7 p.m. eastern, and our series continues live monday as we look at first lady jacqueline kennedy. >> one of the tings that -- things that has stuck in my mind is how dallas has changed in general just from from, say, the political standpoint. at that time in the early 960s and late '50s, there was
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probably a much less balanced political climate here. perhaps a great deal toward with the right side. in fact, i remember seeing publication in one of the two papers, i forget which one, whether it was the times herald or the dallas news, somebody had bought a full-page ad the day before president kennedy came with president kennedy's picture on it and said wanted for treason. when arlen specter who came down here six months after the representation representing the warren commission was junior counsel -- he was the one that quizzed me -- after it was over with, he came out in the hall at parkland, and -- because he was quizzing me about the entrance room. i initially, no question about it, thought it was an entrance room. he said i want to tell you we have people who will testify they said they saw him shot from the overpass, but we do not
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believe they're credible witnesses, and i don't want you saying anything about it. >> eyewitness accounts from two of the doctors who treated both president kennedy and lee harvey oswald sunday at 3 p.m. eastern, part of american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> well, coming up later this on morning on c-span, the senate foreign relations committee will take up state department nominations including posts for civilian security and management resources. live coverage gets under way at 11 a.m. eastern. also former or republican presidential candidate and current texas governor rick perry will address the polk county, iowa, dinner, part of our road to the white house dinner live tonight starting at 8 eastern. and now a politico breakfast as their chief economic correspondent, ben white, will interview richard cordray who heads the consumer financial protection bureau expected to get under way in just a moment. this is live coverage on
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c-span2. >> ben white. [applause] >> morning, everybody. thanks for coming out. i'm ben white, chief economic corps responsibility for politico, author of "the morning money" column which on my notes says is a daily must-read for anyone who cares about wall street, washington or -- i don't know if it's a must-read, but it's a hope you read on a daily basis. we're delighted this morning to have the director of the consumer financial protection bureau with us. he'll be coming out in just a second. a couple of little housekeeping notes, if you've got cell phones, we're happy to have you tweet the event, hash tag morning money, but just turn them on vibrate or silent. i hope i've actually done that myself. that would be embarrassing. i have a tablet up here, obviously, to get twitter questions if you have those for me. so with that said, i'd like to thank the peter g. peterson foundation for their continued partnership in the series. we could not do this without
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them. here to say a few words from the foundation is michael peterson, president, chief operating officer. [applause] >> good morning. thank you, ben. welcome today. we're very glad to be sponsoring this event today, and the nonpartisan mission of the peterson foundation is to increase awareness and accelerate action on america's long-term fiscal challenges. and today is a very important time on our issue because, as you all know, we just made it through a government shutdown, and we nearly averted that's on our nation's debt ceiling and defaulting on our national debt, and we just have a couple of months before we have more similar deadlines before with us. at our foundation we think it's very important to move beyond this governing by crisis and institute a long-term fiscal plan. and not only do we need to get our long-term fiscal house in order, but this governing by crisis really hurts today's economy. recently, we put out a study that showed that governing by crisis reduced gdp and increased the employment rate by 0.6% or
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8900,000 jobs -- 900,000 jobs. so on top of all the other economic challenges we face, we're adding insult to injury and self-inflicted wounds caused by governing by crisis. and this is also affecting american families. according to our surveys, three out of four voters say they're concerned that their personal financial situation will worsen as a result of crisis-driven fiscal policies. so it's hurting the economy, confidence and families. so it's very much a consumer issue. so during these difficult times, i can think of no one we'd rather hear from than richard cordray, the first director of the consumer financial protection bureau. thanks to ben white and politico for hosting this, and we look forward to a good discussion today. [applause] >> thank you, mr. peterson and the foundation, for your continued support. we very much appreciate your efforts. i also wanted to welcome everybody on the live stream and folks watching on c-span, happy to have you here. without further ado, i'd like to
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introduce cfpb's richard cordray. [applause] good to see you, sir. i always think we should have entrance music like at a basketball or football game for the starting guard, richard cordray, from ohio. [laughter] >> thank you. >> you a basketball player? >> forward. >> okay. [laughter] power forward. >> that wouldn't be justified. >> wouldn't be justified. i want to start, we'll get into a little bit of the weeds on some specific cfpb-related rules and policies, but i wanted to start a little more broadly this morning with some comments from elizabeth warren giving a speech today in which she says the system right now is still rigged against families in favor of powerful interest withs. it seems like we're now four years on from the worst of the financial crisis, some of the worst abuses of the mortgage industry, other financial
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industries. it surprised me somewhat she would still say it's rigged in this way despite all the work that's been done, passage of dodd-frank, institution of your organization -- now you're fully in charge as the director. do you think that's true, that the system is still rigged in favor of powerful interests? >> so i haven't seen those remarks, obviously, they haven't been delivered yet, i'm always interested to hear what senator warren has to say. what i would say is i think congress made a judgment, they clearly made a judgment that a consumer agency, a new agency was needed to make sure that laws are being followed and the provision of consumer financial products and services, that there's someone there to stand on the side of the average consumer and make sure they're treated fairly in the marketplace. that's certainly a big part of our role and a job we have to do, and we're concerned about every individual consumer, making sure they're treated fairly in the market and that the market is working for average americans so that they
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can understand pricing and risks and make judgments about their choices that they can live with over the long term, and that's a lot of the work we are doing and will continue to be doing for the next several years. >> do you think we are, as consumers, safer now than we were in 2009 in terms of, you know, the mortgage products we use, the credit cards we use, student loans? have we made a fair amount of progress in protecting consumers from where we were four years ago? >> so that i can speak to, i think, more definitively. there's no question that the mortgage market will be safer and function better with our new rules that take effect january 10th. they are designed to to root out some of the worst and most irresponsible practices that marred the mortgage market and blew up the economy, and it's no question it was the mortgage market in particular that a caused the credit freeze, the financial crisis and then the
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ensuing recession that we're still digging out from. also on a different front on the credit card industry, the card act that was enacted several years ago we recently were, we were tasked with reporting to congress by october 1st of this year on the effects of the card act how that's affected the average consumer and the credit card marketplace, and we found that there have been a in number of positive effects from that statute. so i think we're making progress. i think every day that the consumer bureau is doing its work, we're making further progress to clean up, for example, yesterday we put out the beginning piece of a process to revise the laws and rules that affect debt collectors which is a major influence on 30 million americans. so that's exactly our focus, that's exactly the work we're doing, and i do think it is positive and will continue to be positive for consumers. >> speaking of the mortgage rule, qualified residential
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mortgage rule, qualified mortgage rule and the ability to pay rule, two things that are somewhat controversial in the mortgage market. a number of republican congressmen wrote you a letter saying the industry is not ready for this, the marketplace is not ready for this, it's going to inhibit the flow of mortgages, it's going to be too hard for smaller institutions to comply as of january 10th. i thought it was january 1st, but you say january 10th. what do you say -- >> nine extra days. >> nine extra days. [laughter] that'll fix everything, everybody can comply in nine extra days what's the response to those who say we're not ready to implement these two? first thing, explain exactly what these two rules say, qm and ability to pay, and is it true that we're not ready to implement them? >> so the con fusion in nomenclature is the rule that the cfpb was required to write and the qrm, qualified
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residential mortgage rule, which the cfpb is not writing. a number of agencies are, but the cfpb is not one of them. the qm rule is, in fact, ability to pay rule, and it's a fairly simple principle. you might wonder why we need a rule to tell lenders that when you lend money to a borrower, you should pay careful attention to the borrower's ability to repay the money you're lending them. that seems like banking or lending 101. however, in the mortgage market running up to the crisis it was not at all the norm, particularly with the securitization and the secondary market. people made a lot of loans that were not sustainable over not only the long term, but even the fairly short term. and yet they were able to sell those in the secondary market and, therefore, did not have to and often began to fail to pay close attention to whether those loans actually worked for the borrower. and borrowers made some bad decisions and got into some bad loans where they should have known better, but often the pricing of the loans was opaque.
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they might be advertised over a teaser rate as though that was going to be the life of the loan, and it was just mispricing. so there were a lot of problems there. as to the letter and the observation, you know, it's kind of a curious observation. the dodd-frank act was passed and signed into law july of 2010. at that point the framework here was cast in stone. in fact, the way congress passed dodd-frank, title xiv of the law would have taken effect of its own accord at the beginning of january 2013. so ten months ago now. and it would have had a new framework. it's not as hoe our qm -- as though our qm rule has altered the status quo. change was coming. it was embedded in the statute. the fact that we wrote that rule actually delayed the implementation of the changes in the mortgage market by a year. we've given industry an extra
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year beyond the two and a half years they already had at that time to begin to get ready for this. so the vast majority of institutions are ready. it's important, i think, that we continue to move ahead. much of industry has told us that certainty in the mortgage market is critical to the emerging and continuing growing housing recovery. and i think it's a matter of fairness, too, to the many institutions that have taken it seriously, gotten themselves in position. the final thing i'd say is there are other things that are now bedding on to the -- building on to the qm regime, so the longer that is delayed, it delays further steps such as the qrm rule, such as gse, so i don't think that's probably the way to go. but we just received that letter. we will look carefully at it, as we do with all input, and there's quite a bit of interest in this at the moment.
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>> but you're not inclined to delay implementation -- >> well, the statute's pretty clear as to what the dates should be. and as i say, our hard work to get these rules in place, which was a considerable burden for our staff to try to do that on the time frame congress gave us, means that industry has actually had more time than they original would have anticipated. we've worked closely with industry over the it's year on the implementation of the rules. there have been a number of changes, all of them entirely in response to industry wanting us to clarify points so they didn't have to guess at them or to clarify operational points so that it was easier to comply. we've done a lot of hard work around the project we call regulatory implementation, and there is a statutory date. what i have said, and i think this is important and i think many in industry have understood this, that the rules take effect january 10th, but in order to examine for compliance with those rules, we'll have to have a period of time of being able to assess compliance.
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so in the early months after that deadline, what we're looking for is good faith efforts to come into with stamm compliance with the rules. -- substantial compliance with the rules, not perfection. i've talked to fellow regulators about this, i think we all share the same attitude, and i think some of the concerns have been significantly overblown. >> okay. i just want to drill down on two point ands then move on. the two are the smaller institutions who say they don't have the compliance staff to be ready for this as of january 10th, and mortgage lenders who say they are not clear on what they can do outside the qm rule. i guess you say there'll be some leeway in dealing with those folks as they figure that out. how do you address those two, the community institutions who say they can't comply because they don't have the staff and larger institutions who are not sure what kind of mortgages they can write outside the qm rule and not be in violation? >> so on the first point in terms of community institutions who say they can't comply, i'm not sure exactly who those are because, for example, for the
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qualified mortgage rule we wrote in a further provision in the rule. we didn't have to do this, but we were convinced that for smaller institutions there was reason to treat them differently. and so any smaller institution, that is, with less than two billion in assets which is thousands of community banks making fewer than 500 mortgages a year, they have special provisions so that they're covered under the qualified mortgage rule. some of them may still be unaware of that. seems almost unbelievable to me that would be the case. we've been communicating about this and the trade associations have been all year, but we continue to try to get the word out about that. and if it's mortgaging they're concerned about, if they're servicing 5,000 or fewer a year, then they're exempt from significant chunks of the servicing rules as well. so we have tried to take account of that. what was the other piece? non-qm lending. >> yeah. >> i've tried to be very clear about this. the ability to repay rule itself is not any particular revolution in lending.
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as i said, it merely codifies good, common sense principles that lenders have, most responsible lenders have followed -- all responsible lenders have followed for decades. if you have underwriting standards that you have followed and those loans have performed well, particularly if they've performed well through the crisis which is the worst economic event probably of our lifetimes, certainly to date and probably for the rest of them no matter how long we live, then you should continue making those loans. and whether they happen to fall in the qm category or they may fall outside, those are good performing loans. it would be a bad business decision of not servicing your customers with those loans. so i have been, tried to be very forceful about that. the difference between a non-qm loan and a qm loan in terms of the amount of risk is actually small. we've attempted to quantify be it, and we've encouraged others to give us their data and attempting to quantifify --
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quantify that, we estimate it's 15% or fewer. it's not some sort of huge effect on the market. >> just to let everybody know, there's going to be a quiz after this on the qm rule, and you all are going to have to me exactly what's in it. i wanted to turn to kay daveson of politico who's got a question for you. >> good morning. obviously, the bureau has taken a lot of heat from republican lawmakers, and we were wondering, you know, who are the republicans that that you reach out to, that you're closest with to get a sense of what their primary concerns are? >> so i've actually tried to be even-handed and reach out to all the republicans that are willing to sit down and talk sub substantively about these issues, that certainly includes both the chairman, current and past chairmen of the financial services committee on the house side and the ranking member, former ranking member and current ranking member on the senate side. i would actually say that, and
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i've said this again and again, you know, from my experience in state government and maybe i come to washington a little naive, but i feel that the congressional oversight is very advantageous to our bureau. i understand that, you know, some of it reflects concern or opposition to the concept of the bureau, but for people who are looking very carefully at everything we do and pointing out both concerns and issues that we should be attentive to, that's very good input for us. it's a little like you always hope your friends will tell you when you have food in your teeth. [laughter] sometimes it's people who are less sensitive to you that are more inclined to point those things out, but you need to hear 'em. those are the things we need to know. and for us to be very attentive to people's concerns and to think hard about the substance of what they're saying, and it's been true on a number of different fronts to date helps us scrub our operation and be what we should be, which is
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