tv Senate Foreign Relations Committee Votes 11-10 on Secretary of State... CSPAN January 30, 2017 2:40pm-3:00pm EST
meeting at white house correspondents from seeing income of "the wall street journal" and reuters as those c-span, senior executive producer steve scully will be participating. you can watch that live at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. the senate gavel in at 3:00 eastern, will begin consideration of rex tillerson to be the next secretary of state at 5:00 and a boat to move that nomination forward at 5:30 5:30 p.m. watch the senate live here on c-span2. president trump indicated he will announce his choice for supreme court justice tomorrow at eight p.m. eastern pic you can watch that announcement five also here on c-span2. and today the senate debating and vote on rex tillerson nomination to be the next secretary of state. we will take a look at some of his confirmation hearing when he appeared before the senate foreign relations committee. this is about one hour.
[inaudible conversations] foreign relations business meeting will come to order. i know if a lot of people who are interested here and we thank you for coming, and if you would, we all consider it a huge privilege to play the roles that we play on half of our country and our states and its approach for all of us to participate in democracy in this way, and hope everyone will keep their thoughts to themselves in the audience but we thank you so much for being here today, and being a part of the spirit we really do. confirmation at second estate is always one of this commits most important responsibilities. at the core of the nominations process is the question of whether on the nominee is qualified to undertake the duties for which he or she is nominated. i personally have no doubt that rex tillerson is well-qualified. is managed the world ate the
largest company by revenue with over 75,000 employees, diplomacy is been a critical component of his positions in the past and he has shown itself to be an exceptionally able and successful negotiator was maintained deep relationships around the world. the other absolute standard would apply to each of these nominees who come before us is to ensure that they have no conflicts of interest related to their position. a nonpartisan director of office of government ethics recently stated that mr. tillotson is making a clean break from exxon, and history of these conflicts. he's even gone so far to say that teller since ethics agreement serves as a sterling model for what we like to see with other nominees. he clearly recognizes that public service sometimes comes at a cost. i believe inquiries into mr. tillerson said nominations have been fair and exhaustive. during the hearing lasted over eight hours and is responded to
over 1000 questions for the record. i'm proud of the bipartisan the process which is keeping in tradition of this committee that we pursue this regarding his nomination, and i think that what opinions and votes today may differ, that the process has been very sound. with that i would like to recognize a distinguished ranking member for his comments, senator cardin. >> well, mr. chairman, as i have said during the hearings and i repeat again, i want to thank you for the fairness in which you have allowed these confirmation hearings to go forward, and the building of our members to be able to question mr. tillerson and to ask additional questions. and i thank you for your fairness, including the ability we had to schedule today's business session. a couple of preliminaries if i might. first, i want just the record to
note that there are severe weather conditions throughout the country, which are preventing some of our members from personally being here. for example, senator murphy had planned to be here by now. his flight was canceled. he is on a train heading towards washington as we speak and will not be able to cater for a couple more hours. so i just really points out that we've had members who wanted to be physically present, but because of the weather conditions they're not going to be able to. we are trying to work out accommodations in our committee were i hope we can keep the record open so they can change their proxy vote to their vote in person later on as long as a gator by this evening. a couple of the points i want to bring out, and one is that there was an honest disagreement between the german and the ranking member as to whether a nominee for secretary of state, and i would also add for u.n. ambassador, should be required to make available to our
committee through your tax returns. they all agreed to make them available. the question is whether we should ask them to see those tax returns. and i accept that there's a different view between the chairman and ranking member on this issue, and the president of our committee in the past is not to physically request those tax returns. and mr. chairman, i respect that and agree that that should be done in regular order. and i just will ask at a time when it is a problem we look at a rules as to whether we should be requiring, moving forward, jan mr. tillerson, beyond governor haley in the future there be a vacancy of secretary state or united nations ambassador, whether they should be an ability for us to ask for those tax returns moving forward. i would ask that opportunity given to us to take up estimate as to whether that is the appropriate way or not. and then i must tell you that
members of this committee have asked question for the record of mr. tillerson, and a look at some of those responses. and they are not responsive to the questions that were asked. now, in some cases it's challenging when you have a change in administration and there's not a clarity as to what the president is looking for on foreign-policy to get a nominee to give us a clear answer to those questions. in other cases the information requested was pretty straightforward. so we are not asking for any delay in today's vote, but i would ask help, and there's no need to respond right now, that we will have a chance before this nominees about is on the floor of the united states senate to try to get further clarification of his answers. i'm going to work with the chairman because these requests i think a reasonable. i think china will agree with us
will try to work out so that we can get those answers before the vote on the floor. in the case i think we could shorten the time. on the floor before the consideration otherwise may take a little bit longer because we may want to go into some of those issues on the floor of the senate. so having said all that, let me proceed with the merits of mr. tillerson and the nomination of mr. tillerson. mr. tillerson is certainly sincere and wants to serve this country. that i very much admire. he is certainly a very talented individual who has negotiating skills that are important for a person who would become secretary of state. and i acknowledged that. he also indicated during the hearing a couple point i thought was useful, that the tiny chip at the table during the claimant debates, that it would be important to comply with our current laws as it relates to -- but what gives me the greatest concern, the reason that i cannot support him, his
nomination for secretary of state, what gives me the greatest pause is that i don't believe his business background and his responses to the questions that we asked him directly about his support for sanctions or how he would evaluate sanctions moving forward, or how he would deal with contingencies on development assistance as it relates to human rights and good governance, so many times he qualified that, that he sounded like a business person rather than a person who wanted to be secretary of state. and i did not see that commitment to be the advocate for human rights and good governance that i would like to see and be secretary of state. so that was i think the greatest concern i have. and what i think is specific to russia, the questions of asked about how he would continue
sanctions against russia and support bipartisan legislation that would strengthen those sanctions, i didn't get a comfort level that it would be based upon russia's conduct against the united states, their attacks against us where we -- and the fact that they are still violating ukraine's sovereignty. it seemed like he was wanting to consider other issues that may compromise u.s. global leadership and standing up to russia. that concerned me. and when you put on top of that the clarity issues, and i think this is a very important point, and i contrast that to governor haley his response on questions such as russia's participation and atrocities in syria. we asked would that be elevated to war crimes, mr. tillerson was not clear at all. governor haley was very clear about that. or when asked mr. tillerson
about the conduct of the president of the philippines, and extrajudicial killings, which was pretty clear, and he wouldn't characterize that as gross violations of human rights. that cost me serious concern. so let me just amplify that a little bit further in another question that was asked. mr. tillerson responded to a question in regards to opening a business relationship with cuba, that that would be helping to finance a repressive regime. and he was pretty clear about his concerns about business with cuba being supportive of a repressive regime. but he showed no sensitivity that exxon mobil is business interests in russia was helping to finance the vladimir putin regime, or other repressive regimes. and one last point on this issue
concerning russia, which had me concerned about mr. tillerson, and that is his potential conflicts. he indicated that he would recuse himself in dealing with anything concerning exxon mobil for a one-year period, and he would consider going beyond that if the ethics officers said there was a problem, legally if there was a problem. well, quite frankly, i think there's a problem of mr. tillerson dealing with anything involving exxon mobil for the entire time that he would be in public service as second estate. and he was not clear at all about recusing himself beyond that one year. so, mr. chairman, for all those reasons i don't think, i will not support his nomination. i want to mention one last point if i might. and that is the second estate is our principal soft power leader in this country. on several of the questions we
asked him about current world events, he was quick to point out that he would recommend the use of military, additional force, rather than leading with diplomacy. the one example was in the south china sea when he said we should be more, more idisk military, whereas in my view, the secretary of state should be leading with more diplomacy. and i found it disturbing that that seemed to be not his first reaction. and we certainly would want him to do that as the second estate. for all those reasons i will be voting against mr. tillerson's confirmation. >> i wonder if we can do this course we have a number of members who have other things to do. i wanting to stay and keep the record open for people to speak, and i'm going to stay here so the people who are coming in late can vote in person and not by proxy, okay? i more than glad to do that.
at least until 5:15 to make sure the people are not just voting by proxy. i wonder if there would be any objection to as voting and letting those who don't want to stay and make comments leave, others will be coming in. we'll keep the vote open, but those who wish to make comments could then stay. others who do not wish to make comments could go ahead and leave. is it any objection to that? >> let me just ask, i was not aware, i don't know, some of my members would like to make their comments before the vote is open, if members have the right to do that. i think senator menendez would. is it any other member who wants to be heard before we start the vote? i would ask senator menendez b e -- >> okay, let me say one other thing. >> senator markey. >> okay. are you sure we can't have a rolling vote for those who don't wish to necessarily hear the
comments could go ahead and vote and leave? is there any real objection? >> i'd like to have my reasons before i vote, not the aftermath of the boat. >> i apologize to the other members who are here and ready to vote. let me, if i could, i mean, we are accommodating folks were traveling, and we are glad to do so. if we could keep our comments brief, and then if you want to expand further after people had voted that would be great. i would like to say that what we are doing as relates to tax returns is exactly what we are doing, what we have done for 10 on this committee. [inaudible] >> ten years. so we treated secretary kerry, secretary clinton exactly in the same fashion. so i just, i just, i know, you know, we did the nuclear options
and not just takes 51 votes. that was a big mistake i think, but that's the way things are now. so now we are looking at changing the rules of tax returns at some point. i hope that doesn't happen. because again, most of those are used for gotcha questions. they have nothing to do with service. but you know, i hope we can talk about that some, but please know, these two nominees, but this nominee and one will deal with tomorrow, they will be dealt with the exact same way we dealt with on this committee for 10 years. and just because we were so overly helpful to the obama administration in getting nominees out doesn't mean i want to be unhelpful or treat our nominee, these nominees who are coming in in a different fashion. so i would just like to get that straight. and what mr. tillerson said was you would be glad to provide tax information regarding the three years. but the kind of questions they been asked, i will accommodate some additional questions being asked.
asking about cutting horses on his ranch is ridiculous question. so i don't know what's happened all of a sudden in this committee where, when we are asking silly silly, silly, ridiculous alimentary questions that had nothing to do with somebody serving a second estate. but in way to a combat some of them. with that, senator menendez spit spent a month in rent for one moment. i must, in that we have accommodated the first available times the hearings and the voting sessions, et cetera as i think the chairman is aware we could have demanded the five days before a nominee could be considered which means mr. tillerson could not be considered yet so i just really want -- acknowledge that. secondly, i assure you that the questions i am asking are not silly questions, but let me go beyond that. i don't think it's up to either the chairman or the ranking member to take away a prerogative of any member of the
questions you want ask. that goes back to the record of this committee. each member has a right to ask the questions they want to ask. >> and we are going to accommodate the answering of those questions to the extent if we can, and we always have and have three g of questions you with that, actually, is that in republican needs to? >> that's the order we would be going in. senator menendez? >> thank you, mr. chairman. just a quick, i think senator cardin's remarks without we were looking to do this prospectively so that there is no issue of looking at it as it relates to these nominees, and that being unfair. i do think that when you have very large holdings that can affect your judgment, if you are in the position that it is importance to this committee and to the senate to know that, and to use it as an additional judgment. so i'm totally in favor of as a
matter of fact the reason the rules actually preview and asked the question i willing to submit information must be because that's a predicate to winter is a necessity to call upon for the information. so i hope we can do that prospectively so this way it's not a question of, is not seen as a partisan cue. but many go to mr. tillerson's, and i will be concise bu but i o want to say a few things. first of all after considering his nomination to be second estate, i will be casting my vote against him today. for the 11 years that i've served on the senate foreign relations committee i have taken the advice and consent of state department nominees seriously. and while considering hundreds of nominations for both the democratic and republican administrations, even where i disagreed with the nominees views, especially when they were just espousing the views of an administration, i've often supported them. it's the other qualifications of the position i consider
important were met. i respect mr. tillerson's experience and willingness to serve his country, but after our private meeting and lengthy public confirmation process i remain deeply troubled by a number of mr. tillerson's responses and beliefs. i am not convinced that mr. tillerson shares a worldview that the united states foreign-policy must be rooted in the values that strengthen us as a nation, championing democracy, upholding the rule of law, protecting human rights and as i said during his hearing, business dealmaking is not diplomacy. and i remain doubtful that mr. tillerson would fully embrace a wide-ranging policy to strengthen our alliances and forcefully confront our adversaries. it is not disputed the senate foreign relations committee went on for about 40 more minutes and wound up voting along party lines to approve that tell us the nomination to the second estate post. you can find the