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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 20, 2014 7:00pm-9:01pm EST

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aggressively to help them build up their capacity to deal with counterterrorism. we worked with them on developing targeting cells, bringing more intelligence in. on arming them more effectively. 2012 was an exercise in frustration. they didn't see the problem. we pushed it. i worked with david petraeus who was the cia director at the time to do that. the arab league summit came around in march of 2012. we said, we'll bring you isr, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance to help protect the summit. and we thought that was a means to get better eyes on what was going on in iraq, including the al qaeda threat. it became public, they wouldn't do it. but let me quickly tell you what happened after that. 2013 rolled around. and all of a sudden the iraqis began to be seized with the problem because they saw isil emerging in syria and spilling over into iraq. they saw they had a problem we'd been warning them about. we led an effort and i led an effort to make sure we were
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getting to the iraqis the equipment they needed, the technical advisers and assistance say needed, the targeting cells, the isr, started to work with congress on getting more. and throughout 2013, i led 14 meetings of the deputies committee on that very issue. we were seized with this before isil was -- >> just one quick question, when you lay out a goal, do you think it is wise to signal to your enemy what you may or may not do to accomplish that goal? in other words, no combat troops on the ground? do you think that's wise to signal. do you think it's wise to signal that to your enemy? >> so, what we have focused on in designing this campaign to deal with isil is a comprehensive effort that works on a military line of effort but also dealing with a foreign
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financing, dealing with the fighters, dealing with ideology. we believe that it is not necessary and, indeed, it is not sustainable to have a repeat of what happened a decade ago, which was to have a large and indefinite american deployment of forces into iraq or anywhere else to deal with this problem. -- advisers and they will then do the fighting to fight for the future of their own countries. i believe that in iraq, we have the foundation and the makings of being able to do just that. we're working on the same thing in syria. we believe that's the most effective and sustainable way forward to deal -- >> i'm sorry. >> senator murphy. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. votes on the floor. i'm going to try to be brief. couple of questions. thank you for your service. long days, long nights, not going to get any shorter in your new capacity. i want to ask you a question about your new job. done a good job of defending the administration's policy here this morning. the "new york times" wrote a brilliant book a few years back
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about the massive build-up of military capabilities and the great frustration that exists at elements of the state department when they are trying to conduct diplomacy abroad. he specifically was writing about a period from 2010 to 2012 in pakistan when they don't know what is coming at them from secret drone strikes in that instance but other activities in other parts of the world. we find the same frustration here when we are trying to evaluate whether or not we should authorize an overt arming and training of syrian moderate rebels. and we asked the question, what have we learned from the activities that have been openly reported thus far? we can't get that information. it strikes me that we have seen a massive outsourcing over the last ten years of diplomacy from the state department to the military. and a substantial outsourcing of military activity from the
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department of defense to the cia and to covert authority. you're moving from having an umbrella view of all of those activities to now a narrower window within the state department and i think you will find many people in that agency who have some serious questions about whether they can do their job when you have this level of activity occurring without oversight from the state department or from this committee, which is charged with overseeing american foreign policy. i would love your thoughts about what mentality you're going to bring to the state department having viewed this in a more robust lens at the national security staff. >> thank you. i think it's a very important question, and it's one that we grapple with literally every day. part of my responsibility right now in my current job. indeed, it's at the heart of the responsibility, is to bring the entire inner agency together on any problem. to make sure that not only is every perspective and voice heard, but to make sure, indeed, that each agency and department
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knows what the other is doing. and so, when we have a meeting of the so-called deputies committee that i chair, not only is every agency there that's relevant to the question, we bring in thanks to video technology, our ambassador from the field, we bring in as appropriate in the field. we bring in the relevant combatant commander or general in the field. precisely because we want to make sure that everyone knows and has full vsibility on what everyone else is doing. and to make sure that the appropriate agencies and actors are the ones carrying out the appropriate responsibilities. that's something that is essential to the proper functioning of our government
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and foreign policy. and it's something i focus on every single day. if i'm confirmed and move over to the state department, i will get to move one seat down on that table off of the chairman's seat and one seat down. but i will continue to bring that perspective. and it's the only way we can function effectively. our ambassadors have to know what's going on from other agencies. the other agencies need to know what our diplomacy is doing. that kind of communication, coordination, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't work. >> i would just argue for an historical realignment whereby diplomats are doing diplomacy, war fighters are doing what they do best and that our covert agencies are gathering intelligence, they've always done operations, this is an unprecedented scale. just one question on russia and ukraine. all of the conversation has been about -- most of the conversation on this committee has been about whether we arm or
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don't arm the ukrainians. seems to me a lot of the conversation misses the broader picture, which is that russia is employing a set of tools that is unprecedented. somebody referred to a new phrase i hadn't heard of yesterday that russia has militarized information. they are using information propaganda, payoffs, support for ngos in a way that we have no understanding of and no ability to match. now, we don't necessarily want to go tit for tat. but instead of spending all this time talking about what specific arms going to give to the ukrainians, we should be paying attention to what russia's doing today in latvia, serbia to prep the next set of crises. and hopefully this committee will be able to grapple with the need to have a much more robust conversation about how we meet those new russian tactics. and hopefully, i think you understand that, but it'd be great to see real proposals coming out of the state
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department, some new innovative proposals about how we revamp programs so it has any semblance of a chance to match up against what the russians are providing in the periphery of their area of influence. >> senator, let me say briefly that is something that if confirmed i would welcome working with you and other members of this committee on. you're exactly right, russia has a panoplea of tools. we see it in the ukraine, the balkans and places farther flung. and, for us to be effective, we have to be focused on that, as well, and indeed, we are. it's something we welcome working on with you. we have just a small point on
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this, and in the context of ukraine, we immediately stood up an effort that our undersecretary of public diplomacy has been running to work on countering the messaging, which is very, very strong and effective. you know the russian propaganda machine at home. and that's something we're working on vigorously every day. but the larger point you make, an area where we could very profitably work together and i welcome doing that if confirmed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on march -- oh, by the way, over the weekend, i was at a seminar and a panel with former secretary gates, secretary panetta and also former national security adviser mr. hadley. all of them strongly disagree
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with every one of your assertions here. particularly about the american power and influence throughout the world. including, the fact they said, again, includes ryan crocker, have all said the administration could've succeeded in keeping u.s. troops in iraq after 2011 if it had been more creative and determined. you and i had that discussion in my office. and you made some assertions, which are just patently false, which is very disappointing to me. in march 2012, you said and i quote, what's beyond debate is that iraq today is less violent, more democratic and more prosperous than -- and the united states more deeply engaged there than any time in recent history. >> i vehemently disagreed with that at the time. so did the rest of us. will you admit you were wrong in that assessment? >> senator, at the time. >> yes or no, will you admit you
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were wrong? >> at the time, i stand behind the words i said at the time. i think they accurately reflected -- >> even though we knew, we knew that if all the troops were going to be removed that the ensuing situation would evolved and predicted it. and you were celebrating the fact that we had no more troops left in iraq. you celebrated it. and so did the president last troop, combat troop is left. and by the way, the baghdad chief of the "new york times" said the administration was ignorant of reality and, quote, did not want to see what was happening because it conflicted with our narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. you did not leave iraq in reasonably good shape. and the events afterwards directly negated your assessment at the time. and it's very disappointing to me that you won't admit you were
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wrong. you were wrong because you said you were leaving behind a prosperous and less violent, more democratic -- and none of that than any time in recent history that it was just -- now, i'd like to ask you questions. do you believe that we should be providing the ukrainian resistance with weapons, lethal weapons which defend themselves now. not whether it's on the table, or not. you believe we should be supplying them with weapons in order to defend themselves. >> senator, i can say is, we need to consider that. >> i'm asking whether you believe we should be giving them the weapons, or not. that's a straightforward question. >> senator, you'll understand that the advice that i provide to the president -- >> i'm not asking for your advice, i'm asking for your opinion, you're supposed to be coming before this committee and give us your views. >> my belief is that can play a role, potentially in -- >> let the record show, mr. chairman, that the witness would not answer the question. now, i -- >> i would let the record reflect that the witness answered the question as he did. >> excuse me, would not answer either in affirmative or
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negative in response -- you wouldn't answer in response to the question. the question i will ask one more time, do you believe we should be supplying the ukrainians with lethal defensive weapons? yes or no? >> and again, senator, i believe that's something we need to look at very actively. >> after 4,000 dead and the country dismembered, and 4,000 more russian troops invading eastern ukraine and you think it's something that should be looked at. that is really quite interesting. do you believe that bashar al assad is getting stronger now that we are attacking only isis in syria? >> senator, i believe, that as we work up the moderate opposition, make it a stronger counterweight not only to isil, but to the regime, assad will get weaker, his position will
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change. >> we're not attacking bashar al assad, are we? >> are we attacking? >> we are currently, no, we are not -- >> we're not attacking assad? >> no, we are not. >> okay. at the end of september, you stated, quote, the best way to deal with assad is to transition him out so that moderate opposition can fill a vacuum. that's what we've been working on. g-20 over the weekend, president obama was asked if he was actively discussing ways to remove president assad as part of a political transition and his response was, no. are we working to transition asaad out, or not? >> we believe, the president said repeatedly. i'm not sure of the exact words you're referring to, but i've heard him say repeatedly. >> it's fairly simple.
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he said no. >> assad lost his legitimacy. there is no way going forward that syria can -- in power. >> the president was incorrect when asked if he was actively discussing ways to remove assad as part of a political transition. and his answer was no. >> the president has been focused and consistent on the effort to support the moderate opposition, to build it up as a counterforce, to change the dynamic so we can get to a political transition that winds up removing assad. >> you quite often referred about moral obligations and standing of the united states of america. do you believe it's moral for us to train syrians to go in to syria, in this case saudi arabia, go into syria and fight when we're not attacking bashar al asaad? is that moral? >> senator, we've been working
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now for more than three years. >> again, answer the question. it's too bad you can't answer straightforward questions. i want to ask you whether you think it is immoral or not for us to send these young syrians into an environment where they will be barrel bombed by assad. >> thanks to the work we've been able to do with you, with congress. >> you have done no work with me. you've done no work with me mr. blinken. >> on the train and equip program. >> you have not worked with me on anything. >> well, that's something we would want to do and relish -- >> after six years, you would want to do that. i thank you. >> senator, if i could just add, we've been working with the moderate opposition for three years. we've been working to build them up, give them support, give them greater means. >> when you say that. when you say that's, it's very disturbing to me because i know these people. i've been in syria and met them.
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a lot of them i've met with are now dead because we wouldn't help them. when the president of the united states said no to the recommendation of the secretary of defense, secretary of state, and head of the cia to provide arms to them. a lot of them have died. and we didn't do all of those things, you're saying, and there's ample proof by the fact that the situation they're in today. which is probably more tenuous than it's ever been in history. again, i really take strong exception to hear you say something that i know because i've been on the ground there is not true. and i know these people very well. they feel abandoned. there have been many media reports, not just my reporting, but just a couple days ago in the "wall street journal." they feel abandoned. and they have every reason to feel abandoned. and they don't believe they're getting any assistance. >> senator, all i can tell you is from what i see, what i believe, what i know from what
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we've done, we have been working with them, we have been supporting them, we now have an opportunity, again, thanks to the great work that's been done with congress to intensify and accelerate that effort to give them even greater means to defend themselves, their families, communities, to become a counterweight to isil, to become a counterweight to assad. we share the same objective, we would welcome continuing to work with you and deepen that and figure out a way to get that done effectively. >> we know a way to get it done. we've known for a long time to get it done. we've articulated it time after time after time. we are now in a situation we're in today. whether it be iraq or whether it be in syria. dividing syria and iraq into two different kinds of conflicts when we're fighting one enemy, of course, is bizarre. and one other point, and i'm way over time, sorry, mr. chairman. just today, we were meeting with some people who affirmed to us
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our belief. if you move everybody out of afghanistan, you will see the iraq movie again. do you believe we should leave a sustaining force in afghanistan? >> senator, for me the lesson for afghanistan from iraq is the need for political accommodation. what we didn't get sufficiently at the time i said the remarks that you referenced, i actually believed we were in a position where iraqis were working together politically within the confines -- >> but you were wrong. >> unfortunately, the prime minister chose to take iraq in another direction. the foundation was there, the means were there, it didn't happen. absent that political accommodation, it will be difficult to sustain all of the progress in afghanistan. happily, at least for now, we have in the new president, the
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chief executive, a commitment to work together inclusively to bring the country together and to give the investment that we made in afghanistan the chance to succeed including the afghan security forces. we need the investment going, the financing going and support them in the efforts. and, of course, two more years to continue in an aggressive way to build up and build capacity of those forces. >> unfortunately -- >> and you're talking about in the -- 2003? >> yeah. >> i think certainly iran benefitted. at the time. i think that arguably, unfortunately, al qaeda benefitted because it was able to then develop a front in iraq it didn't have.
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and so there were some unfortunate consequences. to that -- to that action. on the other hand, thanks to the extraordinary sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, our diplomats, our civilians, whatever one thinks about the
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war and how it started and why it started because of that sacrifice, because of that extraordinary effort over a decade, we gave iraq a chance to succeed. we helped give it the institutions of governance. we helped create structures that could allow it to actually be something relatively unique in the region. and there was a moment, at least in my judgment where people were working in the confines despite their tremendous differences to move the country together. so -- >> it's in that context you made the comment that senator mccain referenced? >> yes. >> yeah. >> thank you. >> my own observation as someone who voted against the war in
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iraq. it was that it was the biggest blunder that we committed. we ended up no weapons of mass destruction, no clear and present danger to the united states, no imminent threat in the loss of so many lives and national treasure. now, we certainly cherish the contributions and the sacrifices made by american forces to ultimately liberate the iraqi people. at the end of the day, there's a lot of bad actors in the world. i can name a few i'd like to see go. you might imagine who was at the top of the list. yet, it's not in the national interest of the united states to pursue that course of action. what we did give is iran an opportunity -- that creates challenges throughout the region. and i just wanted to create context to your comments and i have filibustered sufficiently to have senator mccain take the chair as i go to vote.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you for your service and willingness to be here. what a position of honor your position will be as a member of the committee. to talk about the lives and their questions and sacrifices and sometimes they ask me about traffic in northern virginia where they own property. but mostly, wee talk about the very serious issues they deal with. i'll continue to start off by honoring them. i think we do a pretty a good job of acknowledging members of our military who serve now. there's so many americans abroad who are small "a" ambassadors. and we just need to thank all of them. so i think you're going to have a great opportunity to serve with wonderful people.
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i know you know that. two thoughts on the aumf process. you know, and we talked a bit about this. i think it is a mistake for the administration not to have sent aumf language. i think you'll more likely get an aumf you like, and you're less likely if you don't. that being said, we are the article one branch. i don't think there's any excuse for us not to do it and to do it with dispatch. and i hope we will and i know we'll work together on the terms of it. so that's a critique. let me now offer a compliment. senator king and i visited the air force base in qatar in early october. and the administration, and it's both a military effort and a diplomatic effort, the efforts to pull together a meaningful coalition of nations who believe isil is a threat, you know, it sounds good on paper, and when you see it, it's even more impressive.
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the seamlessness of the coalition partners working together in the air strike campaign, and we were in a room that looked like the new york stock exchange with big screens up and folks from so many nations making hard decisions and an apparently seamless way. that was a month ago. i know there's a lot of elements to this, the assembly of the coalition may be one of the most difficult. and at least in the early -- early evidence is an indication, we felt pretty positive about both senator king. so i'll offer that as a compliment. one thing i'd like to caution you both in the state department and all of us more broadly and i'd love to hear your response on it is, don't let iraq/syria take our eyes off afghanistan. we let that happen. i think we let that happen in 2003. i think we let it happen in '06, '07. i first was in afghanistan in april of 2006 as governor
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visiting my virginia guardsmen and women serving there. and i think it was the belief of a lot of the american, both diplomatic and military leadership on the ground at that point that iraq was taking our attention away. the achievements gained in afghanistan as a result of effort, military effort have been significant life expectancy advances, kids in schools. it's fragile under this new government, the formation of the new government is a huge tribute to your boss and to american diplomatic effort. but it's fragile. and while i am a supporter of an authorization of military action against isil in iraq and syria, i'm mindful of the fact we have turned our attention to one theater and not paid the attention to the other that was necessary. and the afghan situation is hopeful enough, fragile enough if we turn our attention to the events in the newspaper every day. we run the risk of gains in the huge sacrifice. >> senator, what you just said
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resinates in a powerful way and resinates because you said it in this room. a decade ago in this room, president karzai sat where i'm sitting today. and he said almost exactly what you said. this was before the war in iraq. he said it's not my role to give the united states what it should do or shouldn't do somewhere else, but don't take your eyes off afghanistan. so what you just said seems to have resinated across the decade back into this very room and i couldn't agree more. secretary kerry, as you know, is intensely focused on this question. had it not been for his extraordinary personal diplomacy, i'm not sure that we would've gotten the accommodation that we saw between -- that is a tribute to and triumph of american diplomacy and his personal engagement.
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now, you're exactly right. we need to help sustain that, and we are. we're very focused on giving them the support they need to continue to move the country forward in an inclusive way. and that is very much a focus of the secretary and of the administration. second, i think you're right to underscore this because we have to sustain the investment in afghanistan. we made a commitment to help develop the national security forces, we've got other countries around the world to do the same thing. countries made commitments and pledges in chicago and tokyo militarily on the financial assistance side. those have to be sustained. in fact, if you look at the assessments that have been done, our analysis and the analysis of the intelligence communities, the single most important factor in helping moving forward is sustained support from the
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international community. so we hear very much what you're saying, agree with it, and i think there's a vital role that we can play together working with the committee to make sure that we are doing justice to that. >> there were early signs of success in the coalition government, signing of the bilateral security agreement, signing of the status of force agreement, the reinitiation of a criminal investigation to corruption of the bank, the signing of a long kind of dust was all over it potential energy deal with pakistan indicating potential for opening up better ties there. so there were some good early signs, but a sign that is still a troubling one is the difficulty in the formation of a cabinet. and i know that the afghan leadership is going to be going to a donor's conference. and i'm sure they'll be peppered with question about that. the u.s. played such a key role in the diplomatic between the president and executive. that was key. i think there'll be roles to play at steps along the way, including in the formation of the government because i can't
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imagine that conversation with the donors will go very well if they walk in and there's not tangible evidence of real progress toward the formation of an inclusive government. >> and we've made exactly that case to them. >> great. >> so many other questions have been asked. numerous questions about iran. one point about iran. i think it was the senator who said he'd been a harsh critic of the administration or just a critic of the administration's. i was a real supporter, but i may be on the big deal. i really felt that the interim deal had to be done. there had to be an interim phased approach that was trust building because of the lack of trust between the parties. the only way you you get to a better place is to test each other out in small things and see if they're passed enough to move along to larger things.
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the interim deal, huge supporter. you're going to -- you said you don't -- you can't say where it's going to go. it's going to be one of three paths. it's either going to be a deal, then we'll talk about whether it's a good or bad deal. it's going to be no deal, unfortunately, we have to figure out the consequences. or it's going to be some request for additional time to put it together. i think the body will be pretty tough on that to the extent that the toughness of congress is at all lost on the negotiators on the iranian side. you know, i know that the -- our team over there will disabuse them of that notion as you're in the final phases before november 24. last thing, just a thought, and i'm over time, but hey, i'm the last guy with questions. i'd like you to kind of respond to. we focus our energy as we often should, as we should on the problematic areas, you know. we ought to focus our energy,
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too, and you should, too, in areas where things are actually moving in a positive direction, try to shine a spotlight on them, encourage others to do the same. in the first arab spring country that i recently visited, the u.s. has played an important role, and there have been important both parliamentary and now upcoming presidential elections. that could be a significant success story of positive movement, in an area that could be an important area. the u.s./india relationship, you and i talked about this, i think is entering a new phase for a variety of reasons whether there's a huge upside opportunity on trade, on military cooperation, on cooperation on cyber issues. there are a number of instances of economies and countries in latin america. there are some that are going bad. there's also some very positive examples. you know, let's not have all of our diplomacy or all of the energy of, you know, leaders like you be around the crisis zones where things are going bad. one of the ways you help go better, shine the spotlight on
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where they're going well and try to extract the lessons and use them. lessons in central america or lessons in tunisia that could be used in other nations, like algeria, they probably approach a governmental transition within the next, you know, five or ten years. so i would just encourage that. and if you have any thought about that, i'd love to hear your response. >> well, i appreciate very much, you just did put the spotlight on a number of positive developments. ones where we've been working very hard sometimes behind the scenes, sometimes quietly supporting, providing assistance and giving advice in just those ways. i think we've seen in the relationship you just pointed to come a remarkable distance. it started at the end of the clinton administration. the bush administration did a tremendous job in carrying the relationship forward.
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and now we've just had the extraordinarily successful visit of prime minister modi here to the united states and an agenda that is working across virtually every issue of importance to us with india that we're counting forward. there again is something where i think we could work together very, very profitably in the months ahead. latin america as well. extraordinary success stories. we've seen countries make fundamentally important decisions about their macro economic policies that have been to their benefit, improving governance, dealing with security challenges with the assistance of the united states including in colombia, mexico now, other places. and there, too, there is a lot to work with, to work for, and to work together on. so the long and short of it is i think you're exactly right that we shouldn't lose sight of the good news, especially because if we can make sure that it actually gets deep rooted, not only will that consolidate a
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good thing where it's happening, but as you just said, it can serve as a model, lessons learned, inspiration for other places. >> and with the permission of the ranking member, just one other brief point before i hand it back to see if you have additional round. on the latin america point, one of the things i've been struck by is, you know, american foreign policy almost always has revolved around an east/west axis. we were worried about europe, worried about the soviet union, worried about china. even when we had a policy in the americas, it's often really been, well, we're worried about the europe and the americas so we have the monroe doctrine. the concern in latin america is often that they are a source of attention only upon crisis. there's an undocumented kids come to the border in big numbers, we go and work on that, those numbers abate, the attention kind of moves away, but the reality of kind of the
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facts on the grouped right now is canada is our number one trade partner, mexico is number two trade partner. you can see foreign policy go east/west axis. economic is north/south than it is east/west. if you look at who comes to this country, the people living our languages, spoken here, cultural is oriented around north/south axis. we will have talks with the heads of countries and talk about china and trying to do things and they'll say we feel more cultural affinity with the united states. we don't see a level of engagement so i would just, you know, put that on your shoulders going into this position. our economy is running north and south. the flow of people is running north and south. cultural positions and heritages. we are a nation, 1565. the founding of st. augustine florida. we've been a hispanic nation 42 years before jamestown, but we
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don't make that a primary focus of our foreign policy. i would encourage you and your partners at the state department to be taking advantage of the opportunities that are low hanging fruit. >> i appreciate that, senator, if i could say a brief word to address it. first, i know from my conversations with the secretary that this is something that he's personally very focused on. we have a very dynamic assistant secretary of state who i know you know, roberta jacobson, who does an amazing job every single day, but it's also something that the president and vice president has been very focused on. the president has made six trips to latin america as president. just this year in 2014 because this is something i was able to witness he received in the oval office the heads of chile, el salvador, guatemala, haiti, honduras, uruguay and he visited mexico. the vice president has been a
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human dynamo on this, eight trips to the country, constant phone engagement. we have worked, as you know, to advance free trade agreements with colombia, panama. we've established precisely to your point economic dialogues with countries that are emerging in a big way, mexico, brazil. we have the caribbean security initiative which is vitally important there. of course, there has been the response to the crises, haiti and then the unaccompanied children. and then there's a very other important component of this. there is a very dynamic exchange component. we have 100,000 strong in latin america. we have 72,000 students from the
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region studying in the united states today. that's an increase of about 8% over the previous year. we have 43,000 americans studying in latin america, which is also an increase. so we think you're exactly right and we want to work on all of these different lines of effort to maximize the relationship, strengthen them, and when you look at countries like chile, like peru, like colombia, like mexico and others, there is an extraordinary foundation for progress. of course, if we're able to get the trans-pacific partnership done, that, too, will further deep root that progress. >> senator menendez is returning. i'm going to hand it back to him. mr. lincoln, thank you for your testimony today. mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator cain. appreciate it. senator coons, when he gets accommodated, will be next. and then assuming -- depending upon whether any other member shows up or not, we will be closing the hearing. senator coons.
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>> thank you very much, chairman menendez. thank you for holding this hearing. thank you, mr. blinken, for your long and honorable service to this nation. your six years as staff director on this committee and your very capable and dedicated service in the obama administration and to my home state vice president biden. i want to say bill byrnes has served as a deputy secretary and is an accomplished service officer. we thank him for his 33 years of service to our country. if i might, first, mr. blinken, i chose the africa subcommittee in part because of its strategic importance. the failed states. i'll mention somolia and the central african republic. in one instance we had for nearly 20 years a complete collapse of centralized control and authority. as a result threat to regional and global security and the other where there is an ongoing and significant humanitarian crisis. tell me how you think we might together get ahead of the issue of failed states around the world and what's the proper mix between sort of economic and security and political initiatives to regain governance and to move forward in human rights and to secure and stabilize failed states in the region and the world. >> your mic.
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>> sorry. there you go. senator, thank you for your leadership on this, for your work on this. i think you've identified one of the principle challenges we face because we see again and again that where we face problems, one of the things that is at the root of the problem is a failure of the state, is the failure of governance, is the failure of institutions. we've seen the incredible hope generated by, for example, the arab spring but then translating those hopes and aspirations on the street into the institutions that can actually guarantee the rights and opportunities that people are scrambling for is a huge and, indeed, generational challenge because unfortunately this doesn't happen overnight. so what we've tried to do, and you can go across the bored, we talked about tunisia a little
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bit earlier. we have now the great challenge in yemen. i think what you pointed to is essential, that in many of these places we have to take and we are taking a comprehensive approach to the problem. often there's a military component because there may be a challenge from an insurgency, from a terrorist group. we have to help these countries develop the means and capacity to deal with those problems, but that is not sufficient. unless we're able to help them develop the institutions of governance that give their people a sense that they can advance their interests through the democratic process, it's not going to work. unless we can help them create institutions and economies that can actually deliver for people in their daily lives and gives them the means not only to subsist but to move forward,
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it's not going to work. so, i think what you eluded to is the need to look at these problems comprehensively to bring all of the different components of our government to bear on these problems and to do it in a coordinated way because what we do know is that if -- and i know that especially after a decade where our country's been engaged in two wars with a large deployment of forces, that some people say, well, maybe this is a time to be a little bit less engaged. and i think the answer is it's not. it's actually a time to be more engaged, but the question is how should we be engaged. and how can we be engaged in a sustainable way that can actually help lift up some of the countries that are under challenge. i think, for example, that the large scale indefinite deployment of american forces is something that obviously would be a challenge to sustain. developing the capacity of our
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partners to work on these problems is a more sustainable way to do it. similarly, as we look at the development agenda, we have the development goals that now need to be brought forward beyond 2015 and to work on those. the bush administration created an extraordinarily powerful mechanism, the millennium challenge corporation that has done remarkable work, and this is something that we've continued. so, it's a long way of saying that as we think about our engagement, we have to address this question of failed states, but we have to figure out ways to do it that are sustainable, that we can keep going that we can resource and that we can bring all of government to bear on. and, of course, i should add, the private sector and other actors are absolutely critical. this summer something that you played a leadership role in, the africa leaders summit, we brought to washington, as you know, an extraordinary gathering of african leaders and we worked
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with them to help unleash more growth in africa, also to deal with security challenges, institutional challenges. a key component of that was bringing the private sector to the table and helping to strengthen those relationships. power africa is a wonderful example of the government and the private sector working together to help people in a meaningful way and to help economies develop a foundation that can carry them forward and actually prevent government failure, failed states, and so forth. so, there's a broad agenda there. this committee has done an extraordinary job there. if i move to the state department, that's something i would welcome working with the chairman on and you on and other members. >> i couldn't agree more. last night was the millennium challenge corporation's tenth anniversary event. i've had the opportunity to visit a half dozen states and i think bringing the energy and resources of the private sector whether through agoa, through mcc to bear in making progress
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is critical. i also want to make sure that you are keeping in mind that we have democracy on the continent after africa where they're seeking to change the constitution to avoid the accountability of free, fair and open elections and that's something we have to balance as well. >> absolutely. >> you've been here a long time. although i have many questions and i am confident you would answer them, let me ask a last question if i could given your unique role as having serve ld served significantly here and in the executive office of the president and now going to the state department. how can we improve communication, collaboration relationships between this committee, this body, this senate, and the white house? >> i actually think it's in a sense pretty simple, and it goes to something chairman menendez talked to me about last week. something i feel strongly about.
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and that is giving real meaning to the word consultation. i heard the chairman loud and clear. i also heard from ranking member corker on this. we can always do a better job and i am determined to do a better job, if confirmed, in making that word mean what it means. which is not inform but actually consult, work together, have a dialogue, try and develop these policies together. there will be places obviously where we disagree as any executive in the legislature does, but it's my sense having spent 13 years in the executive that it sure works better when we work together. it doesn't work if we're not communicating and communicating in a better way. i'm determined to do that if i'm confirmed. >> the potential agreement with iran and concerns about our vital ally israel and our safety and security, the rebalance to
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asia, the things we talked about in africa, we will work together. it will make it possible for me to come and question and i may not be the last. thank you so much for your testimony. >> senator rubio. >> thank you. i apologize. thank you. good to see you. >> senator. >> i appreciate your time. i'll be brief. i know we have votes going on. i have two follow-up questions. i understand you've spoken about the issue of venezuela. my understanding is, just to clarify, sanctions against government officials that are responsible for human rights violations or corruption, the the administration's position is now willing to cooperate or be helpful in term of sanction legislation? >> that's correct, senator. >> can i ask, would the administration consider doing some of those things directly? they do have authority to take some of those actions. now they already have with
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regards to the visas, is that something that is being contemplated? >> that's something we would like to work on with you. as you know, we took the actions this summer, indeed, we did. and as we had a brief opportunity to discuss, you know, we've been focused on trying to see if our partners in latin america could actually get results in terms of the opposition's agenda, getting people out of jail, advancing progress on the electoral commission, et cetera. unfortunately, to date, the effort has not born fruit, which is wi we think that working with you on what you have been proposing is something that we should do. so i would, certainly if confirmed, and even if not, in my current capacity, i would welcome having that conversation and working with you. >> on the issue of colombia, they have been negotiated, the government has been negotiated with the farc over a potential peace agreement. that has been suspended because of the kidnapping of a colombian
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general. one of the issues that arose in one of my recent trips there, there may come a point where the farc is asking people currently in custody in the united states be released early, that their sentences be commuted. can we rule that out that it's clearly understood that that's not something the administration would consider doing? >> we're not a party to the negotiate azs, so we would have no requirement, whatever they negotiation, to send anyone back. we're obviously a strong ally of colombia's. we support the process, and as we go forward, if they call on us to play a role, and again, because we're not part of the negotiations, there's nothing we would be required to do, obviously, i would commit, and i do consult very closely with you on anything the colombians doing in the fuchture if something materializes in terls of the deal. they're not there. we had the very unfortunate kidnapping of the general this
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week. and we are strongly supporting their efforts to try and carry this forward, but this is something, if we were -- if the colombians ask something of us, we would work with you. >> my last question is, as you know, the current sanctions that exist toward cuba have been codified in other legislation that has been enacted in the past. absent cuba meeting the requirements of that legislation, do you anticipate during the rest of the president's term there will be any unilateral change or any change in u.s. sanctions or conditions against cuba absent them meeting those questions of democracy, human rights, and things outlined in that legislation? >> senator, i think on cuba, let me say a couple things if i could. first, i think we share strong ly an understanding and one you have first-hand of the nature of the regime. it's been an imprisoned island
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all my life. literally actually remember my parents talking to me about cuba. they had been able to visit in 1950s before it became an imprisoned island. and we know what's going on today, the detentions, the harassment, the police station. the question, and i know we had a brief opportunity to discuss this. i think we all believe that change almost by definition will come, hast to come, and the question is how do we best help the cuban people prepare for that change? and i know there are differences of views of the best and most effective way to do that. in terms of getting them information, getting them resources, et cetera, but cut to the chase, obviously, anything that might be done on cuba would have to be consistent with the law, and second, anything in the future that might be done on cuba would be done in full consultation with the real meaning of consultation i just alluded to, with this committee. >> i guess my point is there has been some chatter, and i understand some of it is just
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chatter, somehow over the next couple years, at the end of his term, the president may seek to make some changes toward u.s. sanctions and policy toward cuba. as some have advocated for. is that being contemplated, absent real democratic opening? >> i think you know that the president has views on how to try to move, help move cuba in a democratic direction, to help support people moving in that direction, and you know, if he has an opportunity, i'm sure that's something he would want to pursue, but it depends on cuba and the actions they take, and what we have seen as i just alluded to, are actions in exactly the wrong direction, the detentions, the harassment. they talk about wanting to improve relations. they have, as you and the chairman know, so well, allen gross, an american citizen, who is now in his fifth year of detention. you know, that is -- when you say you want to improve relations and you're unjustly
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imprisoning an american, never mind what you're doing to your own people, that's problematic. >> i understand that perhaps you need to consult with him further, but the only thing that concerns me is i haven't heard you say point blank, absent democratic opens, we're not going to see action on the part of the administration to weaken the current embargo sanctions against cuba. >> unless -- at least in my judgment, unless cuba is able to demonstrate that it's taking meaningful steps to move forward, i don't see how you move forward in the relationship. >> but when you say move forward, move forward on democratic reforms, not -- >> not simply economic. >> thank you. >> well, let me thank you. let me just say on this last topic, which i obviously have a fair amount of interest, you know, going ahead, cuba is the only country in the western hemisphere that violated u.n. security council resolutions and
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sanctions. in sending military equipment to north korea. yet, we were relatively silent about that. any other country would have done it, we would have been totally driving at the u.n., a different set of circumstances, they received no consequences. cuba doesn't meet the standards that the summit of the americas leaders set forth when it was said that the maintenance and strengthbing the rule of law and respect for the democratic system are an essential condition, an essential condition, of our presence at this future and current summits. clearly, sucuba doesn't meet th standard. they have an american held hostage who did nothing but try to help the jewish community in cuba communicate with each other, yet it wants to hold him
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hostage in return for cuban spies, who weren't benign spies. they were spies spying against our defense department, one of which integrated the defense department. so i could go down a long list, in addition to the human rights, which sometimes i think we cavalierly say, yes, there's detentions. there's detentions. there's arrests in which people are detained for long periods of time, years, simply because that which we enjoy in america, they try to seek to exercise, free speech, protests. there are individuals like the ladies in white who just every week march with a gladiola peacefully to church dressed in white to protest peacefully that their sons and husbands are in jail for no legal reason and they're savagely beaten. so, you know, sometimes we sort of gloss over all of this. and this administration in its
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speech, when it started this administration, its inaugural speech, talked about opening up the hand to those who are willing to take it, and the cle clenched fist. the administration has unilateral unilaterally opened up the hand and done a series of things including more visits, more money flowing to cuba, not just families of u.s. citizens but anyone can send money to cuba. the regime has received those moneys because they're the ones who control the economy on the island. and at the end of the day, the regime has not reciprocated one scintilla. it's become more oppressive. i could go on and on. i understand senator rubio's concern because i have heard them as well. and talk about the whole question of consultation verses notification. this is the epitome of notification but not consultation. and there will be a very
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significant response if what we have is notification and not consultation at the end of the day. i appreciate your answers before the committee. i have one or two that i'm not going to delay that i'm going to ask you to respond in writing. i'm concerned about turkey and its presence in the exclusive economic zone in cyprus, which i think is a belligerent move, unnecessary and to the negative to our negotiations, but i'll allow you to respond to that in writing for me. this record will remain open until the close of business tomorrow. i would urge you, if you get questions, which undoubtedly you will, to answer them as expeditiously as possible so when we return from the thanksgiving recess, there can be a business meeting to consider your nomination before the committee. with that, this hearing is adjourned. >> thank you.
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>> next, house assistant minority leader james clyburn of south carolina talks about the midterm elections, then david cameron discusses the u.k.'s relationship with scotland. after that, alex salmon gives his final speech as first minister of scotland. house assistant minority leader james clyburn says democrats lost the midterm elections because they spent the time apologizing for being a democrat. during a speech at the national press club, he said democrats should be proud to be the party of the little guy. he also said he supports president obama's use of executive action on immigration,
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comparing it to lincoln's emancipation proclamation. he's the third democratic member in the house, a primary liaison to the white house, and the highest ranking african-american in congress. this is about 25 minutes. >> not going to compare to when i knocked the sign down. >> okay, let's do it.
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okay, so we're going to start now. hi, i'm bob wiener, i'm the news makers committee of the national press club's event coordinator for this wonderful event today. welcome to the national press club, the world's leading organization for journalists and where news happens. today, we welcome an old friend, congressman jim clyburn, the house assistant minority leader who will discuss governing and the issues in the post-midterm's environment. congressman clyburn was just elected by the democratic caucus as the assistant minority leader, again, for how many times now, jim? third time, great. president barack obama has said congressman clyburn is one of the handful of people who when they speak, the entire congress listens. he is one of the democratic caucus' primary liaisons to the white house. he plays a prominent role in messaging and outreach. he's the nation's highest
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ranking african-american member of congress. he represents the sixth district of south carolina. when he came to congress in 1993, he was elected co-president of his freshman class and rose through the leadership ranks rapidly. he was elected chairman of the congressional black caucus in 1999 and built a reputation as a leader and consensus builder. he was elected house democratic caucus house chair in a three-way race and three years later was unanimously elected chair of the democratic caucus. when democrats regained the minority in 2006, he was elevated to house majority whip. he waw elected president of his naacp youth chapter when he was 12 years old, helped organize many demonstrations and marches in college, and met his wife emily in jail during one of his incarcerations. i hope you'll tell us more on that story. well, c-span and others have asked what news will be made. in addition to governing and the
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issues in the post-midterms environment, jim will, of course, answer the questions about what is going to happen on the immigration order, the health care law, will it be tweaked, will it stay, what will happen to it? will there be a shutdown threat, government financial threat, and impeachments? and why did the democrats lose and what's the prognosis for the future? so i would like to introduce, all in the space of an hour, i would like to introduce my wife, pat, who puts up with all of this organizing work that we do, dr. patricia byrd, rebecca vanderlin. she'll take the mike to the audience so they'll be able to answer questions because we promised c-span would we have the audience miked so we will. florian, evan, joseph, and our new intern, autumn kelly. okay, and i want to thank your staff, jim.
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your scheduling staff and patrick devlin, your communications director. and so we will get under way. jim will presbyterianent a spee. he'll talk for we're going to make it 15 minutes so he can get a couple questions in. take it away. >> thank you very much, bob. pat, thank you for your long friendship. bob and i go back to our young democrat days. when both of us had hair. and i was 40 pounds smaller. he kept his weight. i -- the bell just rang, so we're going to truncate that quite a bit. so i'm not going to get into the speech i was planning. let me take first the more current thing, immigration. we did have a dinner with the president last night. and we discussed the executive order that is going to be
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issued, signed some time tonight or tomorrow. he will spoeak to the nation tonight about it. i think he ticked off nevada tomorrow, to discuss exactly what it's all about. now, many of you may know that i have for several years now been urging the president to use his executive authority to deal with immigration, as well as with the debt limit. you may recall, the deal of the debt limit was something i didn't particularly like. i didn't like it being held up. the country being threatened. and i thought that he should use his executive authority. now, there are a lot of people who debate whether or not that's beyond the law, and we have been hearing all these discussions, even this morning. about the lawlessness. let me tell you something.
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when abraham lincoln issued the emancipation promlication, he was going beyond the law because law ordered -- mandated slavery. and by executive order, he got rid of slavery. now, the big debate over the movie "lincoln" was all about whether or not after the presidency was over, whether or not we would have an amendment to the constitution to maintain freedom of slaves because executive order would die with the president. so the fight was not over, outlawing slavery. the fight was over putting it in the constitution. let's look at someone more current, truman. the congress did not get rid of segregation in the armed services. in fact, roosevelt wouldn't do it. when truman became president over an incident, isaac woodard,
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down in my state, a incident of a gentleman returning from world war ii, going home, and being arrested, beaten by the sheriff and his deputies and blinded. truman saw that. and he decided that he would use his executive order to outlaw such stuff, and to integrate the armed services. that's how the armed services got integrated. so i'm pleased that the president is moving on this. he will take his place alongside abraham lincoln and harry truman and many others in using the executive order to do big things. now, are we going to have the government shutdown? i hope not. will there be rumors of it? rumors have already started. i saw a headline where the senior senator in my state is asking his people to stop talking about impeachment, the
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fact of the matter is they are discussing it. and i have always maintained that there's an element that would love to see this president go down in history with an ask risk next to his name, and that's what this is all about. there are going to be lawsuits. you know, what president hasn't been sued? all of this high level discussions of a lawsuit is all about driving a narrative more than doing what they have the authority to do. i used to run a state agency. i can't tell you how many times i was sued. you make executive decisions and you get sued for them. and that's what the courts are for, to determine whether or not the constitutionality or the legality of what you did, and then just move on. i'm still -- i have been in office now for -- in congress
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for 22 years, so the lawsuits didn't keep me from getting here, and none of the lawsuits were successful. let's have the lawsuits and go on about our business. now, what happened on november 4th? what happened on november 4th was my party spending too much time, in my opinion, apologizing for being democrats. when you seem to feel there it something wrong with being known as the party for the little guy, the party that addresses middle income issues. i am proud that my party did social security. and a lot of the democrats paid daily for that. go back and read that history, you will see how many democrats
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lost their seat because social security was just the worst thing they could possibly do. but today, everybody relishes the fact that we're the party of social security. i'm proud of the fact that my party is a party that gave us medicare and medicaid. and we have heard the other side saying how bad medicare is, how bad medicaid is. in fact, one said i'm not against it, i just want to see it wither on the vine. i don't want to get rid of it, just let it wither on the vine. now, i'm very proud of that. i am proud i am a member of the party that faced up to what was going on in this country back in 1940s with harry truman. and in the 1960s with lyndon johnson. and so where would i be today were it not for the 1964 civil rights act, the 1965 voting rights act?
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where would i be living today were it not for the 1968 fair housing law, and would i have ever gone to work in state government in south carolina if we had not outlawed discrimination in 1972 in the public sector? and so that, all of those things were delivered by the democratic party, and i think it's high pa time that we democrats stop apologizing for being for the underdog, being for the little guy, and being for the middle income americans. and for us to sit and spend all of our time in the campaign moving forward, then i find it kind of interesting. i noticed we have a guest today, i think over here, from the russian embassy. i went to the soviet union in 1972. my daughter went back in 1992. now, when she left to go back, to go over there in 1992, i said to her, well, i hope you really
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enjoy this trip. i really enjoy ed going to the soviet union. and bring me a souvenir back. so when she got back, she sent me an envelope with a souvenir in it. i open it up, and it was a polaroid picture of her. i look at it and say what kind of souvenir is this? a polaroid picture of you? she said, i thought you might want to see the difference of 20 years, when you went as opposed to when i went. and i'm looking at the picture, i'm saying, what does this picture say? she was standing on the mcdonald's golden arch. she was standing under that. i felt so stupid. that i didn't catch that.
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i point that out to say that nothing stays the same. we have to understand that this country is always moving like a pendulum on a clock. this country does not move linearly from point a to point b to point c. the country is always going back and forth, back and forth. the supreme court goes back and forth. jeb scott, to prlessy, to brown. the congress always goes back and forth because the country goes back and forth. i say that to people all the time, the country goes to the left and back to the right, tops out to the right, goes back to the left. always passing through the center. and one of the things we ought to understand is when the pendulum is moving from the right to left, passes through
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the center, moves from left to right, the country spends twice as much time in the center as it does in the left or the right. it's the innovation of the voters that determines when it should top out and start back in the other direction. the country moved right this year. i believe honestly that if the voters intervene as i hope they will and sufficiently, it will go back to the left in two years. now, i have truncated this because i want you to ask a couple questions. >> let's try one quick one, first, jim. to the guts of it. do you think that the immigration order will stick and the health law will stick or will be they killed by 1,000 cuts on financing? >> well, i do believe that the
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executive order will stick. one thing about it, the republicans will have two years for their lawsuit to mature or for them to run against it. and the next president will either reauthorize it or get rid of it. but i think we're going to have this for two years. as far as the health care law, the health care law needs to be tweaked. remember, i just laid out a litany of things. when the civil rights act, and i call the health care law the civil rights of the 21st century. when i made my speech, i said this is the civil rights of the 21st century, because all we're doing with the health care law, outlawing discrimination against people who get sick. saying no longer are you going to be allowed to discrimination against a woman as soon as she
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gets breast cancer or a man with prostate cancer. we're not going to allow you to discriminate against them. that's what this law is all about. and so i feel sincerely that we just took the first step, this immigration thing. first step. when the civil rights act was passed in 1964, it started out as a big comprehensive law. didn't get passed, so lyndon johnson jettisoned voting. got rid of housing. these were real issued that riled the american people. they didn't want to see neighborhoods integrated and they didn't want to see voting made easy. and so he got rid of all that. now, a lot of people, he even got rid of the public sector discrimination, when the civil rights act was passed in 1964, it only outlawed discrimination
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and employment in the private sector. so after passing the law, jettisoned enough stuff to get the votes you needed to pass it, one year later, got the voting rights act. three years later, we got the fair housing law. and then four years after that, he outlawed discrimination. we did not outlaw discrimination in the public sector until 1972. and so the same thing here. when i first said that this law must be done in such a way that it can be implemented incrementally, a lot of my friends on the left castigated me, even had people come to my office demonstrating in front of my office. i laughed at them. said what are you talking about? everything we've ever done, things like this, were done incremental incrementally, and it should be done incrementally, we honor the
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fact that you should not bite off more than you can chew, as my grandma would say. >> maybe one or two questions, and pass around the mike. >> can you speak to how the entire leadership party, the heads of the party, both chambers were re-elected despite the record low approval rating of congress and what americans can expect them to do differently? >> the record low approval rating came from the republican congress, even though everybody was rated pretty low. we were significantly above, democrats were significantly above the republicans. but let me say this in terms of leadership. you know, my dad used to tell me all the time, son, experience is the best teacher. i just recently published my
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memoirs, and by the way, gives it five stars. i had blessed experiences. and what i said in that book is all of my experiences have not been pleasant. all of them i consider to be blessings. sometimes you have to look back on the blessings to see it. now, one of the things we just did on our side of the aisle, we are blending the old with the new. and i put myself among the old. but i'll tell you this. i said to a media person who asked me the other day. i believe progressives, i believe bob, would much rather have a 74-year-old thur wogood marshall than a 30-year-old clarence thomas. >> one more question. go ahead in the back.
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>> i wonder if you could comment on the approaching ferguson decision and how this is going to roll out for ferguson in the midwest and the rest of the country? >> well, one of the things i think that should be highlighted about ferguson is the fact that community participation, you cannot just drop out. it is just highlighting the fact that it is important, and to me, much of the atmosphere that has been created in ferguson is because local community people just failed to participate at the level that they should. i'm told, this community, 6% or 7% african-american. but only two african-americans on the police force. of 50-some odd people. that would never happen in my
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congressional district. never. i just don't understand that. i don't understand how you have an election, as they did have this past april, and only 6% of the people showed up to vote. and you wonder why you have an all black school. come on. all of us have a responsibility to go out and participate. now, when i said that before, some people said, i'm talking about protecting the elected class. this isn't about the elected class. this is about what decisions are going to be made on that school board. who is going to hire the police chief, and who is going to oversee the police chief when he is refusing to integrate his -- let his police force reflect the community that he represents. 67% african-american. and only two out of 56 or 57
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police officers are african-american? give me a break. there's something wrong with that. so i believe this highlights the fact that you just can't vote when there's a presidential election. there's no president goes to your school board meeting. no president makes the determine whether or not the potholes get closed, street lights get installed. these are local decisions and they're just as important in many instances as the decisions in the white house. >> of courskay, thank you. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. >> we are adjourned.
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>> on the next washington journal, doris meissner, former commissioner of u.s. immigration and naturalization, will discuss president obama's announcement on immigration, how many unauthorized immigrants will be impacted, and talk about current border protection and previous legalization efforts. as always, we'll take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. this weekend on c-span, saturday at 6:30 p.m. eastern on the communicators, tim wong, founder and ceo of fiscal note on their congressional legislation predictor, which uses data mining and artificial intelligence. and sunday evening at 6:30, new jersey governor chris christie talks with newly elected gop governors on what they call the next chapter of their political comeback. saturday night at 10:00 on book
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tv on c-span2, former cbs investigative reporter on the obstacles she faced while reporting on the obama administration, and sunday night at 10:00, the 2014 national book awards. and on american history tv on c-span3, saturday night at 9:00, brooklyn college professor benjamin carp tells how leading up to the american revolution, taverns were used as central meeting places to talk about british policies and foster a patriotic spirit. and sunday at 6:00, the curator use articles from their collections to tell the story of house pages. find our complete television schedule at and let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us, e-mail us, or send us a tweet.
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join the c-span conversation, like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> on wednesday, british prime minister david cameron appeared before a parliamentary committee to answer questions on the u.k.'s relationship with scotland following the independence referendum. scotland voted in favor of staying in the united kingdom and now the two nations will have to begin discussion s on issues such as social security, health, transportation, and public financing. it's made up of 33 chairman of the house of commons select committees and their questions are not provided in advance. this is about an hour and a half.
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>> hello, and welcome. we would like to explore issues about the united kingdom following the scottish referendum. we'll start with scotland and ask mr. davis to begin. >> during these events, we made a clear commitment in the event scotland remained in the uniet d kied kingd kingdom, shortly after the result, there seemed to be a suggestion that additional -- to scotland, would be linked to some reorganization of paris, wales, and ireland. do you accept that the pledge made to the people in scotland was these would be entirely separate and it was freestanding and should not be tied to anything else?
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>> effectively, yes. the pledge that was made by the party, i think, is important. and we'll reap the terms of the pledge, i'm confident of that, which is that there should be further, particularly fiscal devolution to scotland, to raise taxes and spend money, and there's a program for delivering that, since we already have that command on paper, shortly we'll get the report, next week, and that will be turned in to draft clauses in january of next year, and whoever forms the government after that, that will be legislated on. scotland has a guarantee. what i said, i think is right, at the same time that there should be a solution to what has become the english question, which is shouldn't there be a way of making sure that when things surely effect england or
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england and wales, english and welsch mps should have to give their consent? and i want that settled as well. but one is not dependent on the other. if i win the next action, you get both, scottish devolution, it's the other parties and what they will do. and they will, in my view, make that clear. but i'm clear if you get me, you get both. i think we need to settle both of those issues. >> you started your answer by saying effectively, yes. is effectively yes the same as yes? >> you can see exactly what you get. one isn't dependent on the other. >> will the smith commission's recommendations be accepted by the government, or will there be some further consultation and discussion? >> what we have said is that we received smith's report,
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obviously, all our parties are involved in this smith commission. and that should be lauded for the work, it's very important work. i don't see any reason why we won't accept those terms and turn them into draft clauses in january. i mean, every party has to speak for themselves, but during the referendum campaign, and a very long campaign, the conservative party drafted a report which i think set out the case for further fiscal devolution, and i can't prejudge exactly what smith is going to say because i don't know, but i'm very happy with the way it seems to be progressing, and i'm very confident, as i say, that we'll meet both the timetable and the substance. >> can i just get a qualification, it will be based on smith? >> yes. >> and will you, as a
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government, then seek if there is some element to smith with which you're not happy or the enthusiasm is less than tall? >> i would hope that isn't the case because i think what we're trying to do is reach consensus between the parties. the good thing about this process is that all of the parties in scotland are taking part, smp included, and hope the pros -- what smith has tried to do is bring together a consensus that everyone can accept and go ahead with. so that's what i anticipate happening. >> if there's not a consensus amongst the people on the smith commission, what happens then? does the government table the majority view from smith? >> i hope that doesn't happen. i don't think that's going to happen. i don't really want to speculate. i think it would be unhelpful. this has been a process of trying to bring the party, you know, different parties together, to deliver a common outcome. and i don't know what would
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happen if that wasn't possible. i think it will happen. i'm pretty confident. >> who in this government will be responsible for taking the proposals from smith and seeing them through? >> ultimately, i take responsibility for this, because you have to bring different parts of government to deliberate. in terms of who has had the lead responsibility, it's been the chair of the cabinet committee examining not just the issues around scotland but also issues about devolution to neighborhoods and cities and also looking at the question as well. he has a big responsibility in the government, but of course, you've also got the scottish secretary as well. but lead responsibility will sit right here with making sure that we take this forward. >> thank you.
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>> prime minister, scotland, is it inevitable wales is also going to get further powers? >> well, there's -- first, i think before we dive into all of the details, i think it's worth standing back for a second. what are we trying to do? what is the aim of the process? to me, the aim is simple, which is we want to make sure that our united kingdom finds a good settlement where there's respect for the devolvement of constitutions and we feel happy and contented and together in our united kingdom. we haven't reached that yet. there have been various pieces of devolution. it's good we have a well established parliament, a well established welsh assembly, but i don't think we have reached that point where this is a settlement that people really bind to, and i think that
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matters because i think it's a bit unhealthy in a way whether in welsh or scottish or english politics if we spend a lot of time actually having the discussion we're having today. we should talk about jobs and growth rather than endlessly trying to change and get right. the aim is a settlement that settles down, that makes the united kingdom where we feel there's a good resting place, if i can put it that way. wales, i will answer your question, i promise, in wales, there's a process for examining devolution, and there's sort of two parts to it. all is the idea of wales having a sort of tax raising power and tax devolution that scotland has already had, where legislating for the welsh assembly government to have a referendum on that should they so want in the future, so that's sort of
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stage one, to enforce the welsh assembly. stage two is to look at whether there are more powers over things like policing and justice that should be devolved to wales, and the secretary of state has a process that i think he's going to report back in march, to see what is appropriate there. >> could you see those powers being given to wales before the english situation is resolved? >> there's two parts, if i'm prime minister after the next election, what you'll get is you'll get a solution to english votes which i'm sure we'll come on to. you'll get the further scottish devolution, the draft courses turned into a bill. and in my view, i hope that there will be some further moves on welsh devolution, but that will very much depend on the welsh assembly government.
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i personally believe it would be good to have a referendum in wales on the tax raising powers, and if you would like, yes, ma'am, i say yes to a referendum and vote on it, or yes to the powers, so i would like to see that happen, but because that depends on the welsh government assembly requesting that, i don't know the timing of that. as for the devolution of power to wales, policing, justice, transport, and other powers, there's a process to bringing the parties together to examine that. i can see arguments on both sides. i have some concern about things like policing because i think there's such a connection between england and wales over policing issues because of the nature of the border. so i think it's slightly different, but you know, i'm open to argument. as i say, the aim -- i think we have to keep going back to the big picture, which is what is
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going to make the united kingdom a strong, cohesive, political entity with respect for the devolved nations and something that makes sense. the aim of the debate is to have it completed, and then actually trying to get on to spend more time on the other things. >> and the new secretary of state for wales, which by the way, i think is a very good choice, has said that he will remove the lockstead mechanism as far as wales is concerned. given that we, i strongly supported that, do you not think this might be a little premature? >> i can see the strong argument for it. and i think given that, you know, our party had the commission report that recommended not having a lockstep in scotland, i think it makes sense not to have one in
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wales. so i'm comfortable with that. i understand the concerns of people about the marginal tax rates, but i think the whole argument here is really do we think that giving devolved institutions tax raising powers and spending powers and some voting powers, do we think that is going to answer my question on how to settle down the united kingdom? i think it will for the good reason that i think the moment the system doesn't work because the devolved assemblies are partial to spending money rather than raising money. if you have the extra responsibility of raising and spending, that enhances the respect agenda and makes a more responsible political institution. so i think removing lockstep is a good part of that. >> and finally, prime minister, if i may, you said in the past that reform of the 30-year-old,
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and frankly in my view, rather out of date bill would have to wait on the stabilization of the public finances. given that public finances seem to be stable, do you not think that the time has come now to look at something and look particularly to understand where is my $300 million pounds a year? >> well, first of all, i think i say while my answer finances h stabilized, there's lot more work to do to eradicate the deficit and pay it back, and that will require further public efficiency. the work isn't complete. the second point is if we go for this process of devolving tax raising powers to the scottish parliament, the welsh assembly, then the importance will reduce because obviously, these institutions will have smaller
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backgrounds and will have larger tax bases, and so the importance of it will be less. what i have said is i don't think reform is on the horizon. i said that in 2013 and i stick by that, and whei will say to particularly english colony, but also welsh colonies is i don't think there's any magic formula here of how you work out distribution between the nations of the united kingdom. to english colonies, i don't expect some massive pot of gold at the bottom, can don't think there is, because there are going to be about 55 million people in england and 5 million in scotland and fewer in wales. i think the best thing to do is press ahead with this fiscal evolution that reduced the importance of the formula and to build the institutions of wales and scotland in that way.
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>> thank you. i think we all want to see something sustainable and it has to be fair. and i want to draw on some evidence that we got in my committee. >> right. >> where he said to take the simplistic example, to say that it is devolved and the rest of the united kingdom decides to increase the income tax, if it were devolved, the income tax in the country where it's devolved, scotland in this example, would be completely ineffective. however, if you still have a formula, the increase in spending on health service would feed into more money going into scotland. now, in effect, what i think he is saying that if we give the scots control of the income tax
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and we keep the formula, we raise tax in the u.k. to pay for, let's say, extra health care, the scots could be said to be gaining an unfair advantage in that there wouldn't be an unsustainable government. they would get the garnet formula without having to pay for it, so i think we have got a difficulty in taking forward the commitment that you all made. on both maintaining the formula, giving a commitment to tax raising powers without disadvantaging either english taxpayers or english users and i don't know how you're going to square that circle. >> i think i followed all that. he's right. he's right, technically, because the way barnett works, if you decide to spend more money on health care in england, scotland
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and wales get extra money, and once you devolve income tax, that will be raised and spent in scotland. your point is you increase health spending, that gives scotland more money and they have hadn't to raise taxes to pay for it. i understand the point, i think the only thing i say is if you didn't have barnett, you would have to have another formula for working out how much money to give england and scotland, and it would be a needs based formula, perhaps, and scotland has needs so they would get money for those needs, and barnett has sort of worked in that when you're addressing the needs to spend more money on the health service, it has a consequence in scotland where more money for their health service. i think that way, and also remember, as you devolve tax raising powers, so the importance of barnett gets less because the share of token spending in skocotland would ge
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smaller. so it's not a perfect answer, but again, we have to sort of get out of the details for a second into the big picture, which is, you know, why is it so complicated to get it right? one of the reasons it's complicated is because our united kingdom, unlike some systems, is a very large england and a quaite lot smaller scotlad and wales. you daebt do the sort of logical thing which is have a federal state of four equal formulations because they're not the same size. we're living in a world where you have to try to find a solution that works for the way the united kingdom is shaped and the different sizes. i think my argument is working off barnett, having the tax devolution, we can make our united kingdom work, but it's not a perfect world. >> i think the big picture will only be met if the details seem to be found. >> yes, but i think it is fair
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to say that, as i say, the size is going to get smaller because the size of the tax raising powers will get bigger. >> let me ask you two other questions. the scots decide to increase scottish income taxes, okay, for some services that they wanted in scotland, that brings down the deficit, but it will add to the expenditure, and if you therefore wish to stay in the public expenditure total, english taxpayers may have to take a further cut in public spending while their scottish counterperts have the freedom to raise money and protect their position. how are you going to -- >> i think i find that much easier to solve. because, look, if you believe in devolution, you have to believe the scottish parliament could spend more and raise more money in taxes. and the consequence of that will
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be to put up total spending across the u.k. i think it would be perverse to say as a result, we have to cut english spending because no government would do that because a consequence is to add to public spending in the total united kingdom, there would be more of a problem if the scottish parliament was able simply to spend lots and lots more money and borrow lots and lots of money because at the end of the day you would in the be changing the fiscal position of the whole united kingdom, putting pressure on interest rates and what have you because of borrowing. what we have decided through the scotland act is yes, scotland should have more borrowing powers, but there are limits to the borrowing powers and the borrowing should be, for instance, for capital spending. so i don't think that is a problem. if scotland decides to spend more and tax more, that's a scottish decision. it has a consequence on the whole united kingdom, but it's not costing my constituents any money, not causing them any
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problems and not adding to borrowing in an irresponsible way. >> on the current settlement, the capital, they can borrow the capital, i have viewed on the forthcoming settlement, the taxes will pay for capital and health services, something like that. is this a change? if what you're saying to us, total expenditure totals don't matter to the government anymore, they're not going to add to borrowing, that's fine, or i don't see how else -- >> they're not going to add. this is a very important discussion. they're not going to -- they can only add to borrowing in as much as the scottish parliament exercises its power to borrow some money, which is under a limit. but it is a consequence of fiscal devolution is that's part of the new settlement.
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i don't think that's a problem. again, it comes back to the scale, because you know, the scale of the additional public spending, all paid through extra scottish -- >> does that raise the amount? >> that would depend on smith. smith will look at the smith report will look at how this is going to work. the principal is a relatively simple one. but again, there will also be limits in political actuality, if scottish government or the welsh assembly government would decide to spend huge amounts of money and taxes, that would be damaging to the economy, and you with get people thinking about relocations and the rest of it. there would be constraints, to say to the scottish parliament, you have the power to raise some of the money that you spend, and if you want to spend more, you can raise more, and that won't affect overall methods in the united kingdom, come back to the
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big picture, why are we doing all this? it's to try to find a settlement of respect and understanding that makes the united kingdom stronger in the future. >> my final question, if i may, chairman, is in northern ireland, you're about to give them power to have a lower corporation tax rate. and in that context, are you looking at scotland potentially having a lower corporation tax rate? and my own personal view on that is, you know -- >> we're covering that later. >> are you covering that? okay. >> what you said so far there is you're not going to tear up barnett, and if we didn't have barnett, in any case, we would need some other case of needs assessment. and you have used the word. don't you think there is merit -- everyone is agreed that
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the barnett formula is overgenerous at the expense of the english. there isn't a single analysis that has concluded otherwise. don't you think, therefore, there is at least a least the na grand commission of some sort of all the nations to look into the question of how best to allocate resources according to need between them? >> well, it's something i'm sure, you know, it does get examined by experts and commissions and i'm very happy for that to continue. i'm just saying i made a commitment. this is not something that is on my horizon and i'm sticking to that. the most important thing is to deliver this fiscal devolution which in itself is an important thing but decreases the relevance of barnett. i'm sure people will argue about it. >> so the answer to that is no
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really? >> as i've said, it's not on my horizon. >> i would just like to ask one question, it's proposal that i think tried to get an interest in as well that you're rejecting just there's one other issue that just needs picking up at this stage which is on borrowing. >> yeah. >> you would agree, i presume that if more fiscal devolution is granted, that there is, therefore, the likelihood of more volatility in tax and spend or tax at least, at least that's the most of the evidence suggests that there will be whatever you do devolve, in which case isn't there a case also for increasing the scope of scottish borrowing according to margaret alluded to. >> well, what we've done -- first of all, let me -- short
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answer is yes. when you devolve -- >> that's what. >> no, important for me to understand because some have had this debate as though nothing is happening. in the government there's been the biggest act to devolution in scotland for years. it is important for people to know that ten pence of income tax is being devolved to scotla scotland, land tax, land fill tax, those things will be devolved to the scottish government and the hims will be decreased to an overall count of 2.2 billion. that's already happened. >> the short answer is yes. in any case it's already in transit. in principle and in practice you're already acting on it. in which case for the purposes of scottish borrowing, which may resolve the increased scottish borrowing, would you agree in practice the uk will end up as
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the lender of last resort? >> well, effectively, in a unitary system with devolution and limits on borrowing, in the end, the sovereign entity is the uk government. >> so we will remain the lender of last resort, in which case -- >> i think it's important to understand why. we're not creating a system in which the devolved parliaments can spend and borrow without limit. that would be in my view, a dangerous and bad idea. this is taking better responsibility for raising and spending money with some additional borrowing powers to give that sort of flexibility, to make the system make sense. but to not borrow without limit. >> in which case it's accepting, isn't it, that to the extent the markets view the risk of that increased borrowing leading to that lender of last resort facility being active, to the extent of the markets conclude
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that the risk is nonnegligible, there will be an increase in uk borrowing as a whole. >> yes, but within the limit, as i said. >> thanks. >> thank you. on the issue of cooperation tax devolving it to northern ireland, you did indicate a number of months ago you'd look at this after the scottish referendum. i know we touched on it briefing during questions yesterday. but perhaps you could give some indication as to what you're considering doing on this respect? >> well, what i've said and what the government said is in the sort of economic pact that we came to with northern ireland to devolve more powers and to seek greater economic resurgence in ireland, we said that we would set out a path on this which is coming up in a couple of weeks
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time. and i remain committed to that. i think it's worth sort of, again, trying to ask why are we -- why is this an issue and what's the right way to -- there's a case that the northern irish parties made, which i think is strong, is that there is a difference in northern ireland on two grounds. one is there's a land border with the republic of ireland that's got a very different rate of tax, and that makes it unique in the united kingdom so different to devolving corporation tax in wales or in scott land. and the second thing they say is because of the troubles and difficulties over many, many years, the public sector in northern ireland is so -- is absolutely huge and the private sector is too small and we need to find ways to regenerate the private sector. what's interesting is you get this as strongly from martin mcguinness as you do from peter robinson. so i think it's absolutely right for the government to consider
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this. obviously, there are all sorts of considerations to take into account. but i do think their argument in northern ireland is one that we should properly engage with. >> you gave a number of reasons to do it and creating jobs through and investment and that's obviously one of the big issues which you've touched on in the more general points you make. i'm not sure you've given any assurance to when it's going to happen. >> i said there is a process. that's what's going to happen. so i think it's important we stick to that approach. but let me be clear with all these issues of tax devolution because it sounds like the westminster is sitting there throwing out you have this tax, but devolving a tax power has very serious consequences. for the devolved authority. you've got to work out how much brawn you take away as you give this power. and what the future consequences
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are. so there's a lot of very difficult work that has to be done. as i said, this government in good faith has been discussing the parties of northern ireland just how important they think this is, and they make this very strong case that it is different in northern ireland. one of the other things we need to do is make sure in the republic of ireland the tax rate is -- they have a corporation tax rate, a problem is a lot of businesses pay 2% because they've done a double irish deal foll funneling profits through god knows where. we have to you through the international tax exchange and the treaties, the work i've been doing with the g-20 and g-8 and the eu, we need to sort this out. in our case 20% should mean 20% and in the irish case 12% should mean 12%. >> indeed a difficult thing to consider for all the reasons you've given. yesterday, though, in your answer, you said that we need to look at northern ireland to see that the budget is working and the government of northern
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ireland is working. of course, in westminster, we have a very different system. a government, we have an opposition. in northern ireland, we don't have that situation. it was set up, as you well know, to bring about peace not to bring about efficient decisionmaking. i just hope that like agreements on very many issues in the assembly in northern ireland, i hope that's not going to be the sort of thing that prevents any devolution. it's not set up to be efficient but to bring people together. very different than westminster as you well know. >> you have a long record of working with and supporting the devolving institutions in northern ireland. as prime minister i want northern ireland to be a successful prosperous part of the united kingdom, but we do need responsible government. and you know, at the moment, there have been real issues in northern ireland, as you know,
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about sorting out their budgets. and i don't think -- it's difficult to argue you should have more responsibility in terms of tax raising powers if you're not adequately sorting out the current budgets for northern ireland and making sure the government is delivering for people in northern ireland. and we should be discussing with them how best to do that. and so i think there is a link between these things. >> thank you very much. >> mr. betts. >> thank you. scott land, wales, northern ireland on to england. i think it was generally great that devolution should happen in england, that we don't want another level of political organizations created. so devolution will happen to local authority ors to a combination of local authorities, hebs tnce the rece deal with manchester authorities. the manchester deal and the sheffield and leeds deal will
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all be about spending power, but in scotland we're talking about spending and taxation. why in england are we appearing to rule out devolving fiscal powers as well? >> well, first of all -- i don't want to get too, but there should be devolution to scotland and to wale and you need equivalent devolution to english laws. i don't think we can have a situation where we forever ignore this question. >> i was just going to attend to that. >> i thought we were jumping. in terms of should we give lots of new tax raising powers to local authorities -- >> or combinations of authorities. >> in the interests of candor, i've tried to give straight answers so far, my answer, that would be no. i think we've got enough taxes in our countries. i don't want to see reams of


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