tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN February 2, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EST
i wanted them to know that jeff dayed for afghanistan. i told them we were willing to give our treasure in afghanistan to help them build our nation, i told them we were -- we were sure we would make the money back. but i said we were willing to give the lives of our sons and daughters only for america. while we're hunting down terrorists we're going to give the afghan people the opportunity to reject al qaeda outsiders and build a future free of the taliban. the afghan people should seize the opportunity as it will not last indefinitely. at present, more of america's best are arriving in afghanistan, they're there to kill terrorists. they're there to facilitate the work of an army of american civil servants and contractors who can show a way forward to a stable constitutional republic. they are there to serve america's national security interest by draining a terrorist cesspool. but can there will come a day
when they will have completed their work, not that they will have taken out every terrorist, for that would be impossible, but there will come day when we will have destroyed enough of the terrorist networks in afghanistan and america will be reasonably safe from murderous plottings, at least from within afghanistan's borders. until they we fight on, committed to finishing the job, clear-eyed and determined to avoid mission creep. it also included crew rest shops in tunisia. we visited the world war ii era north africa america cemetery and memorial where 2,841 americans are buried and 3,724 missing americans are memorialized on a limestone wall called the tabulates of missing. after a wreath-laying ceremony, we walked among the graves. it's especially meaningful to walk among the graves with two of our young military escorts, sergeant rob manel and sergeant
aaron moss. we tend to think of the members of the greatest generation as granddads. but they weren't granddads as they were serving in the world war ii. they were young, very young, as young as the two army sergeants who were accompanying us on this trip. i was grateful for the opportunity to tell those sergeants how much their service means to me and to all americans and i was grateful to remember why freedom is worth fighting for. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. mr. reichert from washington. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the gentleman from texas, mr. carter, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. carter: thank you, mr. speaker. permission to address the house for one hour.
thank you. mr. carter: mr. speaker, i hail from central texas and i'm very, very proud to say that i have the largest military facility in the world in my district, fort hood, texas. and if you're in the army, you know where fort hood is. in fact, i think if you find any 20-year veteran of the army, you'll find out they've been to fort hood. some of them once, twice, three,
four times, because it's a huge training post and it is a great place, as they call it, in central texas. it had a great disaster happen to it on november 5 of last year when major nadal hasan attacked and killed 13 soldiers and wounded 43 others. before two courageous police officers, responding to this violence at fort hood, came and basically shot the man and brought him down. one of them getting shot in the process. and they got him captured. he's now the subject of much discussion around this house of representatives. and by the way, i don't know if anyone noticed, i was very
surprised at the state of the union to see those two officers sitting right up here with the first lady of the united states and i was very surprised also that they weren't introduced to the house. but if you noticed two police officers sitting by michelle obama, they weren't introduced at the state of the union but those were the two officers who responded to major hasan when he went on his shooting rampage. we honor them and the president and the first lady were honoring them as heroes of the united states and right fry so -- rightfully so. but i want to us first realize what happened at fort hood. and everybody says, oh, come on, i know what happened, sure, you listened to all the reports, but today i was talking with the mayor of one of the -- the county seat of bell county, fort hood sits in two counties, bell and corial county, fort hood is
hundreds and thousands of acres. it straddles the county line between those two great counties. the combined population of those two counties is over 300,000 people. so, this is a growing growth area of texas and much of that growth that is in the western part of bell county, that growth is military folks that have retired and come back to live close to fort hood or they're presently serving in the military in some form or fashion or they got out and went to work for something that is related to the military in central texas. we are a military community. we love our soldiers. i would argue that no place on earth does more for the families and soldiers at fort hood, texas. i love to tell the story of being at a rotary club meeting back in 2003 or 2004, i don't
remember what it was, but i know that the fourth infantry division was deployed overseas from fort hood at that time and it was about march, maybe somewhere around that time, when i was going to make a talk to that rotary club, it's a huge club, meets in the morning, hundreds of people were there. and one of the rotarians got up and said, ladies and gentlemen, i want to remind you our soldiers are deployed, baseball season is starting, our coaches for our little league, politico and other leagues where our kidded play baseball are over fighting aer with to protect our freedom and we need coaches. so the up to us rotarians to stand in for those fathers and mothers who will not be able to coach their kids. now that's the community that thinks outside the box to make sure that the kids of the families of these deployed soldiers can live as normal a life as they can while their soldiers are deployed. i wanted to tell that you story,
members, because it tells you the heart of the fort hood community in an easy story. but when i was meeting with the mayor today, you don't realize the ramifications of something like what this major hasan did. first, he very quickly realized after the shooting and the days and weeks that came after the shooting that you had a lot of soldiers saying to themselves, wait a minute, this guy wasn't in some other army, this guy was in my army, he was in the same uniform i wear and he shot my brother and sister soldiers and killed them. and he was targeting soldiers to kill them. now, that plays upon the psyche of soldiers. now, let me explain to you how important this is at fort hood,
texas. because we have the fourth infantry division that deploys out of there, three corps command and the first cavalry division as well as various other organizations, all of these folks have been deployed multiple times. the people that are stationed at fort hood are war fighters. and they have been involved in this war since its inception. and they will continue to do their duty which is a great strain upon their families and a great strain upon these individual soldiers but they do it because it's the right thing to do and they know that. these are a great generation, these are heroes, real, true heroes. and, you know what? just doing any job that's that stressful that many times repetitive, whereas upon you're getting shot at or blown up, so
this is a highly stressed, highly strung-out community. when this happened at fort hood first responders from all the surrounding communities headed to fort hood, swat teams headed to fort hood and if you recall, if you were listening during the play by play as it was being developed, you heard people say, there are some who say there were three shooters and so they're looking for the other two. well, what i didn't realize until i was talking to the mayor is, i think 26 miles from fort hood, he said, that they -- because they didn't know that the other shooters had gotten out of the post and were loose in the community, they locked down all the schools where there were soldiers' children just in case this was a plan to spread
out and kill family members. and so we had some high school down to elementary school children locked down in the schools and we were keeping people out and their parents couldn't pick them up and the first responders' communication systems were overwhelmed with concerned parents from two full counties, 300,000 people. so what this man did at fort hood, that -- at frlt hood that day frightened -- at fort hood that day frightened all the kids in two counties and there are tens of thousands of kids going to those schools in those counties. multiple four and five a high schools which are our largest high schools in texas, they were locked down. i tell you all this because i want you to know that this was a truly, not just a traumatic event for the army, this was a
traumatic event for the people who support the army and for the families who support -- who are supported by the people who support the army. now, the mental health professionals came in droves and a lot of great work was done and i praise everyone who did that. but when i heard that story about these little kids locked down, let's take some little sixth grade kid or fifth grade kid or maybe some small first grade kid who had the trauma of all of a sudden the doors were locked in his school and his mama couldn't pick him up or her mama couldn't pick her up. now, and then they start hearing why, there's been somebody shot over at fort hood. now, all these kids have soldiers at fort hood. who are their parents. some of them have two parents that are soldiers at fort hood. now there's got to be here in the hearts of these little -- fear in the hearts of these
little kids and they want to know what happened and when school's out and people are talking about it and they're watching it on television and they're trying to figure out what happened, and i'm sure parents tried to sit down and explain it, where they calmed the little children down. but i'm going to argue tonight that a recent report that was put out by a commission, was appointed by the obama administration, to tell us about the incident at fort hood, i would say, if you read that report, or you explain that report to little kids who were locked down at fort hood, you wouldn't even know that mr. major nadal hasan -- nidal hasan gave every indication that he was a radical islamic muslim terrorist because the not discussed in this report.
and it should be. i don't know who pulled the strings on this but i know who's responsible and that's the administration. we learned all kinds of things the army needs to do differently, all kinds of things they need to talk about, the chain of command, yada, yada, yada, as my college-aged girl would say, but we didn't hear anything about radical islam, we didn't hear anything about this because, i would argue, and i think there are people across this country that are arguing, that it was because the political correctness. political correctness. excuse me, at some point in time it's just good intelligence, good police work to look at the -- what makes up the chances are the next terrorist attack and to
ignore it and to act like it -- you can't talk about it, because you might hurt somebody's feelings, i tried sitting here tonight to remember as far back as i could, and i don't know how many years ago it was when the munich olympics was, but that was a radical muslim terrorist attack and every attack since that time has been a radical muslim terrorist attack, so why can't we talk about the fact that our enemy seems to be, good intelligence seems to tell us, is radical islamic terrorists? why in the world can you write a report about a guy who walked down a peaceable line, some of the people checking in from being at war, some people checking out to go to war, doing their everyday duty of getting through that process a process in, process out this guy walks down the line,
shooting soldiers in uniform. shouting out, allah achbar, god is great. which is a part of the declaration of that religion. i'm not talking about religion, but you can't talk about, you can't figure it out. so to write a report with this many americans killed, where they should have been safe, and this many americans wounded where they should have been safe, and not mention the profile of the guy that did the shooting, and to give me the excuse when i ask the question, well, we're afraid it will mess up their murder case. let me tell you, i'll state this again for the record. if you've got a law degree, and you're supposed to be able to practice law and you can't prove a murder case where
you've got 200 eyewitnesses, you need to send your law degree back to law school and turn in your bar card because you're an ineffective lawyer. there are at least 200 people that witnessed this guy shooting these folks. so i mean, give me a break. they don't have any problem tots prove this case. that's not a reason not to talk about who did the shooting or who is alleged to do it. i'm an old judge, use the term alleged, that's fine, but they don't talk about who is allege to have had done the shooting or what kind of person that was. what do we know about him now that i have to give our news organizations credit? we know he acted erratically for months before the attack, that he promoted radical islamic views while at walter reed hospital, they exchanged -- that he exchanged emails with a yemen cleric which we
read about every day in the newspaper, one of the now major promoters of terrorism. those -- no action was taken against him when he would have debates with other members of the military and his position was, what our soldiers were doing in iraq and afghanistan was worse than what terrorist attacks do. or the 9/11 attack. that the 9/11 attack doesn't equal america's war fighting efforts. and nobody reported him? in fact, they promoted him? to get him out of their hair, to move him to another duty station so they didn't have to put up with him. and it was all about islamic terrorism and yet our government writes a report, just failed to mention it.
and what's really amazing, really amazing to me, i mean, there are a lot of people pointing fingers at me and saying, that guy is a right-wing backo, i won't shy away from the right wing part of it, i'll shy away from the wacko part, but i'll tell you, who else has raised this question? kind of interesting. "time" magazine has raised the question. an article, "hourt hood reports: why no mention of islam." that's not a famous right-wing radical group. i would call them leaning pretty hard to the left. here's another one, you sure wouldn't consider people at the san francisco crnical to be -- "san francisco chronicle" to be right wing radicals, but political correction on fort hood at the pentagon. it's about why didn't they talk about who this guy was. so let's -- that's one of the
things, i see i'm joined by one of my dear friends who is always there for me, phil gingrey from georgia, he and i are classmates, he always has something good to say. doc, i yield you whatever time you'd like to use. mr. gingrey: i'm glad to be with you tonight, talking about a very, very serious issue, i'll make the light comment before i begin and say my good friend from texas is not a right-wing wacko, he's just a regular wacko. i'm a right-wing wacko from georgia but george cart -- judge carter is not right-wing or a wacko, mr. speaker. what he's talking about tonight is extremely important. i hope our colleagues on both sides of the aisle are listening. i know that my former colleagues on the house armed services committee listen very carefully ever since this incident occurred and now, of
course, the judge is talking about this 50-page report that our secretary of defense, robert gates, ordered, commissioned to be done, by former army secretary and former chief of naval operations and judge carter, mr. speaker, i think expresses the view of probably most members of the house armed services committee. i can't put words in their mouth. but i've served with them for six years. love being on that committee led by the great chairman ike skeleton and our ranking mc-- ike skelton and our ranking member mckeon. it's probably the most bipartisan committee in the house of representatives, i bet that's true on the senate side as well. judge carter is disappointed in this report, and i'm disappointed in this report. when we heard about this tragedy at fort hood, in the great state of texas, at this
army military installation which probably is the epitome of the army-military installation, when you think about the army, you think about fort benning, the home of the infrantry in my great state of georgia, down in columbus, and you think about fort hood, probably the first two that come to your mind. but we were briefed, all members of the house of representatives, all 435 of us, had an opportunity to go to a briefing that the military, the people from fort hood, commanders, i forget their names, probably good i don't remember the names, because i don't want to use them here tonight but they were telling us, well, look, we responded correctly. mr. speaker, this is exactly what they said. the response to this incident, you would be proud, members of congress. you would be proud. everything we got all the emergency teams in wellocked down, he's talking about
locking down the schools and all that, making sure the kids were safe and you know they went on for about 30 minute december scribing how this -- the response to this tragic attack, where this guy kills 14 and wounds 43 before we were able to take -- able to take him down and i want to say, of course that we salute the heroism that was shown that day at fort hood, i don't know who they were, but judge carter probably does and god bless them for what they did but my concern at the time was, how do we have ourselveses in a situation where -- ourselves in a situation where anybody that goes nuts, of course we know that this situation was far more than just an incident of somebody going nuts, and that's the purpose of the hour tonight, the judge is talking about. but you know, we should have been able to take this guy out, you would think, after he had shot three or four people at the most.
but that's kind of another story, mr. speaker. i was so concerned that when i heard that briefing, shortly after the incident, that it was like the military was telling us, you know, you should be proud of the fact that we responded after the fact. and that's my whole point, judge, in sharing a little bit of this time with you. it was like locking the barn door after the horse is long gone and that's what we did. we did a good job of that. but what the judge is talking a bt here tonight, mr. speaker is that you, when you have clear evidence that someone is a radical, has become radicalized, and you have this information and you don't share it and indeed, as was pointed out tonight, major hasan was promoted during this time, just right up through the ranks, no
holds on his promotion, no concern, because of, yes, i'll say it, political correctness. they did not want to be in a position where, let's say somebody could lose their job because they were calling out someone, blowing the whistle and saying, this guy is showing signs of islamic extremism, and we need to connect these dots and somebody needs to examine this person and let a psychiatrist see him, the psychiatrist, dr. hasan, doctor, you can't treat yourself, you need some help. i think that what the judge is saying, mr. speaker, is that we have got to stop this political correctness nonsense. we did the same thing, i think, in my humble opinion, on christmas day with the understoodie bomber, when a
decision was made -- with the undie bomber, when a decision was made after 50 minutes or so, when they talked to someone in the justice department, most likely the attorney general, eric holder, saying, all right, this is not a terrorist. let's mirandaize this guy, he immediately gets lawyered up, as the saying goes, and shuts on the advice of counsel. we're just -- i was reading judge carter, today, i yield right back to you here in a second, i was looking over the budget, the $3.8 trillion budget proposal which the president delivered to congress on monday, and in that budget, the line item section in regard to what we have always called rks and i think the world has known, the global war on terrorism and the amount of money we want to fund for that, we call it overseas contingency
operations. or some such nonsense like that. nowhere in that budget, no matter how many hundreds of billions of dollars we need to fight that war do we call it a war on terror. oh, god, no, god forbid we do that, it's politically incorrect, we don't want to offend anybody. i say call a spade a spade and that's exactly what judge carter is trying to point out to our colleagues tonight and make sure people understand, if we are serious about protecting the security of this country, we are going to stop this nonsense and call a spade a spade and fight terrorism where we find it. >> reclaiming my time, we're going to call a terrorist a terrorist and say who he is, where he comes from and if religion has a part in it, what religion has a part in it. we cannot afford, it's bad police work, if nothing else to
ignore that evidence. what do you tell the kid in copperas cove in the high school when his dad deployed and he asks his mom, wasn't this guy a soldier, he was a -- i can't say what kind of soldier he was, because we've got to be politically incorrect, but yes, he was a soldier. then how do i know my dad is safe with other soldiers? how do i know? that's the kind of thing -- mr. gingrey: i don't know whether you pointed out, before i got to the floor, but this guy, major hasan, was quoted as saying that sharia law should trump the united states constitution. am i correct on that? mr. carter: that's correct. this guy was radicalized and now we're hearing only from the news sources, not from the people in the administration that should be informing the public about this, but from news sources about how radicalized he was by
conversations he's had. in fact, a member of this house called a relative who was in the medical school at the earment, happened to know the guy in medical school and said clear back in medical school he was talking about this stuff. that means we gave him, by the way, we paid for his medical education. the good doctor from georgia can tell you, that's no small ticket there. but we took this man and put him through education, educated him through university, medical school, all of his specialty stuff. the army paid for that. you did, taxpayers paid for that. even then he was talking like this. why can't we start being honest with ourselves to talk about these people? that's the issue. you mention the christmas day bombing. my good friend, dr. burgess, maybe he doesn't want me to tell you this, but here's a
guy, ought to be the easiest guy in the world to interrogate he just set himself on fire in his crotch area. his choice is, go back to yemen and get treated over there, or be treated by the best medical community on earth, it wouldn't be hard to say, tell us what you know, we'll get you the best doctors, best reconstructive surgeons in america, and we are the best. the guy would be grateful, it would seem to me. so once again, though, i would argue, we're playing the political correctness game. we wouldn't do the same thing for a regular criminal defendant, i'll tell you that, i'll tell you that. so, it's different. and i worry about the fact and that comment about overseas contingency, if they can't
identify the war on terror as the war on terror then we've got some black and white-striped cats that they're welcome to come down to texas and pet those cats because they're really skunks. if you don't want to call them a skunk, call them a pussy the -- pussycat and start playing with them and see what happens to you. that's the same thing that happens with terrorists. if you don't call them a terrorist and point out what ideology is driving their thinking, then what are you going to do to identify your enemy and defeat your enemy? if you're not even going to call them an enemy, what are we doing? >> thank you, judge. and i want to thank mr. carter for introducing two pieces of legislation. i hope he'll discuss that with our members tonight in regard to both the whistle blower protection enhancement act, h.r. 4267, is the number of that
bill, mr. speaker, and then the other one, equally important, are the fort hood families benefits protection act, h.r. 4088, i know judge carter, representative carter, will talk about that, as a great member who is actually co-chairman of the house army caucus. so, this is a labor of love on the part of this member, mr. speaker, and i can understand how upset he must be, as we all are, regarding this 50-page report here again, i mean, distinguished co-chairs, the former army secretary, the former chief of naval operations , who were charged by our secretary of defense, secretary gates, to, in a very kindly
manner, to produce this 50-page report. but, you know, mr. speaker, this report again is not -- not a word in there in regard to terrorism, islamic extremism. it's -- i don't know whether they scrubbed it before they did the report or they scrubbed it after they did the report, but it's so disappointing to see that, you know, you spend all that time saying, well, you know, maybe we need to stream line the way the sergeant talks to the lieutenant and the lieutenant talks to the captain and the captain talks to the major and the majors talk to the colonels and lieutenant colonels and then finally we get the information to the generals and to the admirals. you know, that's all well and good, but it's almost like a deliberate attempt to miss the
point. the point is, as judge carter has pointed out, mr. speaker, is that we are dealing with an individual, in the case of major hasan, that is a terrorist. he has been radicalized, the judge has pointed out that there was information even from his time in the army medical school that he made radical statements. i mentioned just a second ago that he was quoted as saying that shari'a law should trump our constitution. well, you know, when you're commissioned as an officer in the military, when you enlist in the military you make a ledge -- pledge of fidelity to this country and so, you know, the warning sign was there. i will go back to the time, mr. speaker, when john and i,
representative carter, judge carter and i, were members in the 108th congress, and the 9/11 issue had occurred shortly before we got here and the families of those victims, over 3,000, insisted that we form a commission, a 9/11 commission, and we really look into this. i mean, quite honestly president bush at the time was a little reluctant, felt like the department of homeland security and the c.i.a. and the military intelligence could do all that, but in any regard, a commission was formed and we were told by the commissioners that this was a problem in regard to islamic extremism and we needed to do something about it and to then come along with this report that was commissioned by secretary gates, think i, is a tremendous disservice and disappointment, and i yield back to judge carter. mr. carter: i thank my friend for yielding. i thank my friend for visiting these two bills that we've got out here.
i tried a whistle blower case back about mid 1990 sometime, very interesting case, won't go into the details, but it involved some organizations that were major political players and major financial players in texas and a little small accountant who made a right statement but stepped on some toes so they fired the guy, when the truth was he was telling them -- that there was a lot of money they were losing. and it showed me why we had whistle blower laws. so the one guy who discovers a wrong can be comfortable and go in to right that wrong without fear of retaliation of getting fired because he told about something that the big boys didn't like. well, we've got this military
whistle blower protection enhancement act that protects military personnel from any negative action for reporting any regulation or law violation, proposed protection for reporting ideologically-based threats or actions, a service member reasonably believes could be counterproductive or detrimental to the united states interest or security. basically what we're saying to the ordinary soldier, to sold -- to a soldier that was going through medical school to mr. hasan to the soldier that was stationed with mr. hasan when he was a second lieutenant and then a first lieutenant, and then a captain, and as he got promoted to major, that somebody didn't have a fear that something would happen to them -- to their military career if they reported this guy was talking radical ideas to service people. and, you know, this wasn't -- he wasn't preaching religion to
them, he was talking that blowing people up was good, fighting a conventional war against terrorists was bad. i mean, that's the kind of way he was talking. this has nothing to do with the muslim religion, it had to do with terrorism being the right way to straighten out america. excuse me, he was educated by the united states military, kills me to hear that. so, i hope we can get some action on it, i hope we can get it written into law and we'll be working on it and feel confident, i have a lot of folks that are co-signers of that bill. this other one is pretty simple, too, really. what we had, and i can say this almost without -- and i don't know the names and backgrounds of every one of these soldiers, but i talked to several of them and the general consensus is,
everybody that got shot was either a -- was either -- had just come back from iraq or getting ready to deploy again to either iraq or afghanistan. and the reason there were mixed units that day at that center is because norm alley you go through as a group as they deploy, but these were the guys who were absent for some purpose, they were on the training range, something else, so they had to go make up by getting all their paperwork shuffled to get ready to deploy. that's why you heard, it wasn't just one outfit that had all the deaths, it was multiple outfits around the army, because there were multiple outfits stationed at fort hood. anyway, i would argue these were warriors either returning from the war or going to the war. and the enemy soldier, terrorist , disguised in a uniform of the united states military walked into our warriors as they were
peacefully getting ready to process paper and started killing soldiers. and i would argue that's -- i do argue that's a combat situation. whether you're killing our soldier in afghanistan or iraq or whether you're killing a soldier in a center in fort hood, if your intent is to kill soldiers, to keep them out of the war against terror, you are killing -- you are an enemy combatant killing our soldiers. therefore they should be treated with combat respect. that should be -- this incident should be like we did for the -- what happened at the pentagon when it was attacked at 9/11. we declared that to be an incident in combat in the war on terror and the people who did heroic acts there received the appropriate medals and the appropriate benefits for being injured or killed in a combat zone. i think fort hood and the incident that happened with major hasan should be a combat
zone -- be declared by -- and i'm trying to do it by statute, but it's been done by an act of the defense department and i think it's time for it to be done. there are a lot of purple hearts that are awarded. there are a lot of folks that should get civilian medals, there were active duty civilians in the misfires, and there are benefits that attach to being killed in combat and i think these people ought to get it. just because they just got back from another country, but they got shot in our country by an enemy soldier, i would argue they still ought to be treated as if they were wounded in combat. i yield. mr. gingrey: if the gentleman would yield. i thank, mr. speaker, i thank judge carter for yielding. and i don't think that the logic of this legislation is a stretch in any way. i'm sitting here listening, mr.
speaker, i'm listening -- listening to my colleague from texas describe this bill, fort hood families benefit protection act, h.r. 4088, i would think that you ought to get 434 votes, if not 435 in the house of representatives, and 100 in the senate, judge, is my opinion, because that islamic extremist, and as you say, camouflaged in an army uniform, with officer's insignia on that uniform, is every bit of an islamic extremist as those characters in afghanistan, in iraq who aided and abetted i think by iran in many instances that make those improvised explosive devices, that put them in the ground,
that detonate them cowardly in a row mote fashion and blow our young men and women to smith recented and i've had over 30 from my congressional district, the 11th of georgia, pay the last full measure and that's what these 14 that were killed and 43 -- the number is -- or whatever the number is in fort hood, same thing, exact same thing. and so, judge carter, mr. speaker, i comment him, i think he's absolutely right, they should have a status to ensure full benefits and eligibility for the purple heart and a civilian equivalent award for those who were civilians. they were killed not by just some ordinary nut, they were killed by an islamic extremist in the same fashion that our men and women are being killed in afghanistan and iraq. mr. carter: that's exactly right and reclaiming my time, once
again -- and i know you said this, but it was said at the time and although i understand why it was said, i think it was inappropriate. a statement was made, i certainly hope that the incident at fort hood doesn't affect the army's diversity program. excuse me. we had folks that had risked their lives for our country killed in their own backyard by an islamic terrorist and i think that's not the time to be worrying about somebody else's feelings getting hurt because we're talking about this guy being an islamic terrorist. he is. that's the facts. why can't we talk about it? i've often wondered, i understand people talking about profiling and what they're talking about is in its ultimate
extent to what offends people is situations in our historic past where there's been a shooting on the square, it's been identified it was an african-american, round up all african-americans. because the profile is, african-americans. that's where the whole idea of profiling -- and you can expand it to american indians, hispanic, vietnamese, identifying a whole group as evil because one is bad. and that's bad. and that's not -- and the police will tell you, that's not good police work. but if the shooter is wearing a uniform, answers to the name of hasan and 200 people can
identify him in a lineup, you should talk about what the guy looks like where he comes from, what his background is and what motivated him to do this, which is a radical religious belief. bottom line. that's not being politically incorrect. that's being intelligent. i'm sorry. it's just common sense. one thing i tell people back in texas, i'm sure my friend in georgia gets frustrated with it too, sometimes, inside this beltway the thing we like the most seem -- the thing we lack the most seems to be common sense most of the time. but the average american people know this and i think the members of the house know that the folks back home know that this is something the administration should have addressed. secretary gates ordered it but he's part of and takes his orderers from the command for the chief and they should be held responsible for their yielding the truth to political correctness. it's not the right thing to do. it harms those people who
fearfully, today, as i'm talking, are standing in harm's way on my maff, on your behalf, on everyone's behalf. they're doing the hard job. there's a movie out that's really realistic. i'm not going to quote it because i'm not trying to promote movies, but it makes you feel the stress that soldiers have to deal with when they have these explosive devices and have to deal with the explosive devices. it was so tense my wife covered her head with a pillow because she couldn't stand the tension from it. and when you think about it and say, we eat in the mess hall at fort hood with these guys, they go through it every day. what she covered her head with a pillow with, these kids -- kids -- they deal with it every day.
they're not kids anymore when they go over there, they are men and women of courage and honor and they understand what it means to be courageous. so i think it's wrong for us to avoid describing our enemy to keep from stepping on somebody's toes. i have nothing against any -- and when i say all this, let me preface this or finish up by saying, this is not about a religion. it's about a criminal defendant. and his i.d. and that's the way we should treat it. for that reason, i have raised this issue. i'll yield some more time to my friend from georgia if he wishes to speak. mr. gingrey: mr. speaker, i thank the gentleman again for yielding and i just wanted to quote some of my friends on the armed services committee, the ranking member, actual, also on -- actually on the education
and labor committee, colonel john kline. he's a subcommittee chairman, i believe, on armed services as well, been there since we were elected in the 108th back in 2003. so he has eight years, this is his eighth year on the armed services committee, very appropriate that john kline is there because of his service in the united states marines. but here's what judge carter, here's what colonel kline said, mr. speaker. i want to quote this. the american people recognize that the 9/11 commission was correct when it said that we have an enemy and it's islamic extremism. their words. and the concern is that we may not be paying attention to the fact that the alleged perpetrator was in fact an
islamic extremist. end of quote. judge carter is telling us, mr. speaker, and certainly i agree with him, this is not about diversity, the importance of diversity in the military, beall thauns. we all understand -- we all understand that. we all understand that. we are great men and women of all kinds of religious backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds. they swear as we do, as members of congress, to uphold the constitution and defend this country. and that will continue to be held in common. but this business of being politically correct for fear of offending, by not being able to say he did it and here is the evidence, and everybody knows it, and for fear that you're going to get reprimanded and that's what judge carter's other bill is all about, mr. speaker, so i thank him for
giving me the opportunity to join a good friend on the floor to encourage our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. there are 95 co-sponsors, i hope tomorrow there'll be 150 and the next day there'll be 300 and when we -- this comes to a vote and hopefully it will, we'll get -- maybe we can put it on the suspension calendar, it'll pass without controversy. i yield back to my friend. mr. carter: i thank my friend for that comment. what a heartwarming experience that would be for the families and soldiers, some of the soldiers who were there and are now in the combat zone to know that this congress said we recognize this was a combat situation we acknowledge it. unanimously. hard to get unanimous around here. but it would be nice. well, this is all part of my, and i thank my friend for his participation. this is all part of my chance
that i get every now and then to talk about the rule of law and doing what's right and identifying what's wrong in this country and not being afraid to speak out and to point out where things are wrong. i want to end -- i want to end by saying that this is a wrong that needs to be righted and this house and the defense department has the ability to right this wrong and we should do it. i think -- i want you to know that secretary gates, i consider him a friend, i have the highest respect for him, i have the highe -- i had the highest respect for him when he was the top man at t a&m university when i represented that wonderful institution and i still have the highest regard for him but i do criticize and will continue to criticize this letting political correctness interfere with making correct statements about what happened
so that if nothing else, the kids of these people in the army who know that a major shot other people will have a good explanation as to why he did it. and what the indications are as to why he did it. so they're not worried about their mom or dad getting shot by another guy in uniform. that's a tragic situation. i want to thank the speaker for allowing me to have this time, i hope we can right this wrong and hope that we can let common sense and right over wrong prevail in these two bills and in letting our heroes know what the right thing to do is and that we're going to do it. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the chair
recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. burgess, for 60 minutes. mr. burgess: i thank the speaker for the recognition. here we are, the end of another workday on capitol hill, snowy night outside in the nation's capital and we are having a conversation, you and i, here on the house floor, i'll do most of the talking but i know that my remarks must be addressed to the chair and they certainly are adressed to the chair but mr. speaker, both you and i know that people can listen in on our conversation
because the cameras of c-span are here in the chamber and although they don't record the faces and the presence of everyone else on both sides of the aisle who are here in the chamber, they do record what we say here and they do record the conversation that goes on between us and people across the country, whether it be late at night as it is here in the east coast or early in the evening as it is in the mountain states or west coast, the people across the country have an opportunity to tune in and see what is happening on the floor of the people's house in their nation's capital. and it almost seems like it's always been that way, but it hasn't. march 19, 1979, if i've done my research correctly, was the first broadcast of the proceedings from the floor of the house. not quite 30 years ago in fact, we'll have the 30-year anniversary here in a few weeks, i suspect that will be a big celebration, of the c-span
cameras coming to cover the activities of the house, the other body as well, high-level meetings that go on here on capitol hill and meetings that are of import in state legislatures across the country. it is the public service access channel for all things government and people of my generation, people who came of age during the nixon administration and the watergate years and the excesses of some of these activities, people of my generation equate c-span with good governance. c-span is sort ofke the rainbow after the rainstorm which is the promise that we will never have to to go through that again because c-span is there, and c-span will keep the lights on and c-span will keep the sunshine in on the legislative process and if what we are doing here in the people's house is not to the people's liking, they shall be aware of it and they shall
be able to register their displeasure and change some of our faces -- faces if they can't change our hearts, such is the ideal in the american democracy system of c-span is important. c-span is equivalent with good governance. c-span is equivalent with open governance. and that's why many of us, toward the end of the year, all of the things that were happening the end of december, beginning of january, were somewhat taken aback by the fact that brian lam, chief executive officer of c-span, wrote a letter to the white house and said, hey, let's bring the cameras in to all these health care negotiations that are going on in the capitol and the white house and points in between, we'll provide the camera, you provide the discussion and the american people can tune in if they like and see if they like what they see or not. and of course, mr. lam's invitation was declined by both the white house and the democratic leadership in both the house and the senate and
the cameras stayed off and the deals were done in the dark and as a consequence, arguably, that's one of the reasons why the health care bill still languishes out there somewhere, no one is sure what it's health or state is today and i submit to you, despite the effects of the election in massachusetts two weeks ago, one of the main drivers of the lack of success was the lack of transparency during that debate and during that process. it has been a year full of twists and turns as we watch how health care policy has risen and fallen and risen again and then fallen again through the course of many twists and turn this is past year. but c-span should have been there. in fact, we were promised that c-span would be there. we weren't promised it once or twice, or three times. we were promised over and over
again. we weren't promised that c-span would be there by myself, mr. speaker, or yourself, mr. speaker, we were promised that c-span would be in the room by the person who was then the candidate for the highest elected office in the land who ultimately won that office and was inaugurated a little over a year ago. barack obama repeatedly said that he would invite the c-span cameras into the room, have everyone around a big table, everyone will get to see who is on who's side and who's on the side of special interest and who is on the side of the people because c-span will be there and crferings span will report dispassionately and people will be able to make up their own minds, the ultimate we report, you decide scenario. but it didn't happen that way. as a consequence, whether you liked the health care legislation or didn't like the health care legislation, as a consequence, right now, its fate is very, very much in imlow -- limbo. what i wanted to do tonight is take us through some of the history that has gone on over the past year.
i want to talk specifically about something that happened in my committee, the committee on energy and commerce, last week on wednesday, when we heard a resolution of inquiry in the committee and what the result of that hearing was and what the -- and what people can actually look to next. but interwoven through the entire process is the fact that the whole reason we're having this discussion is because the lights were turned off, the cameras were silenced and the american people could not participate if they so chose in at least the observation of the debate in the observation of the deal making, if you will, that occurred in both the house and the senate and the white house as this bill worked its way -- worked its way through the process. so it's no wonder the people were skeptical of this bill last summer. we heard about that in the summer town halls. it's no wonder they were skeptical of this bill as it
came through the house in november and then the senate on christmas eve and then it's no wonder people continued to be skeptical as it worked its way ultimately to the nondecision that it has achieved today. so here we have the quote from brian lamb on december 30, 2009, the c.e.o. of c-span, brian lamb, sent a letter to the congressional leadership requesting that they, quote, open all important negotiations including any conference, committee meetings, to electronic media coverage because the legislation will affect the lives of every single american. i would just add to that, every single american for the next three generations at least. so far-reaching was the scope of the legislation to be considered. you know, several years ago, long before i was in any way active in politics, the first
president bush, the 41st president of the united states, made a very famous statement that perhaps he came to regret afterwards which was, read my lips, no new taxes. that one quote was replayed over and over and over again and it may have at least participated in the events that cost the 41st president a second term in office. and we had the situation this past two years, while the current president was running, where he repeatedly made statements about his commitment to transparency, about a new way of governing and, oh, by the way, we'll throw the doors and the windows open, invite the c-span cameras in and you'll all be able to see what has transpired. going back on that word, i submit, will be every bit as significant as the read my lips quote.
the read my lips quote has become. well, let's go through a few of these because, again, they are important. while the themes, they're all very similar, there are differences. first one, this is january, twathe, at the democratic debate -- 2008, at the democratic debate. not negotiating behind closed doors but bringing all parties together and broadcasting those negotiations on c-span so the american people can see what the choices are because part of what we have to do is enlist the american people in this process. january, 2008, the democratic debate. the second quotation on this board, these negotiations will be on c-span, the public will be a part of the conversation and will see the choices that are being made, january, 2008. to an editorial board at "san francisco chronicle." important concepts that the then presidential candidate and now president discussed at those
venues, important concepts that he emphasized multiple times during the runup to the presidential election. the third quote in our series, i respect what the clintons tried to do in 1993 in moving health reform forward but they made one really big mistake and that is, they took all their people and all their experts into a room and then they closed the door. we will work on this process publicly. it will be on c-span, it will be streaming over the net. november 14, 2008. on a google question and answer. this was after -- after the equal presidential election had been won by -- equal presidential election had been won by -- actual presidential election had been won by obama that this quote was made. i stop for an observation here for a moment.
i was a physician in practice in 1993 and 1994 when the clintons very famously took everyone, the 500 folks, behind closed doors and made all these deals. it was kind of a little bit of levity around the doctors' lounge that one day a doctor would be elected president of the united states and bring 500 other doctors into a room and lock them all together and help figure out a way that we could figure out how much to pay lawyers in the future. ok, that's my attempt at human for the night, mr. speaker -- humor for the night, mr. speaker. number four, we'll have these negotiations televised on c-span so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who is making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. august 8, 2008, virginia town hall. this is probably -- you of all of the series of quotes, this is one of the most important because, again, the presidential candidate was saying, look, these negotiations are going to be going on, you're going to
have people around the table, member of congress, senators, and, yes, the special interests will be there. in this case, the drug companies were mentioned. in this case the insurance companies were mentioned. there are other special interest groups, of course, unions that negotiate through competitive bidding, negotiate insurance contracts, they might have an interest. an organization like the american association of retired persons that sells insurance, they might have an interest around the table. but nevertheless the special interests will be there because after all this is washington, d.c., and the very least of the people should ask is that the cameras be turned on and the event be filmed so that they can watch it as it occurs or they can refer back to it after the fact. many of these videos, of course, would be captured in perpetuity on youtube or some other site, so the american people would have had an ability to look in
there and engage for themselves, hey, is my senator really arguing more on behalf of the people of his or her state or are they arguing more on behalf of the drug company or the insurance company, medical device company, or the labor union? we didn't get that chance. we didn't get that chance. it was promised to us, but not delivered. number five, but here's the thing, we're going to do all these negotiations on c-span so that the american people will be able to watch these negotiations, march 1, 2008, state of ohio town hall. number six, we will have a public process for forming this plan. it will be televised on c-span. i can't guarantee you that it
will be exciting, so that not everyone will be watching, but it will be transparent and it will be accountable to the american people. november 27, 2007, teen sentinel. number seven, i want the negotiations to take place on c-span. may, 2008, "st. petersburg times." number eight, i'll put forward my plan, but what i'll say is, look, if you've got better ideas, i'm happy to listen to them, but all this will have to be done on c-span in front of the public. april 25, 2008, "indiana town hall," what a great idea, mr. speaker, i simply could not agree with you more. well, mr. speaker, as it turns out, in may of last year, may
11, the white house, the white house engaged in a major stakeholder meeting at the beginning of this health reform debate. the attendees at the white house in may were the advanced medical technology association, the american medical association, america's health insurance plans, the pharmaceutical research and manufacturers of america, the american hospital association, the service employees international union. now, each of these individuals was there because, number one, they provide a service to the american people and they had a very strong interest in the -- in the process going forward of what was going to happen with health care reform. so i don't fault any of these groups to responding to the call of the white house, hey, will you come down here and talk to us as we get this process started because we don't -- we don't want to leave anyone not included in this process? so i think the fact that these
six groups showed up down at the white house, i think that's fine, that's what the process was supposed to be about. now, when these participants emerged from the meeting, an agreement was announced that they would work to decrease by 1.5% the annual health care spending growth rate, saving upwards of $2 trillion over 10 years' time. since then, however, questions, questions that i have submitted, questions that others have submitted to the white house, as to how this would be accomplished, have simply been left unanswered. now, whatever happened down at the white house last may, call them gentlemen's agreements, back room negotiations, power politics, we know that they happened, what none of us in this chamber and none of us in the other body know is what was agreed to. along the way started to read and hear reports in the press about amendments being rejected in committee hearings and markups because of previously
agreed to deals. now, in the other body, in the senate finance committee's markup, senator nellson of -- nelson of florida introduced an amendment regarding drug prices. the senator from delaware, senator carper, arguing against that amendment said, whether you like phrma or not, we have a deal. we have a deal. well, what deal? who has a deal? where was the deal made and who was it made with? secondly, in the same markup, the finance committee endorsed a commission to slow medicare spending. now, i may not agree with the principle involved in that but nevertheless let's have this debate out in the open and let it win or lose on its merits but in that same markup, in the senate finance committee, they endorsed a commission to slow medicare spending. however, the bill had to be rescored and rewritten, had to go back to the congressional budget office to be rescored, to
exclude hospitals because, according to congress daily d, quote, they already negotiated a cost-cutting agreement, closed quote, with the white house. they had a deal. they had a deal. what deal? who made that deal? under whose authority was that deal made? number three, senators dorgan and mccain introduced a floor amendment on prescription drug reimportation in december. according to the hill d, the newspaper that -- according to "the hill," the newspaper that's circulated up here on the capitol, according to "the hill," quote, a deal between the white house and the pharmaceutical industry held up and helped them beat the amendment. what deal? with who? on whose authority was this deal made? now, for all my affection for senator mccain, i disagree with him about reimportation, but at the same time, let's have that debate, let's have that debate,
let the people hear what the pros and cons are, but let's not carve up a deal behind closed doors, even though my position arguably won in that exchange, that doesn't make me feel any better. that some sort of deal was cut behind closed doors, that then would not allow reimportation to be included or considered in the process. you know, mr. speaker, here's the frustration as a member of congress, the press seems to know more about these deals and this process than any of us in this body or the other body, the press knows more about this stuff than we do. now, while the democratic majority was pushing a health reform bill through both chambers of congress and members were expected to debate these far-reaching bills, the real deals were being cut down at the white house, the real deals were being cut down in the speaker's office or over in the majority leader's office, with ample input by the white house, i
might add, but all behind closed doors and very few people in the room besides a few select members of the house, a few select members of the senate, of course the people from the white house, and of course respective staff members from those offices. but none, none of us who were elected by the good and long-suffering people of the united states of america to represent their interests. none of us were included in that process on either side. now i'm saying this as a republican, we're in the minority, ok, we lost the last election, may be we don't deserve a -- maybe we don't deserve a place on the table. well what about democrats? shouldn't democrats who are freshmen, democrats who have been here four terms, five terms, six terms, shouldn't they have had at least the opportunity to know what was going on in those deals? to the best any of us know, no one, no one from either side outside of a few select persons in democratic leadership in the house and the senate and of course the white house were
involved in those negotiations. they clearly, clearly circumvented the legislative process. now, the six groups that i referenced early in this discussion, while they were meeting at the white house our very own committee on energy and commerce was marking up what at the time was called h.r. 3200 with which was the original health care bill that went through all three committees of jurisdiction in the house, a 1,000-page bill that eventually got a lot longer, but while we were marking it up this stuff was going on down at the white house and, again, none of us, none of us knew any of these things. now, how can our markup be viewed with any integrity if the real deals were being cut at the white house? and then i'll tell you something else and this is particularly, particularly troubling. we worked on that bill in good faith in committee, i submitted -- i can't tell you how many amendments, i prepared 50, a lot
of my amendments were shot down along party lines, ok, i get that. that's what the whole keel deal about partisan makeup is, that's why elections are important and, mr. speaker, i hope people pay attention to that fact. but i did get some amendments accepted and some of those passed on a voice vote where there was no objection from the other side. one in particular was a bill that took part of the old concept of the patient bill of rights from the late 1990's that if we're going to have a public option insurance company we should have at least the opportunity, patients should at least have the opportunity for internal and external review, that is a review board from inside the insurance company or one outside the insurance company if they don't like the decision that was rendered so internal-external review were a very important part of what was called the patient bill of rights legislation, charlie norwood from georgia was the principal author of that concept, along with john dingell who is the chairman emeritus on our committee, so clearly a
bipartisan concept from within our committee. . it was accepted by the committee and mr. dingell and i spoke about it in committee and if nothing else, at least charlie norwood's legacy will be enclosed in this bill in the form of this amendment. but we passed a bill out of committee july 31. we went home for our summer recess. we had summer town halls, which are another story in and of themselves. people remember the excitement when the town halls were going on this summer and we come back in september and most of october and then we get a new copy of the bill. it's now 2,000 pages. added a lot of amendments in committee. yeah, but guess what?
the amendments were gone. they were struck from the bill. no discussion. no one called me up and said, look, we're sorry, but your amendments you offered in committee conflicts with some language in the bill. no discussion as to what occurred. and that amendment was removed from the bill. it wasn't just me or a personal vendetta against a junior member from texas. mr. walden who was going to be on the floor with me had amendments that he had gotten into the bill and those were struck at the same time. and you have to ask yourself, well, why would would you strike an amendment on external-internal review? what's the purpose? was it one of those six groups that were down at the white house that didn't like the language of the bill so it had to go out of there? someone in the speaker's office or speaker staff that had a problem that that language was
in there? was it a lingering bit of friction between the speaker and the chairman? no one knows what caused that relatively innocuous amendment to be stren from the bill. other amendments were stricken from the bill, too. was it because they crossed the line with some of the deals that were struck with the group of six individuals down at the white house? now, after months of frustration with working on the bill through committee and getting amendments in and having them struck, i sent a letter to the white house in september. and i requested full disclosure on what had happened in those meetings in may and june specifically to the following areas, number one, a list of agreements entered into between any and all individuals associated with the white house and any and all individuals, groups, associations, companies
or entities who are stake holders in health care reform as well as the nature, sum and substance of the agreements. number two, the name of any and all individuals associated with the white house who participated in the decision-making process during these negotiations and the names and dates and titles of meetings they participated in regarding negotiations with the ainformation mentioned entities in question one. so we wanted to know who was there and we wanted to know who negotiated and what the parameters of that negotiation were, who in the white house had the clout and the authority to make these decisions. and number three, the names of all individuals, groups, entities regarding health care reform who were denied a meeting. who were the stake holders locked out? we had six different groups around the table.
were there others there but were not permitted? question we don't know how to answer today. i noted in my letter during the democratic presidential debate on january 31, 2008, then candidate obama said, that's what i'll do in bringing all parties together, not negotiating behind closed doors but bringing all parties together and broadcasting those negotiations on c-span so that the american people can see what the choices are because part of what we have to do is enlist the american people in this process. you know what? i gee with the president. part of what we have to do is enlist the american people in this process. and can there be any doubt -- can there be any doubt after watching the anxiety in this country after watching the august town halls and the governor races in virginia and new jersey and two weeks ago the
senatoral returns in massachusetts can there be any doubt that they failed to enlist the american people in this process? and as a consequence, as a consequence, the american people have said and keep saying no, we don't want this health care bill. we don't trust 1,000-page bill. we don't trust a 2,000-page bill. they are out of the question. you guys never read it. you wouldn't take this insurance yourself. no way are we going to accept this. and underneath it all, underlying it all is that the american people were shut out of the room during the process after they had been promised, after they had been promised a front-row i'll seat to the proceedings on c-span. i sent that letter to the white house in september, answering that letter would have been the chance for the white house to
prove to america that this actually was a good campaign promise and they really were for transparency down at the white house. but i didn't get an answer. december 16, this house was rapidly trying to wrap up its business. the weather channel was forecasting a huge snowstorm for that weekend. everyone in the house of representatives wanted to get out of here and home to their district. they didn't want to be stuck here in the nation's capital for a single day necessary -- more than necessary and we were rapidly wrapping up our work. and on december 16, i introduced a resolution, house resolution 983 for people who want to look it up at home, because it became clear to me that the white house had no intention of responding to my bill. i introduced a bill that was a resolution of inquiry. this is an uncommon parliamentary tool. we don't have many fools at our
disposal -- many tools at our disposal, but realistically it was my only option. i had no place to go because i had been rebuffed by the white house and been rebuffed at the speaker's office. it was very important that the details of any negotiations made behind closed tools doors be made public. the integrity of the whole health care reform effort, the whole health reform legislation, the integrity of the legislation is in fact, at stake. president obama promised to run of the most transparent and open administration in history and his decision to sequester and to hide and obscure this information from congress and from the american people is, in
fact, indefensible. now on january 26, just last week, i got a letter from the white house. months of silence. 119 days from the date i sent the letter, right before the scheduled markup of the resolution of inquiry, i did receive a response from the white house. the response was 81 pages long. there was a two-page letter from the white house counsel. 24 pages printed off the white house website. anybody can print them off. thank you letter from the president to the six groups for showing up on may 11. there were some blog posts, some speech transcripts, some press releases, 18 pages of visitor logs, 37 pages of printoffs from web sites of the six groups. and you know, mr. speaker, i was
pleased to get a response from the white house, but, you know, it wasn't what we were asking for in the resolution of inquiry and not the information needed to really understand the scope of the agreements that were entered into. think about it for a minute. you have six, very powerful groups, phrma, a.m.a., american hospital association, all meeting down at the white house coming up with proposals to shave $2 trillion off of health care expenses over the next 10 years. $ trillion and no one wrote anything down. mr. speaker, do you believe that? that strains credulity? just a handshake and a nod. nothing written down or on
paper. mr. speaker, would you make a deal like that? mr. speaker, would you ask the american people to accept a deal like that? last week on january 27, the energy and commerce committee began a markup of the resolution of inquiry. the markup was called not by me but by the chairman of the committee, because the committee had to consider this resolution. and if the committee failed to consider the resolution, it automatically became a privileged resolution and would come directly to the floor of the house. now, in fact, henry waxman, chairman waxman, my chairman of the committee, democrat on the other side of most issues, agreed to help, agreed to help me and ranking member barton get answers not to everything i submitted, but six out of the 10 things i had requested. certainly showed a step in the right direction, in fact, the first positive step towards
getting any sort of sunlight on to these deals that were cut down at the white house. so a committee will soon send a letter to the white house, signed by chairman waxman and ranking member barton of the full committee asking for more information. what that information will comprise, number one, a list of all agreements entered into in writing as well as the details and sum and substance of all deals and agreements. number two, names of individuals, groups, associations, or companies that attended meetings at the white house regarding health care. the name of the administration officials who tanded the meetings on health care at the white house as release of visitor logs. we know who brings people into the white house. we may want to know who is being allowed in. the time and date of such health care meetings and who, from the administration and from the
outside groups was in attendance. written materials memorializing any agreements made during the meetings with administration first and provided to outside participants. number six, any paper or electronic communication, including emails in the possession of the secretary of health and human services or the staff of health and human services between h.h.s. and the health industry in regard to health reform negotiations or the white house deals. that's what i will get. i asked for more than i actually will receive. what i will not get are written notes made by a sten gafferor other note taker made by white house officials or outside groups memorializing agreements. number two, i will not get written materials summarizing negotiations or agreements made with administration officials and outside groups and possessed by the secretary of health and human services or other officials within the department
of health and human services. i will not get written material memorializing discussions between the president, his senior advisers and those in attendance written for the president and not provided to outside groups. and number four, i will not get internal emails regarding the possible imentplementtation of policies discussed with regard to health care reform. those are significant omissions, but the six things will be requested of the white house by the chairman. and for that, we are very grateful. the white house will assert, if any of these other four had been included that list, the white house would assert executive privilege and likely would lead to a court fight and likely the white house's assertion of executive privilege would be upheld. but i will say one thing. it has certainly shown me the -- some of the items that, in fact,
i should be allowed to see occur because there are communications at the level of the federal agency. internal communications of the white house and internal communications between the president's advisers are not, are not going to be made available because that is white house executive privilege. you know, we have had the position of multiple czars this pafflet year, every presidential -- past year. we have seen a great number of positions come into being and because of the position of the white house czar, the emails between the white house czar and the president's chief of staff, health care czar and anyone else in the president's inner circle, those emails are protected under executive privilege. having a czar in the white house is another way of helping to keep that information from public view, information that comes from the secretary of
health and human services through the federal agency. that information is information that i was allowed to request. but information from the health care czar to the white house chief of staff is information i will not receive. and that's a shame, because i really believe that within those communications within those communications is where these deals would occur. but at least with the six things that are going to be allowed, at least with getting that information out into the open, certainly provides some additional places for -- if the press is at all curious about this -- they may not be -- they have been incur youse, but if there is any occur yoss on the on the fourth estate, this will give them correction as to where they might inquire to get additional information. . i'm a member of the american
medical association, i pay my dues every year, i got toed a might, -- admit, i was somewhat surprised when the a.m.a. agreed to endorse the bill when it included none, none, zero, none of their top priorities. didn't include anything abouter to the reform in the bill, didn't include anything about s.g.r. or physician payment reform, didn't include anything about the ability of physicians to get together and negotiate price. none of that was included in the bills that we saw and yet the a.m.a. endorsed h.r. 3200 before it ever got to our committee for a markup. what was -- what was in it for them? why would they do this when their top issues were not included in the bill? something as an a.m.a. member, not as a member of congress, necessarily, but as an a.m.a. member i would like to know. now, last monday the president said, i didn't make a bunch of
deals. now, this claim contradicts everything that has been reported. if he didn't, somebody did, who did, and, again, on whose behalf and under what authority? you know, there's nothing inherently wrong with the president engaging on such an important topic or encouraging groups to act in the best interest of the public, there's nothing wrong with the groups acting in their own self-interest or in the self-interest of the members of their industry. but we don't know if the deals struck were in the best interest of the public. we don't know if the deals that were sealed were the best deals for the american people. the american people certainly don't know because they were completely shut out of the process. now these questions will linger over my committee of energy and
commerce, senate finance committee and indeed this very house will have the specter of those questions lingering until we fill in some history and it's really as simple as that. so my resolution of inquiry last week was simply to fill in a few of those pages in the historical record which otherwise are going to be lost to the sands of time. let me reiterate, this is not about the groups included in the resolution. i know there are plenty of of people on both sides who like to beat up on any number of people who are part of the six groups. there are people who like to beat up on unions, there are people who like to beat up on drug companies. this isn't about -- this isn't about any of the people who responded to the president's call and went down to the white house that day to work for arguably what would be a good thing in reforming some aspects
of our nation's health care system. the problem is that the american people didn't get to see what it was they had on the table, what the offers were, what the counteroffers were, what wasn't offered, and who agreed to what, who was on the side of the people and who was on the side of the special interests, as the president said. we didn't.net to see that -- we didn't get to see that. as it stands now, i asked, i want to know what the white house negotiated with who and on what terms. i want to know how those deals influenced the legislative process. certainly there were several times where we bumped up against it, certainly the senate finance committee did, and they were told, hold on, can't do that, we've got a deal, but then it also includes the legislative process when my amendments, greg walden's amendments, were stripped out of the committee-passed bill, were stripped out of the speaker's office, never to see the light of day. so was that part of the legislative process? influenced by those deals?
we'll never know. if we don't get that information. and i want to know why a president who committed himself to transparency feels really no need to heed requests for transparency by the committee, why the president who ran on transparency feels no need to heed a request for documents by an elected member of congress. why they think it is ok to just simply not respond to a letter, ignore it, and we hope it goes away. now, last week the president in one of the interviews said that his lack of transparency was, quote, a mistake, closed quote. it's true. it's true. he feels it's a mistake, he can correct the mistake, it's not -- it's not too lafmente he can correct the mistake by -- late. he can correct the mistake by turning over the information requested and in fact turning
over all of the information saying, you know what? we're not going to hide behind expecttive -- executive priven here. if there's an email between my chief of staff and the health care zarqawi you think is important, we're willing to let you see that as well, we're willing to let the american people see that because we have nothing to hide. if they don't do that, what are we left to sursnice -- surmise? that they've got something to hide. and what would they have to hide? i don't know. here the fantasy can become worse than the reality. it would be better for the white house to provide this information, again, the truth, the truth will in all likelihood be much less significant than what each of us will be left to imagine on our own if we're not provided that information. now, to fully understand the policy choices going forward we need to know what took place at the white house last year.
i can't say it enough, i can't say it in enough different ways, the american people expect us to act of their interest rather than protect the business interests of those curiing favor in washington. we hear that all the time in fact, we hear this president say that lobbyists won't have any access to his administration and then we have secret deals with six groups that play a big role, a big role, in the cost of delivering health care in this country and we don't get to see that. if any member of those six groups down at the white house sought protections or made unreciprocated assertions to washington politicians, i think the american people deserve to know, the american people would likely want to know that information. these negotiations may have produced consensus on policy
changes that are proper and needed, but we'll never be certain until the facts are known. and if the facts aren't known, then the reality is not known and if the reality is not known then the fantasy becomes the reality. the worst excess that you could imagine is probably what happened otherwise they'd open the books and tell us. now i'll just leave you with the same thought one last time about the promises made, promise it's made during the presidential campaign and after about how this rosess would be an open process, how this process would be an inclusive process and inclusive not just to members of congress on both sides of the aisle, which what it has not been, but an inclusive process that would include the american people because after all these decisions on health care, yeah, they're tough, yeah, they're
going to be -- likely some winners and losers in whatever is crafted by the house and the senate, but it's going to affect the delivery of health care, it's going to affect the life of every doctor, nurse, hospital administrator, every mother, father, child, every husband, wife, every citizen of the united states not just next year, not just the year after that and not just the year after that, but for the next three generations, how health care is delivered in this country, who gets what, who pace for it, -- pays for it, when it's administered, who can get what they need, all of that is going to be governed by language in this legislation. and if there were outside influences on crafting that language in this legislation we need to know about that. because otherwise we don't know the questions to ask, we don't know -- we don't know whether to
embrace or reject the legislation because we simply don't know who, what, where was involved in the process and as a consequence it makes it impossible, literally impossible, to evaluate the worth of this legislation. so here we sit on groundhog's day, sort of resisting what happened over the last year with health care reform. on february 2 of 2010 the passage of a comprehensive health care bill looks as unlikely as at any time in our -- the history passed of this congress, a year ago it looked like -- it looked like a certainty. today it looks extremely problematic. and what's the one thing, what's the one thing that could have given us a better bill? given us a better process?
given us -- given people some reason to be behind this legislation that congress is considering? the one thing that could have happened that didn't was opening the process up, turning on the c-span cameras, inviting them in to that big conference table in the speaker's office and that big conference in the majority leader's office over in the senate or that big conference table down at the cabinet room at the white house and turn those cameras on, let the american people see who was around that table, who was willing to talk, who was willing to give, who was only willing to get, that would be powerful information to provide to the american people. the president could have -- could have recruited, could have recruited from the american people folks who like this legislation who would then ask for it, but instead they pushed everyone away, pushed them away from the table, turned off the am camera, turned off the lights, don't look at the man
behind the curtain, we know what's best for you. this bill will be good for you, trust us. you will like this bill once we get it passed. well, that's nonsense. the american people know that's nonsense. turn on the lights, turn on c-span, let the people in, and let's give this bill the full public airing that it has deserved. mr. speaker, with that i will yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas for a motion. >> i move the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on those -- is on whether to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. accordingly the house stands
>> live coverage when members return here on c-span. defense secretary robert gates and joint chiefs chairman that might mullen that and to the 16- year-old don't ask don't tell policy that allows openly gay men and women to serve in the u.s. military. that hearing is next on c-span. after that, an update on the white house budget request for the defense department. and later, the heads of the u.s. intelligence agencies testified about u.s. security threats. >> now for "educators pic, we he
redesigned the website for the most timely and useful c-span videos. you can find the most watched clips organized by subjects at a topics. the latest in education news, at the chance to connect with other classroom teachers. it is all free. signup @ cspanclassroom.org. >> in the state of the union address, president obama said the policy should not be changed -- should be changed this year. he takes questions from reporters after the hearing. this is about 90 minutes.
>> said the committee is now going to receive testimony from the senior leadership at the department of defense as we began the task of addressing the don't ask don't tell policy for gays in the military. and in the policy will improve the military's capability to reflect equal opportunity. i do not find the arguments that were used to justify a don't ask don't tell took a fact -- it took effect in 1993, and they are less so now. i agree with president obama that we should repeal this discriminatory policy. in the latest gallup poll, the american public overwhelmingly supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve overwhelming
-- openly in the military. they have a right to serve, and many are serving. as former chairman of the joint chiefs, the general said that he supports ending the policy. a majority of troops already believe that they serve alongside a gay or lesbian colleagues. one recent study estimated that 66,000 gays and lesbians are serving today, constant risk of losing their chance to serve. other nations have allowed gay and lesbian service members to serve in their military is without discrimination and without impact on unit cohesion or morale. the comprehensive study on this was conducted by rand in 1993. rand researchers reported on the positive experiences of canada, france, germany, israel, and norway that allow open homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. ich allowed known homosexuals
to serve in their armed forces. senator mccain and i have asked the department of defense to update the 1993 report. ending this discriminatory policy will contribute to our military's effectiveness, to take just one example, dozens of arabic and farsi linguists have been forced out of the military under "don't ask, don't tell" at a time when our need to understand those languages has never been greater. thousands of troops, 13,000 by one estimate, have been forced to leave the military under the current policy. that number includes many who could help the military complete some particularly difficult and dangerous missions. i have long admired the merit-based system of advancement employed by the u.s. military that allows servicemen and women of varied backgrounds to advance to positions of high
leadership. an army is not a democracy, it is a meritocracy where success depends not on who you are, but on how well you do your job. despite its necessarily undemocratic nature, our military has helped lead the way in areas of fairness and anti-discrimination. it has served as a flagship for american values and aspirations, both inside the united states and around the world. we will hold additional hearings to hear from various points of view and approaches on this matter. this committee will hold a hearing on february 11th when we will hear from an independent panel. the service secretaries and service chiefs will all be testifying before this committee during the month of february on their various budgets and they, of course, will be open to questions on this subject as well during their testimony. my goal will be to move quickly,
but deliberately to maximize the opportunity for all americans to serve their country, while addressing any concerns that may be raised. we should end "don't ask, don't tell" and we can and should do it in a way that honors our nation's values while making us more secure. my entire statement will be made part of the record. a statement of senator gillibrand will also be inserted in the record following the statement of senator mccain. senator mccain. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and i want to thank secretary gates and admiral mullen for what is turning into a very long morning for them and we appreciate your patience and your input on this very, very important issue. we need to consider the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, policy that the president has made clear, most recently last week in his state of the union address, that he wants congress to repeal. this would be a substantial and controversial change to a policy
that has been successful for two decades. it would also present yet another challenge to our military at a time of already tremendous stress and strain. our men and women in uniform are fighting two wars, guarding the front lines against a global terrorist enemy, serving and sacrificing on battlefields far from home, and working to rebuild and reform the force after more than eight years of conflict. at this moment, immense hardship for our armed services we should not be seeking to overturn the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. i want to make one thing perfectly clear up-front. i'm enormously proud of and thankful for every american who chooses to put on the uniform of our nation and serve at this time of war. i want to encourage more of our fellow citizens to serve and to open up opportunities to do so. many gay and lesbian americans are serving admirably in our armed forces, even giving their lives so that we and others can
know the blessings of peace. i honor their sacrifice, and i honor them. our challenge is how to continue welcoming this service amid the vast complexities of the largest most expensive, most well regarded and most critical institution in our nation, our armed forces. this is an extremely difficult issue, and the senate vigorously debated it in 1993. we heard from civilian leaders in our military, on eight occasions before this committee alone, when congress ultimately wrote the law, we included important findings that did justice to the seriousness of the subject. i with ask without objection, mr. chairman that a copy of the statute including those findings be included in the record. >> it will be. >> i won't quote all the findings, but three points must be made. first, congress found in the law that the military's mission to prepare for and conduct combat
operations requires servicemen and women to accept living and working conditions that are often spartan and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy. second, the law finds that civilian life is fundamentally different from military life which is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs and traditions, including many restrictions on personal conduct that would not be tolerated in civil society. finally, the law finds that the essence of military capability is good order and unit cohesion and that any practice which puts those goals at unacceptable risk can be restricted. these findings were the foundation of "don't ask, don't tell," and i'm eager to hear from our distinguished witnesses what has changed since these findings were written such that the law that they supported can now be repealed. as this policy has been ideal?
no, it is not. but it has been effective. it has helped to balance a potentially disruptive tension between the desires of a minority and the broader interests of our all volunteer force. it is well understood and predominantly supported by our fighting men and women, it reflects, as i understand them, the preferences of our uniformed services. it is sustained unit cohesion and unit morale, while still allowing gay and lesbian americans to serve their country in uniform. and it is done all of this for nearly two decades. mr. chairman, this is a letter signed by over 1,000 former general and flag officers who have weighed in on this issue. i think that we all in congress should pay attention and benefit from the experience and knowledge of over 1,000 former general officers and flag
officers where they say we firmly believe that the -- this law which congress passed to protect good order, discipline and morale in the unique environment of the armed forces deserves continued support. and so i think we should also pay attention to those who have served who can speak more frankly on many occasions than those who are presently serving. i know that any decision congress makes about the future of this law will inevitably leave a lot of people angry and unfulfilled. there are patriotic and well meaning americans on each side of this debate. and i have heard their many passionate concerns. ultimately, though, numerous military leaders tell me that "don't ask, don't tell" is working, and that we should not change it now. i agree. i would welcome a report done by the joint chiefs of staff based solely on military readiness,
effectiveness and needs, and not on politics that would study the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that would consider the impact of its repeal on our armed services, and that would offer their best military advice on the right course of action. we have an all-volunteer force. it is better trained, more effective, and more professional than any military in our history. and today that force is shouldering a greater global burden than at any time in decades. we owe our lives to our fighting men and women, and we should be exceedingly cautious, humble, and sympathetic when attempting to regulate their affairs. "don't ask, don't tell" has been an imperfect, but effective policy. and at this moment when we're asking more of our military than at any time in recent memory we should not repeal this law. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator mccain. secretary gates.
>> mr. chairman, last week during the state of the union address the president announced he will work with congress this year to repeal the law known as "don't ask, don't tell." he subsequently directed the department of defense to begin the preparations necessary for a repeal of the current law and policy. i fully support the president's decision. the question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we must -- how we best prepare it for it. we have received our orders from the commander in chief, and we are moving out accordingly. however we can also take this process only so far as the ultimate decision rests with you, the congress. i am mindful of the fact, as are you, that unlike the last time this issue was considered by the congress more than 15 years ago, our military is engaged in two wars that have put troops and their families under considerable stress and strain.
i am mindful as well that attitudes toward homosexuality may have changed considerably, both in society generally, and in the military over the intervening years. to ensure that the department is prepared should the law be changed, and working in close consultation with admiral mullen, i have appointed a high level working group within the department that will immediately begin a review of the issues associated with properly implementing a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. the mandate of this working group is to thoroughly, objectively and methodically examine all aspects of this question and produce its finding and recommendations in the form of an implementation plan by the end of this calendar year. a guiding principle of our efforts will be to minimize disruption and polarization within the ranks, with the working group will examine a
number of lines of study, all of which will proceed simultaneously. first, the working group will reach out to the force, to authoritatively understand their views and attitudes about the impact of repeal. i expect that the same sharp division that characterized the debate over these issues outside of the military will quickly find their way into this process, particularly as it pertains to what are the true views and attitudes of our troops and their families. i am determined to carry out this process in a way that establishes objectives and reliable information on this question with minimal influence by the policy or political debate. it is essential that we accomplish this in order to have the best possible analysis and information to guide the policy choices before the department and the congress. . . the policy choices before the department and the congress. second, the working group will undertake a thorough examination
of all the changes to the department's regulations and policies that may have to be made. these include potential revisions to policies on benefits, base housing, fraternization and misconduct, separations and discharges, and many others. we will enter this examination with no preconceived views, but a recognition that this will represent a fundamental change in personal policy. one that will require that we provide our commanders with the provide our commanders with the guidance and tools necessary to mplish this transition successfully and with minimum disruption to the department's critical missions. third, the working group will examine the potential impacts of a change in the law on military effectiveness, including how a change might affect unit cohesion, recruiting and retention, and other issues crucial to the performance of the force. the working group will develop ways to mitigate and manage any negative impacts. these are generally speaking the
broad areas we have identified for study under this review. we will, of course, continue to refine and expand these as we get into this process or engage in discussion with the congress and other sources. in this regard we expect that the working group will reach out to outside experts with a wide variety of perspectives and experience. to that end, the department will, as requested by this committee, ask the rand corporation to update their study from 1993 on the impact of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military. we also have received some helpful suggestions on how this outside review might be expanded to cover a wide swath of issues. this will be a process that will be open to views and recommendations from a wide variety of sources, including, of course, members of congress. mr. chairman, i expect that our approach may cause some to wonder why it will take the better part of a year to accomplish the task.
we have looked at a variety of options, but when you take into account the overriding imperative to get this right, and minimize disruption to a force that is actively fighting two wars and working through the stress of almost a decade of combat, then it is clear to us we must proceed in a manner that allows for the thorough examination of all issues. and an important part of this process is to engage our men and women in uniform and their families over this period. since after all, they will ultimately determine whether or not we make this transition successfully. to ensure that this process is able to accomplish its important mission, chairman mullen and i have determined that we need to appoint the highest level officials to carry it out. accordingly i am naming the department of defense general council jay johnson and general carter hamm commander of u.s. army europe to serve as the co-chairs for this effort. simultaneous with launching this
process, i have also directed the department to quickly review the regulations used to implement the current "don't ask, don't tell" law. and within 45 days present to me recommended changes to those regulations that within existing law will enforce this policy in a fairer manner. you may recall i asked the department's general counsel so predict a preliminary review of this matter last year. based on that preliminary review, we believe that we have a degree of latitude in the existing law to change our internal procedures in a manner more appropriate and fair to our men and women in uniform. we will now conduct a final detailed assessment of this proposal before proceeding. mr. chairman, senator mccain, members of the committee, the department of defense understands that this is a very difficult and in the minds of some controversial policy question. i am determined that we in the department carry out this process professionally,
thoroughly, dispassionately, and in a manner that is responsive to the direction of the president and to the needs of the congress as you debate and consider this matter. however, on behalf of the men and women in uniform, and their families, i also ask you to work with us to -- insofar as possible keep them out of the political dimension of this issue. i am not asking for you not to do your jobs fully and with vigor, but rather that as this debate unfolds, you keep the impact it will have on our forces firmly in mind. thank you for this opportunity to lay out our thinking on this important policy question. we look forward to working with the congress and hearing your ideas on the best way ahead. >> thank you. admiral mullen. >> thank you, mr. chairman, senator mccain, and thank you for giving the opportunity to discuss with you this very important matter. the chief and i are in complete
support of the approach secretary gates outlined. we believe any implementation plan for a policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces must be carefully derived, sufficiently through -- sufficiently thorough and thoughtfully executed. over the last two months we have reviewed the fundamental premises behind "don't ask, don't tell" as well as its application and practice over the last 16 years. we understand perfectly the president's desire to see the law repealed. and we owe him our best military advice about the impact of search a repeal and the manner in which we would implement a change in policy. the chiefs and i have not yet developed that advice and would like to have the time to do so in the same thoughtful, deliberate fashion with which the president has made it clear he wants to proceed. the review group secretary gates has ordered will no doubt give us that time and an even deeper
level of understanding. we look forward to cooperating with and participating in this review to the maximum extent possible, and we applaud this selection of mr. johnson and general hamm to lead it. both are men of great integrity, great experience, and have our complete trust and confidence. mr. chairman, speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. no matter how i look at this issue, i cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. for me, personally, it comes down to integrity. theirs as individuals and ours as an institution. i also believe that the great young men and women of our military can and would
accommodate such a change. i never underestimate their ability to adapt. but i do not know this for a fact, nor do i know for a fact how we would best make such a major policy change in a time of two wars. if there will be some disruption in the force, i cannot deny. if there will be legal, social and perhaps even infrastructure changes to be made certainly seem plausible. we would all like to have a better handle on these types of concerns, and this is what our review will offer. we would also do well to remember that this is not an issue for the military leadership to decide. the american people have spoken on this subject through you, their elected officials, and the result is the law and the policy that we currently have. we will continue to obey that law and we will obey whatever
legislative and executive decisions come out of this debate. the american people may yet have a different view. you may have a different view. i think that's important. and it is important to have that discussion. frankly, there are those on both sides of this debate who speak as if there is no debate, as if there is nothing to be learned or reflected upon. i hope we can be more thoughtful than that. i expect that we will be more thoughtful than that. the chiefs and i also recognize the stress our troops and families are under, and i have said many times before should the law change, we need to move forward in a manner that does not add to that stress. we have got two wars going on, a new strategy in afghanistan, and remaining security challenges in iraq. we're about to move forward under a new quadrennial defense
review. we still have budget concerns and a struggling economy. and we have a host of other significant security commitments around the globe. our plate is very full, and while i believe this is an important issue, i also believe we need to be mindful as we move forward of other pressing needs in our military. what our young men and women and their families want, what they deserve, is that we listen to them and act in their best interests. what the citizens we defend want to know, what they deserve to know, is that their uniformed leadership will act in a way that absolutely does not place in peril the readiness and effectiveness of their military. i can tell you that i am 100% committed to that. balance, mr. chairman, balance and thoughtfulness is what we need most right now. it is what the president has promised us, and it is what we ask of you in this body. thank you.
>> thank you very much, admiral. so everyone has a chance and a reasonable period of time, we're just going to have a three-minute first round. >> mr. chairman, we need more than three minutes. we need more than three minutes. >> we'll have a second round then. we have to also have a schedule here, so we'll go to a second round, if we can fit that into secretary gates' schedule. if not, we'll pick this up at a later time. the secretary -- this schedule was shared with everybody here now and so -- >> not with me. >> it was indeed shared. >> you're the chairman. >> mr. secretary, "the washington post, i think this morning reported that the military services will not pursue any longer disciplinary action against gays and lesbian service members whose
orientation is revealed by third parties. is that one of the -- is that one of the degrees of latitude within existing law that you're looking at? >> mr. chairman, a preliminary assessment is that -- and this fits within this 45-day review that i mentioned in my prepared statement -- the preliminary assessment is that we can do the following within the confines of the existing law. we can raise the level of the officer who is authorized to initiate an inquiry. we can raise the level of the officer who conducts the inquiry. he can with raise the bar on what constitutes credible information to initiate an inquiry. we can raise the bar on what constitutes a reliable person on whose word an inquiry can be initiated. overall we can reduce the instances in which a service
member who is trying to serve the country honorably is outed by a third person with a motive to harm a service member. and we also have to devise new rules and procedures in light of the appeals court decision in witt versus the department of the air force for the areas of the country covered by the appellate court. so i would say all of these matters are those that will be reviewed within this 45-day period, so it is a little more complicated than "the washington post" conveyed. >> but all of those are possibilities? >> yes, sir. >> would you, assuming even if it requires a legislation, would you support a moratorium on discharges under "don't ask, don't tell" during the course of this up to year long assessment that the department is going to be making? >> i would have to look into that because the problem -- the problem that we have is that all of the issues that both admiral
mullen and i described in terms of what we have to look into, in terms of the effect on the force, in terms of everything else is what we need to examine before i could answer that question. >> all right. well, you're going to be examining the other points that you're looking at, the other flexibilities. would you add this to the questions you're going to look at and let us know promptly -- >> sure. >> -- as to whether you would support a moratorium pending this period on discharges. that doesn't mean you couldn't discharge at the end of the period, but there would be a moratorium. >> we will look at it and, mr. chairman, i would tell you that the advice that i have been given is that the current law would not permit that, but -- >> i'm saying would you support a change in the current law if necessary in order to permit that? that's what we need to hear from you on. senator mccain. >> i'm deeply disappointed in your statement, secretary gates. i was around here in 1993 and
was engaged in the debates. and what we did in 1993 is we looked at the issue and we looked at the effect your statement is, the question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change but how we best prepare for it. it would be far more appropriate to determine whether repeal of this lot as appropriate and what effect it would have on the effectiveness of the military before deciding on whether to repeal the law or not, and unfortunately, it is an act of congress, and it requires an agreement of congress in order to repeal it, so your statement obviously is one which is completely biased, without the view of congress being taken into consideration. admiral mullen, you are the
principal adviser for the president, and you have to seek the advisor of the other joint chiefs of staff. what, in your view, are the views of the others about changing this policy? and combatant commanders about changing this policy? >> senator mccain, as the chairman indicated earlier, they would be out in their posture hearings in the near future and i would certainly defer to them in terms of exactly -- >> the near future -- in the near future i would like you to ask them and we can have it on the record what their position is, in the near future. >> yes, sir. >> i would like it as soon as possible. >> actually, i've worked very closely with them over the last months, in terms of understanding what their -- what their concerns are, what our overall concerns are, and i would summarize them by saying it is really important for us to -- to us -- for us to understand that if this policy changes, if the law changes, what is the impact and how we would implement it.
and to secretary gates' point about the study is to really understand objectively the impact on our troops and on their forces and that is their biggest concern. >> and i would say, senator mccain, i absolutely agree that the -- how the congress acts on this is dispositive. >> well, i hope you'll pay attention to the views of over a thousand retired and flag general officers. mr. secretary, what kinds of partnerships or unions would the military be prepared to recognize by law in the event that this "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed? >> that's one of the many issues that i think we have to look at, senator. >> so, again, you are embarking on saying it is not whether the military prepares to make the change, but how we best prepare for it, without ever hearing from members of congress, without hearing from the members
of the joint chiefs, and, of course, without taking into considerations all the ramifications of this law. well, i'm happy to say that we still have a congress of the united states that would have to -- would have to pass a law to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," despite your efforts to repeal it in many respects by pheaa. thank you. >> thank you, senator mccain. senator udall. >> thank you for holding this very important hearing. i want to acknowledge secretary gates, the work you've done to put a plan in place and admiral mullen, i think the centerpiece of your statement will be long remembered for the courage and the integrity and with which you outlined your own personal beliefs and how we can proceed. i'm proud to hail from the region of the country, the rocky mountain west, where we have a live and let live attitude. some people would call it small
l libertarianism. the choices people make are not the government's business. and i can't help but think about the great arizona, i grew up in arizona, my father was an arizonan, my mother was a coloradan, i had a great honor to represent colorado now, but barry goldwater once said you don't have to be straight to shoot straight. and that's the opportunity that we have here today as the congress and the pentagon moves forward. i have a few concerns i would like to share in the couple minutes that i have. and i'll pepper my comments with questions and hopefully there will be time for you all to respond there have been a lot of studies done, mr. secretary, rand, and the study in the joint force quarterly. it is not clear to me that the study groups needs a full year to study implementation and transition, i just want to put that out there. i want to make sure the focus of
the group is on how to implement repeal of the policy, not whether, and i want to ask you to assure me that the importance of the study would be a road map to implementing repeal and the congress would be in a position to take legislative action that the pentagon as a whole could support. and before you answer, i'd like your reaction to a legislative proposal that you may have seen, it would be to write into repeal legislation the period of time you suggest you need, say one year, while legislating that at the end of that time we would have finality, a complete end to "don't ask, don't tell." during the year long transition, the dod would have full authority and discretion with respect to "don't ask, don't tell" investigations and discharges. language like this would certainly make me much more comfortable since i want and so many others a clear path to full repeal. and i'm not sure i see finality in the study. again, thank you, gentlemen, and hopefully there is a little bit of time left for you to answer. >> well, i think the purpose of
the examination that we're undertaking frankly is to inform the decision-making of the congress and the nature of whatever legislation takes place. it is also, frankly, to be prepared to begin to implement any change in the law. we obviously recognize that this is up to congress, and my view is frankly that it is critical that this matter be settled by a vote of the congress. the -- the study is intended to prepare us along those lines so that we understand all of implications involved. frankly there have been a lot of studies done, but there has not been a study done by the military of this. and this is the kind of thing that admiral mullen was talking about. and i would just say with respect to your -- to your second point that i think we
would regard, if legislation is passed, repealing "don't ask, don't tell," we would feel it very important that we be given some period of time for that implementation, at least a year. >> senator, if i may, just the only thing i would comment about, all the study and all the polls, he would just urge that everybody that is going to be involved in this look at those studies and polls deliberately and what they actually looked at specifically. and to just re-emphasize what the secretary said there really hasn't been any significance objective survey of our people and the families. that gets to the chief concern and mine as well, which is engaging them in a way that we really understand their views on this, and that just hasn't been done and as urgently as some would like this to happen, it is just going to take some time to do that. >> thank you, senator. senator sessions?
>> thank you, mr. chairman. and i know this is an important iss issue. we need to think it through. every american is entitled to fairness and justice as we deliberate these issues. and i do think we should do it at a high level. i would note on, however, a bit of a concern that arises from something senator mccain suggested, and that is that the president, as the commander in chief, has announced a decision. and the secretary of defense apparently supports that decision. admiral mullen now declared he personally believes in this decision. and so then presumably someone below you will do some work on the policy whether this is a good policy or not. so i guess if there is a trial, we would perhaps raise the undue command influence defense. and i think we need an open and
objective and a fair evaluation of this. a lot of things that have been said i would note that are not accurate, at least in my view at least, or misrepresent certain things, one of them is 10,000 people have been dismissed from the military, or voluntarily left for the military under these -- under this provision. but that's over ten years. it would be 1%, maybe if it was one year, less than that maybe, .75%. and -- but over a decade, it would be .1% or less. also, there will be cost. i noticed -- and i give the military credit, a lost peopt oe don't know this, admiral mullen, how open to debate and discussion you are. there is an article in the joint forces quarterly that basically supports this change.
it was an award-winning article, and they raised a lot of different issues, both for and against. and the military welcomed that. and i salute that. i think that's healthy. but one of the points it made is that charles mosco, one of the authors of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, points out that the number of discharges for voluntary statements by service members, presumably they come forward and say that they are homosexual, accounts for 80% of the total. and the number of discharges for homosexual acts have declined over the years. do you think that's approximately correct? >> senator sessions, i think it is approximately correct. but it does go to, again, a sort of fundamental principle with me, which is everybody counts. and part of the struggle back to the institutional integrity
aspect of this -- >> i know -- >> and putting individuals in a position that every single day they wonder whether today's going to be the day, and devaluing them in that regard just as inconsistent with us as an institution. i have served with homosexuals since 1968. senator mccain spoke to that in his statement. everybody in the military has. and we understand that. so it is a number of things which cumulatively for me personally get me to this position. but i also want to re-emphasize what i said is i am not all knowing in terms of the impact of what the change would -- would have and that's what i want to understand. and it is in any impact in understanding readiness and effectiveness is absolutely critical. in understanding readiness and effectiveness is absolutely critical.
>> well, it is clear what your view is. and it will be that clear on all of your subordinates, every single service member in uniform would be qualified for that. i don't think it, that they are required to lie about who they are. i think that san overstatement, although, i think that the rule of "don't ask, don't tell" has seemed to work pretty well. i would note from the "christian science monitor" here that the chiefs of the services met with the chairman mike mullen -- i'm quoting from the article -- and the consensus seemed that the military fighting two wars and now responding to a new mission in haiti now, is not the time to make such a big change in the military policy. that is my understanding of the status of things. i just hope that, as we discuss it, you will recognize first that congress has made the decision. it is not yours to make.
and we will have to change it, if we do change it, and second, you shouldn't use your power to in any way influence a discussion or evaluation of the situation. >> senator, i would say that we can't possibly evaluate the impact on unit cohesion, moral, retention and so on unless we encourage people to tell us exactly what they think, and exactly what their views are honestly and as forthrightly as possible. otherwise, there is no use in doing this at all, and again, i can't emphasize enough, we understand from the beginning of this that this must be an act of congress. >> thank you. >> senator sessions, for me, this not about command influence, but about leadership. i take that very seriously.
>> thank you. >> senator hagan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary gates i want to say that i applaud your efforts in commissioning a thorough investigation of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and how to implement a repeal of the policy in order to minimize disruption in military readiness, and i am wondering within the study, how will you study, how will the study take into account the views of the combatant commanders in theatre in order to minimize any disruption in the military readiness. >> the combatant commanders and the service chiefs will all have a part in this. the one thing i have asked is that as we go through this process, we try not to disrupt or impact the deployed forces, and particularly those in aft afghanistan and iraq, and t
the one limitation i have put on this, which obviously does not apply to the combatants of commanders, is that we try to have as little impact on the deployed force as possible. >> mr. secretary and i'm wrong mullins, we moved to end discriminatory practices within our armed forces. -- mr. secretary and admiral mullins, we move to end discriminatory practices women to our armed forces. is there any basis that it should be based on sexual orientation, and if not, what grounds do you believe there remains a need to discriminate based on sexual orientation? >> i personally do not think sexual orientation has a place
for these kinds of decisions. i think there's a gap between that which we value of the military, the value of integrys they and what our policy is, but that is personally where i am. i think it is in the review that would take place by the end of this year that i would look to understand it more fully and understand the impact, and if and when the policy change as certainly on our people understand it much more fully and understand the impact, and if and when the policy changes the act on our people, and that is really rather than at the end of this, we are to some degree at fwe gining really trying to understand that. that's in light of many other opinions on this, including the opinions of those who have retired, all of those things, but it is real will what i need to understand is to get it from
our people and their families. and in incorporating that in addition to all of the other requirements here are going to be the goal of the review over the next better. >> bert: of this year. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator hagan. senator wick? >> well, i am, too, disappointed with the decision of the administration. but i will say this for our two witnesses, they understand the chain of command. i think that we understand that elections have consequences, and these two gentlemen see their charge as moving forward with the directives of their commander, and i think that secretary gates said it explicitly in the statement, quote, we have receivedord ers from the commander in chief, and we are moving out accordingly, so we will have
debate about this and we will appreciate the information that the department gathers for us. senator mccain referenced in his statement, more than $1,000 retired flag and general officers and actually, it is upwards of 1,160 retired flag and general officers from all of the armed services. who have come out against a change in this policy. for my colleagues, their statement urging continued support for the 1993 law is contained at www.flagandgeneral officers for the military.com. i would contend to the members of this committee an op-ed written by carl e. mundy, jr., retired four-star general and former commandant of the u.s.
marine corps who points out, who mentions the strong support for the current policy by this overwhelming number of retired flag and general officers, and points out that certain findings were made by congress in support of the 1993 law to ensure clarity concerning rationale behind the current statute. key findings was that the primary purpose of the armed services is to prevail in combat and notpromote civil rights and promote compassion and civil rights, be to but to prepare fo combat. combat. and military units characterized by high moral and order and discipline and unit cohesion, and further that one of the most critical elements in
combat capability is unit cohesion, and that is the bonds of trust among individual service members. i would ask, mr. chairman, that this op-ed dated january 12, 2010, by general mundy be put into the record. >> it will be part of the record. >> i appreciate the situation that our two witnesses find themselves in, and i look forward to the debate and hope that the policy remains. thank you. >> thank you, senator wicker. senator webb. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, let me just see if we can review the facts here. this is obviously quite an emotional issue, but it is also a legislative issue. it is my understanding from hearing both of your statements is that this year period which you are going to take in order to examine the issues will be
followed then by clearer observations about the implications of changing a law, would that be a correct way to state it? so, you are not coming in here today saying we are going to change the law, and this is the year we will put into figuring in how to implement the change? >> our hope would be that the information we would develop during the course of this review would help to inform the legislative process. >> right. and i salute both of you for very careful statements and admiral mullen, i salute you for the courage of what you said, but i also want to emphasize that you balance that in the statement saying you don't know what will come out of this -- we don't know. so what we are looking for here is an examination of the present law. what is the most damaging aspect of present policy and i think that admiral mullen, you made a powerful statement in terms of the integrity of the individual in terms of the deciding factor
of the personal view, and what is on the other hand, the great value of this law if we were to do away with it and move into something else, and again, what are the perils of the doing of the law, and where are we going? are we going in the proper direction? we don't know. we can't really say that today. i think that when you say that this is something that will ultimately be decided by the congress, i want to em phaphasiy own agreement of how important it is to hear from the people who are serving, because while the ultimate decision is here with the congress, that decision can't be made in ap pr proper w without a full input of those who are serving and not just combatant members, but family members and those in the operating units. the way that i am hearing this,
which i would agree with, is that we have a duty mhere and a very proper way to understand the impact of this on operating units to raise the level of understanding of the complexity of this issue among the american people, and up here as well as attempting to do fairly with the issue. so, again, i salute you both for a very responsible and careful approach to how we examine this. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. webb. senator chambliss. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and just as was stated by my friend senator udall, i think that the live and let live policy is not a bad policy to adhere to and that is what we have in place in the military with don't "don't
don't tell" right now. and for you secretary gates and admiral mullen, you are in a tough spot, and this is an extremely sen tisitive to the ie and inside and outside of the military are sensitive, and inside of the military, it does present other constitutional rights, because there is no right to serve in the armed forces. today, we have had gays and lesbi lesbians to serve in the past and in the future, and they will serve in a val yabt wiant way, purpose of the armed forces is to prepare and engage in combat if the need arises. military society should be characterized by its own laws, rules, customs and traditions based on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in society. examples are adultery, alcohol
use, and body art. if we change this rule of "don't ask, don't tell," what do we do with the tho issues. the armed military must not have policies to exclude the presence of those who would present a risk to the high moral and discipline and unit cohesion. in my opinion, the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would likely create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of moral, good order and discipline and cohesion and effectiveness. i am opposed to the change, and i look forward to a spirited debate on this issue, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator chambliss. i believe senator burris is next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator burris.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to extend my deep admiration for the two distinguished leaders and their position and not only are you following the drirection of the commander in chief, but admiral mullen, you express your personal view which is to be commended. what we need is a policy to allow any individual who has the integrity and the commitment to serve this country. we can go back to president truman who took the audacity to integrate the services. at one time my uncles and members of my race could not even serve in the military. we moved to this point of where they are some of the best and the brightest we have had with j generals and now commander in chief with african-american heritage.
-- sexual orientation, and so based on that, we must continue to have the american spirit and have individuals who are willing to serve. i don't have a question, mr. chairman, but just the statement. i hope we will look at the legislation by the way, and the house has drawn up a bill, and there are 185 members on the house bill which was house bill 1283, and i am hoping and praying that we will get moving on this issue and get it besides us and not waste the taxpayer time and energy on something that is so basic and human rights and opportunities for individuals in this country. thank you, mr. chairman.
>> thank you very much, senator burris. senator collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, unlike my colleagues, i do have some questions rather than just a statement to ask. admiral mullen, we know that many of our nato allies allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly, a & of topen ly, and many of the countries have deployed troops who are serving with us in afghanistan. are you aware of any impact on combat effectiveness by the decision of our nato allies to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly? >> senator collins, i have talked to zefrlg talk t talked to several of my counterparts in countries whose
militaries allow gays and lesbi lesbians to serve openly, and there has been as they have told me no impact on military effectiveness. >> we heard today the concern that if "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed that it would in fact affect unit cohesiveness or moral. are you aware of any studies, any evidence that suggests that repealing "don't ask, don't tell" would undermine unit cohesion? >> i'm not. in fact the 1993 rand study focused heavily on unit cohesion, and that became the principle point put forward by the military leadership at the time, and i understand that. i understand what it is, and i understand what goes into it, and that there are, there has
been no thorough or comprehensive work done with >> i would say that part of what we need to do is address a number of assertions for which we have no basis in fact. >> exactly. >> the purpose of the review we are undertaking is to find out what the men and women in our armed forces and their families really think about this. the fact is that we really do not know. >> thank you. >> thank you very much.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i oppose the don't ask don't tell policy when it was created in 1993. and iin opposed to it today remain opposed to it today and therefore i support repealing it as soon as possible. my feelings to state it simply then was that what mattered most was not how a member of the military lived his or her private sexual life, but that they were prepared to risk their lives in defense of our country. my judgment was that in a combat situation, a member of the military in a tank or an mrap today is going to care a lot more about the capability and courage of the soldier next to him than they are about the sexual orientation of that
soldier, just as over the years as senator burris referred to, they came to care a lot less ant the race -- a lot less about the race of the soldier next to them and more about the courage of the person next to them. i am grateful that the president supports the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." i thank you, secretary, and chairman for saying that the question now is not whether but how, and i think that for us really when we will repeal "don't ask, don't tell." am i right that what you are telling to usday is th-- us tod that what you are going to do as soon as possible after 45 days is to determine how you can reduce the impact of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy within the current state of the law? is that correct? >> yes, sir. the numbers actually have gone
down fairly substantially. they were about 600 and some in 2008 and 428 in 2009. but, and we don't know -- i mean we can't quantify what the possible changes that i have talked about here, what impact they would have on that. but at least it would if we are able to do something like that would make these folks less vulnerable to someone seeking revenge whatever their motives in terms of trying to wreck somebody's career. >> am i correct to ask the question to get it on the record that your judgment is advised by counsel is that it requires an act of congress repealing "don't ask, don't tell" for the actual policy, itself, to be ended in the military. you can't do it by executive
action? >> yes, sir, that is correct. >> i wanted to ask you -- i'm sure one of the reactions to what you have announced today is that this is a delay. i wanted to ask you to consider not only the 45-day limit, but wa y what you would think about providing reports for congress and the public on the progress of the study that you are doing during this next year. >> i don't see any reason why we can't do that. >> i appreciate that. >> and obviously, the final is that it is up to us in the congress and the senate. we have to get 60 votes to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" or else it will remain in effect. thank you. >> unless there is a provision inside of the defense authorization bill that goes to the floor which would then require an amendment to strike it from the bill, in which case,
the 60-vote rule would be turning the other way. >> no, it is good, and it is with great appreciation that i agree with the chairman. >> that is on the record. thank you. >> i want to make sure we are crystal clear about something. are gays and lesbians current cubly serving in our military? >> yes. >> and isn't the current foundation of the policy that we welcome their service. >> that is true, yes. >> are you aware of any moral issues or disciplinary problems surrounding the current service of gay and lesbian members, americans as members of the military. >> certainly not broadly. >> now, here is my -- i think
what you are embarking upon is important, and i think it is welcomed, but here is my problemch. we have established that we have gays and lesbian americans serving in the military and think are not causing disciplinary or moral problems and we welcome the service, so the issue is not whether or not gay and lesbian military personnel are serving in the military, but it is whether or not we talk about it. so how are you going to get their input in this survey? >> actually, i mean my take on that is -- well, hang on a second. i think that we would have to look very carefully at how we would do that specifically. >> and that is the point i would like to leave you with today is that unfortunately, because of this policy, we welcome their service --
>> true. >> -- they are serving bravely and well and no issues with moral and cohesiveness, and surrounding their service, but yet, when it comes time to evaluate their service, they are not allowed to talk about it, and so you have a real challenge in getting perhaps maybe some of the most important input that you may need as you consider this policy and i will be anxiously awaiting how you figure that one out. >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> one appropriate, senator s to talk to those who have been separated. >> that is terrific, and i think that the ones who have been separated is a great place that you can get good information, but i don't know that you are going to get at those who are currently serving, because obviously, they cannot step forward and talk about it, but i agree, secretary gates, that is a great place, because so many of them voluntarily separated because of issues of integrity. thank you. >> thank you, senator mccaskill.
senator reid. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, i want to follow up on the point that senator collins made, because it is my understanding that canada and the united kingdom have allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the case of canada since the early '90s and in great britain 2000, and they are fighting side-by-side with us in afghanistan and in fact, i would think that we would like to see more of their regimens and brigades there. does that, i think suggest as admiral mullen mentioned before that the combat effectiveness is not m pai m impair and we hav opportunity to work with them in joint operations, and does that add credibility or weight to the discussions that you are undertaking? >> well, it is clearly something that we need to address.
with knee to we need to talk to those countries in the military formal and in depth way about their experience. i believe that their experience is a factor, but i also would say that each country has its own culture and its own society, and it has to be evaluated in those terms as well. >> i think that one of the aspects that you refer to in your prepared remarks is the at least presumptive difference in terms of the attitudes at differing ranks within the military. is that something that you can comment upon now? have you done any research or admiral mullen can comment about the attitude based on age, based on other factors? >> i think that really goes to the point of what we need to do
in the months ahead. i think that admiral mullen would agree that we don't know, we don't have information based on rank or anything like that. >> anecdotally, what it would be my only comment that there has not been any objective review of this, and so i think that it is too soon to comment, because anecdotally, there are young people ncos and senior officers on both sides of the issue, and it gets to this strongly-held views driving this as opposed to really understanding objectively what this policy change would mean. >> let me ask a final question which i think is implicit in your overall testimony. that is, and this is rather
simplistic, but there is a decision and then there is the implementation of the decision. i would assume that at least in part those have to be coordinated or referenced so that part of this discussion analysis going forward is not only a decision, but it is also about how this policy would be implemented in a very detailed fashion. and that would be something that would be available to the congress before they made the decision or what's -- can you comment at all about that aspect? >> well, let me just start by saying, sure. and because one of the things that we will look at is if there is a problem with unit cohesion, how would you mitigate it? how through training or regulations or other measures do you, if the congress were to repeal the law, then how would we implement it just as you say?
and part of the review process is, as we look at the different aspects of it, what are we, what are the problem areas that we are going to see and how do we address those, ands i said in the statement, it is everything from base housing to various policies and regulations and so on, and all of those have to be addressed. >> for me, senator, it is understanding the impact. it is then in that understanding that speaks in great part to potential implementation and that then really goes to the core of where i am on this, which is leadership. so i mean understanding that, and they are integral to each other -- impact and implementation -- then says to me, mullen, this is how you lead this and move through it if the law changes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. briefly following up senator reed and senator collins' point
about other militaries and senator reid's point that our military is fighting side by side and with militaries who do not have a discriminatory policy against an open service by gays, and have you noticed any impact on our troops who served with canadian and brits because of a british or canadian policy that allows gays to openly serve? admiral? >> since these wars started in 2003, it has not been brought to my attention that there has been any significant impact of the policies in those countries on either their military effectiveness or our ability to work with them. >> all right. i have to make one comment on a suggest that somehow or another, admiral, you were simply following orders here of your commander in chief who has made a decision in your testimony this morning. i think that your testimony was
not only eloquent, but it was personal and you made it very clear that you were reflecting your personal view, which you are obligated under the oath you take to give to us. we thank you for, that and i thank you not just because it happens that i agree with what you said, but more importantly because you were required to give us a personal view, and it was clear to me and clear to most of us that this was a view that you hold in your conscience and not giving it to us because you were directed to by as far as i am concerned, but kind of leadership you have shown this morning -- with the kind of leadership you have shown this morning, i think it is doable.
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