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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 15, 2014 2:30pm-4:31pm EDT

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comes at a cost, but insecurity is much more expensive, and freedom does not come for free. second, we must strengthen the global community of free --ieties that are demoted devoted to the market economy, the rule of law, human rights, and respect for the rules-based international order. in north america, you are at the core of the global community. the transatlantic fund is the bedrock of our shared security and our common values.
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we must continue to strengthen that community and reach out to like-minded partners across the globe. we should reinvigorate our economies by enhancing economic ties. more trade. more mutual investments. i welcome the free trade agreement between the european union and canada, and i hope to of a rapid conclusion negotiations on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership between the european union and the united states. freer trade and greater investments will create jobs and set a strong example for others stronger, and a economic partnership will boost our ability to protect and
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promote an international rules-based organization, whose benefits we all enjoy. we should strengthen the strategic partnership between the european union and nato. we share 22 members. we share a positive vision of a europe whole, free, and at typicalut we also share neighborhoods, so we should work even more closely together to deal with those threats and to protect stability. new members into nato and the european union, we ce, prosperity, and progress across this continent.
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we are actually supporting our partners in europe to choose their own path. door openep nato's for new members. we continue to help partners to theythrough that door, if so wish, and if they make the and no thirdorms, country can have a veto. our shared vision of a europe and at peace cannot without the situation in the balkans. montenegro could be a next step. that is why our door must and will stay open. the united states and europe are core partners and allies, but
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this is not an exclusive club. should continue to reach out to like-minded partners across .he globe a strong goal -- stronger global community will help us promote freedom, democracy, free trade, and a rules-based world order. that forcese values of oppression violently oppose. by working together, the world free societies can better preserve and bolster our core values. theuse to preserve rules-based global order and our way of life, the forces of
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freedom, quatrain should, and rnity must- and mode triumph over destruction. third, we must strengthen our engagement in world security. stand up for our fundamental .articles and values defend the rules-based international order. for decades, the world has profited from a liberal international order, a cooperative order of states, serving and rul -- rules, and renouncing territorial conquest. order that can
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manage the peaceful rise of new powers, a liberal international order that has facilitated , progress, and prosperity. we, the citizens of free greaters, need to show self confidence in our own values, principles, and way of life. of course, our societies are not perfect, but freedom and opportunities for each resources have kept and unleashed innovation. choose your own way of life stimulates creativity and energy.
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the freedom to pose critical questions about established items insurers progress, renewal, and development -- progress, renewal, and development. it contributes to a more open society and a more efficient and transparent government. these values and principles now coming under pressure from forces of oppression. forces of oppression that want to limit the liberal democracy and trample the liberal international order. recent events showed only to tooling -- show only
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clearly that peace cannot be taken for granted. it is for us to stand up for freedom and defend our freedom. ablee have to be willing and to use both soft and hard power to protect and promote our values. however, as we approach the end of over a decade of combat operations in afghanistan, we .ee pressures to turn inward [no audio]
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prepared. we must not only develop the capabilities we need, we must demonstrate the political will to use them when required, so i welcome the important by the united states and other allies and partners to act against the so-called islamic
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state. we have seen again and again that crisis breeds crisis. force is still a factor. and if we fail to defend freedom forces ofacy, oppression will seize their opportunity. we have seen again and again that appeasement does not lead to peace. it just insights tyrants. failure to counter will invite further oppression. lesson of the 20th century, a lesson we must never
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forget. while military action remains , we must be able to resort to it when we need to, not to wage war, but to build peace. gentlemen, i am very proud to have served this unique alliance. only permanent framework where 28 democracies of north america and europe consult, decide, and act every day to ensure our collective security. after 20 years of challenging operations, we have the most
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capable and connected forces in history, and we are at the center of a wide network of security partnerships with countries and organizations across the globe. this is a challenging time, a time when our values and our will are being tested. challenge,e to the resist the pressures to retrench, and remain resolute. year, we have seen why we need nato. why question is no longer " nato?" the question is now about more nato.
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we have set out a clear course. we need to pursue that course to reinforce the rules-based international order and remain united today and in the years to come. we must preserve our freedom, protect our people, and promote our values. thank you. [applause] thank you very much, mr. secretary-general, and, first of all, i want to thank jan. it has been a pleasure working with you for the last five years in brussels. sadly, we are losing you, but thankfully, we will have another scandinavian. with current and
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recent events. you set any remarks that the threat posed by the islamic state requires a response. some say the west is reacting precipitously because of some rather sensational images of americans and british being .illed i wonder if you can address not going perhaps, isis, russiaowards beingraine rather risk distracted by this. first, i think it is fair to -- ihat the rise of isis
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do not want to call it the islamic state, because it is not a state -- the rise of this terrorist organization has become obvious during the last month, i would say. i think this is the reason why the international community takes action now. of course, the despicable acts, the murder, not only of three westerners but actually thousands of people in iraq and , adds to and syria this picture. the efforts to establish a -- and i also think it build atant to
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coalition that includes regional powers, regional countries, and it takes some time, so i think that explains why it is now that we take action. next question. can all the efforts against isis detract attention from what is in the east? definitely not. we are able to handle the broad range of security challenges whether they are seen to the ward to the south, and that is actually one of the very important conclusions -- whether they are seen to the east or to the south, and that is actually one of the very important conclusions. ability top our address the broad range of security challenges, so we will not lose sight of what is going on in the east. >> this issue of whether isis
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presents a threat. -- said rather definitively one of the things you cited was the foreign fighter issue, where others are going to the region. is that the greatest risk this crisis poses, both in europe and in the u.s.? >> of course, the issue of foreign fighters returning to our countries is a very erect threat,- a very direct and we have to address that. we decided at the whales a summit that we will strengthen our intelligence sharing -- at ummit that we will strengthen our intelligence sharing and more. it will have an impact on the and this is aty,
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reason for nato allies to take action and try to create an international coalition to counter isis. carnegie havend questions or from twitter, and i will pick up couple that are relevant to our conversation. there is a senior research fellow in israel, and it goes to this issue. what is nato's role in an anti-isis coalition? so far, it has stayed on the sidelines. why so? all, actually, this goes beyond nature. beyond nato. countries froms the region.
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so this actually goes beyond nato. secondly, we have not received toy requests for a na involvement. summit, we the wales determined activities that could be relevant for a nato --firstly, we declared that if we receive a request from the we stand government, ready to consider defense capacity building, which, for instance, could involve our activities in iraqi. we had a training mission in iraq until 2011. that is if the iraqi government requested. -- second, nato can help coordinate, and we can
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help counter the threat of foreign fighters returning to our countries. point two, the nato as for the nader, the command and control capability with multiple allies. nato command and but is a global threat. so far, we have not received any involvement. nato
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situation military involving libya eventually became a nato item. theseill throw in some of twitter questions as be continue. -- as we continue. you said appeasement does not lead to peace. i will ask you about russia. what we have seen over the last somethingriday, pertaining to the trade deal. foreignhe e.u. ministers suspending or maybe sanctions. there is an unwillingness to
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do more aggressive military operations against the russian threat. >> we do not accept a new conflict in eastern europe. of course, we should do all we can to encourage a peaceful , but,on to this conflict actually, to be very honest with you, my concern is that it is in russia's interests to have conflict in the region. the long-term position of russia is to reestablish a strong russian influence in its near neighborhood. countries prohibit them in some ways, and it is in keepa's interest to
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protracted conflict in some areas, and now crimea and eastern ukraine and ukraine, and we should never accept that. >> you have argued in very stark language in your address the russia, the by violation they have done to any number of agreements. isis, you advocate military involvement, but for russia -- whether you advocate military assistance, with heavy weaponry assistance to ukraine -- why are you advocating military intervention for isis but not help for ukraine militarily when in your
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rhetoric, you seem to be worried about both of them? >> the firstly, while it is clear that russia has violated all of its international commitments and has conducted illegal military actions in i do not think russia poses an imminent threat to nato allies for the very reason that russia knows that we have something in our nato treaty that protects any ally from an attack. an attack on an ally would be an , and that is whole why i think russia does not pose an imminent threat to allies. however, to keep our deterrents
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credible, we have taken steps, as you know, to reinforce our collective defense, and for ukraine, we do believe that the a politicalrward is solution, and while it is clear that russia has violated international norms and rules, i still think russia would be capable to negotiate if they decide to do so. when we are speaking about isis, this is a group of terrorists, with whom there is no chance whatsoever to find any political solution. furthermore, as i have argued, i think this terrorist group poses a threat not only to iraq but also to the world, and that is why i am in favor of taking military action against isis. we have you very much.
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about 30 minutes for q&a. >> the firstly, while it is i have been told that the people arehe balcony, you, too, able to participate. let's start on the floor, the gentleman here, and please wait for the microphone. >> mr. secretary-general, my and i am from the palestine/jordan area. about nato, it was during the strikes against libya to restore democracy in libya, and two years later, it is -- destroyed, as
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afghanistan and iraq. some speak of yemen, sudan. do you think if you're going to warrvene militarily to make against this so-called islamic iste, don't you think that going to affect lebanon, jordan, and others? second question, mr. secretary-general -- >> quickly, please. >> the main reason for istability in the area because the international community did not find a solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict, and it is the israeli-arab conflict.
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don't you think that if nato and states exert pressures against israel, king abdullah of saudi arabia -- countriesy all arab don't you think that is going to stop these terrorists? don't you think it is better to invest in the development of these countries? >> military action in the middle east threatening destabilizing the area? >> of course, the first question and very good question,
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there are some historical examples. wake of a military operation, we have seen instability, violence, maybe even failed states, but, first, have --tress that we allies have received a request from the iraqi government to assist the government in the fight against this terrorist organization, and i think we have a responsibility to help the iraqi government avoid -- aexactly to new failed states. -- state.
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having said that, there are lessons to be learned from previous military operations. case, i thinkery they were necessary and legitimate. i think the international community should learn it is about utmost importance to strengthen efforts after military operations to, to help these societies improve their to establish security and good governance. as an example, after 40 years of dictatorship, the new authorities had to start from scratch.
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retrospectively, i think the international community as such did too little too late to help the authorities in libya build a new nation. greatto operation was a success. we implemented the you and security mandate 100%. we prevented attacks against the libyan people, so we did what we were mandated to do. but when we had finished the military operation, i think, retrospectively, that the international community, led by the u.n. should've done much more much faster to help the authorities. and that is one of the important lessons to be learned, that military operations should go hand with civilian efforts, to follow up to establish or to build a new nation after such a military
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operation. but i have to say this goes beyond nato's capability. alliance, soitary it is for the broad international community to follow up in such cases. of course, i can only agree that settlements of the israeli-palestinian conflict would solve many problems. absolutely. i fully agree, and without going into too many details, i think that the long-term sustainable solutions is to see two states living side by side in peace and harmony and within secure borders. i still see this as the right formula for a long-term, sustainable solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict. >> go to the other side, from reuters. could i ask you how long it
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would take an independent scotland to join nato, and whether you believe that nato will undermine -- britain will undermine nato's defenses? i am not goingl to interfere with the referendum campaign in scotland. is thecan tell you following -- state wantsependent to become a member of nato, it will have to apply for membership of nato. in such an application will be addressed in exactly the same areas all applications
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dealt with. and eventually, it will require consensus, unanimity, within the alliance to accept a new member of our alliance. discussed this at il within our alliance, and am not in a position to say anything about timelines. as you know, from history, timelines differ significantly when it comes to applicants, towardss' roads membership of nato, and abilityy it is on their to fulfill the necessary criteria. actually, the answer is that i cannot say anything about timelines. >> on the issue of whether
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scotland' i independence would undermine feasibility of nato membership? any concerns about that? >> without interfering with the debate leading up to the thatendum, i do not see any outcome of the scottish referendum will have an impact on u.k.'s contribution to nato. i'm a correspondent for -- when you had this operation in frequentu spoke about -- which under these conditions, you are to be the operation. the request from the libyan authorities, and i think the
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u.n. mandate. and under which conditions are you going to lead these international coalitions in iraq? is it something for the future? >> just to throw one in from twitter, saying almost the same thing. [indiscernible] once again let me stress, we are not considering a nato role or even a nato leading role in this operation. arember of nato allies forming a coalition that also includes countries from the region. so to avoid any misunderstanding, let me stress that we are not in a process of engaging nato as such in military strikes against isis.
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i pointed out that at the summit we mentioned three possibilities of nato involvement. firstly, defense capacity building in iraq, if requested. secondly, a coordinating role. strengthen cooperation on intelligence and information sharing among allies to counter foreign fighters. quite rest of it is hypothetical because we have not natoved any requests for involvement. but nato allies are involved, and i really welcome that. added the question mandate, when individual allies engaged in this. will they meet a yo u.n.
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mandate? i'm not a legal expert, but i see it the following way. orrificmmits h atrocities, and witnessing there, attacks within religious and ethnic minorities, in my opinion, it is pretty close to genocide. gives my opinion, that such a military operation legitimacy within the principles .n. charter. i say this without being a legal expert. finally, i also consider this a kind of self-defense, which is also committed within the eu in -- the u.n. charter. i would say as a layman, not a politician, not as a legal
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expert, as far as i can see, there is a basis in fundamental u.n. charter principles to conduct military operations against isis. >> we have five minutes left. let me take two or three. does come to the microphone, please. >> hi, i work at carnegie. my question is on turkey. during your five years, turkey has been involved in afghanistan and in libya, although in a noncombat mode. still weighing a defense,on the -- which is two years, and we do not know the answer yet, which is important to nato's defense. and finally, we heard on friday that turkey will not play any role in the military operations against isis. after your five years, what
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would be your judgment without perhaps as going as far as what turkey has saturday, stopped long ago been a friend of the west. do you see problem there in the future? >> let me take another one. i saw german right there. -- i saw a gentleman right there. >> thank you. question, given the relative security in europe, can nato be used to secure entry supplies to the european allies among for example, by deploying nato troops in the region? for example [indiscernible] . thank you. >> and lastly, a woman behind you. >> thank you.
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i question is there is some -- sorry -- the ability of nato to use its forces in the east and in the south at the same time. how do you think about this? there is another -- plan toave any detailed rescue the hostage in the region? thank you. >> three very different topics for you. turkey, energy security, and the ability to do local things -- multiple things at one time. turkey, i have to say i consider turkey a strong , and on a personal basis, i have had excellent cooperation with the turkish leadership since i took office as secretary general.
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whenever we have needed contributions to nato operations, turkey has actually engaged and contributed to nato-led operations. in the case of iraq, first of all, we are not speaking about a nato operation, but so far a coalition on -- of the willing. furthermore, it may play a role that isis has also taken turkish hostages. i do not know. it is for the turkish government to answer that question. but i have to say, seeing from my chair that turkey has played a crucial role within our lives and continues to play a crucial role, and overall, i would have
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to say that turkey, not least because of the radical location, is a very important ally and partner from a strategic point of view. regard to the missile defense, i'm sure that the turkish authorities have listened to concerns raised by fellow allies. energy, first of all, let me stress that nato's core task is territorial defense of our allies. on as regards to pipelines, allied territory, of course, it is part of the territorial defense to protect such
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means of and other energy supply. but first of all, i think energy security is much more about reducing europe's dependence on imported gas and oil. it has become evident that there is also an overall security aspect of being so dependent on one single supplier, in this case, russia, and i think that on the european union. utmostof o importance to establishing a well-functioning energy market
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across borders so that this single most important supplier and singlekmail one out individual allies, because energy will flow more freely across borders. alternative pipelines, development of alternative -- all this is part of overall energy security, and i think it is for the european first and foremost to deal with that. finally, can we actually address security challenges from both at east and south at one the same time? i answered that at the beginning of this russian an answer, and we can. we have the capacity to deal these wide-ranging threats.
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it was one of the very important outcomes of the nato summit in become at we will not one-dimensional alliance. we do have the capability to deal with more or less conventional threats, both to the east and to the south, as well as addressing newer security challenges like cyber attacks.missile that is why at the summit we cyberd to enhance our defense. we continue building our miss ile defense system. i can assure you that the
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alliance stands ready and capable to address both the east cyberspaceth and if needed. >> one last question. this is from the foreign affairs correspondent. what would be the most important advice you would give your successor? >> i think actually the most be toant advice would continue reforming, modernizing our alliance and continue strengthening our collective defense so that nato remains broade to address this range of security challenges. and then on top of that, he will need some patience to make he spend the necessary
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time and effort to create consensus among 28 independence dependent 28 and nations. -- 28 independent nations. it has been a great pleasure. while it may take some time to create consensus among 28 nations, once we reach a consensus, and there is a strong spirit within our alliance, once we reach a consensus with all 28, then it is a very strong alliance that moves forward. >> thank you. we you please join me with one more round of applause with anders rasmussen. told to invite everyone to join us for drinks. one herewraps up this
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at carnegie. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> reminder that legislators will return to the u.s. house in about 40 minutes. debate on 18th suspension bills on the agenda today. 4:00 pmerage at eastern. ahead, we spoke earlier today with the capitol hill reporter. >> for more on what congress is doing this week on this effort, we want to turn to a congressional reporter with politico. what is happening in congress this week?
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is there a vote on the moderate syrian rebels? guest: that is being worked out. was language that showed lawmakers were ready provide training and equipment to the syrian rebels that obama has identified. they are still working through some of the details and the plans and whether or not it should be at patched to the continuing -- should be attached to the cr. there is a desire to separate those words to make sure that series is not throwing everything together to get out before the elections. host: which chamber would take is a first? is there enough time before congress is set to adjourn? guest: is the big question here. kevin mccarthy made lawmakers
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come back early today. they were not planning on being in session on monday today. four-daying to be a week. this is a tight timetable, and not just because it takes time was a long time to do anything, but there are procedures to do, so this is a process when they are moving as quickly as possible, it could take days and there is a tight deadline to ensure they can see whether they can pass something before friday or whether they might have to come in next week. headlinesave shown this week on the idea of a separate vote authorizing the military strikes and authorization of this use of force. a new vote on that. what is the talk if and when that might happen? i'm sorry, you cut out
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there. host: the authorization of use of force. schedule when that vote might take place on capitol ?ill be on the focus would that military force which would likely happen after the election. we are talking lame duck, which makes what was going to be a boring lame duck session quite dizzy, exciting, quite heated. that would give the obama administration long-term ability to use military force in the region. the ability to amp up this military conflict. there is no way this will happen before the election. lawmakers don't want to take that tough vote beforehand. before everyone is set to leave for campaign season. that would be a lame duck action. on capitol hill,
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what will we see from members of the obama administration coming up to answer questions? guest: there are a set of briefings already scheduled area there will be more of those and to personn communication. you saw obama and kerry really hitting it and calling republicans and calling democrats to push this forward. you can bet those conversations will continue and a lot of pressure to finish by friday. host: outside of this debate, what are the other must do accurate items that congress has to do before leaving to campaign? that is the continuing resolution. if that doesn't get past we are on the brink of another government shutdown. there are lingering questions about the reauthorization of the
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x m. democrats are angry that there is only a temporary extension. they see that is a move to eventually kill the bank's authorization and get rid of it. there is a lot of debate happening among the democratic caucus about what to do there. republicans aren't thrilled with any authorization of that bank come up so that might key up the continuing resolution. big thing thatt everyone needs to get finished before they go home. host: we will keep watching guest: the house will return at 4:00 eastern to work on six of the 18 suspension bills on the agenda. votes at 6:30 them and later this week funding to keep government operating past the october 30 deadline. see the house live on c-span.
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we will hear more about that u.s. approach to teaking out isis tomorrow. way atagel gets under 9:30 tomorrow. you can watch our coverage on c-span3. also john kerry will testify before the senate foreign relations committee. we will hear what he has to say about that wednesday at 2:30 eastern also live on c-span3. an examination now of the funding of counterterrorism operations as part of the pentagon's budget. each week we take a look at how your money is at work in different federal programs. this week, we are joined by a senior fellow at the center for strategic and budgetary assessment. how does the pentagon create a
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budget for counterterrorism operations, like what's happening now against isis? guest: these are emerging requirements that don't fit in the normal budget. they use supplemental appropriations. supplemental appropriations have been used since 9/11 to fund operations in iraq, afghanistan, and now in iraq again. the pentagon had already submitted a supplemental war budget request for 2015, for the fiscal year that starts on october 1. they submitted that in may. they did not anticipate they would be needing additional funding for isis at that time. host: how much money is in the account right now? how does congress go about refilling that account if it needs to be refilled? guest: in 2014 congress appropriated $85 billion in supplemental war funding, supposedly for operations in
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afghanistan. it is far in excess of what they actually needed for afghanistan because we are in the process of drawing down troops there. there is excess there that was added to the war supplemental that was being used for regular peacetime defense funding, things that had been in the base budget in the past. plenty of extra margin in there. i should note the reason that folks would want to use the supplemental war budget for additional funding is it does not count against the caps that were put in place in 2011 that limits how much congress can appropriate for defense and nondefense. there is a convenient loophole. once you exceed your budget cap, a sequester is ordered and these accounts get cut just like any other.
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you set aside some piece of that money. when the sequester took effect, they moved funding from their base budget back into the accounts that had been cut. for 2015, they requested about $59 billion. $54 billion of that was allocated for afghanistan. they included in that $4 billion for counterterrorism operations, the counterterrorism partnership fund. host: a new budget item. guest: it was supposed to go after terrorist organizations and help other countries, arm them, and train them so that they could fight terrorist groups like isis. of course, that was requested before we saw the major gains that isis had made in syria and iraq. host: put it into numbers for
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us. how much is the u.s. spending so far since july when these operations began, the new operations against isis, and at what point would that funding runs out, would the president have to go back to congress for more money? guest: we have one good marker. the pentagon came out couple weeks ago and said at that point they had spent about half a billion dollars from mid-june until the end of august. that is 1/10 of 1% of the defense budget this year. they've been able to absorb that in money that was already appropriated by congress. they are continuing to spend. the burn rate should start to ramp up. host: more troops going over? guest: more troops going over. more air strikes, more intelligence missions that we are flying over iraq, and that could expand into syria.
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i caution people that as we see it increase, it won't be long before we probably start to see it decrease again. we will begin to run out of targets on the ground. we are already hitting all of the low-hanging fruit, the things that are obvious, armored vehicle, checkpoints. we are taking out those targets. out those targets. est that we've dropped about 250 bombs already as of the president's speech. i expect we will expand and see the pace of operations go up, but it won't be long before he start -- we start to see that go down, simply because we will run out of targets or it will start to get harder. we are talking about paying for operations against isis, where that money comes from, what accounts those are in in the pentagon budget. if you have questions or
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comments in this segment, give us a call. democrats can call (202) 585-3880. republicans, (202) 585-3881. independents, (202) 585-3882. todd harrison, as folks are calling him on the phone, our last guest had a piece in the daily beast, "contractors are ready to cash in on isis war." there's a question on twitter. "does the money for fighters against isis come from the pentagon budget?" guest: it does. i have not seen numbers. if we are, the contractors would dod fundingof the if they are being -- if they are doing dod functions. in iraq and afghanistan previously, we had about as many contractors in the country as we did troops in -- troops on the ground.
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we had over 100,000 troops on the ground and 100,000 contractors as well. there has been some misperception about what those contractors do. the vast majority are doing relatively mundane tasks, food preparation, laundry, things like that. only about 10% of the contractors that we used in iraq and afghanistan were actually used for security, whether they were shooting at people -- that's what gives people pause about the use of contractors. but that is not the main use of contractors that we have seen. host: of the 1500 or so u.s. personnel that have gone over, we don't have any information yet about contractors going over. guest: and i would suspect that their mission is more intelligence collection, doing some training and assisting and assessing of other groups on the ground that we may want to partner with. i would expect there to be contractors in there, just not in large numbers. is here toharrison
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answer your questions. pete is here from windsor, connecticut. caller: good morning. just to let you know, you could spend all the money you want, but the bottom line is the united states will never win anything in the middle east as long as israel and apec are up ourh -- are attached to congress' sphincter. host: we will move on. there is the overseas contingency operation budget. can you how these relate to each other? --st: and didn't see contingency operations is the name if the obama administration has given to these war supplemental requests, supplemental war funding requests that come out each year. under the george w. bush administration, it was called the global war on terrorism fund. i don't care for the names.
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it is extra money needed to fight the wars. this was created within the oco budget requests, specifically for activities like we are seeing right now in iraq. host: from starkville, mississippi, on outline for independents. caller: good morning. i have a question. why did president obama authorized the lifting of inding for terrorism september, 2013, to fund rebel groups in syria? those rebel groups seem to have turned themselves into isis, mysteriously, though we don't know where isis is. could you answer that question for me question mark guest: -- for me? guest: sure.
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from my home state of mississippi. what the caller is referencing, we were looking at conducting operations in syria, bombing in syria, but we were going to do something different. we were going to go after the syrian regime to stop them from attacking their own citizens, to stop them from using a metal weapons against their own citizens. a lot has changed since then. do of the things we did starting last year and perhaps ,ven earlier than we knew helping arm some of the opposition groups against the assad regime in syria. that's where it gets complicated. those opposition groups are splintered. there are reportedly several different opposition groups that are more moderate that could potentially be friendly to the united states. there are the groups that are ,ominated by islamic militants which have coalesced into what we now call isis or isil, or
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they call themselves just islamic state. that group has spread its influence and projected out into parts of iraq since last year. it is a complicated mess on the ground, quite frankly. we have been trying to assess -- assist some of the rebel groups in syria, but we've been trying to focus those efforts on rebel groups that are more moderate, that would potentially be friendly to the u.s. in the end. this is a difficult needle to thread, quite frankly. can you go through what the president is asking for funding wise for the moderate syrian rebels, and where would that money come from? guest: there have not been a lot of specifics. they are trying to figure out which moderate rebel groups have potential, that are safe for us to fund, that aren't going to come back and transfer those weapons to isis or lose them to isis him and then we end up fighting our own weapons -- to
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isis, and then we end up fighting our own weapons. part of the process is to take some of those moderate rebels out of the country and train them elsewhere so that they can become, more competent fighting force and fight more effectively for themselves and then take them back into syria. the funding for that would be relatively modest. the army of these moderate rebels we are talking about, they are not going to be able to get expensive fighter jets or helicopters or tanks. that is not what they need and it would not help them anyway. they would be getting things like better rifles, perhaps some weapons they could use against armored vehicles like isis has acquired when they had captured some units from iraq. be relativelyld small dollar amounts. the bigger part would be that training. that's where we have to rely on our allies in the region. host: in terms of the equipment that has been captured, can you talk about the money that the u.s. spent to train and arm the
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iraqi army? a total of $20 million? guest: we spent many billions on arming and training the iraqi military. when isis made some big gains into iraq, units of the iraq he military just melted away and the isis -- of the iraqi military just melted away and able to personnel were capture the equipment. they are operating a number of american-made and american financed equipment that used to belong to the iraqi military. what we have found so far, the last numbers i saw, we had humvees,re than 19 us-made humvees that we had given to the iraqi military. host: what does a humvee cost? guest: a quarter of a million dollars, generally. we've seen reports that we had rap vehicle, mine
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resistant and protective vehicles. these were more resistant to ied attacks that were harming so many of our troops. we left many of those with the iraqi military. isis has captured those -- one of those. we have bombed the mrap. they cost about $1 million each. they are very expensive vehicles . now we are having to spend money to take them out as well. host: todd harrison is a senior fellow for defense budget at the center for strategic and budgetary assessments. here to answer your questions for the next 25 minutes or so on the "washington journal." let's go to our line for republicans. caller: my name is vista, v-
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i-s-t-a. i'm fascinated by the concept of trying to get the american public to support this war, and it is a war, and financially support -- ask our representatives to support this war when our president will not even identify what we are fighting -- and that is a religious ideology by a people that are savages, that believe that their god is the only god and that only by submission to their god and people submitting to their god will they -- will we, as a civilization, be allowed to live. our president will not recognize that fact. he won't even call the islamists. what do we do about that? how do we approach that problem? we are powerless to do anything like that. -- to do anything about that. it is up to you -- folks like you, sir, that stand up and demand the american public gets
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the truth. host: todd harrison, can you talk about how the administration has tried to sell this effort on capitol hill? what do members of congress have to approve? guest: when the president made his speech last week and laid out who are we fighting, he was trying to be very specific, and the collar might take issue -- the coaller might take issue wih this, that we are not fighting a religion or an ideology. we are fighting specific terrorist groups. he was trying to narrow it down specifically to isis. the groups of people we see carrying out these attacks and activities throughout syria and iraq right now and trying to narrow it to that group. that was part of the selling campaign, if you will, on capitol hill. we haven't seen much of an
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effort to persuade people on capitol hill just yet. quite frankly, they don't need to. they feel they have the authority to conduct the military operations they are planning to conduct. they would love to have additional writ -- approval from congress. but they feel they can go ahead and do without that. they can use money that has been appropriated. we are talking millions and single-digit billions of money, but that is actually small in the overall defense budget. they can move money between accounts and do this. it becomes a serious issue for congress to consider. once we been in this operation and seen the pace of operations after several months, several months into the new fiscal year itt starts on october 1, if continues, and it looks like it is consuming more and more resources, then the pentagon
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would want to come back and ask for additional money. that's when they would have to thata good campaign congress should appropriate additional money for this. independentne for s. caller: how can we afford all this? that's what i want to know. guest: whether or not we can the clear answer is yes, we can afford it. it is whether or not we are willing to spend the money. to put it in perspective, we spend about half $1 trillion per year on defense, -- half a trillion dollars per year on defense, not counting money that we spend on wars. this is tiny in comparison to the dod budget and the overall federal budget.
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in 2015, the overall federal budget will be about $3.9 trillion. we are talking about billions with a b. this could certainly fit within the federal and defense budget. it is a matter of whether or not we want to do this as a policy issue. host: in terms of bending back the federal budget, the deficit, didn't some of those projections count on winding down the wars in iraq and afghanistan? guest: they do. they counted on some reduction in war spending. but to put this in perspective, what we are spending on afghanistan, even in 2015, the administration requested $54 billion for afghanistan and will only have 11,000 troops there on average throughout the year. we are still spending much more on afghanistan. we will be averaging -- to put that in perspective, that is $1 billion per week we will
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be spending on afghanistan. what we are talking about here, operations against isis, is a fraction of that. war funding is projected to come down in the coming years, but this really doesn't change the object or he that much -- change the trajectory that much, in my opinion. host: going out oklahoma. caller: if we would secure our border and stop letting foreigners coming to the country, we would have little to fear from foreign terrorists. we hand out visas to over one million foreigners entering our country every year. we have nearly 100,000 chinese students studying in america. while we are distracted in the middle east, the russians are and thever the ukraine baltic states of latvia, estonia. the chinese are very active south of the rio grande.
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we are distracted by another conflict in the middle east while this is going on. host: do you want to talk about homeland security spending? guest: when we talk about the defense budget, i think it is important to talk about what is not included there. trillion dollars does include a number of activities that folks would probably think of as needed for the defense of the country in tact howdy -- in totality. to the caller's point about immigration and our southern border, the security issue there, i think what the administration would say is that certainly is an issue and something they should work on, but on 9/11, the terrorist attack was carried out by 19 men who did not immigrate through our southern border. we have a number of other ways that people can get into the country if they want to do harm to the country. one of the chief concerns the
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administration has raised about isis is that there appeared to be some americans who have gone over to fight with this group and therefore have american passport and could potentially try to get back into the country. the ones we know about are not going to make it back in very well because we will be looking for them. the concern is the unknown people that may have traveled there that we don't realize, as well as europeans that may have been traveling to fight with isis. they could come back to europe and then we have much more easy visa policies for visiting the u.s. from europe. that is a concern. it only takes a handful of people to do a tremendous amount of damage. there is concern that that could be a way for folks to leak back into the united states. host: coming back to "the daily beast" story, contractors looking to cash in, with our last guest, eli lake. "why not have enlisted personnel
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do food, maintenance, laundry instead of contractors question mark it might increase recruits -- instead of contractors? it might increase recruits." guest: in prior wars, vietnam, korea, world war ii and before, we did use many of our own uniformed military personnel for these types of activities, support activities. of military personnel has grown significantly, particularly over the past decade. the cost per service member in the military, total cost, including pay, allowing, health care, retirement benefits has been about six -- 76% above inflation. people cost us a lot more right now. it is cheaper to use a contractor in a war zone to provide these types of services than it is to use a member of the u.s. military. we don't have as many people in
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the military as we used to. in vietnam, we were over 3 million people in our active-duty force. we are at about 1.4 million right now. we have to conserve our resources in terms of personnel better. the contractors near using for these types of -- laundry services, food preparation -- they are third-party nationals. they are not u.s. citizens or iraqi citizens or afghan citizens. they come from other countries and are willing to work for lower wages so we can get the job done at a lower cost using contractors rather than our own military personnel. host: let's go to columbus, mississippi, our line for democrats. caller: good morning. they keep talking about money, money, money. they spend millions and billions of dollars just to get elected. i think the american people,
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white and black, should get together, start loving one another, and stop fighting. earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, fires, you name it. we need to love one another and stick together as a nation so we can fight this nation. want to talk about comparisons between election spending and pentagon budget spending? we are talking different magnitudes, correct? guest: i think the obama campaign in 2012 spent about $1 billion on the campaign. that is still a drop in the bucket compared to what we are talking about spending in the overall federal government, a poor ching -- government, trillion.g $4 this is a country of over 300 million people. we are still the wealthiest country on earth. in terms of what we can afford,
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i think it is clear that we can afford to spend what we are spending. we could afford to spend more if we chose to spend more. that is a separate question, whether or not we should be spending it and whether or not we are spending it appropriately . that is the question for congress to answer. host: have about 15 minutes left. we are talking with todd harrison, senior defense fellow for the center force strategic and budgetary -- the center for strategic and budgetary assessment. host: we are a nonprofit, nonpartisan defense think tank. we do research and analysis into defense-related issues. i work on the budget side of our organization, analyzing all things defense budget, everything from what we are spending on different weapons systems to what we spend on military readiness to what we spend on war-related funding and operations like we are conducting right now in iraq. host: you can follow todd harrison on twitter.
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@toddharrisondc. john in virginia. caller: thank you for taking my call. since 9/11, we created more contractors that are run by old, retired generals. you need to tell the american people the truth. the reality is we have more contractors than any other country. -- e afghanistan never built anything, yet they use our budget to send that money back to this country and build more houses. when we go to the country and we hire contractors, it has to be responsible. we have a lot of contractors who are ex generals -- who are ex-generals. they hire contractors, yet they don't build anything in those
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countries. in afghanistan, there are not much schools the contractors built. people are getting more poor. you see people who are introvert or so to make $150,000 per year -- to our interpreters who make $150,000 per year. host: as you're responding, i want to show this chart showing wartime supplemental spending, -- overseas contingency overseas operation contingency budget. these numbers are in the billions of dollars, $24 billion in fiscal year 2005, at a peak billion in 2011, down to $86.7 billion in fiscal year 2014. guest: we have to define what kind of contractors we have been
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talking about. we have been talking about contingency contractors, contractors we use in a war zone somewhere for a specific military contingency. as i said before, our use of contingency contractors has been almost the same number of contractors as troops but -- deployed in these countries over the past decade, a much higher use of contractors than we've seen in the past. we have an all-volunteer military now. the other types of contractors are our service support contractors, folks who provide professional services to the military, not related specifically to a particular conflict. i used to be one of these, full disclosure. booz allen hamilton. the third group of contractors are the ones that work with the u.s. defense industry to build
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products for the department of defense, like weapons systems. dod is not employing them directly on a per person basis. dod is buying a product from a company and many of these companies are hiring people to build these products. lockheed martin, boeing, .orthrop grumman, raytheon the contractors fall into this third category. to put some numbers on how many service support contractors do we have -- the military does not track it exactly. it is probably in the neighborhood of about one million, about as many contractors as dod civilians working for the department of defense, direct employees of the .ederal government probably about as many service support contractors as those. in terms of the contractors out in the industry building products, i would not even want to hazard a guess. multiple millions that are
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employed by that in one form or another. host: in terms of numbers, you say they are not tracked specifically. why is that? has there not been an audit? we have not passed an audit successfully. there have been small audience in small areas. when it comes to service support contractors, dod is buying a service. they contracted by dollars, by service performed. you don't have a good idea how many contractors are actually employed on those contracts, performing that service. they've started to go back and tried to collect this data in recent years. that's why we are able to estimate a bit that it is closer to probably one million in service support contractors. dod is buying it by the service, not by the head. we don't know for sure how many. independent, good morning. military guy an ex-
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myself. usually, you have to follow the money. we've read the papers about this group over there making about $3 billion -- $3 million a day in their oil. it seems like a drop in the bucket. why don't you go take it from them? i realize they are, quote-unquote, a "formidable" force at this point, but it could make the difference, don't you agree? guest: we are going after specific targets, either underground or out of the areas -- forcing ice is either ou-- of eitheris out underground or out of the areas they have been in. apparently, we do not want to end up owning the territory again. we are trying to any of our
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partners in the region, specifically the iraq he military, the peshmerga, the kurdish forces, to come back and take the ground back from isis, and take whatever resources isis has been using to finance their operations. host: can you talk about the efforts to choke off the funding going into isis, not just what the caller was talking about, concerns about money coming in from other countries and other regions of the world? we have been making concerted efforts for years to cut off the funding to different terrorist organizations. we are stepping up that effort against isis right now and looking at, either wealthy individuals or countries that may be funneling money through back channels into this organization. we are using a lot of diplomatic means, using a lot of resources at the department of treasury to track the flow of money and try to identify where money might be filtering into isis one way or
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another, and using every means available to stop the flow of funding. host: richard is up next. good morning. caller: please don't hang up on me. let me finish talking. you guys always hang up on people. the chinese are spending all their money. they own 90% of all the resources on earth. while we are spending money making sure our contractors make money. thatched on c-span 3 they appropriated $127 billion for infrastructure in afghanistan. three democrats questioned them about it. 26% -- 27% of the money spent. where did the rest of the money go? these contractors are getting rich. you complain about people getting food stamps, but why doesn't america settle -- care
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more about buying mineral resources and building our country up instead of building china up? guest: i would not want to address the first point. i don't think that is correct that china owns 90% of the worlds resources -- the world's resources. terms ofite wealthy in natural resources, as are many other countries around the world. i think that >> washington journal every day at 7 a.m. eastern. the houses gaveling in for the first of 18 suspension bills. now live to the house floor on c-span. cognition? mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4771 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 4771, a bill to amend the controlled substances
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act to more effectively regulate anabolic steroids. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. pitts, and the gentlewoman from the virgin islands, mrs. christensen, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous materials into the record on the bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, the health subcommittee ranking member, frank pallone, and i, introduced h.r. 4771, the designer an boll exsteroid control act, dasca, end a loophole that allows designer anabolic steroids to easily be found online new york gyms and even in re-- online, in gyms,
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and even in retail stores. when taken by consumers, designer steroids which are class 3 controlled substances, can cause serious medical harm. including liver injury and increased risk of heart attack, and stroke. they may also lead to aggression, hostility and addiction. designer steroids are produced by reverse engineering existing illegal steroids and then slightly modifying their chemical composition so the resulting product is not on the d.e.a.'s list of controlled substances. dasca will help protect consumers from these harmful products by giving the d.e.a. the tools and authority to properly classify designer steroids as controlled substances. and increase criminal penalties
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for importing, manufacturing, or distributing them under false labels. dasca would immediately place a number of known designer anabolic steroids on the list of controlled substances. it would grant the d.e.a. authority to temporarily schedule new designer steroids on the controlled substances list. for 24 months, with the possibility of a six-month extension system of that if bad actors develop new variations, these products can be removed from the market immediately. it would create new penalties for importing, manufacturing, or distributing anabolic steroids under false labels, and it would authorize the attorney general to publish a list of products containing an anabolic steroid that are not properly labeled. dasca is supported by the
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american herbal products association, ahpa, the consumer health care products association, the chpa, the council for responsible nutrition, the c.r.n., the natural products association, the n.p.a., and the united natural products alliance, unpa. i would urge all members to support this critical piece of legislation. it is bipartisan and i would urge support of all members and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from the virgin islands. mrs. christensen: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i might consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. christensen: i rise in support of h.r. 4 71, the design -- 4771, the designer anabolic steroid control act of
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2014. h.r. 4771 would amend the controlled substances act to expand the definition of anabolicster toids include 25 additional chemicals, thereby facilitating their control by the drug enforcement agency. the c.s.a. contains a list of chemicals defined as anabolic steroids. however, chemists, as you've heard, are able to design around the list, creating new anabolic steroids not on the c.s.a. list. the d.e.a., therefore, has a more difficult time making enforcement actions against people using them. the bill will also make it easier for the drug enforcement agency to add subsequent designer chemicals to the list of anabolic steroids and increases civil and criminal penalties for offenses pertaining to anabolic steroids. an boll exsteroids are synthetic variants of testosterone. they have a number of therapeutic uses but are also used by muscle builders and athletes to improve performance. long-term or high-dose use can
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cause adverse health effects, including damage to the liver and -- liver and heart and testicular atrophy. this will go a long way to removing dangerous steroids from the market. we have seen the harm these drugs have caused, particularly in our youth and in professional sports, particularly baseball. the bill will give d.e.a. an important tool to fight the use of hard-to-detect designer steroids. i want to commend chairman joe pitts and ranking member frank pallone for their sponsorship of this bipartisan legislation and i also urge my colleagues to join me in supporting today's legislation and i reserve the balance of my time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i'm prepared to close. i have no other speakers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from the virgin islands. mrs. christensen: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizing the gentleman from pennsylvania.
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mr. pitts: i urge all members to support this bipartisan legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 4771 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? mr. pitts: i move that the house suspend the rules and pass the bill s. 2154. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 2154, an act to amend the public health service act to re-authorize the emergency medical services for children program. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. pitts, and the gentlewoman from the virgin islands, mrs. christensen, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. pitts: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their
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remarks and insert extraneous materials into the record on the bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. pitts: i rise today in support of s. 2154, the emergency medical services for children re-authorization act of 2014. introduced by senator casey of pennsylvania and senator hatch of utah and championed in the house by mr. matheson of utah and mr. king of new york. a child's health care necessities are not the same as their parents'. children have special health care needs and the emergency and trauma care system has been slow to develop an adequate response. fragmentation and poor coordination among prehospital services, hospitals, and public health are problems that involve emergency services in general. the gravity of the problem is
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worse for children when hospitals lack the appropriate medical personnel, pediatric supplies, or transfer agreements that lead to better care within the golden hour when chances are survival are higher. in 1984 congress passed the emergency medical services for children, emsc, as part of the preventive health amendments of 1984. the program was last re-authorized in 2010. it aims to reduce child and youth mortality and morbidity caused by severe illness or draw masm emsc was designed to ensure that pediatric service is well i want greated into an emergency medical service system and that the entire spectrum of emergency services is provided to children and adolescents as well as adults. the bill was almost -- the bill was almost identical to h.r.
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4290, which the house passed last week, voting for s. 2154 would send the bill to the president so we can continue this important program that help ours nation's children. i ask my colleagues to vote for this important piece of legislation which is bipartisan and i yield back the -- and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from the virgin islands. mrs. christensen: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is reck -- the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. christensen: i rise in strong support of h.r. 2154, the emergency medical services for children re-authorization act of 2014. established 30 years ago this year, the emergency medical services for children program has supported improvement to pediatric emergency care in all u.s. states, territories and freely associated states. emsc grant programs help assess
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emergency systems and implement quality improvement measures, improve services in rural and tribal communities, and support a research net work to facilitate studies in peedyat rick emergency care. last week, as the chairman said, the house approved a similar bill to re-authorize the emergency medical services for children program by voice vote. by advancing the senate companion legislation today, the emsc program will be able to continue for another five years at its currently appropriated funding level. i want to thank senators hatch and casey for sponsoring this bill in the senate, congressman matheson and king for sponsoring the house companion bill and the leaders on the energy and commerce committee and senate health, education, labor and pensions committee for making it possible to have a consensus bill before us today. chairman upton, chairman pitts, rankling member waxman, ranking member pallone, chairman harkin, and ranking member alexander. i urge members to support s.
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2154 so we can send this bill to the president for his signature. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. pitts: i'm prepared to close. mrs. christensen: i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. pitts: i urge all members to support this bipartisan legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass senate 2154? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative -- mr. pitts: mr. speaker, i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this otion will be postponed.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from kentucky seek recognition? >> i move that the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 83 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 83 a bill to require the secretary of the interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the united states and the freely associated states through the development of action plans aimed at reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels and increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from kentucky, mr. whitfield, and the gentlewoman from the virgin islands, mrs.
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christensen, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous material in the record on the bill and i would like to include an exchange of letters between the committee on energy and commerce and the committee on natural resources. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. whitfield: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. bitfield: first of all, i want -- mr. whitfield: first of all, i want to thank dr. christensen for being the author of this important legislation. h.r. 83 requires the secretary of the interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the united states and the freely associated states of guam, puerto rico, and virgin
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islands through the development of energy action plans aimed at reduce -- at promoting access to affordable and reliable energy. these u.s. territories have few conventional energy resources and they are dependent upon imports to meet a significant portion of their energy needs. as a result, the residents of those areas pay unusually high electricity bills. in addition, because these areas are isolated from areas that provide their energy fuels as well as the added costs of transporting these fuels, their energy costs are in greater threat of supply interruption than areas that are energy independent or have a more convenient source of energy fuels. dr. christensen has done a great job of bringing this to the attention of our committee about the unique challenges faced in those areas. h.r. 83 will assist these important u.s. territories in
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addressing their energy needs by establishing a team of energy experts to help develop and implement an energy action plan for each of these areas. congress certainly has an ongoing interest in the energy needs of the nation as well as the insular areas of the u.s. and the freely associated states. helping these territories develop affordable and reliable sources of energy are hallmarks of a thriving economy that can improve the quality of life for all. h.r. 83 will not entirely solve these issues but it will help facilitate the efforts, and i would urge all members to support this legislation and i would reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from the virgin islands. mrs. christensen: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. christensen: i rise in very strong support of h.r. 83, a bill i introduced on the very first day of this congress. this legislation, as you've heard, would require the secretary of the interior to assemble a team of technical, policy and financial experts to address our energy needs through the development of action plans to promote access to affordable, reliable energy all the while increasing the use of indigenous clean-energy resources in the insular areas of american samoa, the northern mariana islands, puerto rico, guam, the virgin islands and the freely associated states. before i go any further, i want to take this opportunity to thank subcommittee chairman whitfield and ranking member rush and committee chair upton and ranking member waxman who on hearing the high cost of electricity of my district, the u.s. virgin islands immediately supported my efforts to bring relief. i recall the very first time that i shared how much we paid for electricity during one of our early energy and power
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subcommittee meetings, chairman whitfield actually followed me outside the room to confirm that he had heard the right figure and then pledged to do whatever he could as chairman to help on this issue. and we thank you for your help and your support. with their support, energy and commerce actually passed this bill in july last year and we have been trying to bring it to the floor for passage since then. i also want to thank natural resources chair doc hastings and ranking member defazio for releasing the bill from their jurisdiction so we can bring it to the floor today. we've come a long ways since 2008 when the subcommittee on insular affairs, which i chaired at that time, and the subcommittee on energy and mineral resources, chaired then by congressman jim costa, held an official hearing in st. croix, island. it was to highlight the cost of energy in the u.s. territories and to explore and offer
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alternative and renewable resources. it was at that hearing that we first called for a hearing for the energy development of island nations which then only existed in hawaii. within the year, the department of interior and the governor brought this project to the virgin islands. this initiative is what has assisted our water and power authority to plan and implement the transition to propane and solar which will begin to lower costs later this year or earlier next year. it is also -- it has also prepared the way for wind energy. today, we still have miles to go before we can see the significant reductions in costs that our families and our businesses must bear. and that is why we're here asking this body to pass h.r. 83 today. this measure will help my district and our nation's other insular areas become less reliant on expensive, foreign imported fuel and address our long-standing energy challenges which have become increasingly implicated by price shocks and
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instability in the oil markets over the past few years. the bill requires that the energy action plans identify and offer remedies to our immediate, near term, long term and environmental needs, along with recommendations on how to improve the performance of energy infrastructure, how to improve overall energy efficiency and set a schedule for implementation of those recommendations. just to give you a little more context to our ongoing dilemma, on every occasion when i'm in my district i hear business owners tell me they're not sure how much longer they can hold on before closing. in fact, many have closed and the high electricity costs makes it very difficult to attract new ones at a time when our economy needs the stimulus. at one social event i recall a mother of five pleading to me to keep seeking help as her almost $500 a month bill is making it difficult for her to
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provide for the needs of her family. our seniors are forgoing medicine and basic esentence. many are living in darkness. in some communities, it would appear as though many have moved away when in actuality they're simply turning to candles and kerosene lamps because they simply cannot afford to turn on the lights. this presents risks to health and safety that are just unacceptable. according to the energy information administration, the national average cost of energy is 9.8 cents per kilowatt hour in the united states. residential ratepayers in my district pay around 51.2 cents per kilowatt hour while commercial ratepayers incur a charge of approximately 54.43 cents. this is almost 500 times the national average or more than 500 times the national average, a cost that is unsustainable and crippling to our economy and the health and safety of our families. residents in our other territories in the state of hawaii pay rates that veryy
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from 26 cents per kilowatt hour in puerto rico to over 40 cents in the smaller islands of hawaii, costs which are still unacceptable and unsustainably high. despite our obstacles, our territories are steadfastly working to identify opportunities to adopt the portfolio of energy options. this bill remains extremely necessary to support us in those every devers and especially it's important because it recognizes the need for immediate short-term action. h.r. 83 also recognizes the crisis that the current 30th legislature of the virgin islands has declared for energy in our territory and directs focus to the short-term needs of our community as well as to ensuring that when the transitions are made we will be putting together the right mix of fuel sources that will provide the most sufficient electricity at the lowest possible costs. as all of these factors
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converge, we must aggressively pursue solar, wind, l. bmplet n.g., geothermal, ocean, wave and i'm encouraged this can become a reality due to experts dedicated to resolving these issues. given our geographic locations we don't have the privilege of tapping into nearby grid systems in times of crisis. this bill will arm us with the tools necessary to help us to transition along with the rest of our country to resources that are much more affordable, reliable, efficient and clean. president obama has led the way. many states have enacted strong energy plans that chart a way forward, considering all of the options available to them. it is only fair that our territories also join in the race for energy independence and clean energy leadership. on behalf of my district and all of the other territories in insular areas, i'd also like to
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thank our democratic leadership who have helped me with h.r. 83, a bill that's critically important to the energy future of the u.s. virgin islands and all of our nation's territories and freely associated states. i also want to thank my colleagues for their support as we work through these challenging issues. my constituents are encouraged and heartened by the support that we have received thus far. so i thank you, again, and i ask all of my colleagues to support the passage of h.r. 83, and i'm reserving the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: we have no further speakers so i'll reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from the virgin islands. mrs. christensen: i ask unanimous consent, mr. speaker, to enter into the record a statement from the honorable eni faleomavaega, the congressman from american samoa. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mrs. christensen: and i yield
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back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: i want to ask my colleagues support h.r. 83. i want to thank the chairman and ranking member and their staffs for working to bring this important legislation to the floor and urge its passage and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 83, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. and without objection, the itle is amended.
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the chair lays before the house the following enrolled bill. the clerk: house joint resolution 120, improving the location of a memorial to commemorate the more than 5,000 slaves and free black persons who fought for independence in the american revolution.
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