tv U.S. Senate CSPAN May 4, 2015 6:30pm-8:01pm EDT
the presiding officer: the majority leader of the senate. mr. mcconnell: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. in being mci ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the immediate consideration
of s. res. 166 introduced earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 166, expressing the sense of the senate that domestically grown flowers support the farmers small businesses, jobs, and economy of the united states and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i further ask that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m. tuesday, may 5. follow be the prayer and pledgets, the morning hour be deemed expired the journal of proceedings be approved to date, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. following leader remarks the senate resume consideration of the veto message to accompany s.j. res. 8. the presiding officer: without objection.
mr. mcconnell: senators should expect a vote on the motion to proceed to the budget conference report at approximately 10:15 tomorrow morning. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.
but they may have to pay fees. that was unheard-of. >> tonight at 8:00 o'clock eastern on the communicators on c-span2. tomorrow on washington journal shane gold marker of the washington journal discussing the expanding fields on both the democratic and republican sides of the 20s it team presidential race. after that robert bixby of the concord coalition looks at the house and senate budget agreement which the house passed last week and the senate is expected to debate this week. phone calls, facebook comments, and tweets. live tuesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. also tomorrow road to the white house coverage continues with former governor huckabee announcing he is running for the republican presidential nomination.
in 2,008 he won the iowa caucus before eventually conceding the race. see his announcement live tuesday at 11:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> presidential candidates often release books to introduce themselves to voters. here is a look at recent books written by declaring a potential presidents for candidate. former secretary of state hillary clinton looks back at her time serving in the obama administration and hard choices. an american dreams marco rubio outlined his plan to restore economic opportunity
>> next, a discussion on afghanistan reconstruction spending and how well afghan forces are currently trained to defend the country. it is from today's washington journal. "washington journal" continues. host: this is our regular segment about "your money." we are talking about afghanistan reconstruction, a much today we are talking about afghanistan reconstruction. our guest is special inspector general inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, also known as sigar. the figure is $110 billion so far. how has the money been spent. what has been a college? guest: quite a bit has been a commerce. the real question is could we have done it -- quite a bit has been accomplished. the real question is, could we have done it better? it is a lot of money that has been spent. it is more than we spent on the entire marshall plan, in world
war ii. we have another $6 billion to $8 billion we will spend every year for years to come. host: dig right in in terms of how things could have been done. give us a couple of examples. guest: there are so many. but a classic example, we have spent billions of dollars to pay the salaries of the afghan police and the afghan military trying to develop a system to pay the salaries, and we do not even know how many troops there are. we do not know how many police there are. there are probably host police -- ghost police and ghost troops because the systems are so poor. we bought a $600 million airframe. we bought 20 planes to support the afghan military. the planes could not fly, the afghans could not maintain them. basically we had to scrap them for about $.40 on the dollar. there are just numerous examples
of problems in afghanistan. host: how many of these reports have you put out so far? guest: i think we put out a couple hundred reports. when i came, we were putting out -- i think we are up to 30 reports per quarter now. i think we have gotten better in finding the problem. host: on the bottom of the screen, the numbers for our guests. john sopko these=== inspector general for afghan reconstruction. $110 billion appropriated for afghanistan reconstruction. our understanding from sigar is that $15 billion is left to be spent as of march 2015. u.s. government is committed to spending billions until the afghan government is able to sustain itself. how many troops and police --
most troops go to the term. explain more about what that is, at how is it that we do not know the numbers? guest: well, we have to rely on the afghans to give us those numbers. every morning, if you were in the military or the police department, there is a roll call the rollcall tells you who is present and what are their qualifications. we know -- we no longer have this ability at the country level. we do not have this ability below the core level. most of it is by hand. none of the systems talk to each other. we just give the money directly to the ministry of finance. we have never really designed a system, never really forced the afghans to actually follow their own rules or regulations. for example there is about
300,000 id cards for the police. they never got the id cards back until the police resign or leave. you only have 150,000 police, but you have 300,000 cards floating around. so you use the card to get paid, get food and a lot of things. the ministry does not -- the ministry defense does not even have id cards. these are just basic problems with designing and hr system. i am very happy that our military out there and the pentagon are finally addressing this problem, and we have identified them. host: how are they addressing a? what do you think guest: reasonably might change? guest: they are actually bring in experts from the pentagon? i briefed my staff just last week, who designed personnel systems and designed systems to protect our money. remember, this is our money
going directly to the afghans. we also are conditioning -- and i am very happy that general campbell in general summit night were working on this conditioning money going to the afghans based upon them actually following our lead and following our requirements. this is something we have talked about. i have been harping on that for three years. the gao and others have, too but we have finally got a team out there who is taking it very seriously. i think the difference also is we actually have a willing partner on the afghan government that wants to fix the problem. host: which we will talk more about in a little bit. let's get to calls for john sopko, special inspector general for afghanistan and our guest has more than 30 years of experience in oversight and investigation as a prosecutor, senior federal government advisor. john sopko takes the first call from clinton in sioux falls
south dakota. clinton is a democrat. good morning. caller: it might be a little bit off-topic, but i was just wondering why are we spending $110 million when it does not benefit americans? host: thanks. talking about the money spent. we got a tweet -- shouldn't it be spent here? isn't that better use of the money? guest: that is a policy decision. i do not mean not to answer the caller's question, but i do not do policy. that is the president's team and is congress. in afghanistan that is where the attackers could have attacked us on 9/11, so we get a policy decision to go in there kicked the terrorists out, hope create a government that would keep the terrorists out, and
that it would be supported by the people. obviously we would have to spend money. we did. if you look at the entire expense, we have spent about $1 trillion in afghanistan. that is the war fighting as well as the reconstruction. so actually reconstruction is a pretty good dollar for your value. it is a lot cheaper than boots on the ground. that is why we are there. i cannot question that policy. i think it is a policy that i believe in, but that has been made by the policy. host: developing afghanistan's mining industry, the oil industry, the gas industry, how much money -- guest: you are alluding to a report that we released just this week or last week. this should have been a high priority -- develop trillions of dollars of oil in minerals in the ground to help afghanistan
sustain itself. otherwise there will be a decline in the state. unfortunately, the organization -- we have two organizations working on it, two u.s. organizations who never end of the talking to each other. you have one called the task force security and operations run by the pentagon, to develop the minerals and oil and other industries, which is kind of an odd role for dod. usaid is a traditional organization. as far as we can tell, you have dso, which was funded to the tune of $800 million that accomplished nothing other than spend a lot of taxpayers dollars. it was so bad in coordination. they were required to courtney. we were told in our latest audit -- they were told to coordinate. we were told in our latest audit -- we have a number of audits and investigations dealing with
it. it was a good idea, but it was poorly executed. host: mark, fort lee, new jersey, a republican. caller: listen, someone has written a book about hezbollah and at some point they intercepted some money that was being sold as counterfeit american currency. skid loads of it, billions of dollars. billions it or millions, anyway. when they found out it was election currency, it was not counterfeit at all. we were spending so much money there, throwing it away. all of our foreign aid is being funneled into the pockets of cronies and patrons and nepotism and everything else. this is a do-gooder's view of the world, and they are not doing good to the american people. our roads, our bridges are collapsing. we have jobs paying pennies to
work for the day. this is disgusting. it turns my stomach. i am tired of all these people telling us how we need to help others and we are not helping ourselves. $19 trillion is paying for all of this, $19 trillion in debt. host: john sopko? guest: again, i do not do the policy. i just see how it is carried out, and i do agree with the caller. there has been a lot of waste fraud, and abuse. we wasted a lot of years in reconstruction. i do not think we asked simple questions -- the afghans -- do they want this project? do they need this project? can they use this project? we never really considered corruption. afghanistan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. we never designed programs to protect ourselves from that. we never took into consideration the security situation. so i agree with the caller on
their point, although i would make the distinction that, actually, reconstruction and redevelopment is a very efficient way, if done correctly, far more efficient than sending troops on the ground because the troops cost a lot more money and a lot more lives are at risk. just keep that in mind. that $1 trillion we spent in afghanistan, only less than 20% dealt with reconstruction. the rest was war fighting. host: let's get to the new leadership in afghanistan shroff gandhi. -- ashraf ghani. guest: i am very impressed with him, addressing problems. for the first time it looks like we have a willing partner who wants to particularly address the problems of corruption. we brought the case to his
attention dealing with a $1 billion fuel contract that the afghan ministry of defense was letting. the price was fixed in dubai and it would cost the afghan government over $200 million which means it was going to cost the u.s. taxpayer because it was taxpayer money. we brought that case and the allegations to our military. our military went over, and we did not just brief somebody in the afghan government. we briefed the president. the president took charge. he fired generals, canceled the contracts, and started to investigate it himself, and we have been supporting him and his team on this. so this is something new. we never had a team in the palace that cared. they talked about corruption, but the usually blamed it on the united states. then you got a new regime that
looks like they are trying to do something to renew that number of contracts. so we are very impressed. however, i am like president reagan. my job is to adjust and verify. host: we have a half hour left with our guest, john sopko. chapel hill, caller: i just want to thank c-span for allowing everyone to call in. ok. i have a few questions. how long have you held this position? who held it before you? who came up with the idea of sending $600 million? my question is, why are we not building schools? host: first, to the position itself. how long has this position been around? guest: sigar was created by
congress in 2008, unfortunately about eight years too late. the first person who held the position actually resigned under a lot of pressure for not being aggressive enough. the position was then vacant. they had been acting for about one year or so and then i was appointed by the president three years ago. who made the decision on buying the airplanes that didn't fly? we are trying to find out. you may wonder can't you find out? isn't there a name on the paperwork? we are in afghanistan and the paperwork is hard to find. more importantly, we have a criminal investigation going looking at this. i will tell you, we will hold people accountable for buying planes they do not fly. if it is criminal, we can turn it over to the department of
justice. if it is civil, we can prosecute that in a civil case. holding people accountable like firing them are reprimanding them we have no authority on that. we have to turn it over to the various agencies, including the department of state agents. that is one area where we have had problems. we have identified a lot of waste and abuse. as far as we know, no one has lost the job or even a promotion , or gotten a loss in their salary because of all of the problems. we have identified departments and that is a problem with the government, and personal accountability. host: from twitter a viewer would like to know more about your office. give us the basics. what is the budget?
are you in good shape? guest: we've approximately 200 employees. they are split between auditors and investigators. then, a support team of analysts and management specialist. we have about 40-42 and afghanistan. the rest of back here working the u.s. portions of the cases and audits. we have gotten strong support from the administration. but mainly from congress. we have gotten all of our budget requests, which is about $56 million. we have a problem right now, and i think a be the caller -- i think maybe the caller had seen some press on this and that is that out of the blue, we were
told that we would have to reduce our staffing by about 40%. we were told that by the state department. now, i have a problem with that. not that i think we should have a lot of people over and afghanistan, especially if they're not working, but my people are working. we have a new cooperative government that we are working with, but i am an independent inspector general. you read my statue, it talks about independence right through it. since 1978 ig's determine their staffing. when we submit our budget, we do not submit it through the agencies, we submitted directly to congress. so, for the state department, who we investigate, to tell me how many people i need to have in afghanistan is in direct cottage into my independence. it is similar to the wall street banks telling the bank examiners
how many bank examiners you should have. or the teamsters union and the american trucking association telling highway patrol in new jersey you will only have 20 guys, we will tell you how many guys he will have watching the highways. this is absurd. so, we will fight the cut. we may cut our staff. if our staff has nothing to do there is no reason for them to be there. remember, i'm trying to save money for the government, i'm not trying to waste government money, but it is our decision. host: back to the phones. bill has been waiting in north connecticut. caller: thanks for c-span. i am tired of all this military spending. and u.s. military aggression. we spend more money than on her
cou ith on if iran gets a bomb it's going to hurt us. we forget about the monroe doctrine. we told everyone, stay out of north america yet we're meddling with bases in 150 countries. just believe these politicians that's just want to have tonous wars to bring more now into their districts for the military complex. and it's really disgusting. it is what is going to take our country down, just like rome. you can only go so far with it because we can't -- before military spending used to prop up the economy because it was put on the tab. now there's no tab anymore to pit on because united states is broke, and we should have only making decisions on wars veterans that served in the service, and i thank you. >> thanks, bill.
mr. sopko. >> guest: i understand the caller's frustration. a lot of people are frustrate evidence with the government. and all i can say is that we -- pay phrase what churchill said. democracy is the worth form of government but he doesn't know anything better. the united states may have a lot of problems, but i don't see anybody else doing it better than we are and i know the caller may disagree with that on military spending. but it was great. he has an opportunity to voice his opinion and an opportunity to vote, an tint to petition congress and i think -- the other thing you ought to keep in mind you're the only government that created something look my office. we have 30 or 40 independent inspector generals who are appointed by the president of the united states, and the very next day they start
investigating his policies. i don't know any country in the world that does that and i told people at aid and state if you want to sell democracy sell them about the ig concept. i get calls from germany england norway, sweden. people ask how can we create an independent inspector general or independent auditing agency totally separate -- appointed by the president but totally separate from the executive branch. i think that's a wonderful sign of how we operate as a democracy. >> host: your term, does it have a specific helping? i serve at the -- >> guest: i serve at the pressure of the president but there's no term per se. my agency is a temporary agency. i believe in temporary agencies. it goes out of existence when the amount of reconstruction
funds fall below 250 million not yet spent. as i told you before, there's 15 billion authorized, appropriated and not yet spent. so we could be around for a while. i leave that to the next president or this president. >> host: from twitter everybody want knows where the money comes from. the foreign affairs budget? do you have a sense? >> guest: there's an ooco account, the oversea con tip generals si account, comes from state and aid and foreign affairs and military. what is interesting about reconstruction 60% is actually coming from dod and dod is using. so a lot of our reconstruction money has been in building the afghan arm and and afghan police and then supplying them with salaries bullets guns, tanks. >> host: one more tweet. how does the cost of private contracting in afghanistan compare with past wars.
can you make a comparison? sunny can't offhand. in are lot of contractors there. but i really can't compare the contractors. i will throw this out to the viewer. we have used government contractors going back to the end of our -- our independence. ironically somebody told me, if you take a look at the famous picture of george washington crossing the delware the guy's rowing were contractors. so we always used contractors. now, there may be in problems about how many we should have in any given situation and whether they're doing inherently governmental functions but we have always used contractors and they're better to use and more flexibility than actually government employees. >> host: clarence from decatur georgia, independent caller, good morning clarence. >> caller: good morning. first of all the last question that was where does the money come from? it comes from us, from the
pocket from the taxpayers. that wasn't my question. my comment. my comment is this. i'm retired from military, spent two years in vietnam. i've seen how much money has been blown and gone down this rat holes and we're talking about $110 billion to rebuild afghanistan, and yesterday the "washington post" made a big deal out of $130 million spent in baltimore over the last ten 15 years. which is a rounded error compared to $110 billion spent in afghanistan. and we have no idea what the outcome is going to be, but yet we can't spend and we're condemning the people in baltimore and the leaders because they say what happened to $130 million. shame on this country. shame on us that we can go around the world and spend $110 billion and feel good about it and criticize people for
spending $130 million in a great city like baltimore which was a slave state and a slave city that still hasn't gotten over reconstruction from that time and we're page about $130 million. >> guest: i get the point clarence. mr. sopko. >> guest: i agree with the caller we shouldn't waste money and that's basically my job is -- i was appointed by the president to make certain somebody is there who will find people who are stealing the money or misusing the money and try to hold them accountable and i agree with him. we got to keep in mind, the amount of money spent on foreign assistance is minuscule in compared to what is spent by -- in the budget. i don't in the exact number. one percent two percent something like that. we're not talking about the biggest expense of the u.s. government. so keep that in mind.
we can't balance our budget by cutting off foreign aid, and i think that would be cutting our nose off to spite ourself. this is a way to do democracy building around the world. it has to be done. it's very risky. but it has to be done well. and that's what my argument is. let's think before we spend. we probably spent too much money in afghanistan. we spent too much money too fast and too mall a country with too little oversight. so that is the big problem in afghanistan. and i think even the afghans -- i think the president has said that. so they recognize that, and our job is to make it work better because we're going to be there a while. >> host: give us insight what it's like trying to audit doing what 0 you're trying to -- freedom of movement, cooperation of people, paperwork you can't find. paint a bigger picture. >> guest: well, it's getting more difficult to get around
because of the security situation. i remember when i started coming just three years ago i could travel around most of the country. i could go to -- harad big city to the west, kandahar. my people, my agents traveled around in cars without having military escorts. we don't have anybody in harod in maser jalalabad is a very dangerous place. so it's very difficult to get around. it's very difficult to get sources, because we can't go out and talk to the afghans in many place outside the wire, outside the bases. they have to come in to see us. but we get a lot of information from them. we use afghans as sources and they do monitoring of sites for
us so we try to come up with other means to do it. but this is not your normal ig operation. my auditors wear flak jackets helmet my agents carry machine guns. this is not your ordinary situation. >> host: as we mentioned security there's ha headline in u.s.a. today afghan deaths and injuries up 70%. talk hearing about afghan security forces suffering record casualties this year as they combat taliban rebels largely without the benefit of u.s. air power, and other international military support they had come to rely on in the past the number of afghans killed in the police and army killed or wounderred -- the numbers increased 70% in the first 15 weeks of 2015. lisa kentucky, good morning. loose least a is a republicany. >> caller: good morning. i don't are in for myself how we can spend so much money overseas
helping everybody else with the budget that evidently we don't know what the roof is because we keep raising the roof. we're so in debt, even our great-great grandchildren is going to be in debt. but yet we can't even help our own veterans. why are we having fundraisers on television to support our vets when the vets in time past were treated with respect now they're nothing but a low life. we see them in the gullers and al yes but we can spend billions of dollars overseas supporting people that don't even really want our help. i don't understand this. >> host: thank you lisa, we have heard this theme in this segment. anything anything else you want to responsible to. >> guest: the afghans -- i have to go back to -- they didn't invite us there. we came. and we're trying to fix and help fix a country that has been at war for 30, 40 years.
it was the home to terrorist two attacked the united states and we made a decision to get in there catch at the terrorists, kill as many as we could kick them out and trito form a government that would keep them out. and now you have isis appearing there. there's some evidence of that, at least reported in the press. i think it's an important issue. we can't ignore the rest of the world. if we do, we do so at our peril. i only say that -- again i don't do the policy but obviously i believe in an important foreign policy tool, which is redevelopment. >> host: in terms of how the money moves, for the last caller someone on twitter asked the question, can you take any leftover afghanistan reconstruction money and use it their do some american reconstruction? >> guest: that's up to congress and the administration. i don't recommend that but we do
recommend programs being killed that aren't working and so obviously that money is available for other purposes. >> host: one of the many headlines from the then employment.com, -- diplomat.com issuing it's 27th quarterly report to congress and the news isn't great. generally speaking what's the reaction on the animal these reports and what you put in them? >> guest: very interested. they support them. i was told by a chairman and ranking member last week that we are their eyes and ears. we speak truth to power. we don't varnish what we say. many of the reports they get back from various agencies who are trying to protect their budgets, and their programs, are just happy talk. and that is what the role of an ig is. we speak truth to power and we have gotten strong support and i think you can see it from the
appropriators and the other support we get. >> host: let's hear from robert in louisiana democratic caller. >> caller: yes, sir. how are you doing. >> doing well. >> i appreciate the c-span. i watch it every day. and i watch these republican congressmen in the house, every time you turn around they say we're broke we're broke. they ain't got no money and then turn around and also i'm a self-employed contractor. and anyway, just can't imagine -- it blows my mind, spent $110 billion to rebuild something we tore up, when the afghanistan ought to rebuild their own places. what blows my mind is the budget that was passed by paul ryan, he took away -- he wants to make medicare a voucher plan for old people and then also they took away the meal on wheels deal for old people, and then they want to cut social security for the old people, and a lot of
republicans don't even understand what is going on, but anyway i watch c-span every day as far as the house and the senate and what blows my mind is i can't believe that congress would give $110 billion to rebuild something that we tore up to help the people. while we in there rebuilding everything, when afghanistan ought to rebuild their own infrastructure. what we need to worry about is our infrastructure. here in the united states. and to promote jobs and also to rebuild our bridges and our roads. it's got full of potholes in every state and just blows my mind the way that congress has -- they don't care about nobody but themselves. >> host: all right, robert, get the point. mr. sopko. >> guest: well once again i don't do the policy. i just see how it's carried out and i know the caller may not
like that answer, but i think that's a question that should go to congress and the appropriators and authorizers. i will say this. i harp on this a lot. the fact that you have c-span, the fact that you have voters -- and i hope whoever called votes -- can actually see what is going on, on a regular basis on the hill, and you see government officials like me come in and i'm subject to questioning. i think it's fantastic. i'm not doing this just so i get another invite and more coffee from c-span but you do have great doughnuts. what is really important is most of the world doesn't have this. just like they don't have egs they don't have a free press. and going back to what the caller said, why don't the afghans do this? well, first of all they only raised $2 billion a year in taxes. it costs 5 to 6 billion to
support their military and police. and another 4 billion. so there's a gap. they raised two and they're 10 million hey need to keep the government afloat. so we're doing that. as for rebuilding, we did it after world war ii. we helped rebuild germany. we helped rebuild italy. we were part of the axis, and we helped the rest of europe get back on their feet. so this is not unusual to do something like this. >> host: time for a couple more calls. maybe a few. wes, harrisburg, virginia. republican for john sopko hey wes. >> caller: good morning. i'm a world war ii vet and ex-government employee, as background. i'm really interested in the government end of it, namely the employees. you need real intelligent
dedicated employees that are not merely bureaucrats but have training and kind of a backdoor policy that speck -- spec writers writing the contracts have to be exposed to what they're writing the contracts about. in other words have the knowledge that comes with experience. and learning. so i really appreciate your being an independent investigator and finding out about these subjects. i wrote the specification for dump trucks for the army, and everybody's criticizing it as being a white elephant and wasting government money. the result was that a dump truck
carries dump -- gravel and dirt, and it is not a other means of transportation so we had one hell of a fight to get quality dump trucks. i learned from the trade shows and going out in the field to the users and oems and getting the next, and damn the people that were criticizing it. and with that i'll leave you. have fun with the rest of the day. >> host: thank you for calling wes. >> guest: i think wes -- that's a great point you make. and that's one of the issues if you read our report, we have contracting officers and crag offices, reps, who never are in country. or do six month tours. or you get some poor sergeant who knows nothing about electrical requirements and he is told, you're the cor on that
build over there, building a hospital. he doesn't know electrical. but he has to sign off on this. so unscrupulous contractors will wait when the new guy comes in on a short tour, who knows nothing, and just say sign all these. so that's why we get so many buildings that fall down. so many problems with construction. i think wes you're totally on point. we need career contracting officers career contracting officer rep and they need to be there for longer than six months. they need to be there for a year or more. if we did that and we inspected the buildings before we cult the checks we would have saved billions in afghanistan. and this isn't just a complaint on the military. it's a complaint with aid and with state and any other agencies. so wes you're right on. that's what we're finding. you can see that in our reports. >> andrew, buckeye, west virginia independent for john
sopko. >> caller: hello. i want to thank c-span for putting on a good radio show. i was -- had a couple of questions. one was whether there's publicly issued reports regarding any compliance and internal control findings for the money that spent, and then the other question i had was whether the compliance related to any of this money spending, what were some of the controls the control requirements over the money being spent? thank you. >> host: thanks. >> guest: well, all of our reports are public. that's our policy. so if we finish a report, it's up on the web site and we -- if it's worth write it's worth publicizing and making it public unless it's classified or otherwise violates the rights of individuals. as for the actual control requirements, there are some. there are many control requirements on the money being
spent. most of them were waived or ignored by contracting offices who never read the contract. we are not holding the contractors accountable and not hold the co and the cors and the rest of the stand accountable. as said -- this is 2009 big issues -- the people get in the country for a short period of time they're not skilled they're not trained they come in and they're gone. and all they want to do is sign off so it looks good on their performance reviews and that's a serious problem. we're starting to do a number of lessons learned reports. i hired a really sharp team of people who are subject matter experts, who worked and lived in afghanistan, who will be preparing these reports, and i hope the caller will will come back a couple months from now and we're going to issue a series of them to we don't do
the same mistake again whether it's syria lebanon, someplace in africa, doesn't really matter. we can't keep repeating this. >> host: jason, san diego california democrat, for john sopko, hey jason. >> caller: hey. good morning. i'll be brief. i want to know, you mentioned hospitals being built. did we provide the healthcare system for the afghan people? thank you. >> guest: yes, we do. we spend millions of dollars a year as well as some of our allies. we build hospitals pay salaries, build clinics pay for the salaries for the doctors. we have allegations that many of those clinics don't exist or aren't open, we build hospitals and clinics that are -- even the afghanistans didn't know we were building them until we gave them the keys. so we do support their healthcare system. >> host: we're just about out of time. what next for your office in terms of its next action, its next report? >> guest: well, we have a lot of
reports coming down. actually one i spoke of once before when we opened the investigation two years ago dealing with this headquarters, we call it the 64k, 64,000 square foot headquarters that cost the u.s. government $36 million. i promised to find out who was responsible for building something that they handers in afghanistan didn't want so that report will be coming out within the next month. we good at report looking at tfbso again the dod organization about more problems with their extracting work a report coming out on the rule of law program which has not been done well. we have another audit coming out, dealing with how we handle refugees big issue. again we got a problem with lack of capacity. plus we're -- a number of criminal investigations will be breaking. so those are some of the issues.
we came out with a list of serious problems, seven of them, which i talked to on a prior program here, and we're focusing on those issues. >> host: john cop sew is the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, you can read more at cigar. thank you for your time this morning. pleasure to be here. >> tomorrow on washington journal, the discussion of the expanding fields on both the democratic and republican sides of the 2016 presidential race. after that, robert bixby of the concord coalition looks at the house and senate budget agreement which the house passed last week and the senate is expected to debate this week. plus your phone calls facebook comments and tweets. washington journal live tuesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. also tomorrow, c-span2's road to the white house coverage continues with former arkansas governor mike huckabee announcing he is running for the
republican presidential nomination. in 2008, mr. huckabee won the iowa caucus before conceding the race to arizona senator john mccain. see his announcement live on tuesday at 11:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> tonight on the communicators we spoke with three members of congress with shared interests in communications issues and legislation. minnesota senator al franken virginia congressman bob goodltt. >> i firmly believe that comcast were allowed to buy time warner cable they would have been anticompetitive, not in the public interests. it would have led to higher prices for consumers less choice and. >> we're also working on something on companies dealing with people's privacy and protection of their civil liberties and that is
legislation dealing with the nsa and the fisa court the foreign intelligence surveillance act court, dealing with the revelations about the gathering of telephone metadata, this bill which passed the house with a big bipartisan vote, in the last congress, we're about to brick it up again bans metadata collection and storage by the government. >> if you saw the net neutrality debate also, that was unbelievable in the sense that people understand that the internet should be free. and there should not be people who get faster access or not. so when that occurred, that whole energy that happened with that when chairman wheeler because of the overturning of the open internet order -- when he had to have a new proposal
the president: thank you. everybody, please have a seat. well, good afternoon, everybody. the president: welcome to the white house. and thank you, christian, for that outstanding introduction. i want to shoutout for a friend of mine who is your assembly man, michael blake. you got to stand up michael. when the president introduces you, you have to stand up. mike group in tough circumstances, worked hard went through a big college, and joined my campaign worked in the whitehouse and now he is in public office making sure young
people like him have every chance in the world. we could not be prouder of him. it is great to see. i am getting practice for the girls leaving home with incredible young people working on the whitehouse staff doing great things. i want to thank the graduates in the house. we have a couple of them. and we have more folks -- we have three other folks from the new york delegation. gregory meat the always dapper charlie wrangle, outstanding ivette clark and visiting from florida fredrick wilson.
[applause] >> we believe in the idea of noimateer what you look like or where you come from, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, america is a place where you can make something of your lives. and i want to thank lieman hosting us the community college, the public institutions, they are all pathways for success and woe are proud of what they do. everything that we have done since i have been president the past six and a half years ago from rescuing the economy has
been in the pursuit of one goal; creating opportunity for everybody. we cannot guarantee everybody success. but we strive to guarantee an equal shot for everybody willing to work for it. what we understood for too long is that some communities have consistently had the odds stacked against them. there is a tragic history in this country.
the law is not always applied evenly in this country. you all know the numbers. by almost every measure, the life chances of the average young man of color is worse than his peers. those opportunity gaps begin early _ often at birth _ and they compound over time, becoming harder and harder to bridge, making too many young men and women feel like no matter how hard they try, they may never achieve their dreams. and that sense of unfairness and of powerlessness, of people not hearing their voices, that's helped fuel some of the protests that we've seen in places like baltimore, and ferguson, and right here in new york. the catalyst of those protests were the tragic deaths of young men and a feeling that law is not always applied evenly in this country. in too many places in this country, black boys and black men, latino boys, latino men, they experience being treated differently by law enforcement _ in stops and in arrests, and in
charges and incarcerations. the statistics are clear, up and down the criminal justice system; there's no dispute. that's why one of the many things we did to address these issues was to put together a task force on community policing. and this task force was made up of law enforcement and of community activists, including some who had led protests in ferguson, some who had led protests here in new york _ young people whose voices needed to be heard. and what was remarkable was law enforcement and police chiefs and sheriffs and county officials working with these young people, they came up with concrete proposals that, if implemented, would rebuild trust and help law enforcement officers do their jobs even better, and keep them and their communities even safer. and what was clear from this task force was the recognition that the overwhelming majority of police officers are good and honest and fair, and care deeply about their communities. and they put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. and their loved ones wait and worry until they come through that door at the end of their shift. as many of you know, new york's finest lost one of its own today _ officer brian moore, who was shot in the line of duty on saturday night, passed away earlier today. he came from a family of police officers. and the family of fellow officers he joined in the nypd
and across the country deserve our gratitude and our prayers not just today but every day. they've got a tough job. [applause] which is why, in addressing the issues in baltimore or ferguson or new york, the point i made was that if we're just looking at policing, we're looking at it too narrowly. if we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that's not fair to the communities, it's not fair to the police. what we gathered here to talk about today is something that goes deeper than policing. it speaks to who we are as a nation, and what we're willing to do to make sure that equality of opportunity is not an empty word. across the country and in parts
of new york, in parts of new jersey, in parts of my hometown in chicago, there are communities that don't have enough jobs, don't have enough investment, don't have enough opportunity. you've got communities with 30, or 40, or 50 percent unemployment. they've been struggling long before the economic crisis in 2007, 2008. communities without enough role models. communities where too many men who could otherwise be leaders, who could provide guidance for young people, who could be good fathers and good neighbors and good fellow citizens, are languishing in prison over minor, nonviolent drug offenses. now, there's no shortage of people telling you who and what is to blame for the plight of these communities. but i'm not interested in blame. i'm interested in responsibility and i'm interested in results.
[applause] that's why we've partnered with cities to get more kids access to quality early childhood cceducation _ no matter who they are or where they're born. it's why we've partnered with ccities to create promise zones, ccities to create promise zones, to give a booster shot to opportunity. that's why we've invested in ideas from support for new moms to summer jobs for young people, to helping more young people afford a college education. and that's why, over a year ago, we launched something we call my brother's keeper _ an initiative to address those persistent opportunity gaps and ensure that all of our young people, but particularly young men of color, have a chance to go as far as their dreams will take them. it's an idea that we pursued in the wake of trayvon martin's death because we wanted the
message sent from the white house in a sustained way that his life mattered, that the lives of the young men who are here today matter, that we care about your future _ not just sometimes, but all the time. in every community in america, there are young people with incredible drive and talent, and they just don't have the same kinds of chances that somebody like me had. they're just as talented as me, just as smart. they don't get a chance. and because everyone has a part to play in this process, we brought everybody together. we brought business leaders and faith leaders, mayors, philanthropists, educators, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, actors _ all united around the simple idea of giving all our young people the tools they need to achieve their full potential.
and we were determined not to just do a feel-good exercise, to write a report that nobody would read, to do some announcement, and then once the tv cameras had gone away and there weren't protests or riots, then somehow we went back to business as usual. we wanted something sustained. and for more than a year, we've been working with experts to identify some of the key milestones that matter most in every young person's life _ from whether they enter school ready to learn, to whether they graduate ready for a career. are they getting suspended in school? can we intervene there? are they in danger of falling into the criminal justice system? can we catch them before they do? key indicators that we know will make a difference. if a child is reading by the third grade at grade level, we know they've got a chance of doing better. if they aren't involved with the criminal justice system and aren't suspended while they're in school, we know they've got a chance of doing better.
so there are certain things that we knew would make a difference. and we've looked at which programs and policies actually work in intervening at those key periods. early childhood education works. job apprenticeship programs work. certain mentoring programs work. and we've identified which strategies make a difference in the lives of young people, like mentoring, or violence prevention and intervention. and because we knew this couldn't be the work of just the federal government, we challenged every community in the country _ big cities, small towns, rural counties, tribal nations _ to publicly commit to implementing strategies to help all young people succeed. and as a result, we've already got more than 200 communities across the country who are focused on this issue. they're on board and they're doing great work. they're sharing best practices. they're sharing ideas. all of this has happened just in
the last year. and the response we've gotten in such a short amount of time, the enthusiasm and the passion we've seen from folks all around the country proves how much people care about this. sometimes politics may be cynical, the debate in washington may be cynical, but when you get on the ground, and you talk to folks, folks care about this. they know that how well we do as a nation depends on whether our young people are succeeding. that's our future workforce. they know that if you've got african american or latino men here in new york who, instead of going to jail, are going to college, those are going to be taxpayers. they're going to help build our communities. they will make our communities safer. they aren't part of the problem, they're potentially part of the solution _ if we treat them as such.
so we've made enormous progress over the last year. but today, after months of great work on the part of a whole lot of people, we're taking another step forward, with people from the private sector coming together in a big way. we're here for the launch of the my brother's keeper alliance, which is a new nonprofit organization of private sector organizations and companies that have committed themselves to continue the work of opening doors for young people _ all our young people _ long after i've left office. [applause] it's a big deal. i want to thank the former ceo of deloitte, joe echevarria, who's been involved for a long time. he has taken the lead on this alliance. joe, stand up. you've done an incredible job.
[applause] >> just like the my brother's keeper overall effort that we launched last year, joe and my brother's keeper alliance _ they're all about getting results. they've set clear goals to hold themselves accountable for getting those results: doubling the percentage of boys and young men of color who read at grade level by the third grade. increasing their high school graduation rates by 20 percent. getting 50,000 more of those young men into post-secondary education or training. they've already announced $80 million in commitments to make this happen, and that is just the beginning. and they've got a great team of young people who helped to work on this, a lot of them from deloitte. we appreciate them so much. we're very proud of the great work that they did. but here's what the business leaders who are here today _ and joe certainly subscribes to this
_ will tell you, they're not doing this out of charity. the organizations that are represented here, ranging _ as varied as from sprint to bet _ they're not doing it just to assuage society's guilt. they're doing this because they know that making sure all of our young people have the opportunity to succeed is an economic imperative. these young men, all our youth, are part of our workforce. if we don't make sure that our young people are safe and healthy and educated, and prepared for the jobs of tomorrow, our businesses won't have the workers they need to compete in the 21st century global economy. our society will lose in terms of productivity and potential. america won't be operating at full capacity. and that hurts all of us. so they know that there's an
economic rationale for making this investment. but, frankly, this is also about more than just economics; it's about values. it's about who we are as a people. joe grew up about a mile from here, in the bronx. and as he and i were sitting there, listening to some incredible young men in a roundtable discussion, many of them from this community, their stories were our stories. so, for joe and i, this is personal, because in these young men we see ourselves. the stakes are clear. and these stakes are high: at the end of the day, what kind of society do we want to have? what kind of country do we want to be? it's not enough to celebrate the ideals that we're built on _ liberty for all, and justice for all and equality for all. those can't just be words on paper. the work of every generation is to make those ideals mean something concrete in the lives of our children _ all of our
children. and we won't get there as long as kids in baltimore or ferguson or new york or appalachia or the mississippi delta or the pine ridge reservation believe that their lives are somehow worth less. we won't get there when we have impoverished communities that have been stripped away of opportunity, and where, in the richest nation on earth, children are born into abject poverty. we won't be living up to our ideals when their parents are struggling with substance abuse, or are in prison, or unemployed, and when fathers are absent, and schools are substandard, and jobs are scarce and drugs are plentiful. we won't get there when there are communities where a young man is less likely to end up in
college than jail, or dead _ and feels like his country expects nothing else of him. america's future depends on us caring about this. if we don't, then we will just keep on going through the same cycles of periodic conflict. when we ask police to go into communities where there's no hope, eventually something happens because of the tensions between societies and these communities _ and the police are just on the front lines of that. and people tweet outrage. and the tv cameras come. and they focus more on somebody setting fire to something or turning over a car than the peaceful protests and the thoughtful discussions that are taking place.
and then some will argue, well, all these social programs don't make a difference. and we cast blame. and politicians talk about poverty and inequality, and then gut policies that help alleviate poverty or reverse inequality. [applause] (applause. ) and then we wait for the next outbreak or problem to flare up. and we go through the same pattern all over again. so that, in effect, we do nothing. there are consequences to inaction. there are consequences to indifference. and they reverberate far beyond the walls of the projects, or the borders of the barrio, or the roads of the reservation. they sap us of our strength as a nation.
it means we're not as good as we could be. and over time, it wears us out. over time, it weakens our nation as a whole. the good news is, it doesn't have to be this way. we can have the courage to change. we can make a difference. we can remember that these kids are our kids. “for these are all our children,” james baldwin once wrote. “we will all profit by, or pay for, whatever they become. ” and that's what my brother's keeper is about, that's what this alliance is about. and we are in this for the long haul. we're going to keep doing our work at the white house on these issues. sometimes it won't be a lot of fanfare. i notice we don't always get a lot of reporting on this issue when there's not a crisis in some neighborhood.
but we're just going to keep on plugging away. is -- and this will remain a mission for me and for michelle not just for the rest of my presidency, but for the rest of my life. [applause] >> and the reason is simple. like i said before _ i know it's true for joe; it's true for john legend, who was part of our roundtable; it's true for alonzo mourning who is here, part of our board _ we see ourselves in these young men. i grew up without a dad. i grew up lost sometimes and adrift, not having a sense of a clear path. and the only difference between me and a lot of other young men
in this neighborhood and all across the country is that i grew up in an environment that was a little more forgiving. and at some critical points, i had some people who cared enough about me to give me a second chance, or a third chance, or give me a little guidance when i needed it, or to open up a door that might otherwise been closed. i was lucky. alex santos is lucky, too. where's alex? alex is here. stand up, alex. [applause] >> so alex was born in puerto rico, grew up in brooklyn and the bronx, in some tough neighborhoods. when he was 11, he saw his mom's best friend, a man he respected and looked up to, shot and killed. his older brothers dropped out of school, got caught up in drugs and violence.
so alex didn't see a whole lot of options for himself, couldn't envision a path to a better future. he then dropped out of school. but then his mom went back to school and got her ged. she set an example. that inspired alex to go back and get his ged. actually, it's more like she stayed on him until he went back. and i know, because just like i was lucky, i also had a mom who used to get on my case about my studies. so i could relate. but this is what alex says about his mom: “she made me realize that no matter what, there's a second chance in life. ” so, today, alex is getting his ged. he's developed a passion for sports. his dream is to one day work with kids as a coach and set an example for them. he says he never thought he could go to college; now he believes he can. all alex wants to be is a good
role model for his younger brothers, carlos and john, who are bright and hardworking and doing well in school. and he says, “they matter so much to my life, and i matter to theirs. ” so, alex, and his brothers, and all the young people here, all the young ones who are out there struggling _ the simple point to make is: you matter. you matter to us. it was interesting during the roundtable, we asked these young men _ incredible gifted young men, like darinel _ asked them, what advice would you give us? and they talked about mentor programs and they talked about counseling programs and guidance programs in schools. but one young man _ malachi _ he just talked about, we should talk about love. [applause]
>> because malachi and i shared the fact that our dad wasn't around, and that sometimes we wondered why he wasn't around and what had happened. but really that's what this comes down to is, do we love these kids? >> see if we feel like because they don't look like us, or they don't talk like us, or they don't live in the same neighborhood as us that they're different, that they can't learn, or they don't deserve better, or it's okay if their schools are rundown, or it's okay if the police are given a mission just to contain them rather than to encourage them, then it's not surprising that we're going to lose a lot of them.
but that's not the kind of country i want to live in. that's not what america is about. so my message to alex and malachi and darinel, and to all the young men out there and young boys who aren't in this room, haven't yet gotten that helping hand, haven't yet gotten that guidance _ i want you to know you matter. you matter to us. you matter to each other. there's nothing, not a single thing, that's more important to the future of america than whether or not you and young people all across this country can achieve their dreams. and we are one people, and we need each other.
we should love every single one of our kids. and then we should show that love _ not just give lip-service to it, not just talk about it in church and then ignore it, not just have a seminar about it and not deliver. it's hard. we've got an accumulation of not just decades but, in some cases, centuries of trauma that we're having to overcome. but if alex is able to overcome what he's been through, then we as a society should be able to overcome what we've been through. if alex can put the past behind him and look towards the future, we should be able to do the same. i'm going to keep on fighting, and everybody here is going to keep on fighting to make sure that all of our kids have the opportunity to make of their lives what they will.
today is just the beginning. we're going to keep at this for you, the young people of america, for your generation and for all the generations to come. so, thank you. god bless you. god bless all of you. god bless america. [applause] >> "the communicators" is next with memberss discussing issue related to cable, net neutrality and spectrum. and then a talk with vint cerf and europe's trade negotiator talks about ongoing trade between the european union and the united states.
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