tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN June 26, 2015 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT
the work of this agency, these are people's lives at stake. and we need to have a robust regularity that is also able to help us in the industry in the auto industry in this country, to move to even more dramatic safety improvements with some of the v2v and v2i technologies coming back. i look forward to working with you gentlemen, thank you. >> senator peters thank you. mr. rosekind, looks like you and i have going to have a one-on-one conversation. mr. scovel, it's not because i don't appreciate your work. and i do appreciate both witnesses being here. and i will i don't think i'll complete the questioning. we'll have more members back. if not, we'll hopefully go back to recess before they do. i want to talk about this gap in consumer protection that others are talking about and last saturday i dropped my daughter's
car off at dealership. i usually do most of the work myself. my father owned an automotive business. it was an independent auto repair service. so the question becomes if you're the second owner, third owner, fourth owner of a particular vehicle, when i went into that dealership, does that dealership have an obligation to tell me if -- if there's a recall on that particular make and model? >> they do not. that's part of our grow america authority request, is to get that kind of independent -- doing that -- if you go to a new car dealer they should do that for you automatically. >> but are they obligated to do that? >> no. >> if you go to a new car dealership today, are they obligated on a service/maintenance contract you might have with them, to tell you there's a recall? >> yes, they should be doing that for you. >> but are they obligated? are they required? >> yes. >> because i did ask. they gave me the answer and i have no reason to question it, but i don't know i've ever been
to a dealership that i dropped a car off that they have told me. and maybe they don't have to unless you have a recall. so i'm not putting that into question. you're saying if i took that vehicle, instead, to, say, to a jiffy lube they won't be obligated to tell me if there was a recall? >> correct. >> gas station, none of them are responsible, is that correct? >> that's correct. okay, okay. how's that going to change? >> in grow america we asked to change that so everybody not just the new car manufacturers, but all those independents would be required to run that check and inform you. >> so if your tendency is to bring your car into an independent station, what is your alternative to know about the recall? >> we're recommending everybody on a weekly basis go to safer.gov and look up your v.
v.i.n. number. >> if you're a 17-year-old girl would you look up on safer.gov? >> no. >> they wouldn't. i'm a parent. i know you're a parent, too. hope you had a good father's day. how do you protect that child as a parent that represents everybody in this room how do you protect that child knowing they won't go to safer.gov? i will. and i'll check for her. but what percentage of american has heard of safercar.gov? >> that's a good question. i'm going to find that out. find out about safercar.gov and their visibility. we're with you. there's recall fatigue, how much information is on there where do people go? it's a huge problem. one thing we have on our list of actions already under way is creating a national capital pain. nhtsa is the one that runs click
it or ticket. drive gets pulled over. >> it works, by the way. >> we want to use that same effectiveness to go after this issue because i'm with you. it's great to come here and for us to announce safercar.gov but too many people, like our kids, aren't going to do that. we have to figure out how to close those gaps. >> i'm going to stop my questioning now. i'm turn it over to senator dains at this point. >> thank you, senator heller. i truly am grateful this committee is highlighting the safety challenge of takata's air bags that have killed eight people. however, there are other recalls that i believe need attention. and further underscores nhtsa's lack of efficacy. last summer there was a fire truck, a 2002 model an international model 4800 that front axle, the ball and socket
seized, and it caused -- caused a shaft to break. seized up the left wheel. front wheel. it was coming down highway 12, just outside helena, montana, between my town of bozeman. i drive this all the time. it was during daylight hours. weather conditions were fine. and this fire truck veered into incoming traffic and the volunteer fire chief in the truck was killed in a very violent head-on collision. and there was a family of five mom and dad and three small children in the back in a pickup, that were also killed. so, when i drive back and forth -- in fact i went by that accident site just days after it happened. you could see the marks coming in -- the tire mashgsz in a straightaway where this horrible collision occurred. there are six white crosses standing by the highway where
that occurred. this particular navistar front drive shaft has been recalled in approximately 500 vehicles with notifications being mailed this month. this accident occurred on june 19th of last year. so, the notifications went out just in the last ten days. a year after the accident. and it turns out this exact component was a nhtsa-approved solution to a previous recall that occurred in 2003. with that as background, dr. rosekind the report frequently makes references to the defects the lack of process, the procedures, the data analysis contained in these reports, which i've looked over. they made 17 recommendations to odi to improve early warning
reporting data, improve data verification processes to institute external reviews and evaluate staff training needs, amongst other recommendations. unfortunately, this is not the first time many of these recommendations have been made. why is it taking a year? what are the nhtsa scientists and engineers doing to expedite
these solutions to mitigate these safety risks to all americans? >> i said this earlier. i don't think you can say it enough. this committee, that story about the tragedy of those lives lost can't be told enough, so we personalize at a human face to every one of these tragedies. what you're highlights is something we've emphasized. identifying defects is fine. if they're not remedied, you still have the risk and that's what's going on here. and part of the challenge that you're reciting and basically making sure in a timely manner, a correct, long-term permanent solution is in place. so, i've just learned about this. you can count on me going back to figure out the specifics, even more than what you're telling me now, to see what's going on. >> i would appreciate that. it's also the face of innocence here with a fire chief, who was returning back to three forks montana. it was a nice summer evening good daylight, in a straightaway. you see this young couple and
their kids in the back of a pickup. it's a road i drive all the time. it was just the innocence of the lives lost i think is so chilling, but more importantly, could this have been prevented? that's really the question, looking at the process and procedures, the speed at which the remedies are put in place. i would greatly appreciate you taking a look at that. part of that is how many times has nhtsa had more than one recall on the same component? i know you're new to the job. i would appreciated you looking into that. we've had repeat recalls here.
we don't maintain that type of database. our current audit, as you know, focused on pre-investigative phase and not the recall phase. >> i would sul suggest it's something to look at. that's looking at the process, the systematic challenges that exist today that, again with a goal here preventing these tragedies from ever happening again, the pain these families now -- the pain never goes away. nhtsa's office of defects investigation has had over a decade to implement numerous recommendations from your office. what do you see the challenge why it's taking so long to implement? >> senator, some of those recommendations were tailored for the circumstances. for example, the 2002 and 2004 reports you referenced were examining nhtsa's ability to -- in 2011 we were looking at the
investigative phase primarily of nhtsa's operations. in the current audit we were looking at the preinvestigative phase. so, i don't want to be -- to sound overly -- like i'm overly parsing this, but we are trying to dissect each and every phase of nhtsa's safety operation with the idea of being able to commend what's going on right. find out what's going on wrong and make effective recommendations to improve. our recommendations in this case all concurred by the agency. very aggressive timeline for their implementation. we believe they can all be implemented, in fact with current resources. and i think that's the agency's intent. most commendable on their part. what dr. rosekind is attempting to do in our estimation is change the culture of nhtsa. at least the defects investigation and resolution
part of the operation. >> and i spent 28 years in business before i took this different day job here on the hill and they always say it's what you inspect, and the importance of clear metrics. and i think there should be one that looks like on perhaps of its speed, how quickly are we going from an accident to action in it is field here that's going to correct the defect. it seemed like navistar was in the field within two months, why did it take the federal agency more than a year? there's a ten-month gap there. >> i think you're talking about safety steps that can be taken by way of recall. remember, again, if you will, our current audit focused on the
pre-investigative phase. we dp get to the timing element of that part of nhtsa's effort. our audit report not so much our statement for today's hearing, but our audit report released at end of last week did discuss at some length the length of time it took for an investigative proposal to be evaluated, assessed and decided within the office of defects investigation. that's a key step, of course because you're never going to get to a possible corrective action or recall at least in a position to be influenced by minute sa unless you get through this vefsinvestigation proposal and division stage. we found one incident where investigation languished five months. this is recently, within the last year. another one has been on the books for more than a year without resolution there's a circutous evaluation within some of these investigative
proposals. again, to pick up on dr. rosekind's opening remarks at this point question assumptions. one of the assumptions that desperately must be questioned is how can we speed up the decision loop so that we can get to the decision to investigate sooner and hopefully upon get to a decision on corrective action sooner. >> and i appreciate on the balance of ensuring we're thorough and probably identified the problem and how to mitigate the risk. it just seems as though we're seeing a pretty good gap there. i appreciate your efforts as well to change the culture, to look at ways we can move faster and the senator and chairman have just returned here. as chairman i'm going to turn it back to you. thank you for your thoughtful comments. >> thank you to the senator from montana for presiding here while
we'll welcome our second panel of witnesses this morning. thank you for being here for your testimony. i'm going to hand it off for opening statements. we have with us today mr. kevin kennedy, executive vice president of north america for takata. mr. scott, councillorman, the senior vice president of regulatory compliance with chrysler. formally known as chrysler group. and mr. rick chostic, executive vice president of honda of north america. so i'm going to ask if we could, on my left, your right, mr. candy if you'll please proceed with your testimony and then we'll go from there and if
you can, confine it as close to five minutes as possible and we'll take it from there. mr. kennedy. >> [ inaudible ]. >> sir, turn on your mic. >> is it on now? okay. my apologies. chairman thune ranking member nelson and distinguished members of the committee i'm honored to be here on behalf of that cat fa and our employees throughout the united states. for takata, safety is the core of what we do and who we are. we are proud that takata air bags have saved thousands of lives and prevented serious injuries in hundreds of thousands of accidents. it is unacceptable to us for one of our products to fail to perform as intended. we deeply regret each instance in which someone has been injured or killed. we will do everything in our
power to address the safety concerns raised by air bag ruptures. our chairman met twice with administrator rosekind and made that commitment personally. that is why after months of testing and extensive analysis we voluntarily agreed with nhtsa to take broad action in conjunction with the automakers to respond to your concerns and those of the public. our agreement with nhtsa contemplates dramatically expanded recalls going well beyond the scope of the risk suggested by the science and testing. based on more than 57,000 tests of returned inflators in years of research by leading experts from around the world, our best current judgment is the rupture issues are related to long-term exposure over many years to persistent conditions of high heat and high absolute humidity. and for some inflaters these
issues may also involve potential manufacturing and vehicle-specific factors. most field ruptures have involved older inflaters in the region of high heat and absolute humidity. and all analysis to date indicates the potential for rupture is limited to an extremely small fraction of inflaters. that's why takata's filings state a safety related defect may arise in some inflators. not all of the inflaters proposed by the recalls are defective. but even one rupture is too many. so our remedy program is much broader. most of the injuries and all of the fatalities in the u.s. involve driver side air bag inflaters that feature the bat wing shaped propellers. we've agreed to replace all of the bat wing driver inflaters from the start of the production through the end of production in any vehicle registered anywhere in the united states. these recalls will proceed in
stages and the final stage will include the replacement of bat wing inflaters previously installed as remedy parts. we are ceasing production of the bat wing inflaters all together. there have been far fewer field ruptures involving passenger side air bags. nevertheless, our agreement with nhtsa also contemplates significantly expanded recalls for passenger air bag inflaters. so-to-support these recalls our total production for replacement kits for north america will soon reach 1 million per month. we have augmented our capacity to produce replacement kits to produce inflaters by other suppliers. we are investing in innovation and working with our automaker customers to build a range of new inflater products. at the same time takata continues to serve its customers by producing air bag inflaters that use money yum nitrate
propel ent which has safety benefits over others. we have the full confidence in the safety of these products. we're using various technologies in response to the recalls. the process of qualifying new products takes time and for certain air bags and certain vehicle models the best solution is to use existing technologies in place of the existing unit. we agree with nhtsa that it is absolutely the right response to public safety concerns not to wait. but to replace an older unit with a new inflater. doing so provides an important safety benefit. we have agreed with nhtsa to do ongoing testing to verify the safety and service life of these remedy parts. if they need to be replaced in the future we'll act before a potential rupture develops. we're supporting the testing work of the automakers and nhtsa, as well as the work of the independent quality assurance panel led by former
secretary of transportation sam skinner and we will work with the automakers to get the word out to consumers to help maximize recall completion rates. we will continue to do all we can to ensure uncompromised safety and we will keep you and the public updated on our progress. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. kennedy. mr. kunselman. >> thank you. chairman thune rarnging member nelson, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear today and provide an update on this important matter. my name is scott kunsel man senior vice president of fca, formerly chrysler. i lead a mission we embrace with passion. as you know, fca's involvement with takata air bags is extensive and ongoing. today's automobiles are among
the most sophisticated and complex consumer goods on the market. auto manufacturers are more committed to develop advanced safety technologies to reduce fattalalityies and injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes. on a daily basis we work to design engineer and manufacture vehicles to withstand a myriad of pralgt conditions. promoting and ensuring vehicle safety is a responsibility shared by automakers, suppliers, government and even consumers. fca looks forward to continuing this collective engage wment takata and nhtsa to help address this critical situation related to air bag inflaters. fca has remained actively engaged with takata and nhtsa since i spoke with this committee last november. much has transpired since that time. through multiple recall campaign expansions and based on information from both takata and actions by nhtsa fca is now in the process of recalling 4.8 million ipnflarts in
approximately 4.5 million vehicles across the united states. we're also aggressively taking actions on multiple fronts to assist in determining the root cause of inflater ruptures, which remains unknown at this time. fca is an active participant in the independent testing coalition. a group consisting of all 11 effected manufacturers formed in december of 2014. again, trying to independently determine the root cause of inflater rupp turs. in addition, fca continues to return recalled inflaters to takata for their research and understanding. fca's mission to identify and implement solutions that will improve the safety of our customers has not been delayed. today i'm pleased to share with the committee that as of june 8, 2015, fca is replacing all driver side inflaters involved in the recall with an ail tentative and permanent design provided through trw. customers who receive the trw
inflater replacement will require no further action on their vehicles. the takata inflaters no longer needed are being quarantined and returned from our dealers to takata. all approximately 50,000 customers who previously received a that cat ka inflater will be notified to return for the trw update as well. in addition to these driver side efforts, fca has been working with takata to develop improved versions of the passenger inflater designs. these new versions will contain an improved ignitor material as well as a desiccant that will help protect the propellant from moisture. these will complete validation progress in august and fca plans to install those in december. fca continues to be aware of just a single incident involving a driver's side air bag causing an injury in one of our vehicles. our actions demonstrate the abundance of caution to protect our customers. i would like to reiterate that
promoting vehicle safety is the responsibility shared by automakers, suppliers, government and consumers and fca will continue to collaborate with takata, nhtsa and others to aggressively address this matter. i once again extend my thanks to the committee for discussing this important issue and i would be pleased to answer any questions. >> thank you. mr. schostek. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the opportunity to update the committee on our efforts since my last appearance before this committee. let me begin by acknowledging that in the past two weeks we have confirmed that two more customers lost their lives. one in september 2014 and the other in april of this year. as a result of takata air bag inflater ruptures that have occurred in our older model vehicles. this is heartbreaking and a painful reminder to us of the reason we continue to urgently accelerate our actions to repair the affected vehicles. but of course the real pain is
experienced by the families of the victims. we sincerely apologize to them and extend our deepest sympathies. we are working very hard to solve this problem. over and above the required mail notification to affected customers, we've pursued new and creative ideas to encourage our customers to check their vehicle identification number in order to increase the rate of response to the recalls. we've enhanced our general recalls website and created a new microsite dedicated to this issue to keep our customers informed and make it easy for them to check their vehicles for open recalls. honda also voluntarily initiated a bilingual regional advertising program in march to implore customers to repair their vehicles. this campaign of radio commercials and full-page newspaper ads represented here to my left was designed to grab the attention of customers in the nine high temperature and
absolute humidity states and two u.s. territories.g#n3zk we're also using social media challenges, including via facebook, with good success. let me add, mr. chairman, whenever we issue a press release or statement on this matter we specifically request the news media help us spread the word by directing customers to our recall websites so they can look up their v.i.n. and get their air bag repaired. to accelerate the safety actions and increase the supply of inflaters, honda proactively began searching for alternative supply solutions to quickly facilitate the repair of these older model vehicles. that effort led to agreements with di cell, auto league and trw to provide us with replacement parts in addition to takata. as a result of this action, we are averaging more than 50,000 repairs per week.
we have also asked our dealers to expand their service hours and never turn away a customer with an affected vehicle. we require dealers to check the v.i.n. for every vehicle that comes into their dealership. to support this policy, in february we initiated a new system that alerts dealers whenever their staff fails to check a v.i.n. of a car brought in for service to see if it has an open recall. we've also reinforced with our dealers honda's firm policy to provide customers with a loaner or rental car free of chooil charge while their vehicle is being repaired or if they're waiting for a replacement part to be delivered. all dealers are authorized to make a vehicle available to a customer without prior approval from honda. we've also been searching salvage yards nationwide to find and secure recalled inflaters we've already identified many inflaters from salvage yards that will never be installed in another vehicle
in some markets we've enlisted a special investigative firm as part of our effort to contact hard to reach owners of older model vehicles affected by the takata model recalls. mr. chairman, for many reasons, it's particularly difficult to locate the owners of older vehicles and get them repaired. when i testified last november, i suggested that we find a way to tie the annual state vehicle registration process to a requirement that safety defects be addressed before completion of vehicle registration. subsequentlies ms. stephanie erdman, who was injured by a takata the inflater rupture and also appeared before this committee last fall, joined me in writing an op-ed in automotive news in support of such an idea of registration requirement. we continue to believe there's substantial promise with this approach and want to thank senators markey and blumenthal for introducing s-617. i recognize there are some issues that require further discussion, but i'm convinced that this is the single most significant step we can take.
gerngs i very much appreciate the opportunity to be here before the committee and be happy to address your questions. thank you. >> thank you. mr. kennedy, nhtsa's urged takata to get replacement inflaters in vehicles with potentially defective air bags as quickly as possible, even if the root cause is not yet been identified in those replacements may have to be replaced again some years down the road. we're all concerned that this very serious safety issue has persisted for way too long. we've got -- eight people have died. numerous others have received serious injuries. takata has been looking at this problem for several years. we need to know why this happened and make sure it doesn't happen again. so tell me what takata is doing to find the root cause. >> senator, we have been working
with a number of avenues to get to root cause. as you mentioned, we've been working on this for a number of years. we've been working with a institute from germany who is the leading expert in the world on propellants and pressure vessel designs. we have learned much especially in the last six to eight months, as to what the root cause is. we understand the mechanism. we understand a number of the factors that cause the issues. but as you said, we do not have a definitive root cause we can turn on and off. but in spite of that, we have gone forward with nhtsa and automakers to replace parts because this is in the best interest of the public safety. >> without a root cause, though, we don't know whether or not the new replacement inflators have the same defect. so why is it a good idea to put new inflators into cars that might have the same defect? >> let me talk about that a
little bit. many of the replacement parts are alternative designs. they aren't the same that was originally used. particularly on the driver's side, the bat wing inflators had caused all the fatalities in the field and most of the serious injuries. we're not replacing with bat wings. we'll go out and get every bat wing that was ever made, including all of the remedy parts. and we're also, as mr. kunselman and mr. schostek talked, about we're using alternate inflators from competitors in order to speed replacement parts out to the field. and we're working to replace the current ones in order to make them more robust. part of the consent order requires us and nhtsa and the automakers to continue to get the parts back and evaluate the remedy parts to make sure they
are safe. >> these replacement bags, though, are they going to be safer than the original equipment, than the original air bags? >> we know -- what we do know is it takes a considerably long time for this condition to manifest itself. previously administrator rosekind said 7 to 12 years. we know there's a large increase in public safety and margin of safety by just putting a brand new inflator in. on some of the passenger side ones there were some manufacturing defects we've been able to uncover. we feel very confident in the inflators that we are making today. >> mr. kunselman, they are saying they are safe in the interim but may require replacement at a later date.
nhtsa also endorsed this approach. you stated that fiat chrysler of america will be replacing all recall driver's side inflater with a manufacturer of trw and described trw's design as permanent. customers who receive the trw replacement will not need to come back in for another replacement. given that we don't know the root cause for this, why are you confident the trws will not have to be replaced in the near future? >> in this case, the trw inflateor that we are replacing with takata's help mind you, has a proven -- it has a track record. and we're not aware of any issues with its previous use in the field. we were fortunate to have an available inflateor with the right characteristics to utilize in our vehicle program. that explains the confidence. >> for our automakers, i'm sure you both recall because we had
her in here, lieutenant stephanie erdman who was seriously injured by shrapnel from a takata air bag. she took her vehicle to a honda dealership three times without being informs her vehicle was subject to an open recall. three times. so what steps have you all taken since then to work with your dealers? you describe some of this in your testimony. how are you going to give us an assurance these important safety recalls have been addressed and they are going to be shared with customers when they get their vehicles in and have them serviced. >> we have more than 1200 honda and acura dealerships. we've been working hard with them. we've been doing a number of things since we were last here in november.
a new report flags the dealer neglected to check a v.i.n. when a customer came in. moreover, we've had face-to-face meetings with our dealers. we have zone managers and district managers and they have personally visited every dealer and talked to each dealer about the importance of checking for open recalls. we have periodic dealer meetings of our dealer principles. we have in the last several months reinforced that obligation. mr. chairman, there is sometimes turnover at a dealership. we need to continue to make sure that education is well understood, make sure that the dealer principles understand, the owners of the dealerships understand this is our expectation of them and that we're going to check every one of these v.i.n.s. we've taken multiple efforts already. we will do more to continue to remind them of their obligation. >> yeah, id reiterate many of the same point.
we are doing well with respect to informing the dealer of the responsibility. i would add something to it he also mentioned earlier. we made sure the technology is also there to make this an automatic step in the process. when a vehicle rolls into the service bay at a dealer, in most cases in an automated fashion the vehicle uploads the information to the service writer's screen and the service writer is immediately flagged of open recalls and the service writer goes out of their way to schedule that activity on that visit or on an immediately subsequent visit. so, in addition to the reminders of responsibility, the urgency we're making sure that the technology exists to make this an automatic step in the process so it's not left to human hands but to the machine can point this out to their service writer. >> thank you. senator nelson. >> would you all hold up that photograph, please? this is a picture of a massive explosion in 2006 in your mexico
plant. it was so massive that it blew out windows a kilometer away. this plant used the ammonium nitrate propellants to make air bag inflators. is that correct? >> yes, sir, that is correct. >> and in your written response to our committee's november letter, the committee said that explosion was caused by, quote, improper storage of propellant scrap. is that right? >> yes, sir. yes, senator, that's correct. >> is that the type of concern that your safety audits were intended to identify? >> one of them, yes, sir. >> then why would takata decide
to halt these audits for financial reasons? >> yeah, i'm -- i believe you're referring to the report issued yesterday by the staff of the committee. there were -- i think that misrepresents exactly what happened, sir. if you would allow me, i will explain that. >> certainly. first of all, there are a number of safety and quality audits done on the product. the audits that were referred to were not the safety and quality audits on the products. that was implied or inferred from the report. secondly, the only thing that was suspended was the participation of people from other regions of the world. we held the local safety audits. we held the local quality audits. they were all done on schedule and completed.
the only thing that e-mail was referring to was participants from other parts of the world were not to be included in the audit. >> all right. but i'm trying to get at this. hasn't takata blamed the defective air bags on how your plants handled the ammonium nitrate propellants and how your plants assembled the inflators? >> there were some of the earlier recalls that were announced 2008, 2009 where we identified manufacturing defects that included the pressing of propellant disc as well as exposure to humidity during the process. >> so the answer is yes? so if you are saying that these pyrotechnic handling problems had to do with the safety of the inflators, wouldn't you have had a clue in 2006 when that happened? >> absolutely.
absolutely we did. we had issues at the plant, material, scrap material was mixed and that is what led to that particular incident. fortunately, no one was injured in that incident other than, i think, someone sprained their wrist walking out the door. we completely cleared the plant. no one was injured, no one was hurt and we revised the number of our safety and handling procedures following that. they were completely redone after that. >> and yet knowing that something is going on here, it's nine years later -- >> yes, sir. >> -- and now we see -- now explain this bat wing design and why you think that is the culprit. >> well, the bat wing design is a name the engineers came up with to describe the shape of the propellant wafer inside. the driverer air bag inflateor. there's really nothing about it
other than that. >> the propellant that caused that explosion? >> it was the mixing of different types of propellant and energetic materials that led to that particular incident. >> did you -- did it occur to you back in 2006 with this that humidity might have had something to do with it? >> i haven't reviewed the report, and i don't remember it from that long ago, senator, but i don't recall that humidity was an issue in that particular incident at the facility. >> what about -- >> i can double check that to be sure and get back to you. that's my recollection. >> what about all these deaths in the south? you think humidity is one of the contributing factors? >> yes, senator, we do. the report from the pronghoffer institute has concluded they think it is a multifactor
combination of age, exposure to high absolute humidity and high temperature. >> then how do you explain the southern california where there is a mild temperature death? >> that's why we're continuing to look into the issue. we haven't dropped it. we have experts from penn state. we have experts from georgia tech. we have the pronghoffer institute. we're working with a vast array of experts in this field and we're continuing to investigate to continue to run into ground so we know exactly what happened. that's why we decided to act with nhtsa and the automakers to get these parts now. it's the right thing to do for public safety. >> would you want your daughter to drive a vehicle with takata air bag that you had replaced the bat wing ammonium nitrate? >> the car my wife and children
drive in every day uses one of these ammonium nitrate inflators. >> did you replace the bat wing? >> it was on the passenger side. >> is that the only place it's replaced? >> bat wings is just a driver side design. it's not used on the passenger side at all. it's purely a driver's side issue. >> you are attributing the bat wing design to part of the defect? >> that's what the data and testing have shown. that's where all of the fatalities and most of the serious injuries have involved the bat wings. >> then i didn't understand your answer that you suddenly jumped to the passenger side. >> you asked me if i would -- maybe i misinterpreted your question. >> if your daughter were driving the automobile that you had
replaced the bat wing design in the driver's side -- >> i would have no issue with that at all, senator. none. >> well, i tell you there are a lot of consumers that would. how do you think that the consumers can feel that this thing is fixed? >> well, that was why, again, sticking with the bat wing on the driver's side, we've agreed to go replace every one of these. get the parts and get them out of the field. a lot of people have talked about the efforts to do that. and that is really one area where we as an industry and a government need to concentrate is to get the parts out of the field once there has been a defect analyzed. and declared. >> mr. kunselman, you don't feel confident enough that it's fixed. you've gone to a new air bag manufacturer. tell us about that.
>> yes, thank you. as i stated we were fortuitous in the ability to identify an alternative that would perform appropriately in our vehicle given the demands of the fill rate and the size of our air bag. and so we did quickly move here to gain confidence that this would be a permanent solution, even in absence of root cause, not understanding what ultimately might happen. this is why we took this path. >> may i regurgitate your words and you tell me if this is what you just said? we wanted a clear path to greater confidence so we went with another manufacturer? >> that's correct. >> okay. thank you, mr. chairman. senator blumenthal. >> thank you, senator nelson. thank you for being here today, all of you. mr. kennedy, you have been with takata for only about three years, correct?
>> no, sir, i've been with takata just over ten years. >> ten years? sorry. so you were with the company back in 2005? >> i started in december of 2004, correct. >> i'd like you to commit as executive vice president of this company that takata will establish a compensation fund similar to the one gm established. >> yeah, i haven't been involved in that end of the recall at this point, sir, so i can't do that. i will certainly take that back to our chairman and to our -- and to our team and discuss that and get back with you on that. but i'm not in a position today to commit to that, sir. >> don't you run the company's north american operation? >> i have responsibility for certain aspects in north america. i'm responsible for our customer activity, including sales and marketing, engineering, application engineering, program management. some of our core engineering not
related to inflat ors and other engineering and kor projects and some i.t. and communications. >> well, i'm just a country executive committee and a president of north america. so i do not run all aspects of the north american operation sir. >> how soon can you come back with an answer about a compensation fund? >> i would think in the next -- would four weeks be sufficient sir? >> about two weeks? >> two weeks. yes, sir. >> my view is that takata is every bit as responsible for the eight deaths found so far as gm is for the 117 deaths and counting. and the number eight is still as of today the compensation fund that you should establish, in my opinion, is likely to disclose
additional deaths that resulted from this defective product. would you agree? >> i think it is -- i would agree that it is probably likely as many of these parts are still in the field. >> in fact, let me show you one of those parts. this is a takata inflater that caused the explosion in this airbag that caused these holes. it didn't shred the airbag, but the shards that came through the airbag caused the explosion and you can see the results of that explosion piercing and you can see where the shards emanated could well have caused the kinds of deaths that we've seen eight times so far demonstrated eight times so far correct? >> yes, sir. and again i just want to repeat how deeply sorry we are for all of the pain and suffering we have caused.
>> and i'm not challenging whether you're sorry. i believe sincerely that you are. my question is in replacing these batwing propellants have you also replaced thea aamonium nitrate used in some of these these? >> some still include but it's a completely different design that we have not experienced issues with. >> you haven't experienced issue with it because you haven't finished testing. >> well, they have been in the field for a number of years. they've been used in a number of different vehicles. and we just -- it's just alternative designs have not seen issues. >> why are you continuing to use
amonium nitrate when it was very likely a contributing factor if not the factor in causing these exploding inflaters. >> well, first, i would respectfully disagree it's the issue causing the inflater erupters. it could be one of the potential factors in it, but phase stabilized ammonia nitrate has many, many advantages over the materials we were using prior. the industry was using azide prior and azide is highly highly toxic. and some of the other materials we'd used had issues with handling and manufacturing because they were very very energetic in a normal state. phase stabilized ammonia nitrate, if you put it on the table and put a torch on it, you can't even light it. it's very safe. and it's very clean. it burns very very efficiently.
which again addressed some of the concerns that were in the field with previous propellants that were causing respiratory issues with many many drivers. >> but the problem is that it becomes unstable when it becomes moist or accumulates moisture correct? >> well, it's not a phase stabilization issue. this is what everyone was concentrating on at the beginning, that it is an issue with the phased stabilization of ammonia nitrate. the conclusions that the constitute institute is that this is not a phase stabilization, we cannot even measure the faze stabilization that occurs in these parts. this is a much more subtle issue that takes many many factors over many, many years. and sometimes in certain vehicles sometimes in one vehicle it will perform perfectly well, the same part in another vehicle in the same exact area will have issues. so there are a number of things we don't understand. but that's why we felt it was time to act and get the parts
out of the field so we could continue this analysis of the parts. >> you're continuing to use ammonia nitrate, but with a different design? >> we have many designs that use phase stabilized ammonia nitrate. there are of the i think the six involved in this most are out of i think five of the six are out of production. there's another one that will be out very shortly. so the ones involved in this particular issue in these particular issues in these particular recalls are not in serial production any longer. >> looking forward are you replacing the batwing propellants or inflaters out there now with inflators that have ammonia nitrate? >> some are still using it's a completely different inflator design completely different propellant design but some do still use the faze stabilized ammonia nitrate. we are i think in may 50% of the
inflator kits that we sent included inflators from our competitors. by the time we get to december, 70% are estimated to be without inside inflators. most of the replacements we're having are alternative propellant designs but even the ones that aren't are using later versions of ammonia nitrate for the most part at this point. >> have you tested these new designs? >> yes, sir, we have. >> how rigorously? >> very rigorously. and most have been in production for a number of years. >> have they shown signs of moisture? >> not to my knowledge sir. >> but you're continuing to use ammonia nitrate? >> yes, we are continuing to use phase stabilized ammonia nitrate. >> that's one of the reasons why you're going to trw, correct? >> thank you. as i stated the path to the trw inflator is fortuitous because it fit in our car and provided
me with the most -- absencet of root cause it would be a more permanent solution. >> i think that's a very genteel and nice way of saying you want a safe propellant, and so you're going with a company that does not use ammonia nitrate, correct? >> that is accurate. >> mr. kennedy your company filed for a patent in 2006 that in effect demonstrated the knowledge of moisture's effect on ammonia nitrate, correct? >> i'm sorry, i'm not involved in the patents on inflators, senator. if you give me a little more information, i might be able to comment. >> i'll give you information that is available to all of us which is that your company explained that moisture could seep into the inflator and might cause the propellant to become
unstable. it said that numerous times. it filed for a patent back in 2006 that demonstrated it was aware of that problem in that year correct? >> well again i'm not familiar with the patent you're referring to. but i can tell you that moisture seepage into any inflator is a known issue. and moisture in particular with ammonia nitrate. and that's why we've addressed that in our designs and manufacturing processes. >> are you familiar with the chemical known as desicant? >> yes, sir. >> at what point did takata begin to add -- >> i believe it was in that timeframe you mentioned there. i think 2007, 2008. >> and the reason it added desicant was to reduce the effects of moisture in making the ammonium nitrate.
>> there was a number of design changes that were made in the x series inflators in that timeframe. the propellant formulation was changed. a number of the other components were updated. it's part of what in japan they call it -- it's continuous improvement. we're constantly looking at ways to improve the parts. and those particular parts on the passenger side we were able to shrink by 10 millimeters which saved weight and space in the vehicle that helped meet requirements and helped our customers meet their goals of weight reduction and performance improvements. >> continuous improvement? >> yes, sir. >> your term? >> yes, sir. that's what the japanese call it. >> kaisan? in japanese sounds to me like a euphemism for trying to avoid exploding airbags. >> no, sir not at all. i disagree. like i said, it was a continuous improvement to improve the
product. every manufacturer of every product is how -- >> how did it improve the product? besides avoiding the propellants exploding as a result of moisture? >> well, as i said there were a number of changes that were implemented into the inflators at that time. decicant was one of them. it allowed us to make the inflators smaller lighter. those were all things that we are always looking to do. >> isn't it fair to say that one of the reasons for that continuous improvement was the presence of moisture inside the inflator? >> well, as i said, moisture in any inflator is a problem. and every inflator has leak paths that allow moisture in. every inflator out there. at the end of the day an inflator is full of holes in order to let gas come out. so if there's holes to let gas come out, there's holes to let moisture in. so it's an issue that every
inflator manufacturer deals with. >> your new inflators have they shown evidence of moisture? >> i'm not sure if i can answer that completely, senator, because i don't know that we've gotten parts back from the field on these newer ones and looked at that on every one of them. >> i thought -- i thought your testimony here today was they'd been rigorously test snd. >> they have. >> but you don't know whether moisture has been found in them? >> i don't know the answer to that specific question senator. >> where i'm going here mr. kennedy, essentially is that there is a lot of evidence that ammonium nitrate is a root cause and that there may well need to be a recall of the recalls. and continuing problems. gm at least redesigned and
remanufacture remanufactured the defective product that caused deaths on the road as a result of the defective ignition switch. but the continued use of ammonium nitrate leads me to believe there may well need to be a recall of the recall parts. >> well, that's why as part of the consent order we've agreed to continue to test the remedy parts. we've continued all of our efforts internal and external with the consortium mentioned with individual oems, automakers doing their own testing. we have not stopped anything senator, in relation to this issue. we are continuing to look and we are continuing to look everywhere to make sure that we understand this issue. >> go ahead. have you issued -- i just have one more question -- two more questions. >> well, we need to keep moving
senator. >> and i've actually been asking a few extra questions because i knew my colleague was going to be here. >> oh yes. you're so kind. thank you. >> let me ask, would you commit to supporting a bill that i've offered s-900 that requires used car dealers to repair any outstanding safety recalls prior to releasing them? >> senator blumenthal we do support that concept. right now honda dealers sell new and used cars and we expect those to be taken care of before the used cars are sold. they may have a product from another manufacturer on the lot, similarly a chrysler dealer and so forth and then there's independent used cars dealers. we'd like to discuss about the need to insure the responsibility of the oem to make sure that repair is completed and who is effecting the repair. but most definitely sir, we
support the concept. >> because i know you've reached out to two of the honda owners that were effected here but you couldn't contact them because they'd bought the car used, correct? carla solas and -- both died of this product. >> indeed, senator. the unfortunate aspect of the fatalities are older model vehicles, they've tended to change hands sometimes through used independent car dealers. and we've not been able to contact the appropriate party. we definitely support the concept. >> thank you. thanks, mr. chairman. >> senator. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i will be brief here. mr. kennedy, last november as evidence emerged that the airbags might be susceptible in regions outside of high humidity climates, i called on an expanded recall in december of last year. takata respondsed to nhtsa's recall request letter stating it firmly believed the data and
current available information did not support a nationwide recall. what information did takata have last month that it didn't have earlier that triggered the expanded recall? >> senator, that's a great question. and i'd be very happy to answer that. we have much much more test data now than we had before. we've completed -- i checked last night. as of last night over 57,000 deployments most of those in the last six months that have really helped us to understand where these issues are and what is causing them. and we don't have definitive root cause. but also in that timeframe we've had a two-day meeting at our inflator facility where we brought all of the nhtsa people in and their experts and we had our third party report directly to them. it was not filtered by takata at all. we did the same thing with the oems effected. we've continued to work with a number of other outside experts. >> okay. >> as i mentioned earlier penn state university georgia tech --
>> but it's just this goes back to 2006. and i'm glad you've done this, but it seems like such a long period of time and we've heard so many different explanations for the cause of the defect. why the different explanations? and why did all of this take this long nearly ten years to get done? >> well, senator, there's been a lot done in those ten years. there's been a number of recalls that have been issued starting i believe in 2008 was the first one. so we have participated and supported multiple recalls in that timeframe. and it was really just on this latest issue that really got started in 2013. end of 2013 was when the first incident outside of previous recall populations occurred. >> okay. go ahead. >> i'm sorry. >> now with this major recall that you've decided to undertake with a lot of prodding, i would say, and it's going to involve, you know a lot of vehicles.
how do you prioritize these vehicles in terms of getting fixed? is it geographically? is it by age of the vehicle? how are you going to triage this? >> again a very good question and one that was contemplated in the defect information reports. and it varies by design somewhat. the driver's side ones where we've had the most issues in the field, those are being prioritized based on location. and that would be a location of where they're currently registered, originally registered or ever registered. >> some of the other ones are prioritized by age. and as administrator rosekind mentioned in his testimony that is part of the consent order that we have agreed to. they call it the coordinated remedy. and we will be working with nhtsa and all of the automakers in order to do that prioritization and to increase supply to get the right parts to the right owners at the right time. >> and then how many replacement parts is takata producing every
month? >> as of a couple days ago we passed 5 million replacement kits. we are right now, i think this month we'll probably produce close to 700,000. >> and how many are there going to be total that you need to have? >> well, the total replacement -- again numbers are a little bit elusive but somewhere in the 32 million range. >> wow. >> that's vehicles that were ever manufactured. >> okay. >> some of those still not -- >> how long do you think it will take to do that? >> well, we're going to be at a million units a month here very shortly. we've already done five million. that 32 million assumes that actually all of those vehicles are still on the road. and we know vehicles that are 15 years old a number of those are not on the roads still. >> uh-huh. >> it will be somewhat less than that. >> okay. just one last question here because i want to keep in my time limit. how many effected honda and
chrysler vehicles have received replacements? >> have received replacements? >> uh-huh. >> on the driver's side we had just shy of 50,000 units replaced with a like bag. and we have now implemented a recall where we will replace with a trw inflator. so those are just in its infancy, maybe 1,000 units so far. just released on june 8th. >> okay. >> senator, we've replaced nearly 2 million takata inflators in our vehicles. >> okay. very good. sounds like there's going to be a lot more. they're not all your vehicles, obviously. but more to come. all right. thank you very much. >> senator nelson has one question to ask. so he'll be back in here momentarily. until he gets back let me ask our manufacturers fif your companies or other automakers are looking into what role if any the vehicle design may have played with regard to persistent high humidity effecting the
performance of the airbag inflators? and if so what have you learned? >> mr. chairman i'll answer that first. you're referring to the report recently that takata is mentioning a theory about the vehicle design. i think this is mainly on the passenger side not the driver's side where this theory of theirs is grounded. we've not received much information from takata about this vehicle design theory. and when we do we will be happy to look into it, but we have not begun our study of our own on that idea. >> i would reiterate that we're not doing our own study on that. we are aware of takata seeing this trend in the data. and asking the itc if they see a similar trend based on the parts that have been tested coming from the field. >> okay. senator nelson. >> just one quick question.
do you think that rental car companies should be prohibited from leasing vehicles under recall until they're fixed? >> thank you senator nelson. i'm aware of s-2819, the rental car recall act that would prohibit rental car companies from renting if they had -- we are in support of that concept, senator. we support the concept. the young woman who lost her life in southern california was driving a honda vehicle that she rented from an agency in the san diego area. understand from our business model, senator honda we do not sell to fleets. so we don't sell to big rental car companies such as hertz and so forth. nevertheless there are honda vehicles that end up in rental car inventory. some our dealers might sell to one of those large rental car companies, but of course the small rental car companies also
might buy our vehicle on the used market. we strongly support the concept that they should be fixed before they are rented to a customer. and if that had happened in the case of the young woman in southern california, who by the way we notified the auto auction that owned the vehicle before the rental car agency bought it and we also notified the rental car agency and neither of them took that repair. it's to our ever lasting regret that that had an impact in this incident. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator nelson. well, just to point out that the hearing record's going to remain open for two weeks during which time senators are asked to submit any questions for the record. upon receipt the witnesses are requested to submit their written answers to the committee as soon as possible. i want to thank our panelists or witnesses here today for your testimony, for your responses. it continues to shape the record that we build with regard to this very important issue which
has had life and death consequences for people across this country and we want to make sure we're doing everything we can to get the accountability and provide hopefully the solutions that will prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again. with that the hearing is adjourned. thanks. a look outside the u.s.
supreme court from the moment the court announced its ruling this morning that there's a constitutional right for gay couples to marry. it was a 5-4 decision with justice anthony kennedy writing for the majority "the court now holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry. no longer may this liberty be denied to them." also asked for "equal dignity in the eyes of the law, the constitution grants them that right." he was joined by four others writing the dissent was chief justice roberts. in his opinion the chief justice wrote, the court is not a legislature. whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. he added "if you're among the many americans of whatever sexual orientation who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision. but do not celebrate the constitution. it had nothing to do with it. chief justice roberts was joined in the minority opinion by the
c-span networks. c-span saturday night at 8:00 eastern we'll look at the government and culture of iran, its relationship with the u.s. and its nuclear ambitions. and sunday night at 6:35 profile interviews with two presidential candidates first kentucky republican senator rand paul. and then vermont independent senator bernie sanders. on book tv on c-span2 saturday night at 10:00 eastern on "afterwards," author nelson denise on the history of puerto rico and its turbulent relationship with the united states. on sunday night at 7:45 historian h.w. brands recounts the life and political career of america's 40th president ronald reagan. and on american history tv on c-span3, saturday night a little after 9:00 commemorating the 800th anniversary of the magna carta. deputy president of the united kingdom supreme court brenda hail on how the document influenced both countries from the rights of liberty and property to limits on executive power. and sundays night at 6:00 on
american artifacts, the french sailing ship brought general lafayette in 1780. and we were in yorktown virginia to cover the welcoming ceremony of the replica of that ship and hear from the crew and french government officials. get our complete schedule at c cspan.org. this weekend on our companion network c-span, our guest on "newsmakers" is housing and urban development secretary. julian castro. newsmakers is sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. this summer book tv will cover book festivals from around the country and top nonfiction authors and books. in the middle of july we're live at the harlem book fair at the nation's flagship african-american literary event
with author interviews and panel discussions. at the beginning of september we're live from the nation's capitol for the national book festival celebrateing its 15th year. and that's a few of the events this summer on c-span2's book tv. the u.s. ambassador to the u.n., samantha power, testified before the house foreign affairs committee last week. she was asked about nuclear negotiations with iran, the israel-palestinian conflict, combatting isis and how she's advancing u.s. interests at the united nations. california congressman ed royce chaired this hearing. it's about two hours ten minutes. >> this morning we look at the role of the united nations and we look at the role of the u.s. there with ambassador samantha power. she has spent two years as the
u.s. permanent respective to the u.n. and the ambassador has approached her job with great energy, great determination, perhaps best shown during last year's ebola crisis in west africa. and in that case the administration and congress worked together to contain ebola and to save lives. ambassador, thank you for those efforts. thank you for joining us today. the ambassador's testimony comes at an important time. if a final iran nuclear agreement is reached and the deadline is in two weeks then the security council will be expected to remove international sanctions while preserving the ability to react to iranian cheating. given all we know about the history of iran's nuclear program, cheating should be expected. the committee wants to know how in a case of cheating a proposed sanctions snapback process would work. we know for sure that russia and
china wouldn't make this easy. and i've never known any u.n. process described as taking place in a snap. last week's revelation by a panel of u.n. experts that there has been not a single report of iran violating the u.n. arms embargo not only lacks any credibility but calls into serious question the chances of the u.n. snapping back any sanctions. the committee is disturbed to watch the u.n.'s continuing anti-israel bias especially in the human rights council. more disturbing is that the obama administration seems to be on the brink of discarding decades of bipartisan support of israel against the u.n. onslaught. president obama has raised the dramatic step of allowing the security council to impose conditions related to a two-state solution rather than supporting negotiations between the parties themselves.
ambassador as ranking member ang el and i wrote to you the other month, an imposed plan will not get us closer to peace. nearby syrians are being slaughtered before the world's eyes. two years ago the united nations called the crisis in syria the worst humanitarian disaster since the rwanda genocide. yet despite several u.n. resolutions, the assad regime continues its indiscriminate barrel bombing and chemical weapons attacks. those responsible for these war crimes must be held accountable. ambassador, you have said this to your credit. but when, when will that accountability come? the committee hears testimony tomorrow from some of the brave syrians who have appeared in front of the security council to share their stories of responding to assad's abhorrent attacks including chemical
attacks. elsewhere religious minorities are under attack. unable to claim citizenship in burma or elsewhere, many have called the rohingas the most persecuted minority in the world. burma's persecution has led thousands to desperately flee to overloaded boats. many rightly bothered by the united nations's poor track record protecting rohingas. young rohingya girls end up being trafficked being sexually exploited, being led into a lifetime of misery. united nations peace keeping by the way despite many shortcomings has managed to protect innocent civilians and minorities in recent years, the missions in the democratic republic of congo mali and
south sudan have saved lives. the committee wants to continue working with the ambassador to see that these missions are appropriately supported. and we hope something can be done for the rohingeya people. u.n. reform shouldn't be limited to peace keeping. this summer when the u.n.'s scale of assessments is reviewed, i trust the u.s. delegation will be working to spread the burden and give major donors greater say in management decisions. ambassador power you will be wrestling with many critical issues in the coming months. to say you have a difficult and even hostile environment at the u.n. is an understatement. but you do not appear to be one to shy away from a challenge. i look forward to continue to work with you on these pressing matters. we thank you again for being with us today.
i will now turn to mr. elliott ingle, ranking member from new york for his opening statement. >> thank you mr. chairman, for holding this hearing.bassador power, welcome. thank you for your testimony today. and more importantly for your distinguished service. as far as i'm concerned you're certainly the right person at the right time to be our u.n. ambassador and we're lucky to have you. across seven decades the united nations has done a great deal of good. millions saved from starvation, diseases like smallpox wiped off the map, sanctions ended conflict and curbed terrorism, peace keeping missions that have brought stability to war torn regions. at the same time however we must acknowledge that the u.n. is far from perfect. we need to improve the organization's management, enhance transparency and strengthen internal oversight. and we must continue to speak out forcefully when member states use the u.n. as a platform to unfairly single out
israel. in my mind the best way to address these problems and to advance american foreign policy priorities is to maintain our engagement with the organization. u.s. leadership of the u.n. has headed off deeply biased and one-sided resolutions regarding israel. we cast a no vote into the situation in gaza. we've helped scale back the number of anti-israel efforts in the human rights council overall and the human rights council has really been a joke as far as i'm concerned. we pushed back against the resolution recognizing palestinian state hood. and we've rejected efforts by the palestinians to use the u.n. to gain concessions from israel outside of the context of negotiations. i want to thank you, madame ambassador, because you've been such a champion for israel. the israeli ambassador to the u.n. said last week that if it weren't for the help of the united states and you personally, israel and i quote him, would be in real trouble.
when the united nations continues to attack israel, it really undermines the credibility of the united nations. i'm confident that you will continue to make clear madame ambassador, that the united states will continue to oppose any biased or one-sided resolutions at the u.n. and that we will not shy away from using our veto at the security council if necessary despite some of the rhetoric we've heard from president obama. but even with strong american involvement, the u.n. has been virtually paralyzed when it comes to a range of challenges around the world because other members of the security council continue to block meaningful action. i'd like to mention just a few and hear your views on these topics. i'll start with the civil war in syria. half the population of that country has been displaced. an entire generation is growing up in refugee camps. to be sure the u.n. has done a lot for refugee families in jordan, lebanon and turkey, and most of the assistance for syrian people inside syria has
flowed through the u.n. but russia's prevented the u.n. in playing a more active role in helping the syrian people chart a better future for their country. and that's only the tip of the iceberg with russia. under vladimir putin's leadership or lack of leadership, russia has walked away from democracy the rule of law and human rights. the ongoing intervention in ukraine threatens stability and democracy across europe. this war has left thousands dead, tens of thousands wounded and more than a million displaced. we need to exploez the kremlin's lies whenever and wherever we can. i commend you for shining a light on the hard facts in the u.n. with regard to iran we are all eager to see what a comprehensive nuclear deal will look like. i'm particularly concerned about who will determine if iran is in violation of the agreement. what happens if we think iran has stepped over the line but russia and china disagree? i'm also concerned about how and
when u.n. sanctions against iran will be lifted. the u.n. is going to have a big role to play. and i'm eager to hear your views about how this process will move forward. finally, in our own neighborhood i'm very pleased that the mandate for the u.n. international commission against impunity in guatemala was recently renewed creating similar conditions in honduras and el salvador would go a long way. i hope we can work together urging partners to take this step. ambassador ambassador, thank you again and i look forward to your testimony. >> thank you. so this morning we're pleased to be joined by ambassador samantha power. she is the united states permanent representative to the united nations and a member of the president's cabinet. prior to her appointment to the u.n. ambassador power served as special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the national security staff at the white bassador
power is the pulitzer prize winning author of "a problem from hell america and the age of genocide." we thank you for being with us today. and without objection, the witness's full prepared statement will be made part of the record. and members will have five calendar days to submit any statements or questions or extraneous material for the record. ambassador power i would ask if you could please summarize your remarks and then go to questions. thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman thank you congressman engle. thank you also for your leadership in advancing america's national security interests and our values in the world. last week i traveled to ukraine where i had the chance to see up close what happens when the rules undergurding our international peace and security are ignored. at a shelter for displaced
families in kikiev, i met a mother who told me how her husband and 2-year-old child had been killed in february when a shell struck their home in a village in eastern ukraine. the shelling, as you all know was part of a sustained assault by combined russian separatist forces. and the victims, just two of the more than 6,300 people who have been killed in the moscow-manufactured conflict. shortly after the attack the mother fled town with her five surviving children in a van whose roof and doors had been blasted out. her plea, one i heard echoed by many of the displaced families i met from eastern ukraine and occupied crimea, was for the fighting to stop and for their basic rights to be respected. as the members of this committee know, we are living at a time of daunting global crises. in the last year alone russia continued to train, arm and fight alongside separatists in
eastern ukraine. a deadly epidemic spread across west africa and monstrous terrorist groups seized territory across the middle east and north africa committing unspeakable atrocities. these are the kinds of threats that the united nations exists to prevent and address. yet it is precisely at the moment when we need the u.n. most that we see the flaws in the international system. some of which have been alluded to already. this is true for the conflict in ukraine in which a permanent member of the u.n. security council is violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity that it was entrusted with upholding. it is true of the global health system that despite multiple warnings of a spreading ebola outbreak including those from our own cdc, was slow to respond to the epidemic. and it is true of u.n. peacekeepers who too often stand down or standby when civilians
they are responsible for protecting come under attack. thus leaving populations vulnerable and sometimes open to radicalization. representing our nation before the united nations i have to confront these and other shortcomings every day. yet though i am clear-eyed about the u.n.'s vulnerabilities, the central point i want to make to this committee is that america needs the united nations to address today's global challenges. the united states has the most powerful set of tools in history to advance its interests. and we will always lead on the world stage. but we are more effective when we ensure that others shoulder their fair share and when we marshal multilateral support to meet our objectives. let me quickly outline five ways we are doing that at the u.n. first, we are rallying multilateral coalitions to address transnational threats. consider iran. in addition to working with congress to put in place unprecedented u.s. sanctions on the iranian government in 2010
the obama administration galvanized the u.n. security council to authorize one of the toughest multilateral sanctions regimes in history. the combination of unilateral and multilateral pressure was crucial to bringing iran to the negotiating table and ultimately to laying the foundation whereby we were able to reach a framework agreement that would, if we can get a final deal, effectively cut off every pathway for the iranian regime to develop a nuclear weapon. consider our response to the ebola epidemic. last september as people were dying outside hospitals in west africa hospitals that had no beds left to treat the exploding number of ebola patients, the united states chaired the first-ever emergency meeting of the u.n. security council dedicated to a global health issue. we pressed countries to deploy doctors and nurses to build clinics and testing labs and to
fill other gaps that ultimately helped bend the outbreak's exponentially rising curve. america did not just rally others to step up, we led by example thanks also very much to the support of this congress deploying more than 3,500 u.s. government civilian and military personnel to liberia, which has been ebola-free since early may. second, we are reforming u.n. peace keeping to help address the threats to international peace and security that exist in the 21st century. there are more than 100,000 uniformed police and soldiers deployed in the u.n.'s 16 peacekeeping missions arpd the world. that is a higher number than in any time in history. with more complex responsibilities also than ever before. the united states has an abiding strategic interest in resolving the conflicts where peacekeepers serve, which can quickly cause regional instability and attract extremist groups as we have seen
in mali. yet while we have seen peacekeepers serve with bravery and professionalism, in many of the world's most dangerous operating environments, we've also seen chronic problems too often as mentioned including the failure to protect civilians. we are working aggressively to address these shortfalls, to give just one example we are persuading more advanced militaries to step up and contribute soldiers and police to u.n. peacekeeping. that was the aim of a summit that vice president biden convened at the u.n. last september where colombia sweden indonesia and more than a dozen other countries announced new troop commitments. and it is the message i took directly to european leaders in march when i made the case in brussels that peacekeeping is a critical way for european militaries to do their fair share in protecting our common security interests particularly as they draw down in afghanistan. this coming september president obama will convene another summit of world leaders to build on this momentum and help cat
catalyze a new wave of commitments and a new set of capabilities of u.n. peacekeeping. third, we are fighting to end bias and discrimination at the u.n. day in and day out we push back against efforts to delegitimize israel at the u.n. and we fight for its right to be treated like any other nation. from mounting a full-court diplomatic press to help secure israel's permanent membership into two u.n. groups from which it had long and unjustly been excluded, to consistently and firmly opposing one-sided actions in international bodies. in december, when a deeply unbalanced draft resolution on the israel-palestinian conflict was hastily put before the security council the united states successfully rallied a coalition to join us in voting against it ensuring that the resolution failed to achieve the nine votes of security council members required for adoption. we will continue to confront
anti-israel bias wherever we encounter it. fourth, we are working to see -- excuse me we are working to use u.n. tools to promote human rights and affirm human dignity. as we did with working with partners to hold the first-ever security council meeting focused on the human rights situation in north korea in december. we used that session to shine a light on the regime's horrors, a light we kept shining through a panel discussion i hosted in april with escaped victims of the regime. one woman told of being forced to watch the executions of fellow prisoners who committed the quote/unquote crime of daring to ask why they had been imprisoned. while another woman told how members from three generations of her family her grandmother, her father and her younger brother, had starved to death. this is important for u.n. member states to hear. fifth, we are doing everything within our power to make the u.n. more fiscally responsible more accountable and more nimble. both because we have a
responsibility to ensure american taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and because maximizing the efficiency of our contributions means saving more lives and better protecting the world's most vulnerable people. since the 2008 to 2009 fiscal year we have reduced the cost per peacekeeper by 18%. and we are constantly looking for ways to right-size missions in response to conditions on the ground as we will do this year through substantial drawdowns in haiti and liberia among other missions. let me conclude, at the outset i spoke of my recent visit to ukraine. across the range of ukrainians i met from the mother who lost her husband and 2-year-old child in the assault by combined russian separatist forces to the brave students who risk their lives to take part in the protesters against the clept e dlsh government. to the members of parliament working to fight corruption and increase transparency.
what united them was the yearning for certain basic rights and the belief that the united states could lead other countries and the united nations in helping make their aspirations a reality. i heard the same sentiment when visiting the u.n.-run camps of people displaced by violence in the central african ri kan rerican republic, south sudan and ebola effected communities of new guinea, liberia and sierra leone at the peak of the outbreak. some view the expectation that america can help people overcome their greatest challenges and secure their basic rights as a burden. in fact, that expectation is one of our nation's greatest strengths. and one we have a vested interest in striving to live up to. daunting as it may feel in the face of so many crises. but we cannot do it alone nor should we want to. that is why it is more important than ever that we use the u.n. to rally the multilateral support needed to confront today's myriad challenges. thank you and i look forward to
your questions. >> thank you, ambassador. myself and elliot engle have had frequent conversations on this issue of iran's nuclear weapons capability. and i indicated several years ago that this was going to be the primary focus of this committee was trying to prevent what i worry will be the undetectable nuclear breakout capability of iran. now, i want to ask you about this iran agreement and u.n. snapback sanctions. if we have cheating on the part of iran as they've cheated on every other agreement so far, this i would presume is going to be a real problem if we go forward and we don't get the verification in this agreement that has to be in the agreement. so now we take up this dispute resolution panel, as it's called. this issue which would likely include the six powers and iran.
the international atomic energy agency would also continue reporting on iran's program under this, under this suggestion here. but here's my question. you've got russia and china playing a role. so it's not clear to me how u.n. sanctions realistically would snap back once the cheating is found. and i would just add the caveat that we would also probably see a situation where russian, chinese, french, german companies are back in iran commerce is flowing, it's going to be very difficult to stop. certainly not at a snap. so walk me through that, if you would. >> excuse me. thank you, mr. chairman. first, let me very much agree with the comment you made earlier that nothing that happens at the u.n. tends to happen in a snap.
i've lived that firsthand. but let me also underscore that president obama and the entire negotiating team and certainly i as a member of the administration, also embrace your premise that we cannot trust on the basis of past iranian actions on the basis of current iranian actions outside the nuclear sphere. so i think there are two very important aspects both of which you touched upon, but just to elaborate on that show that any agreement we reach would be predicated in fact on a lack of trust. so the first is in fact one of the most intrusive inspection regimes imaginable. the ability to monitor what is happening along the nuclear supply chain, to an ub precedented extent forever
commitments related to the additional protocol and the modified code. i mean these are things that are going to last well beyond the life of this agreement. and i think what's important about it is it's about recognizing that there of course are dangers of covert capabilities being brought online. and that, again, is what this inspection regime is oriented around. but the second manifestation of the lack of trust is the snapback mechanism. and one snapback mechanism of course is within our own hands. there are many sanctions the president of the united states can snap back, would just be able to snap back with the stroke of a pen. but in my world president obama has been very clear from the very beginning that we cannot allow a procedure for snapback to be left in the hands of russia or china for the very reason that you indicate. while it's true that we were
able to get the multilateral sanctions regime through the security council, again the toughest i think in the 70-year history of the united nations, it does not therefore follow that in the event of breach that we would be able to get that same resolution through a second time. so while i can't get into the specifics of the mechanism right now because we're at a very delicate stage in the worked through to the finest detail, i can say number one, congress will be briefed as soon as the deal is done if it gets done. and number two, we will not support a snapback mechanism or an agreement that includes a snapback mechanism that leaves us vulnerable in the manner you are fearful of. in other words, we will retain the ability to snap that multilateral sanctions architecture back in place without russian or chinese support. >> i think that has to be the focus. because it took so many years
for the international sanctions to be put in place so that those companies terminated their business with iran. and now we have a situation that's resulted the way this is being negotiated where they're all waiting to position themselves to get back into the country. now, the other aspect of this as you say we are going to have an effective sanctions regime. that would imply then what the iranians are telling the world which is that there's not going to be any investigation on their military bases that the international inspectors are not going to be able to have access to those types of scythes.ites. and as you know that's where they've done a lot of their training, their testing is on those military sites. that would put us in the precarious position of an agreement that would be like the '94 framework agreement with
north korea. without the ability of the international inspectors to actually go into those types of sites, the cheating would be in a case like that not even detectable. so, again, this is why 367 members of this body, majority of our colleagues on one side of the aisle and a vast majority on the other side of the aisle, in other words an overwhelming majority of this institution have written a letter to the president saying we do have to have the international inspectors have this ability to go onto those military bases and other sites anywhere, any time. that has to be in this negotiation. let me raise another issue too. that is an issue i know you've spent a lot of time on at the united nations, but despite the deal with russia to remove assad's chemical weapons, it is clear he still has some of them. it is clear he's still using
them. especially having them dropped on aleppo. and madame ambassador, given russia's clear desire to protect the assad regime, what can the u.n. do and particularly the security council here to effectively confront the crisis in syria? and i'll just ask you for your thoughts but also mention that last month ranking member engle and i offered a successful amendment to the defense policy bill directing the pentagon to closely examine a no-fly zone over syria's skies. this would especially relate to aleppo and the other civilian areas which are routinely routinely bombarded. and, you know, of course the united states can't do this on its own. it would need strong support and participation from our allies and partners in the region. and many of them have been asking and offering, by the way their support. asking for this kind of a step,
a no-fly zone to protect the civilian population there. tell me about your engagement on that issue and where that might stand at the united nations. >> okay, mr. chairman, let me if i could just a quick comment on your additional comment on iran. to simply say that there's been a lot of rhetoric from the supreme leader, from the iranian president, from many within iran and there's a lot of politics going on, and i think it's not helpful for us to get into the psychology of what any particular iran leader is thinking or saying -- >> well, ambassador, it's not difficult to interpret what he's trying to message. when he routinely starts the mornings with rallies of death to america -- >> i understand. >> i interpret that he means what he's saying in these cases. >> well, all i wanted to underscore before turning to your important syria question and set of comments is president obama will not accept a deal in
which we do not get the access that we need in order to verify compliance. >> thank you. we want to hold the president to that. thank you. >> i'm sure you will. so on syria let me first address the chemical weapons issue. because of the credibility threat of military force back in 2013 we were able to forge an agreement with the russians one of the rare instances -- as you know they've used their veto four times on syria-related issues including a referral of some of the worst atrocities we've seen since the second world war, referral of those crimes to the international criminal court, they vetoed that. they vetoed very mild condemn condemnatory language. we live their alliance with the syrian regime and the consequences of that every day. i mentioned in my opening remarks ukraine and the preerverse
consequences to see a veto holder use its veto in a reckless in this disgraceful way is extremely disturbing. however in this one instance we were able to team up in order to get this dismaptling regime put in place. the o pc w stepped up to build the airplane as they flew it and as a result we have the removal of -- removal and destron of 100% of the declared syrian chemical weapons program. but you are also right we have alarming and grave reports that the syrians incapable of fighting without drawing on chemical weapons have found a new way, even with the dismantlement of the declared chemical weapons reg eej which
is to turn chlorine into a chemical weapon. we are pushing at the security council, just in the last few months secured another resolution, again somehow getting russia's support to make it clear that just because color evenine is a house hold product make it clear it is not a chemical weapon dropped on humans. and we want to make that clear. and we are not at point we need accountability for these crimes and we are pushing. i don't want to get ahead of diplomatic discussions but pushing russia to take ahold of this and to move federal and get something through the security council. and separate than that stephan demast ora is the political envoy and we need a big political push in terms of negotiations. the negotiations have kind of
not really progressed since the last geneva conference. it has really been a period of protracted stalemate but the regime has suffered a series of military setbacks. russia and iran themselves of course share at least one additional concern with us which is the growth of isil in syria and so we are pushing russia on the security council and outside of it to join with us here and make a serious political push so we can get a peaceful transition, one that brings about an end to the assad regime which would gas its people and which has committed ub speakable atrocities but one that would not leave syria vulnerable to isil coming in and filling the breach. on the no-fly zone finally, i don't have a lot to add. you know that every day we're looking into the tool box and trying to ascertain which tool is appropriate in which circumstances on human tearab
and the sanctions and the support and the train and equip program we've done a lot to influence the situation inside of syria. a no-fly zone if implemented and executed would entail using military force against the syrian regime and our judgment is at this point the risks of doing so would exceed the potential benefits, not least because of the number of extremists again who could conceivably benefit from such -- >> rl, remember, the main beneficiary, as ambassador, as the regime drops those chemical bombs on ahello it is the isil fighters, the kmafld the free syrian army battling on the out skirts. so it is a case in this instance of the regime working in tandem with isis in order to collapse the resistance to isis up in the north. but tomorrow this committee will hear from the brave responders
who are recently back from their efforts to save -- physicians out there to save civilians from the chemical attacks on the nature of the chemical attacks. but thank you for your good work. >> need to go to mr. engel. ambassador thank you very much. >> thank you sir. >> opening remarks, let me ac acknowledge the very strong work in israel and the u.n. you listed several instances in your written testimony and want to acknowledge your personal commitment to pushing back against efforts to delegit mit israel at the u.n. the ridiculous nonsense from the u.n. human rights council which is consists of some of the worst offenses of human rights and makes that council a joke and
under minds itself self-. the president gave a interview with channel 2 knew and was re-evaluating how they approach israel in the international stage around the palestinian issue, unquote. i understand that this reevaluation will not effect our security relationship with israel. the president made that clear. but frankly his remarks are troubling as were other remarks he has made on the same subject. re-evaluating the ways we defend israel on the international stage could have ominous consequences and tampa bayousy le very concerning for those of us who seek to strengthen the u.s.-israel relationship. if the u.s. priep ort is achieving a permanent two state solution giving israel another reason for unease will not help that goal. so i want to ask you, what is the status of this reevaluation and what is it based on?
>> thank you, congressman engel. first, as you yourself have noted, the president was very clear in that interview and has consistently been clear that we are not re-evaluating our bond with israel our security and military relationship, the tremendous friendships that exists between the american people and the israeli people. i think what we are -- what we are engaging right now is a moment in which it is not exactly clear how progress toward a two-state solution is likely to be made. and so we are in daily touch as you know, with the israeli government. the israeli national security adviser is here still in washington meeting as we speak, meeting with our national security visser, with the government formed and we're deepening how we find a path
forward toward a two state solution recognizing as i know we all do that that is the way in which israelis and palestinians can live durably side by side in dignity. with regard to the area of concern that you have flagged, the united states, the obama administration, have consistently opposed the delegit hiation of israel and we've pushed for the legit hiation of israel and i can give a lot of examples. that. we uniformly oppose one-sided actions designed to punish israel and we'll continue to do so. i want to be very clear, in most cases, and in cases at least, we are actually able to build coalitions and prevent things from coming up to a vote as we did in december, again when i cast a no vote and we were able
to deny the palestinians when a resolution was brought forward and biased and jammed upon the council, we were able to forge a blocking coalition. and i also want to note there are occasions in which we work with our israeli counterparts up in new york on affirmative u.n. resolutions on things that israel thinks can advance its interests. and so i think it is hard to speak about hypotheticals and i woo caution against doing so. in the gaza crisis in which you were engaged we came close to a u.n. security council resolution that we thought could be additive as the crisis was winding down. in the end it didn't come to pass. but again, the text and the content of what we're talking about i think would really matter. and suffice it to say, again, i want to underscore that the united states would oppose any
resolution that we believe is biased or would undermine israel's security. >> well thank you for that answer. it goes in line with your written testimony and i quote, we have consistently and opposed one-sided actions and international bodies and will continue to do so. so that is a welcome message. but how do you anticipate this pledge manifesting at the u.n. as the french and others pursue a security council resolution that could set artificial timetables for negotiations. >> again we have not seen or i have not seen a french resolution. we read in the press the same things you read and we've certainly heard about various texts that are flying about but i will say since i've got to new york there have always been texts circulating related to this set of issues so i think again, i'm not going to speculate on hypotheticals beyond we're not negotiating any security council resolution. >> let me say in conclusion what
is disturbing about some of the remarks that the president has made is that there is the hint or maybe not even a hint that perhaps next time around on some of these resolutions rather than vetoing them, the anti-israel biased resolutions, we might just abstain and that of course would allow it to pass. when some of us hear that, we cringe because if we can't count on the united states to stand firmly behind israel against these ridiculous one-sided biased resolutions, then i think it makes the u.n. almost worlz -- worthless in terms of a group trying to move the process along rather than beating up on israel with the built-in