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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 10, 2009 2:00pm-2:30pm EDT

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ration. the government accountability office recently released a scathing report on the state department's near total lack of oversight regarding the nuclear assistance that the iaea provides to member states especially to iran, syria, cuba and sudan. the g.a.o. report noted that from 1997 to the year 2007 the international atomic energy agency's technical cooperation program provided over $55 million to these state sponsors of terrorism, supposedly for peaceful purposes, but as the g.a.o. report notes, nuclear equipment, technology, and expertise can be dual-use, meaning capable of serving a peaful purpose but also useful in contributing to nuclear weapons development. the g.a.o. report criticizes offices at the state department for having little or no idea
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what these programs actually consist of, much less working to stop the most harmful among them. . unfortunately the bill contains no language that addresses this problem despite the administration's full request for over $100 million to be given to the iaea. the bill before us does not mandate that the state department take immediate action to implement the recommendations of the g.a.o. it does not require our representatives at this agency to do anything to prevent additional nuclear assistance from going to iran -- going to syria, other enemies of the ited states. it does not even mention the problem, mr. chairman. by contrast an extensive section of h.r. 2475, an attorney foreign relations authorization act that -- an alternative foreign relations authorization act that i introduced earlier this year was devoted to reform the united nations including to address the specific problems of
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preventing the international atomic energy agency going to state sponsors of terrorism and countries in violation of their iaea obligations. but none of that language was included in the bill that we are considering today. and that is why, mr. chairman, i am offering this amendment. what would this amendment do? it would apply direct and unambiguous pressure on the international atomic energy agency to halt its assistance to those countries of proliferation concern by withholding from the u.s. contribution almost $4.5 million. why that amount? that is equal to the amount that the agency spent on nuclear assistance to iran, syria, cuba, and sudan in the year 2007, the most recent fiscal year for which figures are available. opponents of my amendment may counter that denying funds to the iaea for any purpose will
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weaken its nonproliferation efforts. let me be clear, mr. chairman. this amendment does not affect safeguards or inspections. it is stunning to stand here and be forced to say that the international atomic energy agency's technical nuclear assistance is adding to this threat, but it is and we cannot let it continue. unfortunately we cannot expect the cooperation of this agency, the i.a.e.a., in fixing this problem because the agency's attitude was summed up by a senior official who when pressed to explain the continuing assistance to iran, and other state sponsors of terrorism, even as they defy the agency and the u.n. security council stated that, quote, there are no good countries and there are no bad countries, end quote. faced with this extraordinary situation, mr. chairman, our only option is to use our
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financial leverage to force the international atomic energy agency to stop helping our en me's nuclear weapons programs. the threat we face from iran and the multiplying nuclear powers around the world grows every day. if we are to defend ourselves, we must use every leverage that we possess to stop this menace before it becomes a reality. my amendment is an opportunity to do just that. i ask my colleagues for their support. thank you, mr. chairman. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from california. mr. berman: mr. chairman, could i ask if the gentlelady's finished -- our side has the right to close. since i'll be be the only speaker, and i have a right to close. ms. ros-lehtinen: if i could ask the chairman how much time i
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have left. the chair: did the gentleman from california claim the time in opposition? mr. berman: i do. the chair: the gentlelady has used all her time allotted. the gentleman from california has five minutes. the gentlelady has used all time allotted. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. berman: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. quoip the gentleman is recognized. mr. berman: i rise in opposition to the amendment. i share a lot of the ranking member's concerns fundamentally about the countries named in her amendment, and about the issue of proliferation. but there's sort of three different levels on which i think her amendment raises serious doubts and causes me to want to oppose it. the first is the assumption that
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withholding assessed contributions produces the actions we want. we have had test cases of this. wouldn't it have been great if the money we withheld from the u.n. population planning account had stopped coercive abortions in china? wouldn't it be great if the due assessed to pay to the united nations had resulted in the kinds of reforms that eliminated the questionable conduct that the minority rightfully points to? there is a real challenge to this assumption that the withholding is what achieves the goal. we can wish it a lot. it doesn't alwaysp happen. secondly there are specific categories of programs here that are involved and should be mentioned because in some cases they make some sense. the technical assistance provided by iaea is constructive and supportive of a number of humanitarian needs such as the eradication of the teetsy fly in
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numerous african countries, the fruit fly in canada, improving cancer diagnosis, niger, mali, and zambia, and the central american republic. these are the kinds of programs they are involved. once in a while there may be a project such as in iran or syria that may provide a small amount of useful experience in general nuclear science and radiology. but the most important part is to the extent that some of these programs are about enhancing safety. the u.s. is totally free on the board to vote against those projects at the board of governors and does so. the u.s. already denies extra budgetary funding for technical cooperation projects for state sponsors of terrorism. which the countries, the yeal mentioned, are -- the gentlelady mentioned, are, however the propossed amendment mandates the withholding not of the voluntary contributions, not of the extra budgetary support, but of the
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u.s. regular dues to the iaea. so what does it do? it hampers the agency's primary function which is the inspecting and safeguarding of nuclear material in foreign countries. this is cutting off your nose to spite your face. the iaea's technical assistance program is funded entirely from voluntary contributions. the program that understandably concerns the gentlelady is not from the assessed contributions, it's from the voluntary contributions. the amendment is not focused on the voluntary contributions, it's focused on the assessed contributions. so what do we do? we'll end up cutting the funds that would otherwise be used by the iaea to ensure that states are not diverting nuclear material from peaceful to military purposes, pretty serious concern, inspection that is are in the direct national security interest of the united states. that's what we are cutting. so that's why i think the amendment not by its intention,
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not even by its focus on these programs, we could live without those programs, but its focus on cutting the assessed dues to the most important functions for the united states of the iaea makes no sense. i urge a no vote. the chair: the question is on the amendment adopted by the gentlewoman from florida. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. ms. ros-lehtinen: on that i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from florida will be postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 3 printed in part c of house report 111-143. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado rise? mr. polis: i have an amendment made in order by the rule and i ask for its immediate consideration.
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the clerk: order the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 3, printed in part c of house repo number 111-143, offered by mr. polis of colorado. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 522, the gentleman from colorado, mr. polis, and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the chafere recognizes the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to offer an amendment to the foreign relations authorization for fiscal years 2010 and 2011. i applaud and thank chairman berman and his staff for their hard work and dedication to this important issue. this legislation truly represents a renewed emphasis on meaningful dialogue and strong diplomacy as it forth to increase our number of foreign service officers, grow our peace corps mission, develop new educational programs and expand our public diplomacy efforts. my amendment calls on the department as part of the public outreach and public diplomacy efforts to make materials found in libraries, resource centers, and film screenings available online to help showcase united states culture, society, and values and history to as many
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individuals as be possible. it also adds online outreach as an evaluation criteria for our public outreach efforts. the internet has made the world a smaller place. making it easier to share information globely. in just a matter of seconds. it's imperative that we utilize the internet as a means of diplomacy and continue to explore the effectiveness of online outreach. my amendment also tasks the state department of diverse filing the experience of foreign service officers. through creative diplomacy and hard work in often harsh conditionses ow, diplomatic corps makes an enormous contribution to the way we are viewed overseas. however many foreign service officers feel they have to focus exclusively on certain areas to the detriment of those offices and causes. they aren't avoiding them because they don't care about these issues without borders like human rights, the environment, or refugee issues but rather because the state
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department's promotion system strongly favors those foreign service officer who focus on country specific or regional assignments. my amendment is designed to correct this inequity and pave the way for a more balanced diplomatic corps. it requires that the secretary of state acting through the director general of the foreign service submit a detailed plan congress on how the department will increase career incentives for foreign service officers to serve in bureaus and offices not primarily focused on regional issues. we further ask the department consider requiring all foreign service officers to serve the at least two years in a bureau or office that's not focused exclusively on a regional issue before joining the senior foreign service. the amendment also recommends that the composition of foreign service election boards include the participation of department personnel with expensive -- extensive experience in nonregional assignments. i believe this amendment will help shake up the current system of of promotion in the foreign service and result in a stronger and better diplomatic corps that's able to apply lessons learned from throughout the globe with deep sector
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expertiser for tackling issues such as human rights, the environment, population, and refugees. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from -- ms. ros-lehtinen: i ask unanimous consent to claim time in opposition even though i do not oppose the substance of the amendment. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized without objection. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. chairman. the amendment by the gentleman from colorado has two main components neither of which i find inherently objectionable. most significantly it would require the state department to report to congress with a plan on providing appropriate career incentives for foreign service officers to serve in nonregional bureaus of the department, such as the human rights and refugee focus bureaus, and secondly it would clarify that some of the new public diplomacy efforts required by the underlying bill also should make use of the interp net for online research.
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and even while some question the fiscal wisdom of the underlying provisions, these changes do not exacerbate those flaws. i do not intend to oppose this amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from colorado. mr. polis: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield such time as he may consume to mr. berman of california. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. berman: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i thank him for his excellent amendment. i strongly support it because it basically works to encourage the development of the fundamental skills in the foreign service. it seeks to broaden the skill set of the foreign service by requiring this plan to increase career incentives provided to foreign service officers. to serve in the bureaus and offices of the department not primarily focused on reasonal -- regional issues. including bureau of democracy, human rights and labor, bureau of oceans and international environment, and the bureau of
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population refugees and migration. and i ask the secretary to consider for all foreign service officers to serve at least two years in the bureau or office of the department not primarily focused on regional issues, and it takes a look at the whole question of changing the composition of the selection and promotion boards to increase the participation of those foreign service officers with extensive experience in the nonregional bureaus. . very important. there is tendency in the past -- foreign service as you work in the regional bureaus, you work in the political or the economic aspect of that and the result is critical issues involving functional programs and these other bureaus are neglected. we want the best and the brightest in all these different areas, and we should
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look forward -- look to remove any internal biases that disinsist advise that -- that disincentivizes that activity. i yield back. mr. polis: as the state department attempts to change its role as the face of the united states government abroad, it's crucial that congress provides our diplomats the guidance they need to once again make american diplomacy a top priorities. this legislation is further strengthened by my amendment which expands public outreach online and encourages the foreign service to promote a more set of experiences for its officers, including its senior officers. thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from colorado. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 4 printed in part c of house report 111-143.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? mr. hunter: i have an amendment at the desk, mr. chairman. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 4 printed in part c of house report 111-143 offered by mr. hunter of california. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 522, the gentleman from california, mr. hunter, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. hunter: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield myself such time as i may consume. and i broke the podium. the amendment i'm offering today to h.r. 2410, the foreign relations authorization act is straightforward. it simply adds the secretary of defense to the task force on prevention of illegal -- illicit small arms trafficking in the western hemisphere that's created under this legislation. the stated purpose of this task force is to develop a stratjeend integrated federal policies to better control the export of small arms and light weapons in a manner that furthers the foreign policy and national security interests of the united states in the western hemisphere. while this task force is comprised of the secretaries of
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state and homeland security, the attorney general, all of whom should be members of this task force, it does not include perhaps the most important player in global countertrafficking operations, the secretary of defense. the department of defense plays an important role in u.s. security cooperation and assistance worldwide, particularly with the governments and militaries throughout the western hemisphere. these relationships are critical to our efforts to promote peace and stability in our region of the world and intelligence and operational support provided by our military are an integral part of this shared responsibility. given the d.o.d.'s role and interagency partner in countertrafficking and u.s. export control activities it should not be without this task force. whatever this task force puts forward in the way of policy recommendations will be closely evaluated by congress as we work to address the serious problems of weapons trafficking in our hemisphere. it is important that these findings and recommendations
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fully represent the role and contributions of those departments primarily involved in combat and arms trafficking, protecting u.s. security and advancing our foreign policy objectives. and i would like to add, mr. chairman, that the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the western hemisphere, secretary mora, agrees with this amendment and i -- mr. berman: will the gentleman yield? mr. hunter: yes. mr. berman: while the gentleman has broken the podium, his amendment does not break the task force. it improves it. the secretary of defense should be a member of that task force. this amendment essentially establishes that rather than leave it to the secretary of state's discretion. that's fine with me. i support the amendment and urge its adoption and yield -- i thank the gentleman for yielding and yield back. mr. hunter: thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
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in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is fwred to. -- agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 5 printed in part c of house report 111-143. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york rise? mr. nadler: mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk made in order by the rule. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 5 printed in part a c of house report 111-143 offered by mr. nadler of new york. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 522, the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, and a member opposed, will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. nadler: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i rise in support of my amendment which expresses the sense of congress that we should continue working with the states of the former soviet union to see that immigrants
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from those states now in the united states are paid their government pensions that they earned while working in the former soviet union. the united states has bilateral agreements with many other nations to address cross-country government pension coverage. while these agreements coordinate pensions in different ways, under most circumstances government pensions are treated with reciprocity. in other words, with respect to countries with which we have arrangements, those countries pay the pensions that they earned while working in those countries to citizens of the united states who now live here. and by the same token we pay social security to americans who are now citizens of a foreign country if they earned the social security while working here. we do not have such arrangements with any of the states with russia, ukraine, bell areuss and so forth. millions of people had no choice but to flee the
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oppressive former soviet union in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's. several hundred thousands of these people now live in the united states and were forced to renounce their citizenship in the soviet union in order to leave. thousands of these people live here and they do not in spite of having worked 30 or 40 years earning pension rights in the states of the former soviet union, they do not receive pensions from any of the successor states. so i -- this amendment simply is a sense of the congress urging the state department to continue trying to negotiate such arrangements with the states of the former soviet union so that the former citizens of those countries who now are citizens of the united states and live here can receive the pensions that they earned while living in russia. this should be a no-brainer. it simply urges the state department to continue efforts to negotiate such arrangements with those states as we have
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with many other states. i urge the adoption and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from florida rise? ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise to claim time in opposition even though i'm not opposed to the substance of the amendment. the chair: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. ros-lehtinen: i rise in support of mr. nadler's amendment which the united states should working with all former states of the soviet union to come to an agreement whereby each former state of the soviet union would pay the tens of thousands of beneficiaries who have emigrated to the united states the pensions for which they are eligible and entitled. over the past several decades, many of the tens of thousands of immigrants who had come to the u.s. from these former soviet union states had earlier earned pensions working in their former home countries. however, most often they have been unable to collect what is
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owed to them. i support congressman nadler's amendment to work with the government of the former soviet states, to come to agreements whereby these states would pay the pensions to those entitled beneficiaries who have emigrated to the united states. it's the right thing to do. further, mr. chairman, it would likely result in a lighter burden for u.s. taxpayers and the programs that their taxes fund to aid the elderly. thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from new york. mr. nadler: thank you, mr. chairman. i now yield a minute to the distinguished chairman of the foreign affairs committee, mr. berman. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. berman: i thank the chairman and i thank the gentleman for yielding. i thank him for his amendment. i strongly support it. a number of immigrants to the united states from the former soviet union worked for decades in the soviet-run industries, contributed to the states' social security system and expected to receive their
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rightful pensions when they reached the requisite age. for a variety of reasons beyond their control they haven't received their pensions. and some of these workers were forced to renounce their citizenship when they moved to the united states. as many of the former soviet states refuse to pay pensions to those who are no longer citizens, these elderly individuals face a bureaucratic nightmare in seeking to reclaim their rights. this amendment expressing our sense of congress that we should work with the former soviet states to establish a worldwide -- workable system that enables the workers to claim pensions that are rightfully theirs is appropriate, it's right and i support the amendment and urge its adoption. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from new york. the gentlelady has yielded back her time. mr. nadler: thank you, mr. speaker.
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i yield myself the remaining time. i simply want to thank the distinguished chairman of the committee, mr. berman, the ranking member, ms. ros-lehtinen, for supporting this amendment. i know of no opposition. i urge everyone to vote for it. it's the fair and right thing to do. so i hope everyone will vote for it. i thank you. i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new york. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 6 printed in part c of house report 111-143. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. mccaul: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 6 printed in part c of house report 111-143 offered by mr. mccaul of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 522, the gentleman from texas, mr. mccaul, and a member opposed, will each
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control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. mccaul: july 22, 2009, will mark the five-year anniversary of the declaration by the united states congress of the atrocities occurring in the darfur region of sudan constitute genocide. it was an historic resolution because it represented for the first time that congress had made such a determination while the killings were -- while the killings were actually taking place. today, innocent civilians from darfur are celebrating -- are still going through genocide. they are dying at the hands of the janjaweed, also known as the devil on horseback. the united states for years has been seeking to help find ways to ease the suffering in darfur and find a lasting political solution to each of the interrelated crises in sudan. we passed resolutions and impose economic and travel
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sanctions, frozen assets and enabled divestment from companies linked to the sudanese regime. the united states has led efforts at the united nations with bilateral partners to meet humanitarian needs while pressing for the full deployment of peacekeeping missions to help protect civilians. in addition to supporting efforts to negotiate and implement the darfur peace agreement, the united states also was at the forefront of efforts to resolve the conflict in southern sudan, a conflict which has left over two million people dead and another four million displaced. today, there's universal acknowledgment that if the comprehensive peace agreement between the north and south fails there can be little help -- hope for darfur. unfortunately, the terms of this peace agreement have not yet been fully implemented and observers consistently warn that it could fail at any time. with the national elections due this year and reports of deadly conflict within and among various armed groups on the rise, the stakes cannot be
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higher. during the presidential campaign, each of the candidates assured voters that sudan would be a major priority for their administrations and spoke of robust actions that would need to be taken in order to resolve sudan's multiple conflicts. while serving in the united states senate, president barack obama called for oil sanctions and the imposition of a no-fly zone over darfur. while working for the brookings institution, u.s. ambassador for the u.n., susan rice, went so far to call for military action against the sudanese regime. but then on april 22, 2009, almost exactly one year after then senator obama condemned the efforts by the previous administration to normalize relations with khartoum, his special envoy for the sudan, the united states and sudan want to be partners and so we are looking for opportunities for us to build a stronger,

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