tv Capital News Today CSPAN December 14, 2009 11:00pm-2:00am EST
with clear thought and a respect for america and the strength of america. we need the right people in charge in this country because, as i have often said, you don't take a poodle to a coon hunt. you want to take a registered coon hound alopping. he's got it in his blood. he understands. you can train a poodle to bark tree but his heart's not in it. we need the right people in charge and tomorrow we're going to see the american people step up to this capitol and they're going to demand that we preserve their liberty. with that, mr. speaker, i thank you for your intention and -- attention and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from iowa rise? mr. king: mr. speaker, i move the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn.
>> house democrats are back today for what may be their last week before work during the christmas break? what is on their legislative agenda? >> the biggest item is the last spending bill, the senate appropriations bill. there is a lot of doubt about what is going on this week. >> what are some of the concerns with getting the bill through the senate? >> first of all, that they have not paid that much -- they are having difficulty focusing on
the big health-care talks over there. there are concerns about taxes, estate taxes, transportation extensions. >> would bring back house lawmakers over the weekend or early next week help to solve the problem? >> it would not solve alone the problem of the government expiring on at midnight on friday. house speaker nancy pelosi and was asking if they would come back saturday or stay through saturday instead of going home for the holidays. that would help get the bill passed. it would not guarantee senate action, so that they may have to come with a tenuous resolution to keep some government agencies are running. there is some talk about a
resolution to last until december 23, but this is all very tentative at this point. >> can you tell us about some of the legislative riders that are being discussed? >> at the top of the list, probably for a lot of people is the increases of up to 1.9 trillion dollars, which house leaders say is necessary and important. conservatives and republicans obviously have a problem with that, saying that we are spending money we do not have printed a six-month extension on unemployment insurance, possibly an extension on food stamps. then there are other items that may or may not be included, including the so-called jobs
part that would include infrastructure money. >> why are some of these provisions a priority for house democrats? >> they do not want to go into the break -- they have been insisting after they pass health care that their focus now is on jobs, jobs, jobs. so they want to get something into this package before they go home for christmas. whether extending unemployment insurance or food stamps alone is going to do it or whether they are going to have to do in significant infrastructure piece, we will see how that plays out this week. >> nancy pelosi it is leading -- what impact might that have on the house's ability to get that done? >> if she does, and she
continues to take 20 members with her, if republicans are really going to vote against the spending bill, she is going to need those democratic votes to get this thing passed. right now, she has plans to leave on wednesday night for as many as two days in copenhagen. she has lost her voice in the last few days, has a cold, and her aides are trying to talk her out of it, but she seems insistence on going. this means they could be back by late friday or saturday for action on a bill before breaking for christmas, but there is also talk about coming next week, not for the jobs bill, but if there happens to be anything with the health bill to be taken up in the senate, that is highly unlikely. >> bill house, we thank you for
your time today. >> thank you. >> in a few moments, president obama comments on his meeting with bankers, including their assurance that they will increase lending. he will also hear what the reporters asked about his meeting with bankers predict in about an hour, an update on afghanistan from a former nato commander. then, gordon brown tells members of parliament about his recent trip to afghanistan. a couple of live events to tell you about tomorrow on c-span3 -- at 1:30 eastern, republican senators will lead a rally against the health care bill now on the senate floor. they will be joined by laura ingram.
>> now available, c-span's "abraham lincoln, " a perfect gift for the history buff in your life. from 56 scholars, journalists, and writers, from his early years to his life in the white house to his relevance today. learn more at c- span.org/lincolnbook. >> president obama said today that banking executives have promised to increase lending and support a bill making its way through congress. he spoke to reporters for about 10 minutes after meeting with the bankers. >> good afternoon, everybody. i've just finished a candid and productive meeting with the ceos of 12 of our nation's largest financial institutions. i asked them to come to
washington today -- at the end of this difficult year for their industry, but also for the economy -- to discuss where we've been, what we expect of them going forward, and how we can work together to accelerate economic recovery. our nation's banks play, and have always played, a crucial role in our national economy -- from providing loans for homes and cars and colleges; to supplying the capital that allows entrepreneurs to turn ideas into products and businesses to grow; to helping people save for a rainy day and a secure retirement. so it's clear that each of us has a stake in ensuring the strength and the vitality of the financial system. and that's why one year ago, when many of these institutions were on the verge of collapse -- a predicament largely of their own making, oftentimes because they failed to manage risk properly -- we took difficult, and, frankly, unpopular steps to pull them
back from the brink, steps that were necessary not just to save our financial system, but to save our economy as a whole. today, due to the timely loans from the american people, our financial system has stabilized, the stock market has sprung back to life, our economy is growing, and our banks are once again recording profits. a year ago, many doubted that we would ever recover these investments, but we've managed this program well. this morning, another major bank announced that it would be repaying taxpayers in full, and when they do, we'll have collected 60 percent of the money owed -- with interest. we expect other institutions to follow suit, and we are determined to recover every last dime for the american taxpayers. so my main message in today's meeting was very simple: that america's banks received extraordinary assistance from
american taxpayers to rebuild their industry -- and now that they're back on their feet, we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy. that starts with finding ways to help creditworthy small and medium-size businesses get the loans that they need to open their doors, grow their operations, and create new jobs. this is something i hear about from business owners and entrepreneurs across america -- that despite their best efforts, they're unable to get loans. at the same time, i've been hearing from bankers that they're willing to lend, but face a shortage of creditworthy individuals and businesses. now, no one wants banks making the kinds of risky loans that got us into this situation in the first place. and it's true that regulators are requiring them to hold more of their capital as a hedge against the kind of problems that we saw last year. but given the difficulty businesspeople are having as
lending has declined, and given the exceptional assistance banks received to get them through a difficult time, we expect them to explore every responsible way to help get our economy moving again. and i heard from these executives that they are engaging in various programs like "second look" programs, hiring more folks, raising their target goals in terms of lending -- all of which sounded positive, but we expect some results, because i'm getting too many letters from small businesses who explain that they are creditworthy and banks that they've had a long-term relationship with are still having problems giving them loans. we think that's something that we can -- that can be fixed. and so i urged these institutions here today to go back and take a third and fourth look about how they are operating when it comes to small business and medium-sized business lending. we also discussed the need to
pass meaningful financial reform that will protect american consumers from exploitation and american -- the american economy from another financial crisis of the kind which we just came out of. i noted the resistance of many of the financial sectors to these reforms -- the industry has lobbied vigorously against some of them -- some of these reforms on capitol hill. so i made it clear that it is both in the country's interest -- and ultimately, in the financial industry's interest -- to have updated rules of the road to prevent abuse and excess. short-term gains are of little value to our banks if they lead to long-term chaos in the economy. and i made very clear that i have no intention of letting their lobbyists thwart reforms necessary to protect the american people. if they wish to fight common- sense consumer protections, that's a fight i'm more than willing to have. the way i see it, having recovered with the help of the
american government and the american taxpayers, our banks now have a greater obligation to the goal of a wider recovery, a more stable system, and more broadly shared prosperity. so i urged them to work with us in congress to finish the job of reforming our financial system to bring transparency and accountability to the financial markets; to ensure that the failure of one bank or financial institution won't spread throughout the entire system, and to help protect consumers from misleading and dishonest practices with products like credit and debit cards, with mortgages and auto and payday loans. now, i should note that around the table all the financial industry executives said they supported financial regulatory reform. the problem is there's a big gap between what i'm hearing here in the white house and the activities of lobbyists on behalf of these institutions or
associations of which they're a member up on capitol hill. i urged them to close that gap, and they assured me that they would make every effort to do so. in the end, my interest isn't in vilifying any one person or institution or industry; it's not to dictate to them or micromanage their compensation practices to ensure that consumers and -- my job is to ensure that consumers and the larger economy are protected from risky speculation and predatory practices, that credit is flowing, that businesses can grow, and jobs are once again being created at the pace we need. some of the banks and financial institutions have taken small but positive steps to improve lending to small and medium- sized businesses, as i indicated. they've begun reworking mortgages that are now underwater because of declining home values, and they have acknowledged that much more needs to be done going forward.
many have begun to follow our lead in shifting from paying huge cash bonuses to awarding long-term stock, which will encourage more prudent decision-making -- but, as i indicated in this meeting, they certainly could be doing more on this front as well. these efforts reflect a recognition ultimately that the fate of our financial institutions is tied to the fate of our economy and our country -- and these institutions can't endure if workers don't have jobs, and businesses can't grow, and consumers don't have money to spend. ultimately, in this country, we rise and fall together -- banks and small businesses, consumers and large corporations, and we have a shared interest in working together to ensure a lasting recovery that will benefit all of us and not just some of us. i called today's meeting with this in mind, and i told the group that i look forward to continued engagement and progress in the months and years ahead. thank you.
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> bank executives also spoke briefly. >> we talk first about credit availability, and then housing and modifications. we talked about executive compensation and financial regulatory reform. pure pleasure, we aligned on most of those issues and agree we can do a better job to make loans more available.
finally, we agreed very much in the principles of executive compensation. companies will begin to report 2009 earnings to align the interests of our conversation with our taxpayers and shareholders in a way better than the past. >> good summary. questions? >> what were the greatest areas of disagreement? >> there was not a lot of disagreement. there were opportunities to make clear how important these issues are. as a group, we have not done as good a job as we can in the future to align our interests with our constituents and the american public. the president give us some good ideas on how to communicate that and describe that in the real streets of america, not just in
press conferences. >> a lot of good discussion on -- >> [inaudible] what was his tone today? was he irritated with you? did he express anchor? >> the hall meeting was very productive. we are in this together. the bankers are not surprised by the public response. we get the same letters from small business owners. for us, it is a need to balance the risk and reward it. today, we realize we are under the microscope to show every step to do a better job in listening to customers, pay better attention to their needs, and be more available credit it allowed us to align our thinking and the more in line with each other as we talk to the american public about this recovery.
>> [unintelligible] where has the lending been in the last year? >>if you agree with some much -- if you agree with the president, [unintelligible] if you agree so much, why is there not more lending? >> we do agree, but there is a time and place for a risk-reward measurement. the bank's right now, more than ever, you do not want us to make loans that are not strong or well-suited for the consumer or the small business. we agree that more lending needs to be done, but we are looking for those opportunities that we do not put banks back into harm's way. the volume of demand and the need for consumers is not always aligned with the ability that the risk is out there, so we
have to find that natural tension. >> [inaudible] >> as the economy recovers, it will get much better. he would be very pleased to see, we are probably more optimistic than the pundits might be. we are putting everything we can -- lending is what we do. we want to make more loans. we have to find a way to qualify more people and not put ourselves at risk 3 04 years from now on. >> are you saying this meeting was all productive and pleasant after he called you fat cats that do not just to get it. >> it was productive and very serious. it was not a moment where we all went around and celebrated the holidays. he was very clear on this key points. >> he was very candid. >> he wants housing modifications to be higher and was insistent on telling our
story on executive compensation. we do support regulatory reform. >> thank you very much. >> i think we are done. >> he indicated a disconnect. >> he shared that with us as well. we probably think there is a disconnect as well, so we are going to do a better job to work with the lobbyists directly to come to a conclusion that we have not before. >> [unintelligible] >> we can make those decisions. >> are you going to change your position that the lobbyists are now arguing? >> we are with them in most cases. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> president obama's meeting with bank executive who was the main topic at today's briefing. robert gibbs speech with reporters for 45 minutes.
>> good afternoon. get started. i want to go through just a little bit of what the president -- feedback i got from the president on this afternoon's -- or this morning's meeting with bank executives. the president believed that the meeting was positive and constructive. the president opened the meeting by wanting to talk about four specific areas: credit and lending was one, second was housing, the third was executive comp, and the fourth was financial reform. the bankers all acknowledged that they could do more in these efforts. and one banker said, "you caused us to look more broadly" at our lending. all of the bankers -- (laughter) -- all of the bankers discussed the notion of instituting second looks at loans that had been turned down. and as i think you all have
seen bank of america discussing their desire to see $5 billion more in lending in 2010. the bankers had good suggestions for streamlining the sba loan process and paperwork requirements that come with those. the bankers acknowledged the compensation -- they had problems with compensation, that they were taking steps on say-on-pay and on long-term equity versus short-term cash. the president said that it is in this environment it wasn't just -- it wasn't simply the structure, but also the amount that strongly mattered to the american people. lastly, on financial reform, all of the executives discussed their support for the concept of financial reform. the president said clearly that he and the administration were hearing something markedly different from their lobbyists and from organizations that they funded to lobby on their
behalf. the president reiterated that financial reform was a big priority to him and to the american people, to ensure that the crisis we saw never happens again, and he suggested that they find ways to be more vocal about the support that they discussed on financial reform. so that is a quick rundown of notes from that meeting. and we'll start with mr. hurst. >> robert, moving off that topic to afghanistan, general rodriguez said today that it's now going to take nine to 11 months to move the 30,000 troops pulling into afghanistan. and the impression i think left after the president's speech at west point said this was something that was going to be happening within six months. what's happened there? >> well, i would point you to
the remarks that secretary gates and others made in testifying in front of congress, that the bulk of our forces would be in by the beginning of the summer, and that the remainder would be in by the end of the summer. >> meaning almost the end of september, then? >> i think the end of august i think was the date that we had originally talked about. so i would point you to what secretary gates said, and if there are some internal discrepancies about that then best directed toward people in the pentagon. i think the president strongly believes and all those that participated in the meetings agreed that the president's proposal got more troops into afghanistan faster than any other force option that he was presented with. and that's the policy he chose. >> but if it should extend to 11 months -- that was the end point general rodriguez put on it -- would that still be the fastest --
>> again, i would go back and ask secretary gates -- i don't want to contradict testimony he gave in front of the senate and the house, which obviously put that on a different timeline. >> is this disturbing to the president then, this possible extension? >> well, the president believes we should get our troops in there by the end of the summer. yes, sir. >> on the meeting with the bankers, did it become clear why they haven't been lending as much as you would like them to do? >> well, look, i'll let them discuss their business practices. and i think the president believes, as you heard him say after the meeting and as you heard him say throughout the weekend, and others in the administration -- that bankers have to play a constructive role in getting our economy moving again. i think the president took some heart that the bankers themselves said that this meeting and past meetings have caused them to look more closely at things like lending.
and we certainly take them at their word on that. >> and do you feel like you have a firm commitment from them to help spur more lending to small businesses? >> well, we have a firm commitment from them -- they all mentioned, again, ensuring that second looks would be given to loans that had been turned down. you saw again a specific announcement by bank of america on an increased amount of lending in 2010 to small and medium-sized business. i think the president certainly believes that one of the important areas to get our economy moving again is to ensure that small and medium- sized businesses that are creditworthy -- you heard the president say nobody wants to go back to an era where people are making loans to individuals that shouldn't have them -- but the president's feeling, and i think it sounded like the bankers as well, was that there are certainly people that are creditworthy and need help in
getting our economy unstuck through more credit. >> one other thing. he mentioned the citigroup payback. do you expect -- you said you expect more institutions to follow up. how soon should we expect that? is something imminent from some other banks? >> well, i don't want to get ahead of their discussions with their different regulators. i think the president is -- continues to be pleased not simply that we're getting that money back from institutions, but more importantly, that the taxpayers are seeing that come back with interest. i think that's why you saw announcements last week that the amount that the administration believes is likely necessary from tarp shrank by $200 billion from last week to where the midsession review was at the end of the summer. jake. >> a year ago the president said that he thought wall street bankers should forego christmas bonuses. largely it did not.
in january he called those bonuses shameful. in march he met with a bunch of bankers, some of the same ones. and they came out and said some of the same things: we've got to have this discussion; we're going to look at some of the things the president said. since then the president has made it very clear that he's not happy with the way things are going, that the loans are not happening. you just said we're going to take the bankers at their word. why would you take them at their word? >> well, i can only take at what they said, jake. what the president is going to do is continue to ensure that we're making progress. i think the president would say, if you look at what is happening with -- again, i don't want to speak broadly for every banker, but i think if you look at -- i think the president would say that when an institution decides to forego a cash bonus in lieu of increased long-term equity in the company that does invest for a four-year period of time, that that was precisely the type of solution that he was talking about
earlier this year -- that if we take the short-term cash out of this system that can be much more closely rigged toward risk and instead say your compensation should be termed -- should be attached to the long-term health and growth of your company, which is good for you and taxpayers, that represents the type of progress that the president would like to see. again, i think the bankers all acknowledged that they have work to do on this issue. the president reiterated that, and discussed again that it wasn't, as i said earlier, it wasn't just the -- it's not just the structure; it is also the amount. i think they all should be cognizant of that. >> at what point should the american people hold the president responsible for the
fact that the banks are not doing what the president keeps telling them to do? >> well, again, jake, i want to be clear that the president doesn't want to run a bank. the president believes that the american people took some extraordinary steps to ensure their financial stability, and ultimately the larger economy's financial stability. the president will simply -- will hear what he -- will listen to what he hears in these meetings -- and he said at the beginning he wanted to listen more than he wanted to talk, and i think that was largely the case. he opened the meeting up with about 15 minutes that i walked you through. i think we'll continue to evaluate the progress that we make, whether it is taking a second look at these loans, whether it's making a specific recommendation to increase, by $5 billion, loans to small and medium-sized business, to take compensation issues seriously;
and quite frankly, maybe most importantly, the house passed on friday a very important financial reform bill out of the house, which now goes to the senate. the president and his team strongly believe that there are aspects that are crucial to ensuring the type of fiasco that we had happen in september of 2008 never happens again. if as the president heard around that table today, they're broadly supportive of financial reform, i think the president was pretty clear with them that that needs to be communicated from their lobbyists to the broader senate, so that we can get something done and to ensure that that never happens again. >> let's take that housing program that the president unveiled in mesa, arizona in february. he said it was going to help -- one specific section of it, not the fannie/freddie part of it -- was going to help 3 to 4 million homes, help these mortgage holders renegotiate or refinance. about 760,000 americans have
applied, and the banks have given, like, 31,000 roughly americans are enrolled in that -- 31,000 and the president had as a goal 3 to 4 million. now, we talked to some of the bankers out there, and they -- >> well, let me get some updated statistics. i'm not entirely -- >> those are updated. >> -- not entirely sure that those are -- that's the number of people taking place in modifications. >> well, i'm right. [laughter] ) so in any case, moving on, the bankers -- i got them from psaki, so -- >> okay. >> the bankers said that the problem with the program is the paperwork, there's too much paperwork. >> and i -- look, that came up in the meeting. that's why i said that there was an acknowledgment that we would -- that the president and his team would look at the paperwork requirements in streamlining these type of things. they mentioned specifically both housing modifications and sba loans. the president -- look, the president took notes throughout the meeting. and i can assure you that he'll discuss with his team -- in the
event that the housing modification program is being held back because of onerous paperwork requirements, that we'll streamline those paperwork requirements. >> do you think that's what it is, and not the fact that the banks don't want to loan? >> again, i don't want to speak broadly for all the banks. i know the president's position is it is far more preferable to keep somebody in a house and to figure out the best way for them to ultimately meet, through a modification, their mortgage and their loan requirements; that that is far preferable in any economic situation. quite frankly, it's more beneficial for banks to have somebody paying that loan than to have a house that they can't put anybody in. again, we will work with anybody in terms of streamlining
the number -- the paperwork requirements if there are those that believe that's the onerous part of this program. again, the president was very clear in that, again, housing was one of the main things that he wanted to discuss. obviously there are some banks in there that don't do mortgages, but certainly there were some in there that do. >> i guess i just wonder if there are citizens watching this and they see the president for the last year say he's going to give stern talk, going to give tough talk to bankers; meanwhile, taxpayers are giving them hundreds of billions of dollars, and nothing changes. the housing modification program is only helping 31,000 americans, not the 3 to 4 million. what do you say to americans who say this just seems like kabuki theater, this -- >> well, i would say that the president didn't have this meeting on accident. the president is as frustrated
as the american people are. i think you heard -- i don't know if you guys use video from other networks -- i think the tone and the tenor of his remarks in the interview that we taped last week and that was broadcast yesterday night -- last evening -- was pretty clear. i don't think the president minced words. i think the president is serious and frustrated, on behalf of the american people, that, as we have all said, the taxpayers ensured the financial stability of many of the people that were in that room and that we should expect that those banks do the same in being part of a positive economic recovery that helps people stay in their homes, which loosens credit for medium and small businesses, which addresses egregious
executive comp issues -- and again, maybe the most pressing legislative issue doesn't stand in the way of very important financial regulatory reform. again, they all said that. the president was clear. if that's what you believe, it should be communicated from those that represent your interests on capitol hill. >> when you talk about the tone and tenor of the comments of "60 minutes" where he called the bankers "fat cats," he said they don't get it -- then you come out today and say the president feels the meeting was constructive, it was positive. were those comments on "60 minutes" more about beating his chest and kind of tapping a populist rage, or does he want to hold the bankers accountable? >> no, i think the president -- the president was clear. ed, we could -- i don't think that begins to enumerate the president's frustration. and i think you could be -- >> but then where's his frustration today? you're saying it was positive, constructive; bankers came out, positive, constructive. >> i think the meeting was positive. i think the president -- positive in the sense that the president laid out and enumerated quite specifically the concerns that he directly
had on four areas. i think the president said the meeting was also quite frank. the president didn't hand out awards. the president talked directly to each and every one of those members about the need to increase lending to small and medium-sized businesses. the president talked directly about increasing the volume of loan modifications to keep people in their homes. the president discussed quite clearly the very real concerns that he has and he enumerated last evening, and has for quite some time, about executive compensation -- which is why a say-on-pay is in the financial reform legislation that passed the house last friday, which the president believes in very important. and finally, again largely -- the larger issue of financial regulatory reform, ensuring that steps are in place that make sure what we dealt with which required this extraordinary response from taxpayers never happens again.
that is one of the single most important things that we can do going forward, again, to ensure that we're never in this position again. >> another financial issue -- the senate just passed the $447 billion omnibus spending bill, and it's got thousands of earmarks, more than 5,000 earmarks; double-digit increases for various cabinet departments. is the president contemplating vetoing this to send a signal to his fellow democrats that it's time to cut the spending? >> well, i've not talked specifically with the president about whether he's going to sign the bill or not. i think the likelihood is that keeping the government running is an important thing. i think you see within the legislation that there are -- the number of earmarks is down. we've made progress on that. there's no doubt we've still got a long way to go, but i think one of the goals obviously is to keep the government functioning.
>> when he signed the omnibus in march he called -- and you called it here last year's business that was left over, and he said it was a "departure point for more far-reaching change. " >> i'm sorry, say that again. >> he said that there was a departure point, that omnibus, all of the spending that was left over from the bush years, was a departure point for real change. so where's the change? i mean, now that democrats have their chance to govern -- >> no, i just mentioned that we have seen a decrease by almost 15 percent in the number of earmarks. again -- and it's not perfect. the president will continue to make and try to make progress on those issues. the president would like to see congress get to the point where we're doing appropriations bills, not omnibus bills. >> would a veto bring that kind of change? >> well, i can certainly talk to him about it. i think right now that the -- >> he's going to sign it, right? >> again, i haven't talked to him specifically. that's where i'm led to believe, yes. >> but he's encouraged by the decrease in --
>> he's glad we're not doing -- we don't have the same levels as we had in there before, yes. helen. >> why didn't the president get a firm commitment from the banks? he got, i assume, smiles and, yes, we agree -- when he gave all this taxpayer money to them? and why did he have to identify the problem on the small loans? >> helen, again, the tarp plan, the piece of legislation, is something that -- the requirements of that legislation this president is bound by, passed in a different time. the president believes -- i think clearly, and as i've restated here -- that banks have an obligation to take responsibility for what was caused for their role in that, and to step up to the plate now and be part of positive economic reform and positive
economic recovery. >> well, why aren't they giving these loans? i mean, what is their problem? paperwork -- that doesn't -- >> well, again, that's what the president wanted to push on. that's why the president had them down, and i think that's why you see when they come out and talk about taking different -- taking more looks at these loans, some banks lending out -- and not just bank of america, but others in previous weeks have talked about specific amounts that they see in the next year that can be lent to small and medium businesses. i think the -- >> so he's convinced now that -- >> i think the president believes that's a positive step. again, the president will continue to -- this is -- this wasn't the first meeting, this is at least the second meeting that has been had. >> but why does he have to tell the bankers what the problem was? >> i'm sorry? >> why did he have to convince the bankers that they weren't giving loans?
>> i don't -- i don't know why he had to do that, but the president was happy to let them know what their responsibilities are. >> it sill doesn't sound like he got any kind of commitment for greater loans to small businesses. >> well, again, i will let them make their own individual announcements. >> they all had media training, they get out there and babbled and said nothing. [laughter] >> well, i'm supposed to respond to their media training? i appreciate the opportunity to -- >> i'm asking you whether they made a commitment to the president. >> they made a commitment to, again, take second looks, to hire more people to process loans -- which, in many cases, they've done -- again, to take those second looks. and i've already mentioned at least one today and others in the previous couple of weeks that have announced a greater commitment in the next year in their financial plan to small business loans. >> you made quite a point of one -- of the foregoing of cash
for stock, but that's only one institution. >> look, bill, did all the world's problems get solved today? i can tell you guys, no. the president believes, again, that this isn't going to be solved overnight. we didn't get into the problem that caused a financial collapse in september of 2008 by something that happened earlier in september of 2008. this was going on for quite sometime, making loans to people that should never have had loans. that's why the president has put in financial reform and called for a very strong consumer protection agency, the likes of which right now the responsibility is spread out over 10 to 12 different agencies to ensure that people aren't taken advantage of in terms of teaser loans. >> did they say that they'd call off the dogs lobbying against financial reform? >> the president mentioned to them on several occasions that he appreciated that all of them around the table were able to
tell the president of the united states they supported financial reform. what he expected them to do was now go tell their lobbyists, and to go tell the agencies and groups that they helped fund that they just told the president they're for financial reform. i can assure you this, bill, the president is going to get financial reform. it's through the house. he will see it through the senate. and we will lay the framework for ensuring that the type of thing that the taxpayers had to make up for as a result of risk-taking that culminated in what happened in september of 2008, that that never happens again. that's what the president will do. >> robert, given the president's displeasure with lobbyists, would he be willing to issue a moratorium on political contributions from the financial services industry for himself and encourage fellow democrats to do the same? >> we don't take contributions from lobbyists. >> i'm not talking about lobbyists, i'm talking directly from the financial service companies, their executives -- >> i'm sorry, i thought you said lobbyists. >> well, i mean, that was the predicate, but just from the companies. >> i have not talked to the
president about that. again, i think the president was -- has been pretty clear both in how he financed his campaign in 2008 -- we don't take money from political action committees. the president didn't take money from registered federal lobbyists. when he became the nominee, the dnc didn't do that either. >> could he go even further and shun all contributions from wall street, and encourage his fellow democrats -- >> i think -- well, look, it's not -- i think the people that are taking contributions -- most of the people that seem to be taking contributions are the lobbyists that are standing in the way of financial reform. i read -- what was it i read last week, that hundreds of lobbyists were called to capitol hill to put the quash by the republicans on financial reform? that's a great question. the next time there's a "today show" exclusive with michael steele like this morning, it's a good question to pose to him.
(laughter. ) >> but the president could set an example. >> he did. he doesn't take money from lobbyists. he doesn't take money from pacs. >> okay, the last thing. is there something inconsistent or incongruous at all about the fact that the president is encouraging more lending, banks are reluctant, not -- they're concerned about the creditworthiness of these small businesses or these individuals, considering the loose lending practices that led us to this crisis? >> look, the president i think was clear in the statement that he made after the meeting and he was clear in the meeting. we're not looking for -- the solution to this problem is not to give out loans to people that can't pay them back. that's in many ways what got us into the problem that we're dealing with, certainly on the home side, and on credit cards as well. what the president gets in talking with people and in the letters that he reads each day are millions -- not millions -- dozens and dozens of letters that i assume represent millions of people -- small businesses that tell the president that they've always been able to get a loan, that they're creditworthy and that
they ought to be able to now get a loan even as the economy starts to make progress. i think what he wanted to do was to ensure that bankers heard that message on behalf of the small business owners throughout this country, some of whom used to be able to get loans and now can't. but, savannah, there's no doubt that -- the president does not wish to meet the irresponsibility of what led us into that with future irresponsibility with giving loans to people either to pay credit card debt, to buy a house, or any other type of loan of which they don't have the wherewithal to pay back. that doesn't make sense for the economy, it doesn't make sense, quite frankly, for anybody taking those loans, and it doesn't make sense for anybody. >> but he's met for an hour except to jawbone them. i mean, he can't force them to do anything when they're not under tarp, so all you can do is jawbone. what does that get? >> well, it gets specific
amounts that banks say they're going to lend small businesses next year. i think $5 billion is -- we will watch them to ensure that they come through in their commitment. that's something i think the president would believe is important. i think when somebody -- when one of the bankers says to the president that you caused us all to have to take a look at how we lend money and who we lend money to, the president thinks that's a positive thing. >> so does president obama now believe that these banking executives get it, when he said on "60 minutes" that they didn't? >> i think the president, again, believes that the meeting was positive, that it was constructive. the important thing is not what somebody says in a meeting but the actions that follow, and that's what the president --
>> so it remains to be seen whether they get it? evaluate their actions going forward. >> one on one other subject, how big an increase in the debt limit does the president want? >> i have not seen what has been specifically called for. i can certainly get from legislative affairs if there's more information on it. yes, sir. >> robert, you said the president doesn't want to run banks, but did he in this meeting talk specifically about some increase in loans, whether by percentage or by a certain deadline? did he set any benchmarks? >> look, i think it's important that the president -- the president doesn't also want to be the loan officer either. i think each of these institutions understands -- or should understand from the president what increased lending means. but the president did not lay out a specific benchmark. >> are there any legal or
regulatory remedies for the white house in case, down the road, you're just not satisfied with the improvement in loans? >> i'd certainly have to talk to the lawyers and stuff about that. i don't know on the lending side. obviously there are specific legal things that we think can be done on financial reform that the president is in the process of getting through capitol hill. >> just a minor question about the president's -- the president in his meetings, you mentioned he took notes throughout. what formal way -- are there not note-takers in the meetings who then maybe put these discussions in a memo that goes to the president? >> oh, no, there's -- there were at least four of us that were sitting -- were not sitting at the table, all taking copious notes, from nec, from treasury, from ope, and as well
as the president, along with secretary geithner, larry summers, dr. romer. i don't doubt that there's a long list of what was talked about in very specific terms. major. >> robert, why does the president believe the banks haven't been lending? >> well, i think that's what he wanted to hear from them. >> did he give you a conclusion on that? >> say again? >> did he give a conclusion on that? >> well, i don't think he's -- i think there's probably a number of different things. what he hears certainly from some is that -- what was mentioned before, capital requirements, which -- look, i think the president understands, again, we have to take steps to ensure that what happened never happens again. but i think the president also
believes that the letters that he gets -- they're certainly people that -- people that have traditionally gotten those loans before that ought to be -- that ought to have the same access to the capital that they had when all they've done is play by the rules. >> in other rules, capital requirements is not a sufficient explanation? >> i don't think in and of itself, no. >> is the words from regulators that it's important to have very strong, very defensible loans on your books now a sufficient explanation? >> again, major, i don't make -- >> that's what the bankers cited to us outside -- >> look, i don't think he -- >> -- and i want to know if the president evaluates that as a reasonable explanation. >> well, look, again, i don't think the president -- the president certainly does not want to see coming from this meeting a series of loans to people that can't pay them back. i think what the president strongly believes is the letters that he gets and the discussions that he had with small business owners, that there is some happy medium that can be reached where you meet your capital requirements, where you're making loans to those that have strong credit histories; yet at
the same time there are those that can and should be getting loans that for whatever reason they're not. and that was the purpose of -- one of the purposes, as i said, of today's meeting. >> is the recession over? >> according to who? >> your economic advisors. >> well, i think if you look at -- look, there's -- there's a technical -- >> dr. romer said no; larry summers said yes. >> no, no, dr. romer said: you know the official definition that talks about just when do you turn the corner, when do you go from plummeting to finally starting to go back up? i think we have at least in terms of gdp reached that point. then she went on to say: what i think the president said, and what i firmly believe, we've not -- we're not recovered until all those people that want to work are back at work. christy would know, because she sat on the board before coming to the administration, which as
you know dates the official beginning and end to economic downturns. so what christy talked about in this answer was there are -- and i think what any economist -- i'm sure there are many on your network that would tell you it's likely the next time this board meets that they'll affix a date to the end of a recession from a statistical economic viewpoint that they're charged to do. in the president's mind, in dr. romer's mind, in dr. summers' mind, has all that needs to happen happened in order for the american people to bask in the glow of recovery? obviously not. that's why dr. romer, dr. summers, and others followed up both of those questions by discussing what the administration was doing directly in order to address the job situation. i think it's safe to say that if we believed all was good in america, we wouldn't be talking
about an environment for the private sector to begin hiring more. >> the senate has now said that it would like to expand access to medicare of those aged 55 and above. that is an alternative approach that the house is taking. which does the president think is better? >> i'm sorry, say it one more time. >> the senate bill on health care wants to provide access to those on medicare down to age 55. that is a different -- different approach to expanding coverage under the rubric of public option than the house has taken. which of these two approaches does the president believe is better? >> i'm -- >> does he have an opinion? if not, why not? >> what the president wants to do is see the process through the senate, continue to make progress, and that's what the administration is working toward. >> but i mean, that's a rather large systemic change to medicare, and many budget analysts who are not opposed to health care reform as principle, have said this is -- >> well, let me interrupt -- >> -- a potentially large financial -- >> -- because i don't want to get ahead of the cbo, because i know the cbo is working on just
that, just as the cbo had told you all before that legislation bends the cost curve, that legislation would slow the growth rate in health care spending, that health care legislation wouldn't add to the deficit, but it would in fact help our fiscal situation. and you've seen the cbo talk about the extended life to the medicare trust fund that legislation that the senate is currently debating would have in terms of the specific policy. again, that's what the cbo is evaluating, and i think many on capitol hill await what they have to say. >> is the white house agnostic on which approach to a public option is better? >> the president is not agnostic to continue to making progress on health care reform and we're trying to get it through the senate. scott. >> thanks, robert. a quick question on compensation. you phrased it that the bank executives acknowledged they have a problem with compensation. how did the president understand that? that these bank executives haven't come up with an effective way to pay their
people, or -- >> no, no, no. i'm sorry -- >> -- is it a public perception? >> they understand that given what the taxpayers have done, the extraordinary steps that they've taken, that compensation in that environment is out of step with any notion of common sense. that's what the president has talked about before, and that's what the president reiterated -- again, not just in structure -- the president was clear and picked up on what another of the bankers said. it wasn't -- it's not just about ensuring that there is -- that any compensation should be more directly tied to long-term equity versus short-term cash, but you have to make a strong evaluation about the sheer level and size of your compensation in the environment in which we exist. >> and so the president believes that the bankers understand that it's beyond just a public perception they have -- they believe they have a problem with their compensation systems,
right? >> yes. yes. and i think -- again, i think there are those that are taking steps -- again, this is something that we'll be able to -- as they institute different types of reforms, we'll be able to evaluate whether they adopt say-on-pay. again, that's part of financial reform that's moving its way through capitol hill. again, whether they're tying much more of their compensation, again, to long- term equity that does invest immediately instead of to short- term cash. yes, ma'am. >> robert, is there any concern about a shift in leverage from washington back to the banks now that so many of them are exiting the tarp? >> leverage, how so? >> well, we couldn't get them to free up lending back when we were bailing them out with money. how are we going to do that now that they're not so dependent on the tarp? >> well, look, i think -- i
think they are dependent upon -- they have been dependent upon the goodwill of the american people, and the president wanted to voice his concern and frustration with inability to match what the people and the public had done with what their actions are. i think that the bully pulpit can be a powerful thing. .
>> developing nations will have to recognize the part they have to do, that we have worked strongly and diplomatically to bring countries like india and china along. to where it is possible to get some type of agreement. the president will continue to work throughout this week to make sure that happens.
there is no doubt there are issues that will remain outstanding for some time. >> you said he will work this? >> he has made at least one call this morning and will wrap up some this afternoon. we will give you a readout. >> specific to copenhagen. >> prime minister gordon brown -- two days early to take a personal role. >> i think when the president picks up the phone and calls world leaders i would define that is personally involved. >> has the president called joe lieberman about health care reform? is the report true that is published on politico that the white house is encouraging its senator harry reid it to sit down and make a deal with liberman and give up on the medicare expansion? >> i can only say that the
president is anxious to see progress. he will continue to work with democrats and republicans and independents, and everyone in between. -- to take those steps. >> is this a serious problem for senator lieberman. ? with the president get involved? >> we would not be sitting here on december 14, when he would much rather be christmas shopping, discussing the senate being in on weekends of the president was not involved. the president has been involved. >> and mary christmas -- merry christmas. >> thank you. i have a quick question on health care and banks. what they did he record "60 minutes?" >> monday.
>> he expressed optimism that it would be passed -- health care would be passed by christmas. this weekend, we heard lieberman and nelson saying they could not vote for it. is that an expression of general -- failure is not an option optimism, or did he know something we did not know? >> we have heard causes and concerns for months. the president still believes the senate will act. >> and follow up on that, does he believe that lieberman is going -- negotiating in good faith or that he is being a spoiler? >> i have not asked him about that. i do not know why the president would try to get into the head and speak for the motivations of somebody in any political party. i think the president believes that it is incumbent upon all of those in executive and legislative branches to take
steps necessary to address the concerns of the american people. we know that, struggling with the high cost and the rising cost of health insurance, that we have to do something about affordability. that is what the president believed the senate is involved in. >> to follow up -- about what kind of leverage he has, you said, the bully pulpit can be a powerful thing. what results do you feel he has gotten so far with the use of the bully pulpit admonishing banks? >> financial reform to the house of representatives. -- through the house of representatives. if we thought all was good with lending, we would not have had the meeting today. the president heard from bankers today. they heard directly his concern about lending. we will evaluate going forward whether there acknowledgements that the president's meetings
themselves have caused them to look more closely at their lending practices. >> what happens next? >> we will of us with that. and ensure that steps are being taken in order to make sure that credit-worthy businesses, small and medium size, are getting access to the capital they need to make payrolls and grow and to see our economy through this dark night and into long-term economic recovery. thanks, guys. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> as senator debate the health care bill, there are a number of issues to work out, including medicare, abortion, prescription drugs and the public option as the cbo puts a price tag on the revised proposal. follow the debate from the senate floor, live on c-span 2. also get updates from reporters and updates of "congressional quarterly." you can hear the debate with a new c-span iphone app.
>> when the senate returns tomorrow, they will continue debate on health care. they will vote later in the day on a number of amendments on drug importation and tax liability. the senate returns at 10:00 a.m. eastern. live coverage on c-span-2/ >> billy house of national journal's congress daily is with us. democrats are with us today -- what is on their legislative agenda? >> the biggest item is the last spending bill, the defense appropriations bill if the christmas tree things that might be attached to it. >> what are some of the concerns with getting the defense spending bill to the senate? >> first of all, that they have not really pay that much. they are having difficulty focusing on big help their talks over there.
-- big health care talks over there. there are concerns about the state taxes -- estate taxes. >> would bringing back lawmakers over the weekend help to solve the problem? >> it would not solve all loan the problem of the current funding for government expiring on december 18, on friday. house speaker nancy pelosi have been asking members if they will stay through saturday instead of going home. that would help get the bill passed. it would not guarantee senate action. they may have to come in with a continuing resolution. -- to keep some government agencies running through this president's six-term bill, and senate action -- there is talk of the continuing resolution to
last until december 23. this is all very tentative. >> can you tell us about some of the legislative riders being discussed for the defense spending bill? >> that is top of the list probably for a lot of people, as the debt increases to 1.9 trillion dollars. which house leaders say is necessary and important. republicans have a problem with that. we are spending money we do not have. then this safety net of things -- which is it is 6 month extension of unemployment insurance, cobra benefits, possibly other extensions -- for food stamps. then there are other items that may or rain not be included, including a jobs part.
the state assistance to government to help them with layoffs of firefighters and police. >> why are some of these provisions a priority for house democrats? >> they do not want to go into the brake -- they are insistent that after they passed health care that their focus is on jobs, jobs, jobs. they want to get something into this package that they can tell their constituents that they did focus on jobs before they left. whether extending unemployment insurance or food stamps alone is going to do it or whether there will be infrastructure pieces for a jobs creation peace, we will see how that plays out. >> we understand that speaker nancy pelosi will lead a delegation to copenhagen. what impact might that have on the house's ability to get its work done? >> if she goes, she will be
taking at least 20 members with her. republicans really are going to vote against their spending bill, she will need those democrat votes to get it passed. right now, she has plans to go, to leave on wednesday night for as many as two days in copenhagen. she has lost her voice in the last few days, has a cold. her aides are trying to talk her out of it. she is insisting on going. what this means is they could be back by late friday, possibly saturday for action on the bill before breaking for christmas. but there is also talk about coming back next week, not for the jobs bill, but if there happens to be a health bill to take up in the senate. that is highly unlikely. the question is whether they will stay on saturday. >> billy house of national
journal's congress daily. we thank you for your time today. >> thank you. >> in a few moments, an update on afghanistan from a former nato commander. in less than an hour, freelance journalist reports on training afghan security forces. after that, the british prime minister tells members of parliament about his trip to afghanistan. later, president obama comments on his meeting with bankers that included their insurance that they will increase lending. >> on "washington journal" tomorrow morning, the head of the detroit economic club will take your questions about the economy and her meeting tuesday with commerce secretary gary locke.
north dakota senator will discuss his amendment to the health care bill regarding the importation of prescription drugs from canada and europe. we will also talk about the economy with an author of the book "nickel and dime. d" >> american icons -- three original documentaries from c- span available on dvd. a journey through the homes of three branches of american government. see the detail of the supreme court through the eyes of the justices. go beyond the velvet ropes of public torras into releasing spaces of the white house, america's most famous home and explore the history and architecture of the capital, one of america's most symbolic structures. american icons -- at 3-disk dvd set. it is $24.95.
order online at c- span.org/store. >> now a pentagon briefing with the former commander of nato in southern afghanistan. he was asked about strategy, the government strategy -- corruption and others. this is less than an hour. >> it is a pleasure to be here live. i have done this twice from kandahar, sitting and listening to your comments and your questions from the distance. i can tell you this is much better. one of the reasons i am here is first to pay my gratitude for the support i received. secondly, to visit relatives and families of soldiers killed in action or wounded.
it is a pleasure for me to talk to you directly into generate and fuel some discussion. let me put a couple of lines up front. fisrtrs,t southern afghanistan s key for success in afghanistan overall. why? because it is the pashtun tribe that is dominant there. there will not be any lasting solution without the support of the pashtun tribe. secondly, over the last 12 months, the situation in southern afghanistan significantly changed. -- it developed from a b grade -- brigade-type of headquarters towards eight headquarters that was focusing on how to deliver -- towards a headquarters that
is focusing on infrastructure and security, in which the planning horizon was to find on how long it takes to implement the effects of government -- and security, so stabilization was the core of our planning process. besides that, with the influx of additional coalition forces, we started with about 18,000 soldiers. we now command about 40,000 soldiers day-by-day. why that change? of course, three reasons. one, i think we all recognize that the key for success in afghanistan is the situation in southern afghanistan. secondly, the counterinsurgency can only be successful if you have a force to do counterinsurgency and protect 95% of the people from
insurgents. last but not least, we all recognize that security is the supporting line of operation. as far as security, it is fair to say that the influx of additional 20,000 forces, allows at the operational level, towards the insurgents -- we are now in a situation where the commander of the south decides where to deploy his military force. we significantly expanded the spot we were able to deliver security. we see increased pressure on the insurgents' leadership. however, they are still effective in the use of ied's, and key for success in the future is -- will be defined and
how we can be successful in protecting a ied network and disrupt and destroyed. two last statements. first, southern afghanistan is a coalition fight. for the last 12 months, we lost 284 soldiers. nine of them were from the u.s. the majority was a non-u.s. it was a coalition fight. secondly, nato works. although we can have long discussions about the decision making progress -- process in nato, and one nation blocking other decisions by other nations, we could -- we have worked in southern afghanistan because we have a common need a background. we had the same structure, the same planning process, the same mental attitude, the same
approach towards operations and we spoke the same language. from a technical point of view, the fact that every joint control on the ground pumped up with every helicopter, no matter which country they were from, shows you that nato works. in a word -- we were not only quite effective but also quite efficient. we had only 600 soldiers, commanding 40,000 troops. so, looking in hindsight, i can tell you that if people ask me, what impressed you the most in afghanistan, it is the afghan people themselves. great people, loyal. they will never disappoint you if you get their trust. separately, the way the coalition worked. i think we are great is a team -- as a team.
based on that, we set conditions for benefit. although the next year, it will be a difficult year, leading to more casualties. open for questions. >> bloomberg news. i understand you have been here in washington for how long? >> i just came in. >> in the course of your time, since you left command in early november, have you had an opportunity to discuss with the political leaders who were involved in developing the strategy, and can you tell us anything about how you think -- how you feel about the process as it evolved and what sort of advice you gave? what advice would you give going forward? >> i have not been here and the state's, that is correct.
i spent time to visit -- i went to norway and to the u.k. to visit. i spend most of my time in the netherlands. -- last week. i think the announcement by president obama, based on the initial assessment by general mcchrystal this spot on. -- si spoioss spot on. it is very well received in europe. it shows us two things. there is a cleveland -- clear understanding of the concept. how to secure afghanistan. there is a clear political will to have success in afghanistan. i think he's dead -- two issues alothese two issues alone and hd an effect at the technical level. i completely agree with the
deployment of additional assets toward afghanistan, not only additional military force but additional civilian capability. i think we learned that it is not security that is going to be -- but it is the integrated or comprehensive approach. you will never have security without the capability to support government reconstruction. also, because it shows you that there is a counterinsurgency. you cannot do just a little bit of counterinsurgency. you protect 95% of the population, or you do not do counterinsurgency at all. it is a little bit like being pregnant. you are or you are not. but you cannot do a little bit of counterinsurgency. with my discussion with general mcchrystal, it became clear that to be able to deliver the
effects, and to be able to have success, it is key you deploy these additional forces to afghanistan with the bulk of them to be deployed to southern afghanistan. from that point of view, i would say, i am very glad to see the developments over the last couple of weeks. in the announcement by president obama shows you that overall, we have support. what we need to have is have the strategic bases -- so that it will mature and bear fruit. it is the security that will deliver the effect in the long run that i see as key for success. >> what is your sense of the level of corruption in the area? there has been talk about that recently in washington. there is concern expressed by several officials that no matter
how successful you are militarily, the corruption problem cannot be overcome. is that a factor -- the ability of the pakistanis. -- what is your sense of the level of corruption and what it will take to overcome it? >> the definition of corruption in afghanistan is different than the definition of corruption in the western world. we see corruption as focused at the prison itself to get more wealth, more money. in afghanistan, perhaps it is focused on improving the position of the family or the tribe. the definition is somewhat different. fighting corruption, however, is key. because corruption he rose the trust and confidence of the people -- it erodes the trust and confidence of the people.
it comes back to -- and governments at the end of the day, will be the key factor that will define success. i would like to make a few remarks regarding the government. first, it is key that we have a new afghan government that is really able to govern. what i mean by that, we need vision. we need policy, especially regarding development and security. we have got an afghan nationals development strategy, but it is not implemented in a coherent way. secondly, we need an overarching afghan security strategy that is clearly defined. the afghan national army and the afghan national police. we need to work on that together with them. secondly, we have two existing systems of governments -- a formal system, with president karzai and his government and an informal system with president
karzai and his power brokers. these two systems may interfere. what we need to do as a second step is present options and ways to president karzai -- how to merge these two systems into an effective government. last but not least, we should not -- from a western point of view, we should govern from an afghan point of view. it is very difficult to implement a top-down approaches on governance, on role of law throughout afghanistan. from its cultural and historical point of view, the tribal structure of afghanistan makes it a country that is very open -- for a top-down approach, not a bottom-up approach. we should focus on having an effect on all the lines of operation at the district level. if you have a good district
governor, if you have a good and capable amp leadership with the anan into the support of coalition forces, you will see a huge amount of acceleration and traction in the development -- the deployment of the marines, for instance -- [unintelligible] what i think we need to do is besides the formal process of lead security to afghans, which is top-down, we should think about an approach of a bottom-up kind of process in which we have a district level, together with the afghans, we have a system in place and which we give the afghans as soon as possible the responsibility for security. >> some have said the focus should be on the bottom-up,
rather than top-down. would you agree with that? >> absolutely. if you give afghans the responsibility, on security, governments, or restart -- we construction, my experience as they will not let you down. they are loyal. they are very hard-working people. and they have shown it a couple of times, not only at the district levels, but if you look at the elections, we know there was fraud in elections. but the way they're were organized in secured by the afghans, we have never been in a position in the south that we thought we had to pay more active role in supporting the afghans. it was organized very well and it was secured very well. i would say this second issue is the security in the city itself.
the security is led by the afghans. by the afghan national army and police. all the other is a lot of influence from the surrounding areas, it is also fair to say that over the last 16 to 18 months, the security forces have shown increasing stability -- the ability to lead security. there is a type of suppose it -- we saw a lot of intimidation, absolutely. the insurgents have quite an influence. but overall, we saw an increase stability in the afghan security force. if you bring the afghans to the point, where they can take the lead and security, governments and reconstruction, my experience is that they will not let you down.
it is a key issue to have a kind of bottom-up approach, regarding governments. -- governance. >> how long do you think -- you think it will take to degrade the taliban to where it is no longer influential? >> that is a great question. the first question is -- who is the television? -- the taliban? there are three types. there is a religious type. there will always have an influence. then there are the $5 or $10 per day, and are paid to work for the insurgents. somewhere in the middle is the taliban -- who earn money by protecting the narco-
trafficking. it is hard to define them. the key in counterinsurgency is to deny the support for the insurgents by the locals. i think we are moving towards a position in which that is more and more the case in southern afghanistan. there is increased pressure on the leadership of the insurgency. we saw more signs of in- fighting, troubles in logistics of command control. it all leads to a situation in which you see that a couple of years ago, the and surgeons moved from a conventional approach towards a-symmetric tactics. there were quite effective than that. especially the use of ied's. but using asymmetric tactics intimidated the afghan people, and it will have a very negative impact in the long run it for the insurgency by the afghans. i think what we will see in the
long run it is that if you are able to protect the people from the insurgents, that is where the additional forces are for, and protect them 24/7, you'll be in a situation where you waill see the degrading capability of the insurgents in afghanistan. >> you talked about the need to merge the form of government and the informal government. how is that possible? >> well, if you cannot find any proof or evidence that informal governance structure is made with criminal activities, i would say overall, you can only successfully govern afghanistan if you take the tribal structure, the local tribal structures into account. that means at the local level, governments should always be a true representation of the tribal structure in that area. what we see is that the power
brokers are mostly tribally based, and some of the governors are appointed by the president. somewhere you need to merge these two systems. take a local travel system into account. you have to appointed people for a form of government and a way that they can support. >> you've just mentioned the taliban are intimidating the local people, and will be a matter of time before they will get fed up with it. how much time do you think that would be? it has been a significant amount of time now. while you were there, did you see a degrading of that relationship between the local population and the taliban? >> yes, we did.
especially in areas where people realized that isaf was there to stay. its shares to how important the concept of shape, clear and cold bills. once you start to shape and clear an area, you need to stay there and deliver 24/7 security to the people. we cannot do any more -- if we leave at 5:00 in the afternoon, because then and surgeons will come back. counterinsurgency means separating the people from the insurgents. that is what we need to do. i think with 30,000 additional forces, in southern afghanistan, we will have a significant effect and a relatively short period of time on security overall. but security will only last
temporarily if it is not followed up with governments and reconstruction. that is the key. we can secure the area. i think we can clear most of the area in southern afghanistan. what we need to do is have the capability for civilian and commercial forces it to do though hold phase and build phase. >> if i could follow up, you also mentioned the head taliban being the ones that will not quit. there are some reports today and yesterday that there are some discussions about expanding the ground attacks -- the drone attacks. is that something you can discuss? what are your thoughts on such a plan? >> i have not heard of that. it is a pakistani issue -- it will do with the elements of
the and surgeons operate from pakistan. -- insurgents operating from pakistan. [unintelligible] that is that religious leader ship. we do not overestimate their importance by thinking they court made and lead all the operations conducted by the insurgents in southern afghanistan. they do not have to. that is why they move towards a ied campaign, which is characterized not by a record organization but by very small cells acting independently -- but not by a hierarchical organization. it is hard to destroy the ied network. it is also hard for them to synchronize our operation. what we see clearly is that the insurgency is locally organized, but they have difficulty in synchronizing at a regional
level and especially in operations in central helmand. the coalition forces forced the tribal leadership to concentrate in these areas. because of this leadership that is forced to concentrate in the areas, you see a huge amount of progress, because there is no capable insurgency left anymore. the leadership is left there it is under a huge amount of pressure by the special forces. that space is used by the task force to expand their footprint. there is a link between the fighting in central home and and the benefits we saw over the last couple of months -- and the fighting in central helmand. >> the obama administration will
review progress a year from now to make sure we are on the right track. what would constitute success? what you realistically think it can be achieved in the next year that would give the administration and the american people and the people of nato the confidence to proceed with this approach? >> i think it is realistic to expect in a year from now, most of the areas in southern afghanistan will be under the control of isaf. probably the upper valley. if we are able to start, it will have a significant impact on the security situation and it will show progress. that begs the question, how to measure progress. there will be talks about benchmarks.
there will not be any shops open and people do not have confidence in security. -- if people do not have confidence in security. from security point of view, clearing these areas is key. we will be able to have the military power to do so in the next 12 months. >> we have heard of plans like this before. we heard counterinsurgency, bill the afghan capacity on military and civilian side. -- to build the afghan capacity on military and civilian side. what is different this time? >> regarding a timescale, from my point of view, we were only there for three years. people try to tell me that we had been there for eight years. from isaf point of view, we started the counterinsurgency three years ago.
secondly, what i think change is we realize southern afghanistan needed a counterinsurgency. and that means you have to deploy the force to be able to do so. i think we got the concept right from the start. i think we got quite a conceptual idea on how to do the counterinsurgency. if you do not have the forces to deliver counterinsurgency, to secure a 95% of the population, if he do not have the civilian capability to bring in the governance and development in support of it, then you will not be successful. we all realize now that what we did in the first couple of years when we were there, clear an area and then we've come up from eight counterinsurgency point of view was not affected. -- from a counterinsurgency point of view was not affected we need to secure most of the
people. but coalition forces and isaf, to implement a comprehensive approach. that emerged a couple of months ago. and it has eventually led to wars the deployment of more forces. not only -- led to wars the deployment of more forces. -- led towards more deployment of more forces. >> abc news. can i ask you, you spoke about the progress in several provinces and the forces that are now expanding their, do you need more forces there to hold and build because of their just expanding and clearing, how do you maintain the permanence of the success you've experienced? >> i would not say we need more forces. there is more capability to do
so. from a coalition forces point of view, we have enough force there. from a conceptual point of view, there should be a u.s. flag during the hold phase. -- there should not be a u.s. flag during the hold phase, but an afghan flag. more ana to secure the area. to do community policing within these areas. the civilian capability that is needed to support that, that is key. it shows you, if you show progress across all lines of operations, you will move towards a situation in which coalition forces will move from having the lead in the planning
towards a more supportive, mentoring and over the horizon support role. that is where we are now. >> -- what do you envision for that process? what you need to carry out those missions? >> first, we need an over arching security concept, and which we define what the role and mission of oare. we have to increase our mentoring efforts. i think we also need to look into the current organization of special afghan national police. the afghan national police should focus on -- recruited and trained at the local level -- should now focus on a nationwide system, because if he recruit them solely on the local level,
there will be vulnerable for tribal influences and corruption. if we are able to do that, if we have the overarching afghan security concept right, if we are able to bring in the mentoring capability, then it will take a couple of years before they are able to take over all of the darriusarea,s, t especially the areas where the u.s. marines are and where you have success. look at parts of zabul. >> you had mentioned marzah. the president had said it is like felicallujah. >> i say that it is important,
because it offers the insurgents a way into all of the other areas. it is not fallujah. it does not have the symbolic meaning. the whole infrastructure is different than fallujah. it is not as densely populated. knowing the way the insurgency operated, you will see some have eavy fighting there, but at the end of the day, you will see that insurgents will realize that we will go -- we are going to stay and they will blend into the local population and move somewhere else. i am not saying that you will not see that intensity. it will be a very difficult fight, especially for couple of days or weeks. but from a geographical and conception -- perception point of view, i would not call it a
affallujah. >> bill mcmichael. tell us about the counter-ied effort. given the best tennis of the area. -- the vastness of the area. isr assets. >> we need to get better in our counter- ied efforts. if we will not have success on that level, at the tactical level, it will have strategic implications. so it is key. you can only be successful in counter-ied if you do not just focus on what approach -- on one
approach. the afghans need better training. but the focus on how we looked at it in the south than what we did to improve the situation. first, we shifted the focus from the use of the assets i had at the regional level, special forces, from finding and destroying the leadership of the insurgency towards focusing on finding and detecting and destroying ied networks. that is one. they make progress on the use of biometrics, and that ied campaign. every ied use is exploited by us and we take heat by a metric data and store them in abated -- we take the biometric data and
store them in the database. in denmark, austria, canada, united kingdom, and the united states of how to share this by a metric data in a common database. that is what we did. that is one. the second step we did on biometrics is move forward in a more pro-active approach to get the biometric data from the afghan people. if you move into a village, we fired a long mullah -- the local mullah, and we asked them, can we take your by metric data? -- biometric data? the third step that we took -- the afghans ticket. [unintelligible] -- it is banned as a fertilizer.
95% of ied's are made up of immonium nitrate. and a fourth, but from a perception point of view, if people feel secure, if people know that we are able to deliver security, they will definitely come forward with more information on ied networks than they do now. in kandahar city itself, more than 7% of the finding of ied's is turned in by the afghans themselves -- more than 70%. we received an anonymous phone call. if people feel safe and not intimidated, the amount ied's reported will go up.
70% of the victims are afghan and not coalition forces. >> i wanted to follow-up on the comment he made earlier that he suggested that the momentum had shifted against taliban. can you talk about when that started to happen and what you think triggered that? >> i think it really changed when we deployed be additional 20,000 u.s. forces and additional civilians that came with it in southern afghanistan in july. that expanded our footprint all round kandahar and in southern afghanistan. especially when the insurgents realized that these forces were not just there to secure elections, but they were going to stay there. it had a huge impact on the
insurgents. based on the disbanded footprint, we put more pressure on the leadership, -- based on this footprint, we put more pressure on their leadership and it made it difficult for them to concentrate and project their power. they are more in a survival mode now. i think that is one reason that we did not see well- synchronized, coordinated, conventional attacks happening in southern afghanistan over the last 12 to 16 months. >> if i could follow up on the momentum shift, general mcchrystal was talking about changing momentum in the next 18 months. it is already beginning in the south. what is the disconnect there? >> there is a disconnect. i had a long discussion with the general. we do not disagree. he is taking a regional
approach, including pakistan and the whole of afghanistan. while i am in the position that i took a regional approach, focusing on southern afghanistan. i think what we did in southern afghanistan is we proved that our concept is right -- if we deploy more forces in july and august, then you will see the fact that you expect to see. -- the effect that you expect to see. that led to the initial assessment that we need more forces to complete the process of counterinsurgency in afghanistan, with main focus in the south. it is a different scale and a different perspective. >> tell me about the afghan police. i am not really clear about what you were saying about recruiting them at the local level. you were saying that if you recruit at the local level, there is an increased chance of corruption? >> yes. because they are well-known to
local tribal leaders. once we focus on the afghan national civil order police, when we brought them in during the process where we take the afghan-a police out of the districts, train them for eight weeks, and replace them, the people were very satisfied with the way they behaved, because they saw what the police can do once they are properly trained and they are seen as independent. that has fueled our thoughts about how to combine a locally recruited system of national police with a butypes of gendarmes that can operate nationally. >> how would you characterize kandahar and kandahar city, all local see their afghan police and army? you have a sense?
>> it is clear to all of us that these ana has seen a lot of independents and is respected by the people and the amp is not. in the real question is why? the lack of security is one of the reasons. look at southern afghanistan. because there are so few afghan national army, we used to the afghan national police as light infantry. they are not trained or equipped for. the casualty rate is five times as high as the national army. that just shows you how important it is that we define what the world and missions are of the afghan national army and the police. that is one of the issues -- their role there. third, it takes time to develop that leadership there.
in iraq and other countries, you have the existing structure a police that you could use and generate. in afghanistan, we are building an airplane while we are flying. and that is especially true if amfor the amp. always in a context that we should realize what kind of difficult position we are putting them in, because they have to fight every day of their lives. >> in kandahar city specifically, considering they have the lead there, do you consider that city secure? >> absolutely not. it is not secure. kandahar city itself, is an interesting city. the perception pashtun is that
the situation of this city will define their security in the future. kandahar city is of vital ground. if you focus on the city itself, you will find that with counterinsurgency, there is a balance of power between criminals, tribes, economic power brokers, and just pouring in a huge amount up coalition forces -- of coalition forces, will not have a positive effect. we handed over most of the security, and we should focus on mentoring. how to get better security in the city itself, the key is securing this approach -- the approaches. [unintelligible] where the insurgents have their safe havens. from there, they project their power and intimidate people
within kandahar city. what we should do, i is try to secure the approaches towards the city. secure these places. by doing that, you will significantly increase the security situation within kandahar city itself, especially if you go through m arjah. central helmun, marjah, kandahar city, is key to success. >> i think you are right in the area of what i wanted to ask about. you talked about big spots. the president's revised strategy will focus on population centers. how much are you worried about them rural areas, where you are not focusing, and whether those
could be used not only as safe havens but also for al qaeda, with a goal is to prevent afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for al qaeda? are you not possibly creating safe havens in other areas? >> that is a reason that we should not exclusively focus on cities itself. this is rural insurgency. that means that he was able to project its power and protect the people in rural areas will play a key role in securing southern afghanistan. i agree with you that it is not just focusing on places where most of the people live. it might need more indirect approach. but also maintain the current footprint of our forces.
>> last question? >> to follow up on that, you say you are still maintaining a footprint, but some of the outposts are being closed down. houri maintaining a footprint? -- how are you maintaining a footprint? in the rural areas? >> we work constantly in a process where we closedown outposts while establishing other outposts. as soon as an area is quite secure, and the security is led by the afghans themselves, there is no use of having coalition forces deployed there. what we should do is reinforce the afghan national army to deliver security. so, every time we deploy forces in the basin, this is not a fixed approach.
that is one of the reasons that you will see less coalition forces, because it is relatively stable there. we can travel -- transfer lead of security towards the afghans there. . . >> that is key for a counterinsurgency. you have to live to train and operate together amongst the afghan people. that is what you will see over
the next 12 months. >> where does that fall into what you just described given that the british are overextended? >> i mentioned were we need to shape. we have a footprint in three areas. but there is no coherent footprint. these are for isolated spots. we need to build that into more regional level and lincoln together but we can only do so if we have the coalition forces to be able to do so. ok? >> thank you. >> thank you.
>> freelance video journalist david ax was recently imbedded at kandahar airbase. he observed how the u.s. military is trained afghan air force. when they come up -- no, this is the crashed one. they will come up along the side and take whatever security measures that have to take to get in. they should come here to get him? yes. the last thing they have to do,
they have to make sure that when they leave the aircraft, they get all the weapons and ammunition out of the aircraft after the people are out. we do not want to leave anything around for the enemy. like the captain said, we want to come from behind the aircraft because you can get into the side of the aircraft without getting shot. >>you come up the side.
>> you might have to climb up there to get loose. bucs you four-star process. slow. next come when you come up. >> the afghan military is still pretty small even eight years into the war. there are 8000 afghans soldiers. it is like a couple of a thousand eyes. nato has been encouraging the development of an air force. in afghanistan, most of the time you want to deliver things by air.
you're trying to support your afghan army hundreds of miles from some facility. it will not always be able to ally -- rely on u.s. or nato forces. they get this team of helicopter pilots and administrative officers to try to help grow and afghan helicopter force. there are two wings. there are a bunch of americans, if you russian-made helicopters and they're trying to grow and air force from the ground up to either buy them with u.s. money you try to recruit some old afghan pilots that will probably trained by the russians 20 years ago and bring them back in and
get them some refresher training and get them working by a u.s. model of air power were you were serving the ground troops. they have a process for calling them and making the request to deliver water. all that may seem simple in theory, but making it work in practice is really complicated. the americans worked hand-in- hand to show them how we do things in the u.s. air force. you can do it like us and you will be able to supply your own troops. what that looks like in practical terms, is that there is eight infantry battalion and americans help process the request and they get on the helicopter with the afghans to fly with them. the americans the device. the interpreter speaks to the pilot.
[speaking arabic] [speaking arabic] of the first was you're heading control. it got much better towards the end of the flight, but towards the beginning, i think the problem was that you had your [unintelligible] little too far to the left. you kept coming back into a left turn. always remember to always turn it to the center position.
base. we did some maneuvering as well and that to test fire the weapons. we also did some high level flight so we got to practice some climbing and descending as well as climbing and the sending of the terms. we got to work on scenarios as well as some turning approaches into the wind and so we are going to pick up some cargo and basically do the whole thing in reverse and then we will do some mentoring and have a good time for everybody involved. >> what is the biggest lesson you try to import four men to use? >> good question. the biggest lesson is being conservative, but also thinking outside of the training that they have. right now, they have all been trained in the russian style in the sense that this is the way that you will do this. you always do it this way. we're trying to get them to
barrier. how does that affect the pilot training? >> it slows it down. it makes it difficult to get across simple concepts. they're a lot there -- there are a lot of technical terms in aviation and getting those translated properly and getting them across in a timely manner, especially when you were in flight is a huge challenge. i have tried to learn a little bit of their language in order to take away some of that stress and confusion, but when you're trying to do with a more complicated processes with technical terms in terms, there really is no substitute for talking the same language. because the afghans have learned enough english, we have to rely on interpreters. even during fly.
-- even during the flight. it takes about three times as long and you also have to break it down to the basic level of terms to so that the interpreter knows what you're saying so he can try to explain it. even then, you really do not know if they understood exactly what you said because you have to trust that the interpreter said the right thing. it brings a whole new dynamic to the training and advising process. it is difficult to gauge how effective you are. >> we have 15 u.s. mentor's here. they are experts in each of their fields. that team abatements' mentors
are working with the newest win here. they are dealing with maintainers that are sometimes 40 or older, the ones that have been trained, these folks have been working on helicopters for a great portion of their life. some have had maybe five-six years that they have not worked on helicopters. we have to get a quick assessment of the skill level of the folks that we have on the team. since we're just building up the team, that is one of our biggest challenges. we still depend on a couple -- on kabul to provide specialists when we are short. we go through amendments basics
and tool control procedures and following technical data. by culture, they rely on what they have learned through their training and not referring to a book because they feel like that that is weakness. they need to remember what it is that they have learned. we have a challenge because of that. it is a significant challenge, but we're working with them over the last month with the 40 maintainers to assess their steel -- they're still botched their skill -- their skill. >> you seem to exist complex bureaucracy where you that the afghan military, nato and the
u.s. and they are not always talking clearly to reach other. is it a challenge dealing -- being stuck in the middle of these organizations? >> a good example of that is about a month ago, we had a large bit of coordination with many different nations to move into the new hangar that we are operating out of. we have to deal with mentors as they came in. we are dealing with them and we were trying to deal with slovakia and guards and bulgarians and we have the whole effort work. for all the support agencies, there is a lot of information that we have to deal with. specifically, since we are a new wing, there are still some
challenges with some battles of wills. this new organization, some of the afghans do not really want to come to kandahar. there are issues with this being a new wing. they are connected to their families and they want to live where their families are located. actually getting people to come here and work is a challenge at times. the way that they do with their daily operations, sometimes it may take them two or three days to talk through amendments discrepancy and the repair actions we expected to take. we could determine very quickly
what parts we need, what skill levels do we need and how can we most expeditiously rupert -- repair this aircraft. it takes them a lot longer. there is a lot of patience that we have to show in the frustration level, i usually get with my team and let them know mentoring is a concept we have to avoid. the small things that we do back home, sometimes we overlook the things that allow us to do things as effectively as we do to get parts and to have the skill and the training and the ability to push the skills that we need to be able to generate sortings at the rate that we do. they do not have all those foundations in place. that is one of the things that we have to be patient with.
we have to continue to focus on small improvements. it is basically a sustained effort over time. they will get. >> this attitude among afghan security forces, this inability to really see more than a couple of days into the future, there is a huge lack of foresight and planning. it is one of the biggest problems. it is a cultural thing. when life is at harvard -- is as hard as it is, you do not look too far into the future. getting the security forces to plan far enough in advance to get aircraft moving around and keeping the aircraft flying, all of this stuff is really complicated and it takes a long time and it requires planning. it is very hard to do.
>> freelance video journalist david axe was imbedded in october and november. this was his second trip to afghanistan. to watch other programs, you can go to our web site, c-span.org. in the search box in the upper right-hand corner, type "axe". >> british prime minister gordon brown has just returned from afghanistan and spoke about the trip in parliament. he also spoke with european leaders on climate change. >> with permission, mr. speaker, statement on afghanistan and to report of the conclusions of the european council.
this is live coverage >> we met with commanders on the ground and today, i have had a meeting of the national security committee with the chief of defense and the chief of our security services and i talked to the secretary. the first purpose of my visit to afghanistan was to thank our brave armed forces. i wanted to a knowledge and congratulate them on the dedicated work, day after day, that they continue to do. i think i speak for everyone when i say that the thoughts and prayers of our house and whole country are with them. the british people are safer at home because our troops are fighting for our safety this christmas in afghanistan. mr. speaker, i also wanted to
assess the progress and to reinforce our campaign in afghanistan. in my meetings with president karzai and his team of ministers, we began preparations for a conference in london. it is an event that i believe will galvanize the international effort and to which president karzai has said he will present his plans for the future our strategy is to find that we can weaken the taliban district by district, province by province, putting the afghans in control of their own security. we must first address the taliban insurgency with all the resources of power we have at our disposal yesterday, i flew on one of the newly deployed helicopters. we have doubled the number of helicopters over the last three
years. we have more than doubled helicopter flying hours and there will be further increases in both over the coming months. i also saw the patrol vehicles and a smaller ridgeback vehicles and heard how we have increased the number by more than 80%, almost double the number of ridgebacks they are saving lives of vermont. mr. speaker, errol -- aeriel surveillance helps us detect apprised explosive devices. yesterday, i asked for and received an assurance from president karzai of the new assistance the afghan people will give us in detecting and dismantling these improvised explosive devices. forces will be trained to detect and disable ids and there will be more local police on the
ground and we will be training 10,000 recruits. there will be better intelligence for the afghan people about the source of i e d attacks and encourage them not to harbor those that are planning attacks. tomorrow, the defense secretary will request more equipment. the latest will include an extra 10,000,004 handmade mine detectors to follow the 12 million that has been set aside for the new disposable robots, over 30 of which are now in operation, tracking itt's. -- i edie's -- ieds. this will amount to 150 million
and total bashir and over the next two years. our strategy involves working with the afghan army so that they, over time, a complex security control. president karzai confirmed to me that he is increasing the number of trips to 10,000. already, 500 new troops have arrived. once the police training is in full strength, we will be able to train their 2000 police officers ever year. the taliban are made determined adversary. i am under no illusion that there will be firefighting ahead. from the telling affect they are already having of the enemy, the galvanizing impact they're
having on the afghan forces they are partnering. i can report that 36 countries have offered additional manpower to the afghan campaign. we know that this will allow us to develop a balance and as i have said to the house, the priority to british forces is to shift the emphasis to partner and afghan forces and i can report to the house that commanders on the ground and told me yesterday that two- thirds of british bases are patrolled jointly with afghan counterparts. it is by partnering in this way that we will enable the afghans to step up to the challenge of dealing with the afghan -- without qaeda. i also saw from my discussion with commanders that we're seeing the beginnings of the
political process which must complement our military strategy. tribal elders are already setting up a grass-roots government. the decisions that we have made in 2009 set a new framework for 2010. forces will turn afghanization into closer working with our civilians. mr. speaker, 68 international delegations will come to london on the 20th of january. all 43 hours engaged in the coalition will attend. there will be led by the secretary general of the un.
i agree with president karzai that this will deliver a new compact based on priorities that he has outlined. first, security, we expect nations to announce troop deployments building on a total of 140,000 troops promised in 2010. i hope the london conference will be able to the set up the forces that are changing as armed forces rise from 90,000 afghan army defense forces to 135,000 next year and possibly 175,000 later. secondly, in london, nato partners will set up a program for the transfer of leading responsibility and an agreed set
of conditions to establish the eligibility of provinces and districts. i hope that we can agree that the program began. london must commit financial backing for afghan lead result. london must provide comprehensive support to the afghan economy to offer them a greater stake in the future of their country. this includes providing afghans with alternatives to poppy in the insurgency. reaffirming the role of the women and announce and stronger civil court mission. we must encourage a new set of
relations between afghanistan and its neighbors and particularly better working with pakistan. well afghan -- afghanistan and pakistan are different, they are both at the epicenter of global terrorism and it requires us to deny them the option. one of the biggest advances over the last year is the increased cooperation with pakistan authorities in support of the efforts of the fight against the taliban and al qaeda. as far as our partnership with pakistan forces, the trading facility will have mentors working with staff to build -- the nine the new education task
force is meeting today in islamabad. to order 50 million pounds of development systems from britain to pakistan is directed towards education. as i agreed earlier this month, nothing is more important than addressing the root causes of so many of pakistan's problems. we offer a viable alternative to low-quality schools that are poorly regulated mr. speaker, one of the first decisions was to reiterate this. a second decision was to express grave concern over the intentions. iran has so far done nothing
with the nature of its program. our continuing concerns mean that we agreed to begin working on options for sanctions. the council also discussed the economic recovery and sustainable growth. we have reiterated that policies should remain in place and only be withdrawn when recovery is for secure. the council also welcome to the rapid and determined action taken across europe. it also agreed that remuneration policies must promote sound and effective risk-management. discretionary bonuses are about 25,000.
when he to promptly consider compensation practices. the council emphasized the importance of renewing the contract between financial institutions and the societies that they serve. ensuring that public benefits go to the people of their country's and are protected from arrest. mr. speaker, there are very few moments in history when nations are summoned to make common decisions that will reshape the lives of every family and potentially for generations to come. our aim must be an ambitious climate change in copenhagen that will enable european union to make good its commitment that we move to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions.
the agreement must also put a clear financial framework. this financial agreement must address the great injustice that is climate change. those hit first and hardest by climate change or those who have done the least harm. 98% of those most affected are dying, living in the poorest countries and account for only 8% of global emissions. i can report to the house that the european union has pledged 17.2 billion euros over two years. that is 6.6 million pounds. this should enable the world to
reach its aim of 10 -- but me say that this financial agreement would not have got off the ground without european cooperation. there will also have to be additional and predictable issues. this has been set for the long- term climate change needs. the european council reaffirmed its commitment to provide its fair share. i can say to the house that the u.k. will provide additional funds. the european council reaffirmed its official assistance commitments amidst the impact. there was an urgent need to
support rainforests. to achieve a reduction in deforestation by 25 percent, leading to 50% cuts and a complete halt and 2003 will -- the majority of this come from -- of this should come from developed countries. there is work to do. we are only halfway there to an agreement. now is the time for developed and developing countries not to divide among each other, but to do what no conference of 192 countries has ever achieved before and that is to come together with a forward-looking program to advance our shared goals. this week, world leaders are gathering in copenhagen and abbott -- as i have indicated, i will join global leaders starting from tuesday meetings
with leaders and the-presidency and representatives from the small island states. the agreement at copenhagen must be ambitious, global, legally binding and be consistent with a maximum global warming of 2 degrees. mr. speaker, britain, our european partners and the commonwealth will work tirelessly for the best result copenhagen. i commend this statement to the house. >> the european council covered three main areas. i want to ask about all three as well as the vital issue of afghanistan. as the prime minister knows, we have supported the increase in u.s. and u.k. trips. at christmas time, we should all be thinking of our forces and their families and i would like
to pay tribute to all of those charities and organizations that send gifts and cards and presents. they should be on our minds for all but they are doing. we believe that this is the last best opportunity to get this right. the prime minister talked about the killing troop presence. we look forward to hearing more about that. perhaps he will tell us when he will update the house to make sure that british troops cover fewer areas but in greater density. that is absolutely vile to bob dahuk -- a vital that -- that is absolutely vital. there is a danger that the
quality of troops will suffer. can he tell the house about what is being done with troops that are trained and then sent to the south of afghanistan and that the unit's function properly. in terms of the london conference, he said quite a lot. could he clarify whether the new individual working on behalf of the un secretary general, d'arcy agree that it would be good to have someone over and above that to coordinate all of the civilian side? that is what we have been pushing for. perhaps he can clarify that is still the government's condition. on iran, does the prime minister agree that the time has come to take a much stronger line? it is clear that talks with iran are not moving, but we are considering options for next steps.
should this include three things at the very least? serious financial sanctions like those that exist in the united states. we have been here before. the prime minister said in june 2008 that action will start today. can he assure the house that this time the measures will be agreed and put into place? >> of copenhagen, can the prime minister be clear on what he thinks can now be achieved? does he agree with the u.n.'s chief climate negotiator that a legally binding agreement is no longer possible in copenhagen? if he is right about this, is it not essential that we see a full political declaration this week? is that optimism to which the world has a right to expect? does he agree with us that it is
vital that any agreement is consistent with keeping global warming below the threshold? the prime minister give us figures, but could he tell us a bit more about where the money is coming from? can he tell us where this is coming from? can he tell us whether this will have any impact on the programs? this was once described as non- negotiable. that was before he gave 7 billion pounds away. when he did so, and the reason for asking the question today, when he did so, he obtained a review of the budget. that was meant to start in 2008 and was meant to finish in the end of 2009. it is absolutely nowhere near
finished. indeed, the deadline slipped to next july and the final conclusions slipped to the end of the year 2010. at a time when budgets are being cut in the u.k., does the prime minister agree that in reviewing the eu budget, the main focus should be to cut? >> it is completely wrong for the use civil servants to receive a pay rise. isn't it the case that the prime minister's whole approach to this has been wrong from start to finish? he started by spending viable capital and ended with britain having none of the key economic portfolios indeed, the government became so dysfunctional that at one stage, -- the prime minister
restoration of sound public finances. can i ask the prime minister, did he ever expect to come back from the european summit after 12 years of stewardship with the biggest deficit and britain the only jew-20 country still mired in recession is that what he meant by leading the way in europe? >> >> mr. speaker, i am surprised that he spent most of his time raising issues that were not even discussed. it would be better if addressed those in a bit more detail. first, the issues related to afghanistan. i think it is very important to recognize that his own party agreement on these matters are not to exaggerate any differences between us at this
particular sensitive time when more troops are going into afghanistan and we are persuading the afghan forces to increase their number and where we're trying to extend the civilian and military cooperation so that we can attack it affectively by weakening them. i did say to him that we were increasing our presence, but so was the american presence increasing. a number of troops will go to 30,000 over the next few months. that will include the afghan army and over time, the balance will change between alliance forces and the afghan forces the afghan -- afghan forces.
this is our policy for the gradual african as asian and in that way, district by district and province by province, we can transfer that to afghan control. when i met the afghan forces yesterday, the afghan forces came from all different parts of the country coming to hellman to be trained and be part of a more effective army and alone. i did say to him that humanitarian and civilian issues related to the coordination of the effort in afghanistan were to be a main feature. now that he has resigned as un representative, he will stay on until march, but he is retiring after that. i talked about this to the
general secretary of make of this afternoon. there will be a un appointment and there will be a nato appointment. i think all of these interest must be represented and must be greater cooperation. as far as afghanistan is concerned, i hope that members of the house will feel that the measures that we are taking are important in protecting our troops, but also and destroying the morale of the taliban. when i was in afghanistan yesterday, 1500 i.t. these have been detected and dismantled. if we can continue to diffuse and dismantle and therefore disable these ideas, 80 percent of casualties are due to i edie's.
ieds. --ieds. it is true that we have been in the forefront with sanctions in iran. it is also true that this will not yield the impact that we want. we're working with our european partners and with the rest of the international community this is one that can yield practical results in sanctions that actually work. he also raised the issues of european council and i will come to that now. we did discuss a timetable for resolving many issues. we did discuss cooperation and
we did discuss the fiscal stimulus that is necessary to bring the economy back. i will have to tell him that there are 12 other economies still in recession. germany suffered a far more -- a far worse recession than we have. unemployment is lower than in most countries that are comparable to us as a result of the action we have taken. at the european council, there is an agreement that we need to take a fiscal stimulus so put the economy can move forward. -- so that the economy can move forward. there is agreement that we must all take action against unemployment by providing government funds to do so. the only thing that seems to stand outside that agreement is the conservative party
represented on the other benches. i have to say, on climate change, it is incredibly important that we want to secure an agreement. that is why our offer for support is one that i believe is right if we are going to get an agreement that shows the developing countries that we mean business and tackling the issues that they faced -- that they face most of all. that is why we are assured $3.5 billion a year will help countries mitigate climate change. we had a great deal of work still to do because we have to get an agreement about the longer-term as well as the short term.
i think that we have led the way with the climate change act and we have led the way with the announcement that we will be active in pronounced -- providing long-term finance. we suggest a figure of $10 billion for both the european union and for the rest of the world to follow and there is no virtual agreement on that. we will continue to press for a just and fair settlement in copenhagen. we will talk to all parties about what we can do together. we have led the way on debt relief. we have led the way in economic cooperation. we are leading the way in climate change. that is something that they could never never do. >> i like to thank the prime minister for his statement and i've would like to add my
expression of gratitude to the armed forces serving bravely and selflessly in afghanistan. with families across the country prepare to come together, like a tribute to the family at and friends for the enormous sacrifices they are also making for this war. i am grateful for the prime minister's detailed statement. i would just like to seek clarity on two points. firstly color could he clarify what he believes to be a big gold with china, russia and iran? i was not quite sure if he said any or all three of those nations would be represented at the london conference or not. if not, could you provide some detail how he may be engaging with all three of them to help stabilize afghanistan, notwithstanding the other major
differences we have, particularly with iran at this particular time. the war will only be one that -- one in afghanistan the afghan people. the prime minister referred to efforts with president karzai. how will he judge prudence in afghanistan? >> given that the resources allocated and the strategy we have been pursuing are so heavily influenced by the war in iraq, i would like to know what -- if he would have invaded iraq if there were weapons of mass
destruction or not. the people have a right to know, does the prime minister agree with tony blair, that the invasion would have been justified even without weapons of mass destruction? >> just a few hours ago, we heard that the talks in copenhagen were suspended. i have been told they just restored a few minutes ago because of differences between the developing and developed world in the international community. i am sure the prime minister agrees with me that the i will if you will relationship needs to come to an end. will the prime minister make a commitment to help break that deadlock? the committee has spoken of 1990 levels 200020.
the prime minister does not need to wait for anyone else to make that commitment. will he make that commitment today? >> first off, let me deal with afghanistan career it is right that in a conference discussing afghanistan, not only the coalition partners should be present, but the neighbors. i think it is very important to recognize that afghanistan's future is dependent not on interference, but economic cooperation between afghanistan and their neighbors and we will do what we can to advance that process forward, as difficult as it may be. that is part of the discussion that took place at the conference. the rule also been discussion regarding pakistan. action should be taken.
when president karzai comes to london, we will expect that he will be able to show progress in the anti-corruption laws that he is proposing. there were 12 arrests last week. obviously, people will look at what they say i hope that will show determination. i can assure you that president karzai will deal with some of the problems over the many years. as for iraq, there is an inquiry the inquiry -- [unintelligible] as far as climate change is
concerned, i think the european offer of 20% and to go to 30% if we can get an ambitious settlement where other countries join them, if japan and australia and brazil can go further and if we can see the movement that we want to see from the other partners, then our wishes to go to 30%. we will have to get not only intermediary targets, but plans for developing countries and we will have to get a financial agreement can verification that issues will be raised as well. there is a lot of work still to be done. i know that he wants to get the most ambitious agreement possible and i am grateful for the support you give us. >> mr. speaker,