Skip to main content

We will keep fighting for all libraries - stand with us!

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 9, 2015 4:00am-6:01am EDT

4:00 am
clock began on july 19, when it transmitted all of the indexes and the deals to congress. that means, the deadline would be september 17. regardless of what representative ruskin is saying, whether you consider the iaea constitutes a side deal under the terms of the review act, i do not think his effort is going to gain much traction. i spoke with bob corker a couple minutes ago about what he thought of it. was the author of the review act. he said he thought the best way for lawmakers to register the disapproval of not getting the iaea agreement would be to vote down the iran deal and not to raise the other issues. he does not consider it an issue. i don't see it at this point,
4:01 am
having legs. you never know. >> as congress comes back from the summer recess, congress is wasting no time in issuing their opposition to this resolution of disapproval. that is out. what else can we expect in terms of lobbying on capitol hill, or elsewhere from the white house? rachel oswald: so far, we have not heard of any last-minute plans, like vice president biden. that could still happen. these kinds of trips are announced last minute. i would not be surprised if it happens because of how close the filibuster is looking. this is an issue that our administration has thrown as many resources at, since they health care overhaul act a couple years ago. >> rachel oswald, national security reporter, with "cq." you can follow her on twitter. thank you for the update. rachel oswald: thank you.
4:02 am
>> the house takes up the disapproval rouge -- solution wednesday. after that, members begin 11 hours of general debate divided between five committees. financial services, ways and means, oversight, and government reform, and judiciary. hours on the floor and the house foreign affairs committee gets three. the resolution expected on friday. >> he was a nazi, he was a concentration camp commandant and he was responsible for the murder of thousands of jews. >> this sunday night on q&a, jennifer teege on her discovery that her grandfather was the butcher of plasow.
4:03 am
>> you would see -- he was a tremendously cool person. cruel person. he was capable -- he had two d ogs. and he trained them to tear humans apart. he was a person who, there was a killede he felt when he people. something that when you are normal, it is very difficult to grasp. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. >> on today's "washington johnson ofon wisconsin, chairman of the homeland security and go-- on the iran nuclear deal.
4:04 am
then a look at the disapproval resolution with david price. the federalists on the debate over gay marriage and the rule of law. "washington journal" is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span and you can join the conversation with her calls and comments on facebook and twitter. presidential candidate senator ted cruz and donald trump are among the speakers today at a tea party rally against the iran nuclear agreement. we have live coverage starting at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. a signature feature of book tv is our all day coverage of festivals from across the country with top nonfiction authors. here is our schedule. september, wef are in new york for the brooklyn
4:05 am
book festival. in october, the southern festival in nashville. the weekend after that, live for the texas book festival. at the end of the month, we covered to festivals on the same weekend. from our nation's heartland, it is this wisconsin book festival. and the boston book festival. at the start of november, we will be in portland, oregon for wordstock. of november we are live from florida for the miami book fair international. the festivalsof this fall on c-span 2' book tv. later today, the house takes up the iran nuclear agreement disapproval resolution with the boat coming friday. on tuesday, the house rules committee considers how they debate the legislation. debate divided
4:06 am
between five committees. financial services, ways and means, judiciary. the get two two hours on floor. and the house foreign affairs committee gets three hours. pete sessions of texas shares this hearing. -- chairs this hearing. mr. sessions: good afternoon. the rules committee will come to order. welcome back from our august work period. it's exciting to see each of us together as we gather back, virginia foxx was delighted, she even smiled at me, and that's -- used to be a certain thing, now it's a rare day. delighted. she even smiled at me, louise, that used to be a certain thing and now it is a rare die. and there is a virginia smile. >> we check with each other. >> i hope everybody had a chance to be with their families and constituent and also get back to enjoying the 95 degrees in rochester, in new york. one of the issues that i heard a
4:07 am
lot about during the break back in dallas was the issue that today is before the rules committee and that is hjres 64 which would disapprove of this administration's deal with iran on the nuclear weapons. the american people i believe are looking for congress to explain what we're going to do and the actions that would take place. there are a lot of questions that not only surround this but there are questions about our future. i think hj 64 provides our best opportunity to do exactly that. to dissect it, to look at it, and certainly today we'll have a number of witnesses who will be able to provide expert testimony to that end. for the last few years, the administration has been dead set on cutting a deal with the iranians regarding its nuclear program. i don't think that is any secret. and in the last few months, however, it has been become clear that the administration was interested in, i think,
4:08 am
cutting any good deal with the iranians. because the administration negotiated from position of wackness, i think -- weakness, i think it gives iran everything it wanted and leaves the american people wondering what we got in return. it cut a deal. it gives iran permanent sanctions relief for temporary agreements that merely keeps iran from building a nuclear bomb in the near term. it is now up to congress to stop this deal so that the iranian regime does not have access to the nearly $150 billion it would use to continue to fund terrorist organizations that destabilize the middle east and the world, including the united states of america. this deal pardons iran's previous actions, it encouraged iran to continue to undermine our allies and it turns iran from a nuclear pariah into a nuclear partner. this week congress will have an
4:09 am
opportunity to completely review this deal with information that has provided to us and it's foremost congressional expert on the deal is the gentleman who is with us today, congressman ed royce. chairman royce has led over 30 hearings and briefings on this deal. i look forward to his insight and i also know that we have two other important witnesses that represent the democratic party. mr. levin with the ways and means committee and miss waters, ranking member of the financial services committee. i'm aware that this is a big deal. this committee is prepared to ask tough questions, this committee is prepared to ask serious and long-range questions about the future of this deal and to understand more about what we're trying to accomplish here today. before we defer to our first panel that will include not only mr. levin, but also miss waters
4:10 am
and i would ask they feel free to come join the table at any point they choose to. i would defer to my colleague and dear friend, the gentlewoman from rochester, new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that time. i want to welcome the witnesses as well, look forward to hearing what they have to say. i do need to correct one thing i believe that you mentioned. that this was an agreement between the president of the united states and iran. this is a agreement between the security council of the united nations and iran. it was negotiated by five countries plus one, as we all know. a security council has already voted 15-0 on this plan. and i'm assuming that that is the controlling vote. but in any case, we know that if everything holds as it said it was going to hold in the senate, that this is dead on arrival, but we will go on with the game.
4:11 am
we're used to that. we spent, what, 57 votes on trying to hill health care. but anyway, thank you for yielding me the time. the joint comprehensive plan of action with iran has been hailed as, quote, remarkable, end quote, by retired army general colin powell, that i think all of us admire. the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, obviously knowing everything you need to know about military operations, and also the former secretary of state for president george w. bush. it has a broad and firm support of the international community. even the members of israel security community have come out in support of this unprecedented comprehensive and enforceable agreement. even so, opponents decried as weak, riddled with loopholes and inadequate. and to those people, i ask what is the alternative? the agreement has flaws,
4:12 am
perhaps, but it is my firm belief without it we'll be on a ever quick path to nuclear armed iran which is unacceptable to all of us. this agreement is a step toward peace, toward diplomacy, toward unifying the international community. on a negotiation partners, green bay, china, russia, germany and france and along with the rest of the world are looking for the congress of the united states not to embarrass itself and i urge my colleagues to support it. thank you very much and i yield back the balance of my time. >> ms. slaughter, thank you very much. i want to welcome not only miss waters but mr. levin and young chairman of the committee, mr. royce for taking time to be with us today. obviously, without objection, anything in writing will be entered into the record. you know that you're here to provide expert testimony.
4:13 am
you recognize that this is a very serious issue and i appreciate each one of you being here today. mr. chairman, you're recognized. >> thank you chairman sessions and thank you ranking member, slaughter. >> that microphone on it. >> i guess i would just start, mr. chairman, with the observation that the premise there that the controlling vote would be the security council vote, which miss slaughter raised, sort of goes against the very intention of the house and senate in passing legislation in the first place. that would give congress a vote on this. and this really raised the question, the timing, of going to the security council before we received the briefing on the agreement itself. and before the people's representatives in the house and senate, even had an opportunity to be recorded on this. the fact that the assertion would make -- be made that the controlling vote would be the
4:14 am
security council of the united nations rather than congress after congress had passed legislation and after that legislation was signed by the president of the united states, to have our in put. and part of that was for us to have the responsibility to look into this agreement before we made an informed decision upon whether or not it was in the interest of the united states. now we've held some 30 hearings in the foreign affairs committee, and briefings, and i just want to share with the members here, with the chairman and ranking member, that we very much appreciate the committee on rules meeting to consider this house joint resolution 64. what this resolution would do, it is a resolution of disapproval, that i introduced, that would prevent a flawed nuclear agreement with iran from being implemented. as you know, this legislation is possible because of the vote we
4:15 am
made here in the house and the senate on the iran nuclear agreement review act that overwhelmingly past. the vote was 400-25. it was again, signed into law by the president. and that legislation established a process for congress to review the final nuclear agreement with iran and then take and up or down-vote on the merits. and in review we have. so many of you have had the opportunity to see some of the coverage of the committee hearings. but we've conducted that review in a bipartisan way. ranking member engel has been a tireless partner in this. the bipartisan way in which the committee has approached this issue wouldn't surprise mr. collins or judge hastings. we've kept to our collaborate roots since the members left the committee. and while we strive to present a united front to the world, we can't always agree. mr. chairman, i don't relish
4:16 am
bringing this resolution to the floor. we all wanted these negotiations to succeed. but i'm afraid that this agreement not only comes up short, it is fatally flawed. and, indeed, it is dangerous. a few key concerns we've heard from the experts in front of our committee. first, iran is not required to dismantle key bomb-making technology. second, iran is permitted a vast enrichment capacity, reversing decades of bipartisan nonproliferation policy that never imagined endorsing this type of nuclear infrastructure for any country, never mind a country like iran. and iran is allowed to continue its research and development to gain an industrial scale nuclear program once this agreement begins to expire in as little as ten years.
4:17 am
ten years is a flash in time. and then the iranian obligations start to unwind. i just don't see that as a formula for a safer, more secure region. while members of congress insisted on anywhere, anytime inspections, iran has agreed to something they call managed access. so instead after louing international inspectors, into suspicious sites in 24 hours, it will take 24 days, but not on the military bases. because, worse yet, there have been revelations in recent days but a side agreement between iran and the nuclear watch dog in the united nations. this sets the conditions in which a key iranian military site suspected of nuclear bomb work will be explored. when i say suspected of nuclear bomb work, the director of the iaea tells me there is a thousand pages of documents they have on the bomb work that was
4:18 am
done there. and while the details have been kept from congress directly, it is reported that instead of international inspectors doing the international inspecting, we're going to have iranians themselves take the inspection lead. iran has cheated on every agreement they have signed to date. why are we trusting them to self police? and the deal guts the sanctions web that is putting intense pressure on iran. all economic and energy sanctions disappear. billions will be made available to iran to pursue the terrorism. and when i say iran, remember the way it is set up there where the rigc controlling many of the countries, this is not like a normal business arrangement in a company. when these companies were nationalized basically by the government, they were turned
4:19 am
over to the irgc so these elements are strengthened in this deal. if we have $100 billion out of escrow and it goes into those accounts, this isn't a free functioning economy. no, the irgc will control that money and decide what they spend it on and we've already seen a little bit of their pronouncements about what is important to them. getting to hezbollah. the types of systems, gps systems, that will allow hezbollah to fire some 80,000 plus rockets and missiles that the irgc has supplied hezbollah. getting to hamas, the weapons to replace those that have already been fired, rebuilding the tunnels that eliot engel and i have been in, that is another commitment apparently that the irgc is making.
4:20 am
so when we put that down payment in their hands, that is where the down payment goes. and as iran will be reconnected to the global economy, this is going to jump start those businesses that the irgc runs over there. so to our dismay, in addition, iran won a late concession to remove international constrictions on its ballistic missile program and on conventional arms, imperilling the security of the region. and frankly when we talk about the removal on ballistic missile programs, we have to remember the words of the ayatollah, it is the responsibility of every military man to figure out in iran huh to help mass produce icbm's. i don't think he's talking about a space program with that comment. so mr. chairman, and the reason i don't think it is because he follows it up with death to america. that is why i think it. that his line of thought is one
4:21 am
which is a national security threat to the united states. chairman, those are a few of the reasons i'm opposed to the agreement. i appreciate the fact that the leadership and both parties recognize the gravity of the vote we'll have this week and i'd ask the rule allow as much time as possible for debate so as many possibles as possible can have their voices heard on this historic agreement. and that this be considered under a closed rule so we can have the straight up or down vote as envisioned by the iran nuclear agreement act passed last spring. whatever your view on this agreement, i think we can all agree that we face a very difficult and gravely threatening challenge from the iranian regime. this is a regime, again, that chants on a weekly basis, death to america, death to israel, and frankly they mean it. the region is a mess and congress has a role to play.
4:22 am
and feel working with my colleagues and friend eliot engel that we've done a good job vetting this agreement and now members can come to their own conclusions as to whether this improves our national security. i feel it doesn't. but the house will come to its collective decision as it should. and i appreciate your time and i look forward to your questions. >> mr. chairman, thank you very much. i note that both of our witnesses that appear first from financial services and ways and means, i believe are in support of the administration's side, would that be correct? then i will make you make -- i will allow you the opportunity to decide which of you would present first, knowing that you both have -- then the gentleman, mr. levin, would prevent on behalf of the ways an means, the gentleman is recognized. >> and both of you will be recognized, right? >> i'm talking about you being recognized first and then we'll recognize miss waters. thank you very much, gentleman. >> thank you. once again, it ises a pleasure
4:23 am
to be here and hello to everybody. after a few -- more than a few weeks away. i had a chance before we left, it seems so long ago, to speak out on this and to expression my position. since then, like all of you, we've gone home. we've talked to -- vastly and intensely and intensively with our constituents and others. i think that has been a productive process. as i understand it, you're going to allow many, many hours of debate. which i think is a very wise choice. so let me not go into a lot of detail. they'll be many hours of debate. and i'll participate in them. i thought instead i would refer to the statements of two people. my hope is that my reference to
4:24 am
them and your reference to them might spark some kind of bipartisanship in this institution on this issue. i would first like to refer, as mentioned by louise slaughter, the statements -- it was the testimony on sunday of colin powell. he's the former secretary of state. we know his illustrious career. and here is what he said. and i quote, i think this is a good deal. i've studied very carefully the outline of the deal and what's in that deal and i've also carefully looked at the opposition to the deal and in my position after balancing these two sets of information is that it is a pretty good deal. now, i know there are objections to it but here is why i think it is a good deal. one of the great concerns that
4:25 am
the pop position has that we're leaving open a lane for the iranians to go back to creating a nuclear weapon in ten or 15 years. they are for getting the reality that they've been a superhighway for the last ten years to create a nuclear weapon or a nuclear weapons program with no speed limit. and then he referred to the reduction in the centrifuges and in the stockpile, a very dramatic reduction. and then he goes on to say, and again i quote, and so we have stopped this highway race that they were going down. and i think that's very important. now, will they comply with it? will they actually do all of this? will they get nothing until they show compliance? and that is the important part of this, as he said though. get nothing until they show compliance.
4:26 am
well the other criticism of this deal, and i continue quoting colin powell, has to do with behavior changes. why didn't we ask for it. it wasn't enough to just try to slow them down on the nuclear front or stop their ability to get a nuclear weapon. it is, should we also put in this deal, having them stop the funding of hamas, stopping the funding of hezbollah, stopping the backing of assad in syria. and i interject here. i think we all deeply feel the importance of that. and here is how he continued. i think all of these are important objectives. and they should not be set aside because of this deal. we have to keep pushing on the bad behavior that the iranians show constantly throughout the world. but this deal specifically had to deal with the thing that was most concerning to the world, most dangerous to the world, and that was the nuclear program
4:27 am
which could produce a weapon in a very short period of time. that has been thrown into a detour. and then he continues. and i'm reminded of what my former boss ronald reagan used to say when he talked to the soviets. trust, but verify. with respect to the iranians, it's don't trust, never trust, and always verify. and i think a very vigorous verification program has been put in place with the iaea and other international organizations. and then he continued. and so even if we were going to kill this deal, which is not going to happen, it is going to take effect any way because all of these other countries that were in it with us are going to move forward. the u.n. is going to move forward. and 100 nations have already agreed to this deal thinking
4:28 am
it's a good deal and they're all going to move forward. we're going to be standing in the sidelines. and so he finished, at least i finish quoting this. now, people will say, no can trust them. i don't trust them. i say we have a deal. let's see how they implement the deal. they don't implement it. bail out. none of our options are going. none of our options are going. but this is something we ought to pursue and try to make it happen under the terms under which the deal was reached. secondly, i would like to quote from prince go craft. i had a chance now six weeks ago to talk to him about this. he was, as we know, the national security adviser to jer ald ford and george h.w. bush. and i quote briefly from his op ed.
4:29 am
congress faces a momentous decision regarding u.s. policy toward the middle east. the coming vote on the nuclear deal between p5+1, iran, will show the world whether the united states has the will and sense of responsibility to help stabilize the middle east or whether it will contribute to further turmoil, including the possible spread of nuclear weapons. in my view, the jcpoa meets the key objective shared by recent administrations of both parties that iran limit itself to a strictly civilian nuclear program with unprecedented verification and the monitoring by the iaea and the u.n. security council. if the u.s. could have handed iran a take it or leave it agreement, the terms doubtless would have been more onerous on
4:30 am
iran. but negotiated agreements are the only ones that get signed in the times of peace are compromised by definition. it is where president reagan did with the soviet union on arms control and it is what president nixon did with china and it is the case with specific agreements with the soviet union and china. we'll continue to have significant differences with iran on important issues, including human rights, support for terrorist groups, and meddling in the internal affairs of neighbors. we must never tire of working to persuade iran to change its behavior on these issues and countering it where necessary. and then i conclude with this. there is no credible alternative for congress to prevent u.s. participation in the nuclear deal. if we walk away, we walk away alone. the world's leading powers work
4:31 am
together effectively because of u.s. leadership. to turn our back on this accomplishment would be an abdication of the united states unique role and responsibility, incurring justified dismay among our allies and friends. we would lose all leverage over iran's nuclear activities. so let me just close -- you know, i went back and looked at the statements of senator vandenberg, who came from michigan, who talked about the importance of bipartisanship at the water's edge. i think he maybe was the first to say that. i think we all need to, as we proceed in this debate, to keep that very much in mind. the feelings are deep. mine are very deep, going back
4:32 am
from when i was perhaps an infant. it was a matter of deep concern in our family regarding the establishment of a homeland, but for the jewish people in israel. we've all looked at this in a very, very diligent way. and mr. chairman, and ranking member, i hope you will allow long debate. i hope the debate may keep in mind when i said at the beginning, it is important, i think, to see if we can somehow, and maybe we'll do it afterwards, re-establish the bipartisanship on these key issues which has been a hallmark of this institution for a long time. thank you very much. >> mr. levin, thank you very much. we'll now move to financial services angle and we would
4:33 am
recognize the gentle woman from los angeles. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ranking member, slaughter and other members of the committee, thank you for allowing me to testify before you on hj-64, a resolution. this approving the joint comprehensive plan of action. mr. chairman and members, when i had a discussion with my staff about the rules committee meeting today, they basically said, well you know, it is not necessary to go. and they said that even talk with some of the staff people of the rules committee, who said, well you know, this is perfunctory, it is not really necessary. it is going to be a closed rule. there are no amendments. but i rushed from the airplane coming in from los angeles today to be at this rules committee, despite the fact that i guess it
4:34 am
is known that it is -- will be a closed rule, because i want to be recorded in history. that i took every opportunity to make my voice heard on this defining issue. this is a defining issue for the world, not just for the united states of america. i want it to be known that i believe that the five plus one, who came together on this joint agreement is extraordinary. to have china and russia at the table, talking about averting a nuclear war is extremely important. and not only do i want to be recorded in history, at every opportunity, i want to share with you and all of my colleagues not only how i feel,
4:35 am
but what i have learned as this debate has taken place around this country and in my district. and so i'm here today to testify before you on hj-64, this resolution disapproving the joint comprehensive plan of action, the nuclear deal reached between iran and six world powers, that has support of nuclear experts, military personnel, atomic energy experts and the unanimous support of the national security council which voted 15-0 in favor of the deal. i very much believe this deal is in the best interest of the united states and international security because it stands up very well as a barrier to proliferation for at least 15
4:36 am
years and it establishes an in trucive inspections regime to ensure that iran's program remains heavily monitored and exclusively peaceful. i also believe it was the best agreement that could have been reach reached. the argument from prime minister benjamin netanyahu and the house republican leadership supporting this resolution, that a better deal is possible ignores their own views of the iranian regime. these critics describe the regime as a whollyin transgent one, bent on regional domination and unwilling to show any accommodation. given this depiction, what basis do they have for saying that somehow iran could have been persuaded to concede even more than they did. the other alternative, which i
4:37 am
believe many of the agreements critics prefer, is an attack on iran, led by our country. the first thing that must be said about this is that every expert agrees that short of an american occupation of iran, nothing could prevent an iranian nuclear capacity. the war on iraq that president bush initiated was a single biggest disaster any american president ever caused. war with iran would be far worse. mr. chairman and members, i chaired a committee of the house opposing the war in iraq. and as we look back and reflect on the loss of life over 1,000 american soldiers and the costs of that war, i think we can all agree, it was a mistake. if we fail to understand the
4:38 am
significance and the importance of this agreement, and we in any way attempt to walk away, and isolate ourselves, it would be perhaps the biggest mistake this country has ever made. without this deal, we would very quickly face the unparallel choice between allowing iranians to continue its march toward a nuclear capability, or using military force to temporarily stop it. let's be clear about one thing. if congress rejects this deal, it will not lead to a better one. if the united states walks away, we walk away alone. the harsh international sanctions against iran that have been in place for over a decade were able to get iran to the negotiating table but economic sanctions alone have not prevented iran from continuing to pursue a nuclear capability.
4:39 am
in fact, history suggests that continued economic pressure will not force iran to agree to everything we might want, despite harsh sanctions and isolation, north korea still became a nuclear weapons state, crippling sanctions on iraq still did not lead to sadam relenting to u.s. demand, even under the threat of invasion. there is no guarantee that even powerful sanctions an the threat of ford will lead iran to eliminate all aspects of its nuclear program and plenty of reason to think that perhaps it will not. instead, the united states will have broken from its european allies. the necessary international support for iran related sanctions will likely erode. iran would be able to rapidly expand its capacity to produce bomb-grade materials and we would lose out on securing enhanced inspections needed to detect a clandestine weapons
4:40 am
effort. in other words, the risk of a nuclear armed iran would significantly increase. this deal deserves support because it is a well built agreement that has iran conceding that they will not pursue nuclear weapons, it is significantly constraining iranian nuclear efforts for more than 15 years and gives nuclear inspectors unprecedented access. iran must prove that its nuclear program is peaceful. if it fails to do so with this deal, the united states will have all of the tools it does now have in the future. and so, if i can just wrap this up by again reiterating to all of you, that we all have an opportunity to be a part of a
4:41 am
significant, important agreement. we all have an opportunity to be recorded in history, the way i think we would like to be recorded. that we joined hands in an effort to bring about peace. i am more than optimistic that we can do this. i'm more than optimistic that we can begin to rely on the young people in iran, many of whom have demonstrated that they too want peace, and that the ayatollah and others who have sent a different kind of message around the world, consistently, will not be in control forever. and it is up to us to have a vision for this possibility. and i want to be recorded that way. and i thank you for allowing me to be here at the rules committee today to be able to say one more time that i support
4:42 am
this agreement. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, you began talking about, and it's been a discussion today about the process that we know that the president did prefer to walk around congress. not needing, thinking he needed the congress involved. i am of a belief that something this big would involve, should involve congressional input and dialogue. and that is really what the corker bill was about. and can you tell us, real quickly, how did the corker bill ensure that congress has the ability to block this deal and why we're here is relevant to, i believe your committee and the four other committees of jurisdiction and why we're here today at this committee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would just make the observation that congress registered its concerns very early in this process. and in a bipartisan way.
4:43 am
because if we think back to the legislation that i and eliot engel originally authored and tried to push in terms of this negotiation, that legislation, which passed this house 400-20 -- 400-20, and then blocked over in the senate, at the request of the administration, and could not come up, that would have given the ayatollah a choice between economic collapse or real compromise on his nuclear agreement. and i want to get to this point. the president offers a false choice between this agreement or war. even a supporter of the deal testified in front of the committee that i chair that, i wouldn't say if you were opposed to this deal that somehow that leads to war. i think that is false, said the witness on the behalf of the administration. it is false. it is false. indeed, the country's top military office, the chairman of
4:44 am
the joint chiefs, recently testified in front of congress disputing the assertion that it was this deal or war. noting that the united states would have a range of options, what are those options? the most important one, the most important option that we had, the most effective sanctions against iran have always been those that give companies and countries a choice to do business with iran or the united states, and that indeed, is the premise of the legislation that we had passed 400-20. that is what we wanted to put into play. when given such a choice, which would still be possible to do, if congress rejects this agreement, then the result, in every case we've seen in the past, is companies and countries choose the united states. they do not choose to do business and lock themselves out of our market. the obama administration has never liked sanctions. they fought vigorously to oppose
4:45 am
sanctions targeting the iran central bank in december of 2011. then, as they are now, the obama administration claimed that imposing these sanctions would divide the international coalition and leave the united states alone in the world. i'll remind you, that didn't happen when we hung tough in 2011, when congress pushed for those sanctions and we got that set of sanctions through. indeed, that is why iran is even at the table. so, businesses and in particular banks, will be hesitant to put a premium on the iranian market if that means getting shut out of the united states. i think all of us understand that. that is the power of the united states financial markets. that is the potential damage of reputational risk to any company that makes that decision. that is the power that we in congress wanted to deploy in this negotiation. and that is what the administration did not deploy, flat out, by blocking the legislation that i andel yont
4:46 am
engel passed out of this house. so while maintaining a united sanctions front as congress rejects the nuclear agreement will be difficult, it will be easier to do so today than five years from now when iran is caught cheating and a sanctions regime must be reconstructed because i guarantee you, based on past behavior, they will be caught cheating. would i would -- so i would ask you, would you sooner deploy a treat now to force them to open up with a program where you can have verifiable inspections, going back to reagan's quote, which was actually an old russian saying, right, trust but verify. the verification is the part where we both agree, we don't trust iran. it is the verification program that is missing here. and that is what gives us -- many issues that gives us such great qualms in moving forward with something that would allow the iranians to do their own
4:47 am
verification and bring that to the united nations. for all of those verification. for all of those reasons we felt congress should be involved in negotiating this agreement, and why we're very disappointed that oh, the letter we sent on the committee, 84% of the members of this house signed that letter for the four issues that we wanted in this agreement. and not one of those issues is in the agreement. anywhere, any time informations, not there. don't lift the sanctions up front. hold them for the duration of the agreement to make sure that we have compliance. not there. the answers to the 12 questions from the iaea for which we have a thousand pages of evidence, not -- not there. the request that this be multiple decades not there. something we never envisioned. they add lifting the arms embargo on iran so iran will have the ability to move forward
4:48 am
with its icbm program as well as transferring conventional arms to hezbollah and hamas. it -- i've never seen anything negotiated as poorly as this agreement. and that's why we're here today, mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman, could i just comment briefly? >> yes, sir. >> i have a a meeting at 6:00. i just need to keep. could i just take a couple of minutes? >> the gentleman would like a couple more minutes? would this be an opening statement or would this be to reply to a question? >> i asked if i could comment on -- >> you would like to reply to the same question. the gentleman is recognized. >> thank you. it's sometimes said that the administration fought the sanctions throughout. that's not true. i was involved in many of the discussions about sanctions.
4:49 am
and if anybody wants to raise that question, i suggest that they talk to howard berman. it's not true. there were differences of opinion about the nature of the sanctions in some respect. it is incorrect to say that this administration opposed sanctions against iran. it's not true. and i just want to say one other word about this notion that we'll be stronger turning this down in terms of sanctions. i don't know of any responsible person who has looked at this who has the background in it who says that. i just suggest that you look at the testimony of secretary jack lew. he just refutes this notion that if we turn this down, we can on our own effectively impose a
4:50 am
stronger sanctions regime. that's fallacious. we would walk alone, as mr. scowcroft has said and colin powell has said. the notion that we have the financial power when already other nations have begun to undertake some further economic work with iran, it's -- it's an illusion. it's an illusion. because so many of the sanctions would disappear. the other countries would not participate. and the ministers from the other countries have said very clearly to us that this notion that you can turn this down and have a stronger set of sanctions is something that is imaginary. i appreciate the chance to
4:51 am
answer your question. we'll have a full debate on this for hours, as many as you allow. we'll have a full debate about this. mr. royce will have a chance to raise these points, and we'll be fully prepared to answer them. >> but if the gentleman would yield, part of this is personal for me because one of those bills was my bill. and when you say the president did not oppose sanctions, it was my -- if you would yield, it was my legislation. it did pass 400-20. it passed unanimously through the committee. and yes, the president and the secretary of state opposed it every step of the way. and managed to block it in the senate. so for me, my personal experience is one of -- one of not being able to convince the administration that putting additional pressure on iran with sanctions would be helpful.
4:52 am
and the conclusion i reached is one that was shared by the vast majority of this house at the time. >> if you look -- if i take back my time -- >> excuse me just a minute. i appreciate the gentlemen having a discussion back and forth. yes, sir? thank you very much. i want to be respectful to all three of you to get the things out that you wanted to respond to a question. my last point that i'd like to make is simply this. the question that this will lead to war. and i think i have a tendency to understand that the american foreign policy i believe since the dropping of the bomb has been the belief that fewer countries should have access to nuclear weapons. we've spent a great deal of time trying to watch that, the proliferation that might occur,
4:53 am
whether it was the soviet union or other nations as they go through their ups and downs. and that it defies my logic that we would just automatically say but you can have it in 15 years. when we've tried to do everything we can do to not do that. and it seems like to me that when negotiation fails, that's when you get war. i believe that to have any country that threatens our allies or americans, that it is in our best interests, mr. chairman, to make sure that we're doing what we can to protect this country. and i believe it's a capitulation and giving in to that. and so i have answered the question myself. i believe this is about making iran the strongest person in the middle east. and that comes against conventional wisdom. i don't understand that. and i'm worried about that.
4:54 am
>> chairman, if i could respond to that, again, to quote the chairman of the joint chiefs, as he said, it is -- it does not -- it does not mean that we would have a military. conflict. he said that the united states has a range of options. he did not think it meant that. he thinks that it doesn't mean war. but what it does mean is rolling up our sleeves and turning up the economic pressure on the regime and on the regime supporters in negotiating a better agreement that advances the national security interests of the united states and our allies and our partners. but that is something that we will bebait as we go forward. >> well, my point was in the negotiations, we gave it to them. if we didn't want them to have it, it would resort the war. thank you very much. >> right. we're not opposed to diplomacy. we're just against bad diplomacy. and that's what we're going to
4:55 am
debate. >> i think this gives up to diplomacy. the gentleman? >> to be excused. >> mr. levin, you did tell me you had things you had to do. >> and i appreciate the time. >> we appreciate you very much. thank you very much. >> thanks. >> yes, sir. ms williams, will you stay? >> thank you. i want to thank the chairman of the committee, foreign affairs for being here with us and thank ms. waters for being here with us also. mr. chairman, most of us here today agree the united states cannot tolerate a nuclear regime in iran. unfortunately, president obama and his allies have spent the past two months vilifying as warmongerers those who are deeply concerned as i am that
4:56 am
this deal may postpone but will not prevent iran from gaining nuclear weapons. that is unfortunate rhetoric for those who themselves stated if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care. before the final deal was announced, i spoke on the house familiar about my concerns that inspectors from the international atomic energy agency would have limited access to key sites under untenable bureaucratic terms. given what we know about the text of the deal itself, from the text of the deal itself, what we have learned about the agreement between iran and the iaea, these concerns are well-founded. in addition to allowing iran to continue and enhance its nuclear capabilities, this deal lifts crucial economic sanctions, allowing billions of dollars to
4:57 am
flow into the iranian economy. it is expected that much of this windfall estimated to exceed 100 billion will pass through iran's economy to entity likes hezbollah, which is dedicated itself to war with israel since the early 1980s. mr. royce, your discussion with the chairman makes it clear a wealthier, more militarized iran poses a significant threat to the stability of our allies in the region, especially to our friend israel. given the ayatollah's continued public incitement of violence against israel, what steps can congress take in tandem with disapproval of the joint agreement to bolster israel's security and instability in the middle east? >> well, representative foxx, let me share with you my concerns in terms of what i saw
4:58 am
up close on the basis of iran's transfer. >> your microphone. >> on the basis of iran's transfer of military capability to hezbollah. in 2006, when i was chairman of the terrorist subcommittee, anti-terrorism subcommittee, we were in haifa when it was being shelled by the hezbollah regime. and at this point, quds forces were on the ground. iranian forces were assisting. they maybe had 10,000 rockets and missiles in the inventory. in haifa, they were slamming these missiles. each one had 90,000 ball embargoes, into the center of town. there were 600 victims in the trauma hospital. going to prevent iran from building on the tragedy that we've already witnessed, the first question is this. we've already shown an incapacity to stop iran from transferring what was 10,000
4:59 am
rockets, and now is 80,000. but this is the recent statement that the iranian government has made. they now say what we need to do is to transfer, and this would be a violation, right, of the old arms embargo. but it's one of the reasons they wanted that lifted. they want to transfer to hezbollah the gps capability, or the ability to direct these missiles so they can be fired precisely at a given target. no longer will they just slam into the center of town. now they can hit the airport, or they can hit a skyscraper in tel aviv. or they can hit jerusalem at a specific location. that's the capability the iranian regime is trying to transfer. it's hard to do it when you don't have the resources. but boy, if you lift $100 billion worth of money that is held in escrow, and that goes into the hands of the irgc, then they're going have that
5:00 am
capability. they've also it was reported in "the wall street journal," iran is looking to rebuild the tunnels. myself and eliot engel were in one of the tunnels there is 33 that were discovered. they need to be rebuilt according to the eyes the irgc in iran. so that government is offering to rebuild those tunnels for hamas, resupply hamas with weapons. and the question i have is in the middle of this negotiation, you have the head of the quds forces who personally led a raid into israel, who helped overthrow the government in yemen, win over allies, who has led forces in syria and in iraq, who has killed 500 americans, this individual reportedly made a trip over to russia in order to talk with russian officials. i wonder what he wanted.
5:01 am
one of the things we know he wants is greater capability in offensive weaponry, missiles and otherwise. and now the russians are talking about sending to iran new missiles. those are the types of weapons that iran would like to put in the hands of hezbollah. and now that they're in syria, by the way, they're on the border and recently iran has been charged with firing missiles from syria into israel. so what i see here is a need to really focus on the fact that this tranche of cash into the hands of the military leaders in iran and the quds forces on the ground that help hezbollah is going to give them the opportunity to open up in very short order a new front. so if this goes through and the sanctions are lifted, and the arms embargo is lifted, these are the worries i think we have. but by the way, it's not just israel. i'll just remind you, our
5:02 am
friends in the region, it wasn't just yemen that fell. jordan has concerns. the gulf states have concerns. egypt has to live with all the money that iran puts into the hands of the muslim brotherhood. so think about where this money is going to go and how many of our friends and allies are going to be threatened as a result. >> mr. chairman, i know we are spending a lot of time here today. and i'll ask one more quick question if i might. the administration has assured us that some u.s. sanctions will remain in place, like those related to iran's deplorable human rights violations. in your view, mr. royce, how effective will these remaining sanctions be in altering iran's behavior? >> well, think about this, if you will. members of the rules committee. iran takes the lives of about 2500 of its citizens every year. you hear about the cases in even
5:03 am
prison and the torture and the killings. those are ones who have religious views that differ from the regime. think about the four americans that have been held by iran and the fact that they're not released. so we had one measure of leverage besides the drop in the price of oil, and that was the sanctions that we were holding on iran. that gave us if we were to double down on the sanctions and make it harder on iran, that gave us our best hope of changing the behavior of that regime. who now will be empowered when we lift the sanctions? as i said before, who controls in iran? the bank accounts, theirs is not a free economy. the ayatollahs, the clerics and the commanders of the irgc of their military are the ones that control the major companies because after the '79 revolution, they were
5:04 am
transferred to those individuals. so as the money courses in, as the money goes through the society, they are the ones with the leverage. up until now, iran has been on the ropes. now lift the sanctions, a and those individuals will be empowered. and unfortunately, they're true believers in terms of their cause. when they say death to america, when they say death to israel, and you saw rouhani himself marching in the street, this is a story that "the new york times" carried. they said the crowd behind were saying "death to america." the signs in front of him, "death to israel." they quote rouhani and they ask him how does the future look. he says with this deal the future looks very bright. wouldn't it have been better if we at least had gotten them to change their rhetoric in terms of their threats? talk about telegraphing a punch. i mean, the iranian regime has been very clear in terms of its
5:05 am
objectives since 1979. and the neighbors countries can attest to the fact that they're not only destabilizing the region, they have very real designs on what they would like to do in those neighborhoods in terms of sowing terror. and they prove they can do it whenever they can get their hands on hard currency. they're going have a lot more hard currency unfortunately if this deal goes through. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. mrs. slaughter, you're recognized. >> thank you, madam chairman. i would like to ask consent of administrative policy. >> without objection. >> and i would like to read and let the administration speak for itself here this afternoon. the administration strongly opposes, as we all know, and it just talks about who is in the p5 plus 1. it would effectively block the international community from peacefully and verifiablebly preventing iran from acquiring a
5:06 am
nuclear weapon, would allow for the resumption of the unconstrain and unchecked iranian nuclear program, and would lead to the unraveling of the international sanctions regime that was sustained because the administration sought to diplomatically resolve concerns regarding iran's nuclear program. further enactment of this resolution would deal a devastating blow to america's credibility as a leader of diplomacy and could ultimately result in the exhaustion of alternatives to military action. if this resolution were enacted, the hard work of sustaining a unified coalition to combat iran's destabilizing activities in the region would be much more difficult, as would america's ability to lead the world on nuclear nonproliferation. preventing iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon has ban top priority of the united states and the administration. it's been a long-standing policy to retain all options to achieve that objective, including possible military options.
5:07 am
at the same time, the administration has worked diligently with the congress and our international partners to achieve a peaceful diplomatic solution, recognizing that a negotiated understanding offers a more effective, a verifiable and durable resolution. jcpoa achieves this by reinforcing the prohibition against iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. a verifiablebly cutting off all of iran's potential pathways to a nuclear weapon and instituting the most comprehensive inspection and verification regime ever neglected to a nuclear program. jcpoa makes the united states and the world safer by removing the gravest threat that iran could pose to the middle east, including israel and our gulf partners. the jcpoa if faithfully implemented would very final cut
5:08 am
off through a plutonium pathway or through a potential covert plan. iran is bound under the treaty of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons to never seek a nuclear weapon and jcpoa provides the tools to ensure that iran cannot use a peaceful program as a cover to pursue a nuclear weapon. jcpoa is not based on trust, but on an unprecedented inspections, monitoring and transparency regime. under the jcpoa there will be 24/7 monitoring of iran's key nuclear facilities. inspectors will be able to get timely access to the places they need to go for inspections or iran will be in violation of the jcpoa and risk the reimposition of sanctions which let me add would probably only be possible if we have this treaty, or this agreement rather. because the other nations in this agreement would not go along with reinstating
5:09 am
sanctions. and they have said so. for decades, the inspectors will have access to iran's entire nuclear supply chain from the uranium mines and mills to the centrifuge production facilities. and this means in order for iran to covertly acquire a nuclear weapon, it would need to build an entirely separate undetected nuclear supply chain. the jcpoa also facilitates the international accom mick energy agency to complete its report on the possible military dimensions of iran's 2003 program. it also ensures that iran has powerful incentives to keep its nuclear agreements. before getting phased relief from secondary sanction, iran has to complete all of the major nuclear steps which will extend the amount of time it would take iran to acquire enough material from the one weapon from the current two to three months to at least a year.
5:10 am
for example, the core of iran's heavywater reactor will be pulled out and filled with concrete, rendering it unable to produce plutonium that co. be used to create a weapon. 2/3 of its nearly 20,000 currently installed centrifuges will be removed. its current stockpile of enriched uranium will be enriched by 98%. and it must put in place the monitoring surveillance and access measures that will ensure the ability to verify that its nuclear program is used exclusively for peaceful purposes going forward. if iran fails to abide by jcpoa commitments, all relieved sanctions both unilateral and multilateral can snap back into place. the administration is fully committed to continuing to brief and closely consult the congress as we work with our international partners to ensure successful implementation of the jcpoa. as we address our concerns with
5:11 am
iran's nuclear program, the administration remains clear-eyed and shares the deep concerns of the congress and the american people about iran's support for terrorism. its destabilizing role in the region, its human right ace bayouses. and that is why we will continue to vigorously enforce our sanctions against these activities and work closely with our partners in the region to counter them. using a range of unilateral and multilateral tools. the jcpoa must be assessed by what it achieves on its central goal of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. and the administration urges the congress to fully consider the stakes for our national security of walking away from the international community. without the jcpoa in place, iran would likely resume the advancement of its nuclear program without any of the constraints or transparency required by this deal, and without the international unity
5:12 am
of our sanctions regime, which would be the worst of all possible worlds, leaving us in a position of weakness, not strength. the president has made it clear that he will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of jcpoa if the president were presented with hres-64. he would veto the resolution. and i yield back my time. thank you very much. mr. cole, you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to begin by thanking both our members from being here. i especially want to thank the chairman who i think has been particularly astute. and i want to pause it a couple of things up-front before i ask my questions. first, i don't question anybody's motives in this debate. i really don't. quite frankly, on the president's side, look, about two out of every three people that have an opinion in the country are against this deal.
5:13 am
and most americans think -- i saw another poll today that if a majority of congress disapproves as it likely will, that the president shouldn't veto that. so -- and, you know, from the president's the future of democratic leader in the senate is opposed to this deal. is the former democratic chairman of the senate foreign relations committee is opposed to this deal. i believe both the current ranking members of the senate and the house foreign affairs committee, both democrats obviously are opposed to this deal. so if you're willing to push ahead under that, then you certainly must believe in the deal. so i don't have any doubt that the president believes in what he is doing. and i don't have any doubt the secretary believes in what he is doing. i also want to posit the same thing is true on the other side. we've heard a lot of rhetoric out of the white house that republican opposition is simply partisan obstructionism.
5:14 am
they were singing a little different tune six weeks ago when trade promotion authority got passed overwhelmingly by republican votes to give what the president to that point had been his biggest foreign policy victory of the year. and frankly, if he negotiates successfully deals and transpacific partnership and the equivalent agreement with our european friends, it will probably be overwhelmingly republican votes that pass that if he chooses to submit an agreement. so to suggest the republicans aren't willing to support the president simply because there is a partisan difference is wrong. i think they have demonstrated -- or isn't kret correct. they have demonstrated repeatedly they're willing to support him if they think he is right. which i assume is true for our democratic members who opposed him on the trade issue because they thought he was wrong. i don't doubt their motives. but they didn't support, quote, the president for partisan reasons. i would hope they would grant we're not opposing him today for partisan reasons. there are a lot of things about
5:15 am
this agreement that cause me a great deal of concern. mr. chairman, i want to adjust my first question to you. there have been all sorts of news reports about secret side deals between iran and the international atomic energy agency. have those agreements been fully  to those agreements been fully the country. does the administration even have detailed knowledge about those agreements? >> i have asked for those agreements in writing, the two side agreements, and no. we have not received them, mr. cole. >> in your opinion, could those agreements materially impact whether or not this is a good agreement or not? >> if we go to the issue of self-inspections, i had always presumed that international inspectors would be doing the international inspections.
5:16 am
and given the erosion of the original concept of anywhere, any time inspections to first 24 hours, and then as michael hayden, former head of the cia explained, into a position where it becomes a political decision, not a technical one, in which iran has a say, russia has a say, china has a say in terms of access, i think a debate about that mechanism for verification is one that could have an impact ovuzt members' decisions, about whether or not this will be effective in preventing iran from obtaining a weapon. >> would -- is there any reason to believe that the international atomic energy agency or the iranian government would make these agreements public, so we would all know what the nature of the inspection regime is, who can
5:17 am
come, who can't come, under what conditions? >> and that is why i wrote to the white house asking that they be made public. and i don't see any reason why they shouldn't be so that they can be part of this debate. >> do you know if the administration has asked the international atomic energy agency and the iranian government to make them public? >> i do not know the answer to that. >> i would certainly hope that they would. and if they haven't, to this point, that they do. let me move to another part of the agreement that we know a little bit more about. and that's the easing of sanctions in terms of the financial windfall that will come the iranian regime. as i understood it when we initially announced and the president initially announced our objectives in the negotiations, things were supposed to be linked so that as confidence was accumulated, that the iranians were keeping their word, sanctions would be gradually easing there would be a sort of process of quid pro quo as that unfolded. is that indeed the nature of the
5:18 am
agreement today? >> i think one of the things we ran into is the attitude of the military in iran, which early on boasted that they're not going to give access to the military sites for inspection. they're not going to have that in their dreams, to quote the irgc leadership. so what evolved was a situation where because we weren't going to achieve the original goals that we sought in terms of -- because it evolved into managed access and then this question of side agreements, iran just held its position and said no, we want all the sanctions lifted. and the very real question is how then do you verify that iran is keeping its side of the agreement? as michael hayden said, the worry we always had was not just
5:19 am
the facility we might want to look at, but all the facilities where they might be doing additional work that we couldn't gain access so. so we end up with self-inspections on the iranian side of the equation, and we end up giving ground in terms of lifting the sanctions without having that verification. so i think it goes right to the conundrum that you point out, mr. cole. >> let me -- and you alluded to this. can you give us some idea of what the people in the region, the effect of friends and allies of the united states, what has their reaction been? >> i received a call from the ambassador from the uae who indicated that their government was no longer -- no longer felt bound by the agreement which we call the gold standard on
5:20 am
nonproliferation, which the uae had signed. and he indicated to us that in his words, your worst enemy has achieved this right to enrich. it's a right to enrich now that your friends are going to want too. and we won't be the only country. so i've heard a critique of this on an ongoing basis. myself and my ranking member have had lunch with the representative of saudi arabia. we've heard from the leadership of all five political parties, main parties in israel, from labor, from the center left, from center right, we've heard from the governments in lebanon about their concern. let me just frankly say that as this process went along, we heard concerns from those in the region who feel that iran might
5:21 am
become the hedgemon in that region, especially with the lifting of sanctions. we heard their worries about the lifting of sanctions. >> so that could suggest that this could easily ignite an arms race of sorts in the middle east from our friends who feel somewhat abandoned or at least vulnerable. >> we've had much testimony, mr. cole, before the committee about those who are concerned, that we had a nonproliferation regime to which now iran has carved out an exception. and what then will be the reaction? we already know the reaction from the united arab emirates, from that conversation the ambassador had with me. but who else will follow down that road? and that is why it's very important when you have a negotiation to remember that the end goal here is to have something which really could control the right to enrich and
5:22 am
also the verification. >> one of the things that concerns me about this. i'll try to be quick, because i know my colleagues have many questions too. we hear a lot of comparisons between the reagan negotiation with the old soviet union and this one. and it strikes me that the key difference was at reykjavik, ronald reagan got up and walked out. he said the deal isn't good enough. and lo and behold, we had a deal later that was good enough. unfortunately, i think that critical moment was probably in april of this last year when the deadline for the negotiation was up. and i think had the president said everybody's negotiated in good faith. we just can't agree, but we're9a leaving but the sanctions of course stay. if you want to change your mind and call, we'd be happy to come back to the table and sit back with you and see if we can find a way forward. i think that was really a critical order. if you're extending the deadline, you're the guy making the concessions.
5:23 am
>> mr. cole, they think was a fundamental error in judgment. because instead by lifting at a time when iran was on the ropes, by lifting sanctions by $700 million a month, that gave iran the breathing room then and the confidence to believe that if they waited this out, maybe they did not need to give concessions. and it was not just on that front, but also the transfer of, you know, the gold sales from turkey. there were areas where iran was beginning to test, to see what would we do to prevent iran from busting sanctions. and in a situation like that, if you don't do what reagan did, you know, show your resolve, as he showed his resolve in walking away from reykjavik until he got a better deal, if instead you give in and you start to lift the sanctions and you say okay, you've got the right to enrich in the meantime, fair deal would
5:24 am
have been to say okay, you shut down your enrichment and we'll give you something in return. but ultimately out of that unfortunate situation we lost the pressure for the right to enrich. but it wasn't just that we lost in the negotiation. because as we went forward, we got rolled on every one of those four issues that i raised. and then amazingly, at the 11th hour, russia came to iran's side in this debate and said by the way, we also want the arms embargo itself lifted on icbm technology as well as regular conventional arms. and they got that in the negotiation. risks you aware -- and this would be speculative, and you might not be able to answer definitively. but i appreciate your opinion on it because it's well informed. were there any gains from april that we signed the deal in july? did the deal somehow get better for us? i can certainly see a number of
5:25 am
ways it god better along the way or to the iranians. it's very different from the objectives that the president announced at the beginning of the negotiation. but are there areas that we seem to get the upper hand in if any? >> mr. cole, i did not see any areas where i felt we were gaining ground. and this goes to the issue that i and mr. ingle and my committee brought up in the prior congress when we suggested that if we had additional leverage on iran, if we had passed that legislation, which would have cut iran's access, you know, to its financial sector and actually give the ayatollah that tough choice between real compromise on his nuclear program or economic collapse, that that was the leverage we needed at a time when iran was fighting a real financial problem with hyperinflation, very high unemployment, the price of oil going down. that was the time to leverage. but the administration did not
5:26 am
want to put that additional leverage on. and despite a bipartisan vote of 400-20 in the house, they blocked that legislation in the senate. so i think we lost our opportunity to leverage for what we needed in the agreement. >> well, i'm going yield back time. >> mr. -- sir, before you. >> certainly. i would be happy. >> because i've got the answer to one of your quirks yes, ma'am. >> my intrepid staff back here has given this to me. about the question about the side agreements with iaea, there is no secret side deal hiding loopholes to the nuclear agreement with iran. iran has the same sort of agreements with iaea that the united states has. iran is a party to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. so it has so-called and quote safeguards agreement with the iaea that contains among other things verification protocols agreed to by iaea and iran.
5:27 am
the iaea has these safeguard agreements with 180 countries, including us. we have one of our own. each one of them are separate. these extremely sensitive agreements, including the usa's agreement with iaea are all confidential because if they were public, none of the 180 countries would agree to iaea oversight. if lawmakers from iran ask the iaea to see the safeguards agreement with the united states, the iaea director general amano would say no, and he did the same when he told our lawmakers that he could not show them iran's agreement. >> reclaiming my time. >> thank you for yielding. >> absolutely. >> i would just point out there is a big difference between the united states which hasn't violated the nonproliferation agreement and iran that has repeatedly violated. that's why there was a negotiation. because they had been in violation repeatedly on this.
5:28 am
so the idea that they should have the same treatment as people who have kept their immigrant and kept their word is suspect to me. regardless, at the end of the day, you know, i think it has to be made available, because this is all about a country that has repeatedly broken its word and not kept its commitments. so that would suggest you need to have a little extra insurance on our side. >> have it unilaterally. >> i didn't say unilaterally. i think the iranian government frankly ought to disclose it. i think the iaea in this case, it's a little different. this is a country that has broken its agreement. so we're saying should it have all the privileges under this that everybody has that keeps their word. and i'm sorry. i just don't have that kind of confidence in the people in tehran, the regime. so that's my concern.
5:29 am
let me yield back, if i may. but i just want to thank my friend the chairman. and i want to thank your ranking member as well for the manner which you both have conducted yourself through this. and the hearing. it's been informative. it's been helpful to those of us that are not on your committee. and again, look forward to hearing more in the days ahead. so with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> chair, thanks to the gentleman. the chair yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. >> thank you very much. let me say from the outset i support this deal. and i think it's a good deal. for one important reason, it blocks all of iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon. that's what this deal was supposed to be about. in this negotiation, by the way, stopped the progress on iran's nuclear program. if it wasn't for this negotiation iran would probably have the bomb by now. and then we would be talking about some really awful alternatives here today.
5:30 am
i just also think it's worth repeating that all 15 members of the u.n. security council and the six members of the gulf cooperation council including saudi arabia also support the agreement as the most effective method in preventing a nuclear armed iran. and i'd like to ask unanimous content to put in the record a letter signed by more than 100 american ambassadors, including five former ambassadors to israel in support of the deal. i'd like to also issue a consent to put in support a record that was sent to all of us by 77 nuclear nonproliferation experts who have been advisers to both republican and democratic administrations. >> without objection. >> also, a letter we should have received from 32 of the nation's top scientists, including nobel laureates, veteran makers of nuclear arms and former white house science advisers who wrote a letter in support of this deal. and also a letter that was sent
5:31 am
to us by 4,100 u.s. catholic sisters throughout the united states in support of this deal. look, i don't trust iran. i think this -- i think the verification measures in this agreement are solid. and i think that's reflected by the expert opinion that is coming out in support of this deal. i also should just say for this record, i don't trust iran, i don't think the iranians have a lot of trust for us either. and when you look at our history in iran from a cia overthrow of their government in the 1950s to our collaboration with our then friend saddam hussein in the late 1980s when we shared intelligence with him which he then used to use sarin gas against iranian soldiers. i mean, i think there is a lot of history with us that provides a lot of skepticism in iran with regard to anything we do.
5:32 am
so neither of us trusts one another. and that is precisely why we need an agreement like this that is verified. and i think the administration deserves credit. and look, i think everybody on this committee has made up their mind on how they're going to vote on this. i think the point of this committee is to make sure that there is ample time for robust debate so that everybody can make their views known and engage in that debate. and i surely would support that i hope we have as much debate as humanely possible. because i think it is important for people on both sides to be able to state their opinion. but, again, i would close by saying, you know, i'm going to proudly support this agreement and vote against the resolution approval because i think it's in the interests of the united states. i think it is in the interests of israel. i think it is the interests of the world to prevent iran for getting a nuclear weapon. and i think this is our best chance of getting it.
5:33 am
wand that i yield back my time. >> the gentleman yields back. the chair thanks the gentleman. thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for being with us for so long this evening. it's easy to listen to your testimony and thank that your mind is made up about this issue and has been made up about this issue. i know you will not toot your own horn. but it's not as if you just focused on this in 2015. you did lead 80% of this house in trying to get a better -- encouraging the president to get a better agreement this year. but you did that very same thing last year. and you did that very same thing in 2013. it has been year after year after year after year that you have been trying to be a productive force in this conversation. i want to read just in case other folks won't, your letter from this year that, again, on behalf of more than 80% of the house said we hope the administration is able to achieve a lasting and meaningful agreement. to suggest that this is a happy
5:34 am
day for folks disagree with so many of the president's policies is -- is far from true from day one on issues of international concern. you have tried to be a partner with this white house and lead the white house. and again, done so on behalf of the vast majority of this congress. i'm much less concerned about the so-called 24-day clock on known sites. i'm concerned about the 24-day clock on unknown sites. when you talk about a meaningful agreement, when we talk about the iaea, if i go back to your letter from 2015 you site that the iaea was looking for 12 different sets of information from iran. and at the time that you penned that letter, iran had only complied with one of those 12 requests. it's not as if the history of noncompliance is something from the 1970s or the 1980s. it's from spring of 2015 and is ongoing.
5:35 am
as i read the agreement, and again, what this congress asked for was a meaningful and long lasting agreement we can discard long lasting because ten years is ten years. and we no long lasting is not here. in terms of meaningful, when an unknown site is identified, the u.s.ifieds this through our intelligence committee. we go to the iaea, this third party group and say we believe there is something worth looking at here. what happens? what happens next? >> and that's part of our concern here. because this now becomes a political decision rather than a technical decision. you would hope that the iaea would simply have the right then to go inspect the site. but having had the precedent already set that, you know, core samples are going to be taken by the iranians themselves and turned over to the iaea, what that means is in the future, you're going to have not that
5:36 am
anywhere, any time inspection. not that 24-hour inspection, but you'll have at the outset a 24-day process, a process in which the iranians are going to have a say, in which russia and china will have a say. out of the seven-party deliberations, which will occur. and if one of the european partners decide it's not worth it to press the issue of violations because it might force a reimposition of sanctions, they'll have their fourth vote out of seven. so this is constructed in such a way in my judgment as to be of maximum advantage to the military in iran. and the other point i would make is that yes, it's easier to get access to civilian sites, but it was always the military sites where we were most concerned. because it was always the military sites where like parchon, they had done their
5:37 am
bomb work in the past. and it was the military sites they were most vociferous about never allowing international inspectors in. so yes, they'll try to self-police those sites. and they'll do so apparently without coming clean on the 12 questions that were asked. they answered as you said the first part of one of those questions. but the rest of the answers they refused to give. to date, anyway. so how do we know how far they have gotten on their bomb work? the original insistence, one of the reasons we pushed this whole case was to try to get those answers. and for them to come out the other side of this agreement without coming clean on what they have done in their development of their foundation for their nuclear program is beyond me signing off on something like that. so there is another side agreement where the iaea apparently will reach some kind of a concurrence with iran.
5:38 am
but one which will not printed. and again, to go back to the point, the reason iran is being treated differently i would say is because there aren't too many states in the world where the ayatollah or the head of state attends rallies in which they say yes, death to america. death to israel, and so forth. >> mr. chairman, i just want to be on the record. chairman royce from the very beginning tried to bring us together around this issue at every opportunity. he tried to play a constructive role in this. and to have him now as the lone witness sitting at the table having to speak out against this agreement because it fails to meet those important goals that he set out early on in cooperation with all of us is disappointing. i would argue if we had more
5:39 am
chairman royces in congress, we had more folks trying to play that productive bipartisan, collaborative role up-front, ewould have fewer contentious rules committee meetings. and it is so disappointing to have seen so much work and so much opportunity lost in this particular moment. i thank the chairman. i yield back. mr. chairman? >> thank you so much. and let the record reflect we do appreciate the gentleman being here, taking his afternoon, and will continue this push to see if we can get you on one vote tonight. and we're about halfway through that but we'll keep you informed accordingly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i'll welcome back all 12 of the members. i apologize for not being here earlier. i stated my opposition to this agreement throughout the summer. and there are a plethora of reasons. and i won't bore all you, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee or anyone else. but i'm at the point now where i
5:40 am
believe that we would be wise to consider what to do after this agreement is in force. and so beginning in july, i wrote to the president calling for a high level military person to be involved in monitoring the monitors of the inspections or regime. and toward that end, i believe it would be helpful if staffers from the relevant committees, particularly energy, foreign affairs, the state department, the defense department would be sequestered to such an individual or individuals for purposes of attending to just that. one of the things that offends me highly is the fact that no
5:41 am
american citizen is going to be directly involved in the inspections or regime. and i don't think that's right. and that is not even close to a reason. it's among the reasons that i choose to oppose this. additionally, today i filed legislation introducing a regulation, authorizing military force against iran if necessary to prevent it from on tang nuclear weapons. too many areas of nebulousness, and i believe in this instance that it would be helpful if iran clearly understood muscularity. and that this president or any successor, if they did not follow along with this agreement would have the authority to take whatever necessary military
5:42 am
actions to stop them. i have a variety of reasons. i'll have many opportunities to speak during the course of the week. mr. chairman, my only request would be of the rules committee. and that is that we give sufficient time for there to be a robust debate so that all sides, all members will have an opportunity to offer input. i yield back the balance of my time. >> yes, sir. thank you very much. the gentleman from texas, dr. burgess. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is unusual when the gentleman from florida and i agree. but i would echo his statement that i hope we allow ample time for debate for this because it is so important. and mr. chairman, i just have to ask you, we have all come home from our districts in august. and the question i got over and over again, why is this -- why is this being handled the way it is and not as would be directed by article 2, section 2, second
5:43 am
paragraph, where this would be a treaty subject to the advice and consent of the senate and requiring a 2/3 majority? >> and i would concur that i wish the president would support handling this as a treaty. as you know, though, he is in opposition and will veto a bill that would make it a treaty. which then means the question would be to go to court. and how many years would that take? i don't know. but if you're asking me in my opinion should he have come before congress to present this as a treaty? i would say yes. and clearly he expressed his opposition to it and let us know that if we tried to move in that direction, it would be vetoed. and so that leaves us where we are today. >> but it is -- it is extremely unfortunate. it certainly points up the wisdom of the founders who
5:44 am
purposefully structured this type of arrangement so that it would be difficult, and you would have to convince 2/3 majority in the senate. and as mr. cole pointed out, this has 2/3 majority opposition amongst the people when you look at the polling across the country. and certainly what i heard, and i'll just report to you from the 26th district of the great state of texas, it was uniformly opposed to what is being proposed in this agreement. >> dr. burgess, if i could respond to that, there is one indirect positive result of this not being a treaty. it does not have the force of law in the united states. >> so it really only is enforced for the duration of this administration, however long that is? >> that's correct. >> let me just ask you, because, i mean, this is really bothersome to me. there are three americans being
5:45 am
held prisoner, a fourth for whom is unaccounted but believed to be in iran. so why -- why wouldn't we structure an agreement where at least there were some certainty that those individuals were being treated fairly and really in a perfect world, they would be repatriated to the united states? certainly the three who are prisoners, the one who is not under the control of the iranian government, i get that. but "the washington post" reporter, the ex-marine, i mean, these guys should be home. >> and we held hearings on this, raised this with the administration repeatedly. and during those hearings, brought family members, including the sister of that marine. and yes, that young marine who went to visit his grandmother in iran has been tortured. we had hearings on the case of pastor abedini, a christian
5:46 am
pastor whose crime was merely to gather people to study the bible. he has been tortured. his wife testified before us. jason, "the washington post" reporter, as you know worked for a better understanding of the iranian people. if you read his columns, it's -- you can't figure out what the objection would be. because it was simply people-to-people reporting. and yet he languishes, you know, in jail, and just went through a show trial. robert levenson, i don't think we've heard about his whereabouts since 2007. he is the american longest held as a hostage. but holding hostages is not something new for the iranian regime. >> you know, i just -- i wasn't there. i watched it on television. but at the white house correspondents dinner, the president gave a rather impassioned talk about how "the washington post" reporter should be returned and released by the
5:47 am
iranian government. i mean, did that -- was that just a speech? does that not carry any weight? >> you weight? >> sometimes how a ruzeme its own people is a good indication it will treat others. as i said earlier, you have 2,500 people who were killed this year because of religious differences, because they were, you know, some other minority religion, which the regime takes exception to. or killed because, you know, they spoke out about religious freedom. so we're dealing with absolutists with respect to the ayatollah and other clerics running that country. and despite bipartisan calls from congress, we didn't demand the release of these four americans prior to this agreement. in my judgment, we should have. >> now, the commander of the force, who was responsible, if i
5:48 am
recall correctly on several trips to iraq it was well-known there was an iranian general who was -- iranian commander who was involved in the creation or construction of vehicle borne explosive devices, and individual explosive devices, the type of wiring and copper that was used pretty much points to this individual. after a period of time, he gets, in fact, a no build by anyone and is free to do whatever he wants. is that correct? >> they have been lifted. while it's still a violation. there's every indication that he flew to moscow and had meetings with senior russian leaders, including president putin as well as the defense minister of russia. he is credited with the death of over 500 americans. he has a long, long list of
5:49 am
terrorist activity in charge of assassinations outside of iran and of military operations outside of iran. the irgc carries out the operations inside, the kudz force is outside. that could include the forces that helped overthrow yemen, as well as he personally led an attack into israel with the hezbollah unit. he's credited with doing that. he has been in syria, in iraq, you get a sense of just what kind of a danger this individual is. you can only imagine the types of weapons he wants to get his hands are. >> one of those will be an intercontinental delivery device. i want to thank you spending time with us today. this has caused me to dust off the copy of the art of the deal. a lot of people refer to this as
5:50 am
a deal. this isn't a deal, this is a gift. a gift from the administration to the ayatollahs and the mullahs in iran. it should be defeated and turned back. we should treat it as a treaty. if you can't convince 2/3 of the senate to be with him. that's the end of that. thank you mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i know we have four or five other committee members that would wish to speak with you. what i'd like to do is to allow you a chance, if i could to go down and vote. we have not given you that chance and for you to come back. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> if you could do that, we'll stay right here and have a brief discussion. we'll let you do that and wait for you to return, please. the committee wants to welcome a man from dallas texas, from
5:51 am
princeton, university, the class of 2017. i want to thank him for being pin attendance. and also a member of my staff, renee, texas a&m class of 2016. i want to thank her for taking time to be here today. both these interns from princeton and institute of higher learning, texas a&m we want to welcome and thank you for being here. today, what we've done is we've allowed ourself a chance to look at the deal that the president as a result of the corker bill, will -- we're looking at a disapproval act. i know that we have two other members of congress that are here and would be ready, i believe, one of them, the gentlemen, mr. gomert from tyler, texas, would be seeking and is seeking to be a member
5:52 am
who would come and give testimony. mr. gomert i want you to know that we have received your amendment in the nature of a substitute that would -- we would engage you on. and i'm sure that she would use this time if she would choose to entertain this opportunity, the gentlewoman from new york, if she would choose to enter that into the record. >> i think we did that -- >> has that been done already? i'm sorry. i was gone for a minute. we're trying to burn 30 seconds. the gentlewoman has placed the statement of administrative policy -- i want to thank her very much for doing that. and so what we're going to do here is wait for mr. royce to come back. i want to thank the committee for not only their indulgence in
5:53 am
allowing us to meet today, but we did not have the opportunity as a result two of our witnesses needing to leave and then mr. royce needing a chance to go down and vote. the chance for us to wait here for just a minute for mr. royce going back. we will then go to the gentlemen from ohio. and then on down the dias and we note that the gentleman, the chairman of the committee ran down and he's running back. chairman royce, i want to thank you very much. the gentlemen from columbus, ohio, the gentleman -- >> thank you, mr. chairman and i appreciate chairman royce running that was like watching the ohio state game last night you ran so fast. i appreciate you being here.
5:54 am
you know, in congress, we set forward committees to create experts on lots of different areas. you've spent a lot of time in foreign affairs, as has your ranking member. i'm sorry we don't get the advantage of having him here today to talk about his perspective on this nor any other members from your committee. the other two minority members that were here, do they serve on your committee? >> no. >> do they serve on the intelligence committee by any chance? >> well, maybe in the distant past they may have. >> okay. but clearly not -- they're not getting the benefit of the current briefings and the current situation. has -- do you know if ranking member engel has made his position public? i believe he has. >> both on the house side, the chairman and ranking member are both opposed to the iranian nuclear deal. it's the same in the senate.
5:55 am
both the ranking democratic member and the chairman of the committee are also in opposition. >> so there is bipartisan opposition to this deal? >> from those, i would say -- from those who have studied this the closest, we do have concerns. >> and i think you've done a great job of outlining those in the previous questions. i won't make you sort of reexplain that for me. but what i would like to talk about is just going forward, let's assume for a second that the president does have 34 senators that he claims to have and this deal, you know, is going to happen in its current form. can you tell me how important your committee is going to be and the work you're going to do to make sure we pet pressure on the international community and the administration to monitor the situation. as i look at what happened in the north korean deal from 1994,
5:56 am
you know, the north koreans talked really nice at the beginning and they signed a deal. in fact, the framework of that deal was very similar to this deal. what was included, what wasn't included. but it came very apparent pretty quickly in a few years they were not going to follow the agreement. tell me what your committee can do going forward to make sure that we get the information about when or if iran might be cheating, how we can make sure that we have a very vigilant follow up. that's one of the things everybody wants to talk about how colinpowell said it was a good idea. he said what's important is that we follow up to make sure people are doing what they said they'd doing. >> i think the most immediate challenge is going to be
5:57 am
presuming for a minute that we don't prevail. i think the media challenge is going to be iran distancing itself from any commitment on arms transfers. because the other day, we saw some of their senior officials say regardless of what's in the un sanctions, that say we've got to wait five years on the arms embargo and the conventional side, we don't recognize that. so what does the united states do? if we kick iran in the act in the moving a large traunch of missiles, especially the new precision guided missiles they claim they are going to transfer hes bola. what do we do if hezbollah starts firing them off? these are not going to be the types of missiles and rockets
5:58 am
that you can necessarily stop with the iron dome or patriot batteries. these are the new evolution of rockets that iran has been working on. iran is fixated on its ballistic missile system, both long range in terms of those that would be capable of hitting the united states, which, obviously the ayatollah frequently speaks about. but also the intermediate range ones that they will use in the region. and so the question becomes what are we willing to do to say, look, part of this agreement is that you're not going to transfer that -- those arms, which you're in the process of doing. and, indeed, they're in the process of firing rockets off right now into israel from syria. these are forces, iranian forces. this is why it looks to me like the international community intends to sort of look the other way w. turn a blind eye to
5:59 am
the violations, the current violations of the agreement. when i said earlier that iran had cheated on every agreement since 1979, that's the truth. and so i think these are the kinds of issues -- now in terms of how do we catch them now that we've got an agreement that says they are going to do the self-policing basically. international inspectors are not going to be allowed into their military bases. i don't have a good answer to that. i am very concerned about that. >> i appreciate t. you knit. i want to be clear. i oppose the deal. i think you laid out the reasons why. we need to stay laser focused on the future and how we can plot the best course given wherever we end up here. we need to have a plan. i think your committee is going to be right in the middle of this. i appreciate your leadership on this. and i just leave you with one last question, because the false
6:00 am
question of -- that's been laid that it's this or war, i would just ask you, what would be better if you had to have a war, unventional war or nuclear war? >> i'm going to go back to the comment of the chairman of the joint chiefs, he doesn't buy into the premise at all. there's a whole range of options. one of those options which i raised earlier was the fact that we continue to forget, we in terms of the international market, this country is the 800 pound gorilla. if you give companies a choice between doing business with the united states or only doing business with iran, i'll just quote stewart levy, the former secretary of the treasury. it's a pretty easy choice for any business or any country to make. you know what the answer is going to be. the question is, are we going to impose that. and we've never