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tv   Secretary of State Blinken Testifies on Diplomacy  CSPAN  April 26, 2022 1:34pm-2:00pm EDT

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district work period. some 14 bills are on the agenda, including a measure that would increase grants at women's business centers. also a bill to designate a national historic park in brown v. board of education. later this week, debate on whether to establish three new offices to combat domestic terrorism. also a bill that would expand president biden's authority to send military aid to ukraine. again, live coverage of the house beginning at 2:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span. >> much of the senate foreign relations committee hearing with secretary blinken focused on ukraine. the hearing was the first of two being held this week on president biden's foreign policy as congress considers more aid for ukraine and the 2023 budget. the secretary will testify before the house foreign affairs committee at 1:00 p.m. eastern on thursday. live on c-span3. right now, we'll go back to the beginning of today's hearing and opening statements.
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sen. menendez: mr. secretary, welcome back to the committee. we appreciate you being with us today. as we look across the world from cuba to mali to russia, authoritarians are crushing free speech, lysing technology to control their citizens, relying on mercenaries and illicit weapons to target civilians and topple governments. this is a confrontation between autocrats and those of us fighting for a rules-based international order, democracy, and human rights around the world. our diplomats and development professionals and our budget for these efforts, which we are
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examining, are our front lines in this fight. i'd like to take a moment to highlight some of our most pressing areas of concern. in europe, we must maintain absolute unity, as president biden has said, and i believe your recent trip to kyiv to show support for president volodymyr zelenskyy and the ukrainian people and to continue shining a light on russia's military brazen abusive civilians that certainly amount to war crimes was a critical display of that unity, and we salute you for the visit. more broadly, this means countering russian aggression with security assistance that aligns with our foreign policy, combating disinformation and election interference, delivering humanitarian relief, and helping neighboring countries with the influx of ukrainian refugees fleeing. we have a responsibility to the
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american people and ukrainians to ensure we are effectively spending the $13.6 billion package congress approved in march. with a minor increase in foreign military financing funds, i'd like to hear the plans for countries on nato's eastern flank, and taiwan, for that fact, which is facing a similar threat. xi ching ping -- jinping's hyper nationalism is at a pitch around the globe. bilaterally and through robust presence and through international institutions. authoritarianism threatens latin america and the caribbean, a
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part of the world hit hard by the covid pandemic. from venezuela to nicaragua, we are seeing the weaponization of hunger and migration all as maduro carries out systematic, extrajudicial executions. an epidemic of criminal violence stretching from haiti to el salvador is fueling a migration crisis. the americas host 18.4 million displaced people. this budget is a good down payment, but more will be needed to address these challenges across the hemisphere. countering authoritarianism requires serious investment across africa where moscow has reasserted itself, and democracy seems on the retreat. civilians from the central african republican to mali have paid a heavy price with wagoner
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mercenaries reportedly committing human rights abuses, and despite concerted efforts by the administration, the democratic -- democratic aspirations of the sudanese people have yet to be realized. i'm expecting an update on what is happening with the jcpoa, negotiations with iran. we were told february was the date we needed to conclude an agreement. it is the end of april. we look forward to hearing about that, as well as iran's malign actions across the region. i'm pleased that funding for israel is fully funded in this request, but i am concerned by security cuts in iraq as we transition to bilateral diplomacy. in tunisia, we'd love to hear a strategy confronting democratic
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backsliding, and in south and central asia, we need clarity on whether the administration will waive sanctions for india's purchase of the russian air defense system, and what role will they play in the quad? in the wake of the taliban's broken promise to allow girls to attend secondary school, their crackdown on the media, and the unfolding humanitarian situation, we need an update on the administration's diplomatic strategy. we are facing multiple humanitarian challenges, refugee crises on several continents, one of the worst food and security crises we've seen in a generation. considering this, i do not think the administration's budget request reflects current global realities. the united states must elevate the needs of women, girls and other at-risk populations. we must document war crimes.
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climate change is a force multiplier, which will exacerbate humanitarian crises and conflicts around the world. it requires us to rethink how we prepare for the future, from the energy crisis in europe and ukraine, to increasing sea level , severe weather, and drought, including with working multilateral to help countries push sustainable and clean energy solutions. we must think about how to better detect and prevent future pandemics. i want to applaud the departments push to modernize and increase diversity by adding internships, a chief diversity and inclusion officer across foreign affairs agencies, and equity strategies and our policies and programs, including the high-level representative on racial equity. the senate foreign relations committee has taken steps to join in the effort. i want to congratulate the department on launching the bureau for cyberspace and
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digital policy, which will be essential for cyber and technology issues. there is a lot to discuss. we look forward to hearing your thoughts and how you see the department tackling these issues and the challenges we face as a nation. i certainly want to say that we appreciate your service to the country, and let me turn to the distinguished ranking member, senator risch. sen. risch: thank you for visiting us today, and on a personal note, thank you for visiting senator menendez and i earlier and giving us your thoughts on the systems operating in ukraine appeared as the world becomes more dangerous, we need the state department to prioritize national security diplomacy and effectively spend taxpayer money to defend u.s. interests. it is time for the department to rebalance its risk calculus and get diplomats back in the field, particularly in ukraine, to compete against adversaries
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across the globe. in certain places like china, the administration appears to be recalcitrant and giving up the privileges and immunities that keep them and their families safe in order to appease beijing's response to covid. i have heard reports of diplomats forced into government-run fever hospitals and being forced to take medical tests for no reason. in response, the administration has not moved on this, and it should. against this backdrop, we've been asked to consider whether the funding priorities set out in the president's fy 23 budget request a line with our most pressing interests. just as last year, there are bright spots. for example, while i have concerns about the ambiguous request for 6.5 billion dollars in mandatory spending, i appreciate the emphasis on global security within the discretionary budget. chairman menendez and i continue
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to advance legislation to improve international pandemic preparedness response, and i urge the administration to help us align those efforts. i am disappointed by the failure to present a concrete proposal for u.s. food aid i am, however, pleased to hear that the president is open to ideas. let's get to work on that. the request continues a destructive pattern of asking for more resources to advance policies that run counter to u.s. interests, including for energy projects utilizing slave labor, providing billions of dollars to an unaccountable green fund. this budget request undercuts security in humanitarian assistance. mr. secretary, i am further glad
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that you and secretary austin went to kyiv to show u.s. support for ukraine. our embassy needs to open up again. all our european partners are already back. we need people on the ground in ukraine to help ukraine meet its needs immediately, and i was impressed by your description of what you found there that would open the door for us to reopen our embassy. despite the unprecedented military assistance the u.s. and allies have sent, there is more we can do.the tenor of this war has changed, and ukraine needs different items than they needed one month ago. i urge the administration to transfer more advanced capabilities, including u.s.-origin multiple rocket launch systems and antiship cruise missiles, among other things, and i was impressed with what you reported to us in confidence this morning. during the korean and vietnam war, russia provided our enemies
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with aircraft and trained the enemy's pilots. it is high time we returned that favor. we must see expedited production of systems for our allies and expand humanitarian assistance. it is time to act aggressively, not perform another deep dive that will take months to complete. after its victory in ukraine -- after its victory, ukraine will need support to rebuild the country. the state department should plan for this undertaking, which will require participation from the entire civilized world. this relates to the u.s.'s response to china's ambitions, the most important challenge facing us today. we started too late in providing security assistance to ukraine. we cannot make the same mistake with taiwan. supporting an island during a war will be much more difficult.
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we must support existing sales to taiwan, and we should use security assistance to help taiwan acquire additional capabilities. in march, chairman menendez and i spearheaded an effort to get funding into the appropriate package for security assistance to taiwan. i agree with senator shelby's comments that we should spend more to help with taiwan's defense. secretary blinken, i hope you can commit to that in today's hearing. turning to the middle east, it is clear that america's relationship with our middle east partners is in desperate need of work. these are long-term partnerships we need to maintain. instead of america as a steadfast partner, our friends have seen increasingly restrictive security assistance policies, the botched afghanistan withdrawal, a failed iran approach, and a lukewarm embrace of the abraham accords.
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the biden administration's policies have reinforced a claim of american disengagement and pushed our long-standing partners towards china and russia. this cannot happen. we see a lack of sanctions enforcement. while the administration is not encouraging normalization with assad, it is clear there are no repercussions for others doing so. we cannot ignore this or teach the world that a desperate and murderer can be rehabilitated just by hanging on for a long period of time. members of congress have expressed disagreement joining the 2015 accord.
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to accomplish this, you need to get it right. from what we are being told right now, you are in the process of getting it wrong, again. no other issue divides this administration from congress and u.s. allies than this issue. if you can't get it right, and it looks like you are not, walk away. that will be a victory, and you will be applauded for that. no agreement is far better than a bad one. israel will see that iran never completes a nuclear weapon to. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. menendez: mr. secretary, the floor is yours. your full statement will be included without objection. could you put your microphone on? i don't think it is on. how's that? sec. blinken: mr. chairman,
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ranking member, it is good to be with you, to be with every member of this committee. thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about the administration's proposed budget for the state department. i just returned from kyiv with defense secretary lloyd austin where we demonstrated the united states' commitment to the government and to the people of ukraine. i have to tell you, the trip left an indelible impression a. we had a chance to talk about it before the hearing. as we took the train across the border and rode westward, we saw mile after mile of ukrainian countryside, territory that a couple of months ago the russian government thought that it could cease in a matter of weeks, today, firmly ukraine's. in kyiv, we saw the signs of a vibrant city coming back to
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life, people eating outside, sitting on benches, strolling. it was right in front of us. ukrainians have won the battle for kyiv. for all the suffering they have endured, for all the carnage that russia's brutal invasion continues to inflict, ukraine was and will continue to be a free and independent country. it's impossible not to be moved by what the ukrainians have achieved. it is also impossible not to believe that they will keep succeeding because they know why they fight. seeing this, i have to tell you i felt some pride in what the united states has done to support the ukrainian government and its people and a firmer conviction that we must not let up. moscow's more of you gresh and -- war of aggression has underscored the purpose of american diplomacy. it is rallying partners around
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the world to support ukraine with security and humanitarian assistance, imposing massive costs on the kremlin, strengthening our collective defense,we have to continue to e that diplomacy forward to seize what i believe are strategic opportunities as well as address risks as countries are reconsidering their policies, priorities, relationships. the budget request before you created this crisis. fully funding it critical in my judgment to ensuring russia's war on ukraine is a strategic failure and serves as a lesson to those who might consider following staff. as we are focused intently on the surge in prices, the state can -- department -- like responsibly managing competition with china, facilitating yemen
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and ethiopia, pushing back against the threat it p oses to human rights. we also face challenges to develop new capabilities such as the emergence and reemergence of infectious disease and accelerating climate crisis, of course the digital revolution that holds promise and peril. last fall i had the opportunity to check out a modernization agenda for the department. to respond to these complex demands. thanks to the fy 22 budget we have been able to make real progress on this agenda. to give just a few examples, we have strengthened our capacity to protect our interest, boost our competitiveness and upholds our values with bipartisan group -- congressional support, we launch the new bureau for
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cyberspace and digital policy. i am grateful to the committee for long supporting this effort for the ideas you shared and how best to do it. we are making headway on the ensuring diplomats have diversity. it is one of our greatest strengths including our diplomacy. we have our first ever chief diversity and inclusion officer spearheading an effort to analyze and address the obstacles that prevent underrepresented groups. we created for the first time thanks to the support of congress and this committee paid internships along with strong congressional and put -- input. we recently welcomed a new cohort of 179 exceptional foreign service professionals. that is putting the department on track towards longest -- largest annual intake in a decade.
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these and other reforms are not just worthwhile, they are essential to our national security and delivering the people we represent. today's meeting marked by our county 100 time i've had an opportunity to brief congress. that is one of the ways i made in my confirmation to restore congress's role in policymaking and revitalizing the state department. ensuring that we could deliver on the agenda we require sustained funding, new authorities, maybe most important of all partnership problem congress. that is why i am grateful for the term in ranking members request to establish a formal dialogue on state department authorization. a request we have delivered on and look forward to working in detail with the authorization process. if we want to deepen our capability in pandemic
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preparedness, if we want to expand on secretary powell's mission of the foreign service training club and equip our workforce with the training, tools, technology, we need some different resources. if we want to stand up new missions and deploy diplomats when and where they are needed, make those decisions based on risk management, we need to reform the accountability review board section. that is laid out as well. if we want to rapidly scale up refugee surges, while also avoiding costly overhead we need more flexible and domestic. this is not advancing any one party, it is the purpose on the fellow citizens, livelihoods,
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security for decades to come. i appreciate this opportunity to appreciate why this matters and looking forward to making this congress as a whole it for partner. thank you. >> thank you mr. secretary for your opening statement. i will start with an opening round of questions. i will start myself. your visit to ukraine, i'm sure members of the committee will want to hear in terms of president zelenskyy's request for assistance both military and otherwise, are we aligned with his request? are we going to move forward and seek to fulfill his request? in that regard, what could you tell us about your several our meeting? sec. blinken: in short, yes.
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the ukrainians have the equipment they needed to repel potential russian aggression >> we're going to leave this for live coverage of the u.s. house of representatives. you can watch all of the hearing with secretary blinken tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. and the secretary will be back on capitol hill thursday testifying before the house foreign aforeign affairs committee at 1:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> the u.s. house gaveling in now. first up, member speeches, and then debate on some 14 bills, including a measure to increase grants at women's business centers. also, a bill that would designate a national historic park to honor the supreme court decision in brown v. board of education that desegregated schools. coming up later this week in the house, debate on


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