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325, also known as “No Budget, No Pay.” This legislation would suspend the debt limit through May 18 and increase the debt ceiling to account for the additional debt incurred from now until the new deadline. It unt also ties congressional pay to the passage of a budget plan by April 15. The legislation passed 285-114 with 86 Democrats in support and 33 Republicans in opposition. Senate 114 Majority Leader Harry Reid (D NV) has said that the Senate will take up the legislation, (D-NV) and he voiced his support for Rep. Boehner’s work to pass the bill, saying that it “defuses yet another fight over the debt ceiling.” In response to the House’s “No Budget, No Pay” legislation, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D WA) said that Senate Democrats are committed to returning to (D-WA) regular order and moving a budget resolution out of committee and to the floor this year. The past two years, the Budget Control Act took the place of a Congressional Budget. Control Reports surfaced this week that House Republicans plan to propose a budget resolution later this year that would end deficit spending within 10 years, unlike past years’ budget blueprints, which would have b balanced the budget by 2040. Meeting the 2023 deadline would entail far deeper spending cuts than Republicans had previously sought, which means we can expect even wider gaps in the future between House Republican spending plans and Senate Democratic plans. Meanwhile, the White House still has not released a timeline for the release of the president’s FY2014 budget proposal, so it may be months resident’s before we see a draft of the House budget plan (which usually follows within a few weeks of the president’s budget) resident’s budget). Additionally, Republicans have floated the idea of reducing discretionary spending for FY2013 from $1.047 trillion (under the 2011 Budget Control Act) to $974 billion, which would lead to even steeper cuts for the rest of FY2013 than currently expected under the sequestration set to begin on March 1. Current and future State Department officials testified on Capitol Hill this week. Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton faced both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee as she testified about the State Department’s handling of the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012. The emotional, and at times contentious, hearings mark Clinton’s final ones as secretary of state. On Thursday, the tate. Senate Foreign Relations Com Committee held Sen. John Kerry’s (D-MA) confirmation hearing MA) for secretary of state. The four hour hearing covered a wide range of topics including tate. four-hour Syria, Iran, Libya, climate change and gender issues. We have provided a complete summary of the hearing in the hearing summary section of this week’s update. Kerry’s confirmation is expected t be considered on the Senate floor sometime next week. to
UPCOMING HEARINGS There are no upcoming hearings next week. HEARING SUMMARIES Nomination U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Jan. 24, 2013 Witness: Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), to be secretary of state, U.S. Department of State Opening Comments: Presiding Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) Praised Kerry’s work as chairman on Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC). Kerry has already created the relationships needed both in Senate and with leaders around the world. State Department couldn’t be in better hands with Kerry. Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) Thanked Kerry for his work and partnership over time on SFRC. Almost no one has spent as much time and effort on foreign affairs as Kerry. Foreign policy has many problems that need to be addressed, including budget restraints and a more dangerous world. Hope that Kerry will work closely with SFRC. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Kerry comes from a family with strong ties to foreign policy. Commended his negotiation skills and work on foreign relations in the Senate. America isn’t exceptional because we say we are; we are exceptional because we do exceptional things. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Kerry is the right choice to carry forward the president’s foreign policy. State and USAID have a lot of unfinished business: o Afghanistan; o Nonproliferation; o Climate change; o Sustain renewed engagement in Asia/Pacific region; o Ramp up economics as tool for advancing U.S. interests; o Promote women and girls’ rights and empowerment; o Champion smart power; and o Continue partnerships with governments and people to promote peace. Leading diplomats and development experts has been a great honor. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) Discussed Kerry’s personal qualities that are well-suited to the position: respectful, diplomatic and persuasive. 2
Highlighted his work on accounting for U.S. prisoners of war in Vietnam. Commended Kerry’s nomination without reservation.
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) Thanked the SFRC members for their cooperation over the years. Enjoyed chairing SFRC as much as anything he has done in his entire career. Thanked Clinton, McCain and Warren for their opening statements. If confirmed, his approach to foreign relations will be deeply informed by his time on the SFRC. Greatest challenge to foreign policy will be in the SFRC’s hands, not his. U.S. must get its own fiscal house in order to show its leadership in the world. Foreign policy is increasingly economic policy. Foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone. American foreign policy is also defined by: o Food security; o Energy security; o Humanitarian assistance; o Fight against disease; o Development; o Climate change; o Democracy and freedom; o Refugees and internationally displaced people; and o Human trafficking. Youth issues are crucial in volatile states. The U.S. and developed world should do more meet the challenges facing young people. Must resolve issue surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. Our policy is not containment but prevention. Today’s world is more complicated than anything we have ever experienced: o Emergence of China; o Arab Spring; o Proliferation; o Poverty; o Disease; o Refugees; o Conflict in Afghanistan; and o Technological innovation. This is a time for American leadership, fresh thinking and finding ways to maximize impact of U.S. resources. If confirmed, first thing he will do is sit down with the members of SFRC to identify ways to help each other and work together. Highlighted the important work of foreign service officers and diplomats. Looks forward to discussion on commitment to foreign affairs budget; less than 1 percent of budget is foreign assistance. Pledge to work closely with SFRC to do his job effectively. Questioning:
Presiding Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) 1. In the last 13 months, U.S. has passed three major sets of sanctions against Iran; however, Iran remains defiant. Under your leadership, will the State Department enforce these sanctions? Kerry: o Yes, totally. There is a clear indicator of the impact the sanctions are having. 2. What would you seek as part of any agreement with Iran? Kerry: o Seek compliance with Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). o Iran has continually professed the peacefulness of its program. It is not hard to prove that a program is peaceful. The Iranians need to understand that there is no other agenda. If their program is peaceful, they can prove it. 3. Can you articulate what the administration’s end goals are in Afghanistan? What metrics would you gauge success (development goals, etc., or counterterrorism)? Kerry: o two-fold mission: Turning over control to Afghanistan. Maintain capacity to prevent terrorism. There will be a continuing counterterrorism mission. o Effort is to have Afghans in the lead with training and support an Afghan-led reconciliation. 4. What are your views and vision as it relates to the Western Hemisphere? Kerry: o Agree that this year does provide a significant opportunity. o Will work to enhance the work that is already being done (narcotics work, development, energy and climate initiatives with Brazil, increasing economic integration). o Colombia shows a good example of how a nation can change in a positive direction; we must build on that. Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) 1. If Chuck Hagel is nominated for Secretary of Defense, there will not be the traditional balance between State and Defense views on weapons. Is there something you can say to assure us about nuclear posture in the future? Kerry: o Knows Hagel and he will be strong Secretary of Defense. o Kerry believes in deterrence. o Eliminating nuclear weapons is a goal, but it is not something that could happen in today’s world. o Doesn’t think that Hagel will be proponent of eliminating nuclear weapons. o Must be realistic about it and thinks Hagel is realistic about it. 2. Have you been able to talk through some of your foreign policy views with the president and where they might differ? Kerry: o They will sit down next week and have that conversation. 3. Was there anything about your discussions with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria that has informed you as you move ahead? Kerry: 4
o Yes. It reinforces the notion that there are moments that you could get something done, and there was a moment like that a while back with Syria. o History caught up with us though and that time has passed. o Assad has made bad judgment calls, which have made the point moot. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) 1. Under Secretary Clinton’s administration, she has worked on many women’s and girl’s issues. Will Ambassador of Global Women’s Issues and Office of Global Women’s Issues still exist? Kerry: o Yes. 2. Will you commit to look at legislation to expand scholarship to underprivileged girls in Pakistan? Kerry: o Absolutely. Intends to continue Clinton’s work on women and girls. o Women have stepped up as peacemakers in many conflicts around the world. 3. Do you intend to commit to continued implementation of the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security? Kerry: o Yes. With respect to Afghanistan, if there is a negotiation with the Taliban, one of the most important commitments is that they must respect current status of women and girls in society. 4. Wants to make sure Kerry continues to support ratification of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Kerry: o Yes. Plan to meet with committee to talk about the issue of treaties. 5. How will you ensure that any decision regarding Keystone XL Pipeline takes into consideration potential impacts on water and air quality? Kerry: o There is a statutory process that falls to State Department, which is currently underway. We are responsible for the environmental review and will ensure that standards are met. Sen. James Risch (R-ID) 1. Where are we regarding compliance and verification issues with existing arms control agreements with Russia? Kerry: o Fair to say that we have made significant progress towards full funding of amount of money that is committed. o There is an ongoing dialogue with Russia about tactical nuclear weapons. o Hope to get relationship with Russia back to a certain place. o We need to find some way to cooperate with them especially with Syria. o Russia is cooperating on Start Treaty, P5 +1, sanctions, permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). 2. What is your view regarding executive agreements and bypassing Congress? Kerry: o Every administration has done this (both parties). o It depends on the scope of the issue as to whether it should always go through Congress. 5
o Doesn’t want to make a broad comment because it depends on the situation. o Executive agreements are not the standard but there are times in Congress when certain arguments that aren’t necessarily based on fact have prevented certain things from being able to get done. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) 1. Clinton really worked on integration of national security baskets (defense, diplomacy, development). All three are related to national security needs. What is your commitment to advancing American values on human rights, corruption, gender equity issues (working with the Helsinki Commission)? Kerry: o We are the indispensible nation in regards to this. o U.S. has fundamental obligation to keep faith with those who are struggling in various parts of the world. o We are funding many different areas – efforts to help women, global health, education – and making a difference in terms of people’s rights. o Contractor/USAID relationship has received concerns. We can do more more effectively. 2. We’ve seen slippage among allies in terms of human rights. What is your commitment to raising concerns with countries that have made human rights issues? Kerry: o Will be committed to raising human rights concerns. 3. How will you continue to work on humanitarian crises (Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, Burma)? Kerry: o Has met with President Kiir of South Sudan. o Hope that we can get a number of the components of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) filled. o National Congress Party (NCP) needs to be held accountable, but South Sudan also needs to show greater determination and better governance. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 1. Balance of not trying to do more than we can and not doing more than we should. Our foreign aid must make sense. What advice are you going to give the president about what our role in foreign relations should be? Kerry: o There was a debate in Congress about whether we should have been involved in Libya. o There is a monumental transformation taking place in this part of the world (North Africa and Middle East). o We need to be aware of the cultures of the places we go. o Need to focus on how we will respond to issues in volatile countries. We need to be thoughtful about the history and culture of the places we are looking at. o Developed countries have to think about youth issues, because every country is affected. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
1. Women’s issues – equal rights and opportunities – are very important and need continued support. 2. One of real issues in Syria is what happens to chemical weapons when Assad falls. What role should the secretary of state play in getting the chemical weapons in Syria? Kerry: o Administration is work with NATO and neighboring countries to draw up contingency plans; they are deeply concerned about this issue. o He has not been briefed on these plans yet. 3. Can you talk about how you might continue the business relationships around the world for domestic businesses? Kerry: o Foreign policy is increasingly economic policy. o State Department ought to be working with Treasury and Agriculture to augment our engagement with the private sector and their desires/needs abroad. o We have to be much more aggressive in promoting our companies abroad. 4. Further progress in the Western Balkans will require U.S. leadership. Kerry: o We will continue to focus on that. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) 1. Talked about the importance of the American people hearing the truth about Libya. Do you agree with that point or do you agree with Clinton that we should just move on? Kerry: o Thinks Sen. Johnson and Secretary Clinton were talking past each other. o Yes, both he and Clinton think that the American public should get the truth. o She was referring to the question of the sequencing/time of how particular information came in with respect to public statements. 2. As chairman of SFRC, did you make any phone calls early on to find out about the specifics of the Libya attack? Kerry: o Yes. In constant contact with Deputy Secretary Nides. 3. How soon did you know that there were no protests? Kerry: o Received intel that there were no protests in Benghazi but there were protests in Egypt. 4. Asking about protests in Benghazi, not Egypt. Shouldn’t they testify before the committee about the sequence of events? Asked for a commitment to work on this together. Kerry: o There is an FBI investigation currently going on. o The State Department will continue to cooperate. 5. Couldn’t agree more that foreign policy is economic policy. Will you utilize your position to try to get the president to solve the debt/deficit issue? Described himself as a fiscal conservative that believes foreign aid can be useful. Kerry: o Spent five months as a member of the supercommittee and put a lot of effort and hope into getting the grand deal. o Will certainly weigh in to the degree that it effects how the State Department works. Can’t cut some of these programs without hurting American economic and security interests. 7
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) 1. How do you see us competing with China in both economic and value areas (especially in terms of Africa)? Kerry: o China is all over Africa. o There are some places where the U.S. isn’t even in the game, and we need to get into that game. This will take an investment. o What we bring to the table is more attractive than what many countries bring because we are accountable, transparent and free. We need to organize in this sector so that we can win economically. 2. What would you do to ensure that we are more effectively and visibly engaged in supporting the opposition in Syria? Kerry: o There is a discussion going on now about this issue. o Goal of administration is to affect some kind of orderly transition. o Hope to have an ability to take the temperature of different players (Assad and Syrian opposition). o Need to increase the readiness of Assad to be willing to make the judgment to step down. 3. We face a very narrow window to make a difference on the ground. Kerry: o Agree, but we need to figure out what all of the steps will be down the road. o Commit to sit down together to see how these equations work out. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) 1. Palestinian Authority (PA) was granted full membership to General Assembly. This is an impediment to dealing with negotiations. What measures will you take to ensure that Congress’ position to deny funding to UN organizations that recognize PA is carried forward? Kerry: o Administration doesn’t feel that unilateral steps are helpful on either side. o With respect to funding on collateral memberships, we have found that we are better able to protect against various resolutions if we are participating. We would lose the opportunity to protect our friends if we don’t pay dues. o We need real negotiations, results, progress. 2. If step back and look at Iraq, we saw buildings that were built that now lay vacant. What lessons are we learning from Iraq about how we overbuilt, etc.? What can we do ensure that whatever presence we have in Afghanistan is the right size? Kerry: o State Department has a specific transition group that has drawn lessons from Iraq and is applying them to Afghanistan. o People are thinking hard about what size footprint ought to exist. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) 1. Where do you see the elections in Afghanistan going? How will you ensure that they are free and fair? Kerry:
o With respect to women and girls, committed to work that Clinton has done. There can’t be an effective peace if we can’t continue the progress being made with women’s participation in Afghan society. o On elections – there is a group working very hard on the rules for the election and on being inclusive and transparent throughout the process. o Having an acceptable election according to international standards is critical to ensuring legitimacy of Afghan government. 2. How can we make progress on the issue of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Pakistan? Kerry: o This is a frustrating issue. Will talk with Pakistan to see if they can find a metric that works for both Pakistan and the U.S. to reduce flow of IEDs. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) 1. Americans do care why four Americans were murdered and why they were misled. Still haven’t gotten the answers from Benghazi. Will continue efforts to find out what really happened. Kerry: o Didn’t mean to suggest that no one cares about what happened. You have the right to know what took place. Will help you get the answers. 2. Status quo in Syria isn’t something that we need to just have conversations about. We need to tell the Syrian people that we are either going to help them or not. What happens in the meantime before the fall of Assad? The situation for refugees is terrible and heartbreaking. We can do a lot more without putting American boots on the ground. We will be judged harshly by history if we don’t do more. Kerry: o Completely understand frustration with our response to Syria. o Everyone worries about having a complete implosion of the state; no one knows how to put the pieces back together. o Need to build congressional consensus and work with everyone in the surrounding region. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) 1. Greatest threat to security of U.S. is cyber security. Reflect on the role State has in negotiations to make us safer in terms of cyber security. Kerry: o Much of this is classified, but every day certain countries are attacking our systems and trying to hack into classified information. o This is the 21st century nuclear weapons equivalent. o Will have to engage and establish “rules of the road.” There are enormous difficulties ahead with that. 2. Please report to SFRC about impact of sequestration cuts on State Department. Kerry: o Glad you raise the issue. o Will definitely have to talk about it. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) 1. How do you assess strength of al-Qaeda core and affiliates? Kerry: o Core al-Qaeda (Afghanistan and Pakistan) is dispersing. 9
o Threat has augmented in Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and Maghreb. o Success story in Somalia – been able to drive al-Shabab back and Somali government is now recognized by U.S. 2. Are people emboldened to act because Benghazi attackers haven’t received justice? Kerry: o Knows that FBI is working to bring justice. 3. Yesterday, senators sent letter to president requesting that he approve construction of Keystone XL pipeline. Hope you will follow through with getting things done in proper time. Kerry: o Will try but needs to check in with legal department at State Department. 4. Could do significant harm to U.S. economy by putting in place rules and regulations that will have very little impact on global climate change. Please take into consideration significantly limiting resources that wouldn’t help the U.S. economy or country. Kerry: o Solution to climate change is energy policy. o Need to get into the energy race. Clean energy is a job creator. o Will be a passionate advocate on this based on facts and science, not ideology. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 1. How can the U.S. better work with Mexico to improve transparency and efficiency of legal system? Kerry: o Hope to keep existing efforts going. o Need to increase our efforts and will need cooperation with Congress to get funding for this. 2. How will you work to ensure that areas of mutual interest between U.S. and Mexico are discussed? Kerry: o There is no one approach to narcotics. o Need to do everything – domestic treatment and education; need a more comprehensive approach. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) 1. Do you agree with candidate Obama or President Obama on his conflicting opinions about congressional authority? Kerry: o Support War Powers Act and congressional authority to go to war. o There are occasions though where president has to make immediate decision. o Problem is that absolutism doesn’t work when 10,000 peoples’ lives are on the line. 2. Is a UN resolution sufficient to go to war? Kerry: o No but it is necessary ingredient to provide legal basis for military action in an emergency. o Not sufficient to require U.S. to do something. 3. Is it wise to send F16s to Egypt given Morsi’s comments (about Zionists being bloodsuckers, decedents of apes and pigs)? Kerry: 10
o The comments are degrading and unacceptable. Morsi has issued two statements to clarify those comments. o Problem is that not everything lends itself to simple clarity every time. We have critical interests with Egypt. 4. Would you consider supporting conditioning aid to Pakistan on release of Dr. Afridi? Kerry: o Thinks that Dr. Afridi shouldn’t be in jail. o Cutting aid, however, isn’t the answer. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) 1. How can the State Department pressure China to correct issues on intellectual property and open markets to U.S. goods? Kerry: o Relationship with China is an ongoing process. o There are still significant challenges about currency, intellectual property etc. o U.S. and China shouldn’t be viewed as economic adversaries. o We are cooperating on Iran and could cooperate on other issues as well. o We make incremental progress. There isn’t one single way to approach this. 2. How do we ramp up militarily in the region given China’s growing maritime territorial disputes? Kerry: o Not convinced that increased military ramp up is critical yet. o We have more bases and troops there than any other nation including China. Have to be thoughtful about how we go forward. o Pivot implies that we are turning away from somewhere else. We are not pivoting away from another region. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) 1. North-South axis is important as well as East-West axis focus. 2. We long for the prospect that there would be peace between Israel and Palestine. What would your approach be to peace? Kerry: o Part of approach is not to be too explicit here today. o The president is deeply committed to a two state solution and understands the stakes and implications. o Not going to say anything that prejudices our ability to get conversation moving in the appropriate way. 3. How will you promote religious freedom and protect religious minorities? Kerry: o Tolerance is one of our greatest attributes in U.S. It took us a while to get it right but we do now o State Department has to show people the importance of tolerance and respect of rights. o This is a big challenge we face. Presiding Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) 1. Can we be assured that you will personally oversee the implementation of the administrative review board’s recommendations? 11
Kerry: o Absolutely. 2. Democracy programs – Can we expect you to be a strong supporter of democracy programs? Kerry: o Yes. ARTICLES AND REPORTS BBC Jan. 23 Hillary Clinton defends handling of Benghazi attack Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reacted strongly to Senator Ron Johnson’s accusation that the Obama administration covered up events surrounding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. Clinton admitted she was responsible for security failures that brought about the raid and was scheduled to face more questions on Wednesday in the House of Representatives. CNN Jan. 24 Broken limbs, torn lives in northern Mali Brutal beatings and amputations are a commonality in Mali under Isalmist militant rule for such reasons as conversing with the opposite sex in public, working particular jobs and even smoking a cigarette. Once flourish towns are now deserted as over 229,000 Malians have fled in fear of the terrorist groups. Devex Jan. 23 Four hours of peace in Syria, then what? Syrian leaders and rebels granted to a four-hour ceasefire on Monday in which humanitarian personnel were able to distribute aid to a rebel-controlled area in the province of Homs. John Ging, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs operations director, hopes that the ceasefire can be extended. Jan. 23 UN working group on sustainable development goals launched The United Nations General Assembly has created a working group that will work with a high-level panel to generate a new set of sustainable development goals. The goals are intended to influence the post-2015 global development agenda. Jan. 24 IF…UK Charities Launch Anti-Hunger Campaign Hundreds of U.K charities began their campaign to fight hunger by way of the U.K.’s G8 presidency. Charities seek for the prime minister to work with governments to take accountability for the millions of children who die from malnutrition each year and the one in eight people who go to bed hungry. Guardian Jan. 24 Witchcraft claims against children in Congo DRC reflect curse of poverty A new phenomenon is emerging in the DRC – while witchcraft allegations have been made before, allegations of sorcery committed by children is a new phenomenon. According to World Vision, “impoverished families often see accusations of witchcraft directed at children as a pretext to abandon them.” The DRC ranks last in the UN’s human development index, having over about 35,000 street children coming from impoverished families. Sudan Tribune Jan. 24 Sudan says Darfur rebels willing to discuss peace, JEM denies 12
Rebel groups have been working with committees in Darfur on how to come to an agreement to end the 10-year conflict there. The rebel movement met with chairman of the committee in charge of peace negotiations, who said the rebels seem willing to continue the talks. Washington Post Jan. 22 Syrian refugees overwhelm Lebanon, region In the past week, the rate of Syrians fleeing to Lebanon has increased rapidly. Lebanon is viewed as one of the least prepared countries in dealing with Syria’s refugees. Refugees coming from Syria and other surrounding countries such as Turkey are looking to local communities in Lebanon for shelter. Jan. 23 Syria’s food shortages worsening, U.N. says The Syrian people are dealing with more extreme food shortages and rising prices due to the civil conflict. The production of wheat, barley, poultry, fruit and cooking oils declined destroying the agricultural self-sufficiency Syria maintained in the past.
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