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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 10, 2019 2:08pm-2:44pm EST

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from now and you can tell us whether it was as much fun as you said in 2020. thank you for coming by. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> you're watching c-span and we're live now on capitol hill for a hearing on iraq and middle east policy. lawmakers will hear from deputy secretary for near eastern affairs, joey hood. they are delayed a little bit here. there's a series of votes on the house floor.
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>> house foreign affairs subcommittee meeting here shortly hearing on iraq and middle east policy. it will get under way shortly after house votes. while we wait for that, though, we'll show you a news conference from this morning with house speaker pelosi and key democratic chairs announcing specific articles of impeachment.
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>> good morning, everyone. on this solemn day i recall that the first order of business for members of congress is the solemn act to take an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the united states. with great respect and gratitude that i thank the chairs of the
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committees, the six committees who have been working to help us honor our oath of office. i also want to thank the staff of those committees and the committee members for all of their work over this period of time to help us protect and defend. i want to thank the chairman of the judiciary committee, mr. nadler, chair of the intelligence committee, mr. schiff, chair of the ways and means committee, chairman -- chairman richie neil of massachusetts, eliot engle of new york, the chair of the financial services committee, maxine waters of california, the chair of the committee on government reform and oversight, congresswoman care l congresswoman carolyn maloney. i want to acknowledge the important work that was done by our dear and departed elijah
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cummings as chair of the oversight committee. i'm pleased to yield to mr. nadler. >> thank you, madam speaker. over the last several months the investigative committees of the house have been engaged in an impeachment inquiry into donald trump's efforts to solicit foreign interference in the 2016 elections, it compromised our national security and threatened the integrity of your elections. throughout this inquiry, he has attempted to conceal the evidence from congress and from the american people. our president holds the ultimate public trust. when he betrays that trust and puts himself before country. he endangers the constitution,
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he endangers our democracy and he endangers our national security. the framers of the constitution prescribed a clear remedy for presidents who so violate their oath of office. that is the power of impeachment. today in service to our duty to the constitution and to our country, the house committee on the judiciary is introducing two articles of impeachment charging the president of the united states, donald j. trump, with committing high crimes and misdemeanors. the first article is for abuse of power. it is an impeachable offense for the president to exercise the powers of his public office to obtain an improper personal benefit while ignoring or injuring the national interest. that is exactly what president trump did when he solicited and
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pressured ukraine to interfere in our 2020 presidential election. thus damaging our national security, undermining the integrity of the next election, and violating his oath to the american people. these actions moreover are consistent with president trump's previous invitations of foreign interference in our 2016 presidential election. and when he was caught, when the house investigated and opened an impeachment inquiry, president trump engaged in unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminant defiance of the impeachment inquiry. this gives rise to the second article of impeachment finish obstruction of congress. hereto we see a familiar pattern in president trump's misconduct. a president who declares himself
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above accountability, above the american people, and above congress's power of impeachment which is meant to protect against threats to our democratic institutions as a president who sees himself as above the law. we must be clear, no one, not even the president, is above the law. i want to recognize the great contributions of the investigative chairs, particularly intelligence committee chairman adam schiff, foreign affairs chairman, committee on oversight and reforms former chairman, elijah cummings, and financial services chairwoman maxine waters and ways and means chairman richard neil who helped lay the foundation for the articles we are introducing today. i also want to thank my judiciary committee colleagues who were critical in our work to hold the president accountable in the drafting of these articles. later this week, the judiciary
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committee will meet to consider these articles of impeachment and to make a recommendation to the full house of representatives. we do not take this action lightly. but we have taken an oath to defend the constitution and unlike president trump we understand that our duty first and foremost is to protect the constitution and to protect the interests of the american people. that is why we must take this solemn step today. elections are the cornerstone of democracy and are foundational to the rule of law, but the integrity of our next election is at risk from a president who is already sought foreign interference in the 2016 and 2020 elections and who consistent consistently puts himself above country. that is why we must act now. i want to turn now to chairman schiff who will explain the evidence that supports these
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articles and the need to act with such urgency today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you madam speaker and to my colleagues. good morning. the framers of the constitution recognized that some day a president might come to office who would abuse that office, betray the public trust and undermine national security to secure foreign help in his re-election and who would seek to abrogate the power of congress to hold him accountable. they recognized this danger and they prescribed a remedy and that remedy is impeachment. it is an extraordinary remedy and one that i've been reluctant to recommend until the actions of president trump gave congress no alternative. we stand here today because the president's continuing abuse of his power has left us no choice. to do nothing would make ourselves complicit in the president's abuse of his high
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office, the public trust and our national security. the president's misconduct is as simple and as terrible as this, president trump solicited a foreign nation, ukraine, to publicly announce investigations into his opponent and a baseless conspiracy theory promoted by russia to help his re-election campaign. president trump abused the power of his office by conditioning two official acts to get ukraine to help his re-election, the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid that nation needed and a white house meeting with an ally trying to fend off russian aggression. in so doing, he undermined our national security and jeopardized the integrity of your next election and he does so still. the evidence of the president's misconduct is overwhelming and uncontested and how could it not
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be when the president's own words on july 25th, i would like you to do us a favor, though, lays so bear his intentions, his willingness to sacrifice the national security for his own personal interests. and when the president got caught he committed his second impeachable act, obstruction of congress of the very ability to make sure that no one is above the law, not even the president of the united states. the evidence is every bit as strong that president trump has obstructed congress fully without precedent. if allowed to stand, it would decimate congress's ability to conduct oversight of this president or any other in the future leaving this president and those who follow to be -- free to be as corrupt, mall
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feasant. some would argue, why don't you just wait? why don't you just wait until you get these witnesses the white house refuses to produce. why don't you wait until you get the documents the white house refuses to turn over, and people should understand what that argument really means. it has taken us eight months to get a lower court ruling that don mcgahn has no absolute right to defy congress, eight months, for one court decision. if it takes us another eight months to get a second court or maybe a supreme court decision, people need to understand that is not the end of the process. it comes back to us and we ask questions because he no longer has absolutely immunity and then he claims something else, that his answers are privileged and ef to we have to go back to court. the argument, why don't you just wait, amounts to this, why don't
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you just let him cheat in one more election? why not let him cheat just one more time? why not let him have foreign help just one more time? that is what that argument amounts to. the president's misconduct goes to the heart of whether we can conduct a free and fair election in 2020. it is bad enough for a candidate to invite foreign interference in our political process but it is far more corrosive for a president to do so and abuse his power to make it so. despite everything we have uncovered, the president's misconduct continues to this day. as we saw when he stood on the white house lawn and he was asked what did you want in that july 25th call and he said the answer was a simple one. and not just a simple one on july 25th, but a simple one today and that he still wants
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ukraine to interfere in our election to help his campaign. even this week, the president's lawyer was back in ukraine seeking to revive the same conspiracy theory promoted at the president's behest. which gets to the final argument that we have heard in the president's defense, that the president can do whatever he wants under article ii, including getting foreigners involved in our elections and we should just, to quote the president's chief of staff, get over it. ben franklin said we have a republic if we can keep it. in the president and hid men say we can't keep it and americans should just get over it. americans don't get to decide american elections anymore, not by themselves, not without foreign help. for the members of congress this is not a question of fact
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because the facts are not seriously contested. it is a question of duty. the president's oath of office appears to mean very little to him but the articles put forward today will give us a chance to show that we will defend the constitution and that our oath means something to us. i thank you, mr. chairman.
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>> here on c-span3, waiting for the start of this house foreign affairs subcommittee hearing. they'll be looking at iraq and middle east policy. lawmakers will be hearing from deputy secretary joey hood. just a bit of a delay in the start of the hearing due to votes on the house floor. >> we'll wait for the start of this hearing here on c-span3 and show you in the meanwhile, a news conference from this morning with house speaker pelosi and the chairman of the ways and means committee announcing a deal with the white
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house on the u.s. mexico canada agreement, the usmca. we'll show you what we can until the start of the hearing. >> good morning, everyone. this is a day we've all been
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working to and working for on the path to yes. we were in range for a while, but until we could cross a certain threshold of enforcement for our workers' rights, for environment and for the prescription drug issue, as you know, they were three of the areas that we had put out there. i want to thank our chairman, richie neil, chair of the ways and means committee, the eight members of the task force. i will acknowledge momentarily by thanking them for their leadership in negotiating on different segments of the legislation. i also want to thank richard trumpka, he was persistent, dissatisfied, knowledgeable. he really got us to a place which is a far distance from where we started with the proposal that was given to us. there's no question of course
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that this trade agreement is much better than nafta. but in terms of our work here, it is infinitely better than what was proposed by the administration and i credit our chairman richie neil for helping us navigate all of these places. the unity of our caucus on a specific priorities in order to get the job done and, again, the brilliance and knowledge of richard trumpka as to the ramifications of every provision that was in the legislation. we'll be handing out a memo from the ways and means committee. you may have it. it explains why we are so proud of the distance that we have come from where we started with the administration on this legislation. it's a victory for america's workers. it's one that we take great
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pride -- great pride in advancing. the members of the -- the eight members of the task force, about workers rights in appropriations, congressman january jakowski, jimmy gomez of california, and where are my others? john larson. john larson of connecticut, earl blo blumahaur. richie was a maestro to make all of this happen. i yield to the chairman of the ways and means committee, richie
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neil. thanks, madam speaker. [ applause ] >> you get to participate in an it will never happen moment. and we are witnessing that today. the other value of technology i will point out was after a round of intense finishing conversations and negotiations over the weekend that started on saturday morning. we went back -- the speaker was on a hunting expedition, we spoke with him frequently. but the speaker talked to meer nestly about we're near. and on sunday when tom brady was about to take it in, all of a sudden i looked at my phone and it said pelosi. wisdom tells me to hell with brady, take the call.
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this is a template i believe for future agreements. our emphasis was on enforceability and the idea and the nation that the president rich trumpka would be supportive of this initiate tells the story. this is a triumph for workers everywhere across america in terms of the working group members i want to say that they strengthened the labor standards, they strengthened the environmental chapters, with the unflinching leadership, we secured important changes in usmca, change u.s. law to address the crisis we are facing with high prescription drug prices. over the intense period of these negotiations with the administration, i repeatedly emphasized that usmca will deserve a vote because it's an agreement that democrats shaped. i don't think anybody on this
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dais would have said that we would have been able to get as far as we did in this negotiation. it was based upon good will but also a determination that we acknowledge the problems that have existed in the past. on the day of the break in august with the working group, i said to the trade rep, the last meeting, i said nothing has fostered more disagreement about trade than the lack of enforceability. and the trade rep said to me, you are absolutely right. and he said i want to tell you, and this is -- i think i'm not speaking out of school. he said there have been people in the state department, the defense department and the oval office over the years who said don't get this one upset and don't get that one upset because we might need them on future geographic issues. we've supportive of the thrust of what you want to do here and
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i think that the initiative that we offered -- his position, i think the offering that we have in front of us today is indicative of the good will but some of the members on this task force and including the chairman of the subcommittee, what a job they did. these were intense, argumentive, angry negotiations. this got hot on a number of occasions. i think we set a world record for hanging up on each other, myself and the trade rep. but at the same time we also knew that this was an opportunity that we couldn't let get away from us. we will continue to share more details in text. the last point is, a reminder that i traveled to mexico with the dell indicatiegation to mee president of mexican, and then i traveled to meet with the prime minister of canada, they are -- i believe they were good partners in this. they conceded just about to every point that we asked for because of the following,
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enforceability, enforceability, enforceability. with that, madam speaker, i'll turn it back to you. >> i'm going to turn it over to jan. >> it's been an honor to serve on the working group. the trump administration sent us a deeply flawed trade deal that among other things would have raised the price of pharmaceuticals across north america by locking in high drug prices and expanding big pharma's monopoly. over the past six months, my democratic colleagues and i on the working group, we worked for a deal that helps america's patients, workers and all consumers. we now have a new and improved renegotiated nafta that prevents big pharma from raising the price of prescription drugs
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across the united states, mexico and canada. first, we eliminated provisions that undermine congress's ability to change domestic policy that lead to high drug prices. the trump administration tried to tuck into the -- to tuck in big corporate gifts to big pharma in the usmca, 10 years of market exclusivity for bio logics. although we have 12 years of exclusivity in the united states, this trade bill would have tied congress's hands and prevented us from enacting legislation, i have a bill that would lower the exclusivity period. but that provision is now out of the trade deal. it is gone. [ applause ]
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>> and because of our current prescription drug pricing crisis, many americans actually would go to canada and to mexico to get lower-cost drugs. this would have raised the cost across the hemisphere. and this deal would have caused prices of prescription drugs in those countries to skyrocket. on the first day of our negotiation, i told the u.s. trade representative lighthizer, that the exclusivity provisions needed to be removed and now they are gone. the trump administration also tried to gift big pharma with increased protection for secondary patents and changing a little bit of a drug in order to get a new and extended patent and those provisions are gone. finally the trump administration also tried to prioritize
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brand-name drugs and include barriers to market entry of generic drugs and we have now revised those provisions to ensure generic others. lots of people to thank. we had an amazing staff on the committee and in our offices. i want to thank the congressman, we were working on the pharmaceutical piece. i also want to thank organized labor, rich trumpka, they made the drug provisions would be an important part of this legislation. so we have fixed the usmca for america's patients, consumers throughout the hemisphere. thank you. >> jim gomez did a remarkable job on the enforcement mechanisms. jim? >> thank you.
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first let me thank the speaker and the chairman for trusting a red-shirt freshman to be on this working group. i always looked at this issue as very important because i come from labor. i work for the american federation of state, county and municipal employees, so i've learned and understood the seriousness of any trade agreements. when it comes to this one, we were asked to really work on the labor and enforcement parts of the agreement. we look at it as a three-legged stool, one the labor rules within the agreement, two, monitoring and, three, enforcement. when it comes to the rules, if you have squishy language, it's hard to understand if there's any violation of that agreement. so we tied up the language to make it stronger and more enforceable. two, you have to have monitoring of any violations on the ground. we created some monitoring mechanisms to assess mexico's
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progress and complying with the rule that is we laid out in writing. and, three, if there's no consequences to a violation that we discover through monitoring of those rules, then the agreement is not worth what the paper it's written on. we created an enhanced enforcement mechanism will ensure violation of the agreement standards will have real world consequences. these provisions go to the objective the speaker laid out at the beginning of this negotiating process. this is no longer nafta light. this is a new trade agreement that the working group and the democrats have achieved with consultation, of course, with our partners. it is something that when you look at it, it has included -- that's never been included, parts that we negotiated have never been included in any trade agreement ever in the history of this country.
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ever. and that means that we're going to have more confidence that this is actually going to benefit the american workers and it's going to great a level -- more level playing field between mexico, the united states and canada. i think this is a big win. this is no longer nafta lite. and to the extent that mexico and canada have to open up the agreement again and sign off on it again. but i want to say that i learned from some of the best staffers, we have great staff up here who have provided the guidance and expertise, the stakeholders, the speaker is a master legislator and without her, we would not be here today. thank you so much. >> susan who managed the environmental side. >> thank you so much. four years ago today, president
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obama signed the e e e e e stud succeeds act to replace no child left behind. something that a lot of people said would never get done. well, here we are today and the reason it happens is because of strong leadership and when we fight hard for the american people, we can get something done. and we are here today to say thank you to speaker pelosi, thank you to chairman neil, and thank you to the work group who did work and fight hard for better provisions and i can say unequivocally, this is significantly better than nafta and importantly a new trade agreement setting high standards that is significantly better than the usmca that came to us in the work group. and with regard to the environment, we fought hard for these provisions. we have better rules on the environment, importantly, we have enhanced monitoring so we know when violations happen and then critically, we have strong
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enforcement and strong funding to make sure that those provisions are being enforced. we incorporate several multilateral agreement, environment agreements, we have an inner agency committee to assess and monitor. this is going to be the best trade agreement for the environment and that is because of the hard work of the speaker, the hard work of chairman neil and the hard work of the work group and all the stakeholders who fought hard. thank you all for being here today on this critical day and look forward to continuing until we get this over the finish line. thank you. >> thank you all very much for your hard work and -- of the gang of eight and the subcommittee and the rest. what will happen right now as we're speaking, the trade representative is on his way to mexico for there to be a signing of this new revised trade agreement which has come a long
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way from the original agreement that they presented to us. it makes all the difference in the world to american workers, workers in canada, workers in mexico, it makes all the difference in the world in terms of the environmental issue and makes all the difference in the world in terms of the -- what the congresswoman talked about in terms of not putting something in a trade agreement that bars those countries, but our country to make any changes, give more leverage to consumers rather than big pharma. with that, we'll take some questions. but perhaps, you would like to say what we do next in terms of implementing legislation. >> people will have an opportunity to review parts of the agreement before there's any expedited period of bringing it to the floor. but i also think that administer
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freeland is in mexico now with the trade rep and we hope that they'll copper fasten the issue. that ways and means staff, they're the best. [ applause ] >> they're the best. >> and i would to acknowledge kathryn, my kathryn, you have your kathryn. >> and i think that that will begin to get the information out, people have a chance to sort the implementation language and get this to the floor. i think that there's no reason for unnecessary delays, but at the same time we want to make sure there's a chance for people in the caucus to vet what we've put together. >> thank you. >> on impeachment -- [ laughter ]


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