Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken testifies before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on “The Department of State and Related Programs FY23 Budget Request,” on Capitol Hill

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken testifies before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs on “The Department of State and Related Programs FY23 Budget Request,” on Capitol Hill, April 27, 2022.


call this hearing of the State and Foreign Operations subcommittee, The Senate appropriations committee to order. We have one witness today. Secretary of state, Anthony Blinken. Um It is great to have you here. Mr. Secretary. We have a lot to cover. So I’ll be relatively brief. We have many of us just come from a moving powerful service in memory of former Secretary Madeleine Albright, an extraordinary person who lived a remarkable life and career and whose impact on the department, on the Senate, on our nation on the world rooted in her commitment to democracy to advancing the role of women. Was profound. I intend to propose naming a portion of the Fulbright fellows for her, as we did for one of her predecessors, for whom she also worked for former Senator and Secretary Edmund muskie, the National Democratic Institute where she long served as board chair is naming their annual democracy award for Secretary Albright. Mr. Secretary we very much look forward to suggestions from you as to how the State Department may want to also honor her service, especially as a defender of democratic principles and someone who advanced the role of women leaders around the world. I have just returned from a number of nations including Georgia, where the president in particular um cited the mentorship and the example of Secretary Albright, um no secretary of State has an easy job, but yours in particular at this moment in our modern history is exceptionally demanding and you have done exceptionally well at it and we are grateful both for the way in which you have represented us in the world. Um and for your recent trip to Kiev, which we look forward to hearing about, but also for your responsiveness to the committees of the Senate. You have testified frequently at great length and been very accessible. And so um I wanted to thank you both for your service more broadly leading the State Department, representing us in the world, but also for your engagement with this committee. Now we face a number of challenges more than I need to take the time to recite in detail. Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified and brutal invasion of Ukraine with regional and global security implications that we need to confront and will be felt for decades. A global food security crisis greatly exacerbated by the war in Ukraine now threatening hundreds of millions with food insecurity, a global pandemic that’s infected half a billion killed a million Americans, caused immense economic damage and that continues to pose threats to all of us as new variants may emerge. Climate change which continues to accelerate and threatens of the entire world, Iran and North Korea, both whose nonproliferation whose efforts at nuclear proliferation threatened their regions of china, which continues to be a peer competitor and expands its influence around the world In ways we need to confront. Um and a growing clash between the forces of democracy and authoritarianism. Um to say nothing of a record refugee crisis and ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen Ethiopia, South Sudan Libya on the positive side. Mr. Secretary. You and the president have rallied a NATO in defense of Ukraine its people and its sovereignty. This administration is embracing our alliances and building coalitions, not embracing isolationism. You’ve shown the world that as Secretary Albright so often said, we are the indispensable nation um and the critical role that we can and must play, we’ve provided hundreds of millions of US manufactured covid vaccine doses which unlike those provided by Russia and china are effective against all the variants. You’ve reaffirmed the role that the United States must play in advancing democracy and human rights around the world and shown strong leadership on tackling climate through a variety of means, including the Development Finance Corporation. Um you’re tackling global challenges like economic instability and violent conflict with new tools like the global fragility act and you are addressing deeply rooted staffing and diversity challenges at the State Department with new resources provided by Congress. We here in this committee have worked hard to find a bipartisan path forward and to support and promote our national security diplomacy interests. I am thankful for my ranking member, Senator Graham, who has been a good partner um over a number of Congress’s to myself and to the former chairman of the subcommittee, the chairman of the full committee. Um yet we have um genuinely struggled to get either the allocation that this subcommittee deserves or to fully meet the objectives that this subcommittee has taken on. We faced huge challenges last year with an allocation four billion below the budget request. Uh and we were able to soften that impact really only by rescinding two billion from the Afghanistan account and option we will not have again this year. Um We have done nothing to address our U. N. Arrears. We have not done enough to face the growing food security and refugee crisis and we have a great deal of work to do together. So as our NATO partners have, we need to demonstrate that we can pull together and work together in the way this subcommittee traditionally has. We look forward to hearing from you, MR Secretary, how you see this year, unfolding what your highest appropriations priorities are and how we can work together to achieve our nation’s schools. Senator Graham, thank you. Mr. Chairman. Uh One MR Secretary welcome. Uh You are a very hard worker and I enjoy, you know working with you where we can and we have our differences. This subcommittee has had a good track record of trying to put money into programs that produce value for the American people make the world a safer place. The world food program is under siege. So there’s a lot of talk in the building about another supplemental count me in. I’m willing to look at Ukraine in terms of what their needs are. So you’re just gonna have to come to reality here that as the world changes the subcommittee has a role to play when it comes to the state department. I want to thank those under your your command Mr. Secretary, you know, I’ve spent a lot of time in the military. A lot of us go to war torn regions, but it’s the diplomat, the foreign Service officer, the USA I. D. Worker there in harm’s way. Just as much as anybody and um the work they do on behalf of stability can sometimes create a peaceful world better than dropping a bomb. And I think the military agrees with that. So the military is a big fan of this account because without developmental assistance and showing up you’re gonna lose ground. Just got back from Japan uh Taiwan and Australia, they want to do more. Uh There’s a backlash brewing against china’s misadventures. Uh One of my colleagues I think had a discussion with the yesterday about what’s the big deal about Ukraine that used to be part of the soviet union. Uh I think we can find common ground here that that Putin has no legitimate claim on Ukraine, It’s a sovereign nation Back in the 90s. They did the Budapest Memo where Russia and the United States and Great Britain guaranteed sovereignty of Ukraine if they would turn their nukes over to to Russia. That agreement has been stepped upon. I think most of us here believe that Putin wants to recreate the old Russian empire of the soviet union Ukraine is just a warmup warmup act Moldova, he will go until somebody stops him. So this is not about a buffer zone between Russia and NATO. It’s about a man with an ambition that I think is going to destroy this country and kill thousands of innocent people and I appreciate the flow of weapons. Uh, it has been on the increase. I hope we can do more and I think we should do more. But I want you to understand MR Secretary, most republicans do not see Putin’s endeavors as any way legitimate and that we all understand if we don’t stop him in Ukraine, he’ll keep going when it comes to china. Japan is going to increase their military spending. The Solomon islands. Haven’t heard about that much since World war two china is in play there, appreciate you sending some diplomatic presence there uh developmental finance corporation is a brilliant idea. I think it’s now time to have a DFC component for Asia to compete with the belt road initiative by china And I would like to work with the chairman and the secretary and beefing up our developmental aid presence in Asia to combat china Afghanistan is heartbreaking. We’ll talk about all of that. It seems to be that the Iranians are making a demand on the administration to change the decks designation of the Iranian Revolutionary guard Corps no longer to be a fair and foreign terrorist organization. I hope you resist that demand and we’ll have a discussion about that. But Putin gave his speech today to the Duma. He said he vows to accomplish the goals of the invasion. He will not be deterred. So as we meet in Ramstein where Defense Ministers of NATO and the coalition of the willing talk about providing more aid to Ukraine. Putin is basically telling his people through the Duma that he is committed to see this through. My commitment is this will be the end of Putin one way or the other that when this is over, the Russian people will see they have no future under his leadership. That will keep the sanctions on that. We increased sanctions at every turn. We provide the brave Ukrainians the ability to fight back and that over time the world isolate Putin. I met with the International Criminal Court prosecutor Mr. Khan yesterday I think he has a good plan for those who are committing war crimes in Ukraine wearing Russian uniforms. So too, to Putin, you’re committed to the invasion. We’re committed to Ukraine’s freedom. We’re gonna win and you’re gonna lose. Thank you. Thank you. Senator Graham. Chairman Leahy, Thank you Mr. Chairman. I uh, I’m listening to the travel. I’ve been watching and I’ve talked with Secretary Blinken again this morning about the amount of traveling he’s done first. I must tell you, I I worried greatly when you and Secretary Austin we’re going into Ukraine because they announced it ahead of time. I suspect that was not the way you would like to have done it. But I’m glad you went. I’m glad you got back safely. Senator coons. And Senator Graham been traveling quite a bit lately. I went to Vermont but I am going to be doing some of those trips later later this year. I miss chairing the subcommittee. But I note that Mr. chairman that over the years different chairs myself, Senator Gramm, Senator McConnell and I shared this committee. We got things God always in a a unified passion and I can think of no one more qualified or better suited for the job than Senator coons. And I’m delighted that he’s here cares passionately about it in or in public. But in private he talks about these issues and it’s occurring for diplomacy. I think the budgeting this and budget Department of State are extremely important in what we do um in our non military. I mean the military is obviously important, but we’re doing the non military. I don’t I know that and some of the issues of foreign native member of former Secretary Madison, if you want to cut these programs, uh foreign aid and other things that the State Department that you want to cut those programs buying more bullets because he’s gonna need them and I agree. But the role you played with President Biden. Secretary Austin marshaling of NATO countries and all to stand up united against Russia’s unprovoked aggression brutality in Ukraine. Uh that is so important. And you know, we we spoke briefly part of leaving the funeral today. But they we have to stand up and the fact that you were able to bring our NATO allies together sometimes they could be a desperate group, but they came together on this. It is extremely important and it shows a critical need for our country’s leadership NATO, I think uh It was just a couple of years ago. I don’t think it would have happened that way. And here we are facing the greatest challenge to democracy since the 40s Now, we’re going to have another hearing on the global Covid and food security crisis. The pandemic continues to spread its mutating in scores of countries. The food security crisis been greatly exacerbated by the skyrocketing commodity prices due to the war in Ukraine. Covid is important worldwide because there’s no place having a Covid outbreak that’s more than an airplane trip away from our shores. And We know the 161 million people are facing starvation. Another 227 million are facing acute food insecurity where the wealthiest, most powerful nation on earth, we have to step in on that. So I hope Mr. Secretary, you get the White House asked for additional supplemental funds to address these global humanitarian emergencies. They have prior reaching economic security, I’ve got to step outside for a phone call. I’m gonna be coming right back in to hear this. And Mr. Chairman, I am so glad you’re doing this. Thank you very much Chairman Leahy and thank you for your very long and very effective and very engaged stewardship of this subcommittee over three decades. Um you have steered this subcommittee ably through some really hard budget times, political times, global environments and um I cannot possibly hope to succeed in living up to the record that you’ve established of focus and excellence in. I’m delivering on our role in the world. Given the challenges we face Mr. Secretary, um if you can give us a broad overview both of your insights from your trip to Kiev in the challenges facing the State department and your priorities for appropriations this year, we’d be grateful Mr. Chairman, thank you very very much to to you to Chairman, lee ranking member, Graham. I’m grateful for this opportunity to talk about the administration’s pro budget for the State Department. Um let me just start by saying that later today, we will welcome back to the United States Trevor Reed who was wrongfully detained in Russia. We’re deeply grateful to our allies and partners who helped in this effort to bring them home and I especially want to thank uh special presidential envoy for hostage affairs. Ambassador Roger Carson’s known well to all of you. Ambassador john Sullivan in Moscow and others in our government, including in this Congress who worked relentlessly to bring Trevor home and who continue to press for the release of Paul Whelan and other U. S. Citizens wrongfully detained abroad. Ah as you’ve noticed several of us just came from a ceremony honoring Madeleine Albright and just take a moment to honor her extraordinary service. She was a friend to me, a mentor to me, someone I sought counseling she had, I think is you all know an incredible clarity of voice, voice that I think we can all still here and an ability to really get to the essence of things Few diplomats have so clearly embodied the ideals for which our country stands or done more to protect them around the world. We mourned her passing, which is softened only by knowing that her example is going to continue to guide our department and our foreign policy for years to come. I look forward to finding ways to honor her in the department and Chairman lee he left the room, but I did want to say to him that this may be the last time that I have the privilege of speaking on a budget request before a committee that that he leads. And let me just simply join in the course of people thanking Chairman Leahy for his extraordinary service, not just for the service, but for the way that he has served and continues to serve. Always championing the vital importance of investing in diplomacy and development, always insisting that human rights be at the heart of our foreign policy, including of course by offering a law requiring the government to withhold support for foreign security forces that commit gross human rights violations and always being a partner to Secretary of State across eight administrations, the department will always appreciate Chairman ladies, support for our people and for the work they do around the world. Um I read about a surprise tribute that Chairman lee he received last week in Vermont’s General Assembly. I was struck by something that that he said and I quote, I think Vermont is a place where you can develop your conscience. I think of the Senate as a place that should be the conscience of the nation and sometimes is so I would say for a long time Senator Leahy has in fact in the conscience of this institution when I served here, I certainly felt that very strongly our nation in the world are better for it. Um Mr. Chairman ranking member, Graham, I have a statement that goes to uh the budget proposal goes to our modernization agenda. But in the interest of time, I’m happy to submit it for the record so that we can get to a conversation in questions. Terrific. Thank you very much. Mr. Secretary, I’ll begin What, our seven minute questions we may get to a second round, but there is a vote scheduled for 3.30. Um so if members intend to come back for a second round, please make sure my staff knows um thank you for your tireless work on pulling together our allies in support of Ukraine. Ukraine faces a brutal invasion by Russia and I would be interested first. Just in a few questions about a supplemental that we understand may be coming soon. Um Bridget brink has been nominated to be the next U. S. Ambassador Ukraine. Will you be resuming operations in Kiev as well as in the west of the country? And will the supplemental include funding um to return us embassy personnel and provide for their security? 1st 2nd. In addition to military and humanitarian assistance, do you think this supplemental will or should include funds for the global food security crisis and the pandemic? And then last I’ve just returned from Georgia. Many of us have expressed concern about Moldova and Georgia which are also roughly in the position that Ukraine is meaning not members of the Eu not members of NATO countries that are receiving Ukrainian refugees and where there is a real and present threat of Russian aggression against Moldova and Georgia. So if you would, Mr. Secretary, that’s my opening set of questions. Mr. Chairman, thank you very very much. Um so a few things. First of all with regard to the supplemental that should be coming forward in the next couple of days and it will include very robust assistance requests for for Ukraine for for partners and allies and as well as of course our ability to function in Ukraine with regard to our diplomatic presence. We have diplomats going back to Ukraine this week as we speak to begin the process of looking to reopen the embassy in Kiev. And my anticipation is that they will start um in L’viv in Western Ukraine and uh look to reopen the embassy as quickly but also as safely as possible. And we look forward to working with you on that. A number of other countries that are left with the onset of the Russian aggression are also coming back, reopening their missions. It was very important for Secretary Austin and I to go to to show the flag but we want to be able to show the flag every day. Um but it’s a process that we take very seriously in terms of making sure that we do it in a way that ensures the safety and security of our of our personnel. But I think this will play out over the next the next few weeks. We will very much appreciate the Senate’s prompt consideration of Bridget brink to be ambassador to Ukraine. She is extraordinarily qualified for this job. I think she’s known to many members of this committee and uh hopefully she will be um confirmed quickly once she sent formally to the Senate. I anticipate the supplemental will include um request for resources for food security, something that we can and should talk about. Uh this is as chairman Leahy said uh a very very dramatic problem that was already already existed of course and has been exacerbated by Russia’s aggression by the invasion. We have Ukrainian farmers who instead of being able to deal with our crops have been forced to fight or to flee for their because of the Russian aggression. We have Russia blockading black sea ports so that even though Ukraine is actually producing a lot of wheat, it can’t get out of the country because of this blockade. Um and all of that is having an effect not just in the immediate region but literally around the world. And I know in all of your travels you’ve heard this too everywhere we go, everywhere I go. I’m hearing this, we have we have plans to address this. Uh not just with the supplemental, we’re trying to get countries to support the World Food Program with additional funding, the Food and Agriculture Organization with more funding. They both have needs for resources. Were looking to countries that have large stockpiles of food to use those stockpiles to not hold them back to not put export restrictions on food. The President’s incentivize the production of fertilizer here in the United States. Um and we are working in a variety of ways to try to address this. Last thing I’ll say on this Mr. Chairman is that um we have the Presidency of the U. N. Security Council in May. I intend to focus our month of the presidency on Food Security and I’ll be spending some time there as well. And again very much look forward to working with this committee. Finally on Moldova and Georgia. I share the concerns that you’ve expressed about the vulnerable position they’re in. We’re working very closely with both. I was in Moldova a few weeks ago, our assistant secretary for population refugees and migration secretary. Assistant secretary Noise was just there as well. Um We have contributed through a German pledging conference an additional $100 million to help support Moldova. The request that you have before you would fund programs to do a number of things including bolstering cybersecurity, economic stabilization and resilience to counter disinformation where they’re on the receiving end to try to integrate their energy system to Europe. There’s I think a significant development in the connection of Moldova as well as Ukraine to the European security grid. But there’s work to do to make that work. We also need to get the U. N. Agencies to be prepared for a potential huge influx of additional refugees to Moldova. Uh They’ve already taken in a lot of people. It’s a small country um anyway, in the interest of time, there’s more on Georgia. I can’t speak to that as well. But the point that you make is exactly right. We need to be looking out for these countries that are at risk and in between. We see again in Moldova something’s happening in Transnistria that we’re looking at very very carefully as well. Thank you. Mr. Secretary to the United Nations if I might just a few points and then I’ll um lead to the ranking member. Um First we did not succeed last year and paying anything in our U. N. Arrears. We have arrears now totaling a billion dollars and in my view failing to pay what we could and should weakens our credibility and frankly strengthens some of our global competitors who take advantage of that opportunity. I was just in Paris and had the chance to meet with Director General Azula of UNESCO. I’d be interested in your thoughts on whether in our absence our competitors have used that absence to expand their role. Um And then last on the U. N. Human Rights Council on March 4th the U. N. Human rights Commission adopted a resolution opening a commission of inquiry for the human rights violations, the war crimes being committed in Ukraine. I’ll be interested in whether the administration supports an I. C. C. Or other war crimes investigation into a prosecution of Russian soldiers and leaders and what assistance we could provide there and how significant you think it is that Russia has been suspended now from the U. N. Human Rights Council. The first permanent member of the UN Security Council to be so suspended and whether you could make a case for are renewing our participation in that council and with that I’ll yield to the ranking member if you would take a minute and answer those. Thank you very much. I very much share your view that it is to our detriment to not be making good on our commitments to the United Nations. In terms of the budget, in terms of dealing with arrears. It puts us in a position of disadvantage in a place that we should be in a position of advantage. And to your point, um some of some other countries are able to make the rhetorical case because of this that um us leadership, us influence, um uh can’t be counted on. Uh and uh it also of course contributes to some operational challenges. So we think that paying, paying our dues, paying into the budget is vital um both for the functioning of the U. N. But also for our standing and our ability two carry the day and carry the debate at the U. N. I think we have some proof positive of this by the way, and what you just referenced because we’re back on the Human Rights Council, we were able to actually lead in the creation of this Commission of Inquiry for Ukraine. So, it’s something we’re going to very much support looking at the atrocities and even rights abuses that were committed by Russia in Ukraine. Similarly, we support and welcome the fact that the I. C. C. Has opened an investigation. We found ways to support the in a number of instances in the past, including most recently with the prosecution of a john graduated from Darfur, that prosecution resulted in no small measure from information and evidence. We were able to bring forward. Our main focus when it comes to Ukraine is on helping the prosecutor general and her team that’s investigating these um war crimes allegations, we have experts who are working very closely um with that, with that team to make sure that they can do their jobs effectively. Uh and finally on on UNESCO this is a, I think a perfect example of a situation where our absence is clearly to our detriment because, among other things, UNESCO is in the business of setting standards norms um around the world for education, uh for the way new emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are used to cite just two examples. So when we’re not at the table shaping that conversation and so actually helping to shape those norms and standards, well, someone else’s and that someone else is probably china. So it really does not make a lot of sense for us to be absent from that from that body now. Uh, there was a, a very understandable concern expressed in the past because of uh the Palestinians seeking ignition and that going forward that Congress chose to act two make it difficult for us to continue our participation. Um We believe that having a waiver authority, it would be important and necessary and I can say with authority that our partners in Israel feel the same way they would support are rejoining UNESCO and I think it’s in the national interest to do that precisely because these debates are so important and we should be at the table making sure that we shape them, not someone else. Thank you. MR Secretary, I’ll yield to the ranking member, Senator Graham, If it’s okay, I’ll let cinema Moran go first. He has a hearing the chair in about five minutes someday. I hope to chair a committee again. But at the moment I’m only the ranking member. But I appreciate your your willingness not only to promote me, but to allow me to go ahead of you, Senator Graham. Thank you. Mr. Secretary, thank you. I would join in my commendation for the chair of the full committee and the chair of this subcommittee and I always appreciate the opportunities I have to work with them. MR Secretary. Um yesterday you told the Foreign Relations Committee that you believe our allies and partners are prepared to sustain and build upon the sanctions imposed. And I’m a member of the NATO observer group. So I’m talking about NATO and I’m talking about the circumstances that we all face in regard to the invasion, the evil invasion of Ukraine from your conversations with our allies and particularly Germany who who haven’t uh pledged to increase their defense budgets. Um what do you what what do you see as happening next? Will this last longer than this particular circumstance uh and you indicated that they would build it build upon sanctions imposed. What do you anticipate that building to include Senator? Thank you very much and thank you for your leadership at this critical time on this issue. A couple of things. First, I think what we’ve seen to date is extraordinary in terms of allies coming together, both in support of Ukraine, but also in exerting pressure on Russia. We said before this Russian aggression took place as we saw it coming. We tried to head it off, but Putin went ahead. We said back in December that there would be massive consequences imposed on Russia if it went ahead with the aggression. The reason we were able to say that with confidence is because for many months we’ve been working with allies and partners to build those massive consequences, including unprecedented sanctions. And I think that Many of us would not have fully expected that we would actually be able to carry that through uh thus far we have and we’re seeing as a result of the pressure imposed on Russia, an economy in freefall. Um, most predictions suggest it will contract by 15% this year. We’re seeing capital flight from the country to the extent that Putin is not able to prevent that. Um, we’re seeing an exodus of companies more than 600 businesses, um international businesses with brand names. Leaving Russia, uh denying Russian consumers the ability to get to get those products and the export controls that we’ve been able to impose? Working with other countries? Mean that Russia will not be able to effectively modernize critical parts of its economy and a system including the defense sector. But to your point, it’s vitally important that we sustain this effort and that means making sure that, um, as we’ve done to date, um, allies and partners come along as we do this, we are in constant contact with them. We will continue to roll out sanctions in in the weeks ahead. This is not not stopping, as long as Russia is not stopping. And um, the European union itself is continuing to do that. I think the next step is one of the things that they’re looking at is an oil embargo on on Russia. They are working on that. We are looking to see what, what they do. We will continue to focus um, on additional sectors of the Russian economy to make sure that we continue to to ratchet up the pressure. I anticipate that this is going to go on for some time and all the more reason why we have to make sure that we sustain what we’ve been able to put in place. Mr. Secretary, thank you. I was on the border of Ukraine a few weeks just a couple of weeks ago. My takeaway then as it was previously and continues to be and what I’m looking for is reassurance. I want to make sure the United States, in my view, it would be immoral for us just to provide enough assistance for the Ukrainians to survive and not win. Uh, and I also think that our help should include more than defending the Ukraine, the offensive capabilities of Ukraine to attack those areas that are attacking them. Can you assure me that that is policy, that’s what we’re doing. Um, or would you want to dissuade me from my views a couple of things First, thanks to the tremendous support, the generosity of the American people through this Congress, we’ve been able to date to provide the Ukrainians with um, exceptional support. And this is something that started well before the Russian aggression. The initial presidential drawdown uh, took place back in Labor Day of last year, Uh, million. Then there was another significant drawdown of about $200 million Christmas time. All that was done relatively quietly. The Russians had not yet committed their aggression, but we wanted to make sure that Ukrainians had in hand what they needed if Putin carried this forward. And when he did, um, the main reason that the Ukrainians have been so successful thus far in repelling the Russians is of course because of their own courage. Um, remarkable, but it’s also because they had in hand, the tools they needed to do that and in particular the javelins, The stingers, systems of that nature were critical in winning the battle for Kiev. Um, I can tell you that broadly speaking, when it comes to anti armor systems and anti air systems for every Russian plane and every Russian tank in Ukraine, we and allies and partners have been able to provide the Ukrainians to date with about 10 systems for every plane and every tank. But to your point, the nature of the battle is now shifted. Uh and it, what’s happening in the east and southern Ukraine is very different than what was happening around Kiev in terms of what the Ukrainians need to be able to repel the Russian aggression. And so heavier artillery has been critical and we’re working assiduously and others are to get them that um sure to ship weapons to deal with the challenges uh in the in the Black Sea, also vital heavier armor tanks, etcetera. All of that is in trained Secretary Austin was in Germany yesterday as as you probably saw a pretty remarkable scene. 40 defense ministers sitting around a huge table all working on coordinating the effort to get to the Ukrainians what they need. We spent three hours with President Zelensky, his Minister of Defense, his Chief of the Armed Forces, the Foreign Minister, etcetera. And a chunk of that time was spent on going in detail through Ukraine’s needs going forward. So the short answer is we are determined to get them what they need to deal with this Russian aggression and to push the Russians out of the country. It’s another matter uh as to whether um the Ukrainians should take actions that go beyond their borders. My own view is that um it’s vital that they do whatever is necessary to defend against Russian aggression and the tactics of this are their decisions. But what we’re doing with all of these systems is making sure the Ukrainians have the means to defend themselves. That’s what this is about and making sure that they can do whatever is necessary to push the Russians out of the country. Mr. Chairman, I won’t ask another question, but if I can compliment or at least support a decision that the secretary has made, I encouraged you several weeks ago, a week or more ago to return to Kiev with our diplomatic embassy. You are headed that direction. It sounds like it’s going to occur in stages, but I am supportive of the United States having its embassy in Kiev as quickly as it’s safe for our personnel. And I want to thank you for a couple of folks, several of your folks, uh nas Courtney Paul, Jeff consular affairs folks who have been exceptionally helpful to us in our efforts to solve problems for Kansans and Americans around the globe. Thank you Senator, thank you for saying that we very much appreciate and we look forward to continuing to work with you. Thank you. Thank you. Chairman, lady, thank you Mr. Chairman and Secretary Blinken. I stepped out, but I heard your kind words outside. I I I didn’t jump back in. Glad I didn’t want to interrupt you guys enjoy it too much. But thank you. It was, it was uh it was undeserved but greatly appreciated. And regarding Ukraine, There has been some of the birds of us to liquidate the Russian central banks nearly was a $100 billion foreign-exchange reserves. They are frozen at the Federal Reserve to use those funds out the people of Ukraine. Does the department have the capacity to identify the assets of Russia and other oligarchs? And can they coordinate with the Treasury and Justice departments and seizing and freezing such assets? Mr. Chairman, we are working very closely with Treasury and Justice to look at um both how we can um effectively freeze but also seize seize assets and we have blocking sanctions as you know in place against a variety of individuals and institutions that effectively freezes their property in the United States. The question, when it comes to the seizure pieces, do we have the relevant provisions in place seminal civil criminal forfeiture authorities. Justice is in the process of reviewing that. Uh and I know that there are a number of ideas that um I find compelling about finding ways to use these assets to support Ukraine. The short answer is uh Justice Department lawyers are looking at all of that. Of course, it doesn’t help that a lot of those assets are behind Various walls, one after another, ah fake corporations and um things of that nature, yep. And I think it goes to the importance of of having of having transparency, beneficial ownership rules etcetera. And I can’t think of anything I’ve seen more shocking than the scenes of what the Russian soldiers are doing. Um machine gunning families is they’re trying to run away from something the Children, innocent civilians have been murdered. And can that be investigated by the International Criminal Court? Should it be? And can we help we welcome the fact that the sec has opened an investigation. One of the critical things they’re doing is making sure that uh potential evidence of atrocities is being is being compiled effectively. As I mentioned, I think when you’re out of the room Mr. Chairman besides the the I. C. C. Work, I think the critical focus that we have is on supporting the work of the Ukrainian prosecutor general, and we have experts who are working every single day with that team to make sure that they have what they need to uh document, compile the evidence and actually look at potential prosecutions. But those two efforts, as well as the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council at the United Nations with our our leadership are three of the critical vehicles we see going forward to get accountability to deal with. And to your point, some of the things we’re seeing are I think beyond almost our collective imaginations, for example, um there are very credible reports that the Russians have been in retreat, booby trapping things like people’s washing machines and toys so that when people are able to return home and go about their lives, they’re killed or injured. As a result, I look at some of the land mines and questioned mines using in this javelin mind that you don’t even have to touch it, you come near it. That’s exactly right. And and and Mr. chairman part of our request and I think this will be in the supplemental will be for some additional funds for the mining because unfortunately we have to deal with that now as a result of what Russia has been doing. And I was thank you for mentioning it because I know your request Is 18 million below what’s been requested last year. I have a feeling you’re gonna need a lot more for humanitarian demining and the as you know, I’ve long side to rid the world of landmines, but I think also the what the prosecutors are getting is going to be extremely important for historians. You know, those who I don’t understand the mistakes of history, it’s almost a cliche, but they are condemned to repeat them. The world is gonna see this because it there is no question that it’s crimes against humanity and we’re going to need, I think the world food program projects an unmet need of $10 billion. I would hopefully have requests to beef that up. And um The president’s budget request is about $8 billion dollars above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level. But war in Ukraine. Um The COVID-19 pandemic climate change and so on. Is this not the moment we should be investing more in the State Department and other agencies and more? I know this is something Chairman Koons has talked about it late. Um putting more in In four knots not less so. And lastly, and my time is running out the lady law. Would you and your staff please talk with us? How how that the one that prohibits assistance of units of foreign security forces there committing gross violations of human rights. Ah I think you have some money in your budget For Leila vetting. But are you confident that that’s being carried out as much as it should be? Mr. Chairman in my judgment, it is, I think it’s being consistently and effectively applied. We have $15 million dollars in the budget uh this year to conduct the vetting. Uh It’s a critical part of what we do uh And I think we have the resources as well as the focus necessary to carry that out in the way it was intended. And I just mentioned a chairman, your plane was delayed but we had a meeting at some extensive meeting. I know Senator Durbin and I were there yesterday with the president and others about Cuba ah nobody condones the crackdown on the people are peacefully protesting in there. But I also don’t I don’t condone the toro rollback of the policy that we had under the Obama administration. I had hoped the attention is given to finding a way that we can start having normal relations with CUBA for the good of their own people and for us. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. I look forward to catching up with the President. I haven’t talked to him since your your meeting but I look forward to hearing from him on the meeting. Thank you. Mr. Chairman Senator Graham. Thank you very much. Mr. Chairman uh won’t request a second round. We’ll try to make this as quick as possible. But there’s a lot going on in the world. And Let’s start here at home. Mr. Secretary. Do you believe if we repeal title 42 authority to deport illegal immigrants because of the threat of a covid outbreak, that we will have more illegal immigrants coming? Um Senator I two things on that first. Uh as you know, Title 42 is a CDC Authority Public Health Authority. It’s it’s not an immigration policy authority. The question is, what practical effect would its repeal have? I think we are likely to see more people seeking to enter the country. But if they cannot present a credible claim Of asylum, they’ll they’ll be returned. That’s the policy that doesn’t change the borders not opening with the repeal of title 42. If that’s what happens, I’m just saying the border is completely broken. We have 1.2 main illegal crossings since October of last year and there will be a tsunami. more coming if we repeal Title 42. And uh, will there be covid money in the supplemental? Ah my I can’t speak to that at this point because I think the White House is still looking at that 11 way or another. Um Senator, in my judgment, we need covid money internationally. Whether that’s in this supplemental or in some other vehicle. I don’t know, but we need it. Yeah, I think we do need money for Covid internationally. I agree with that. And I think if you want to stop as Senator Leahy said, one country away from an outbreak, you would revisit title 42. I would encourage you to do that. Let’s go to Afghanistan. What’s the state of Play in Afghanistan for women? Right now? The state of Play is extremely mixed to negative. And what’s the upside for women? The only upside that we’ve seen at all is that uh somewhat ironically, you might say there is there is in the country at large, greater stability and relative peace than there’s been. That’s about, The only upside I can think of the downside of course is that we’ve seen including most recently the Taliban um Fall back on its commitment that it had made to ensure that girls can go to school above the 6th grade. Um this is among many things. Um something that is a deep, deep concern is our homeland more at risk now than it was before the withdrawal in Afghanistan from Al Qaeda and ISIS presence in Afghanistan. If you look at the, if you look at the presence and the threat, I’d say there are three things that are going on. Uh first there is Al Qaeda itself and um I can go into more detail and we’ll do it setting. But it’s just a general question is Al Qaeda and ISIS more free to roam now that we’re out of Afghanistan than there were before we were left. ISIS K is as you know, is of course an enemy of the Taliban. And the issue, there is not the will of the Taliban to take them on their capacity. That’s that is right. When it comes to Al Qaeda and the the Arab Al Qaeda core, there is, there are a very, very small number of people and how do we know based on the um again, without going into detail and in this setting, this secretary, all due respect is if you’re a Shiite in Afghanistan, it had been a good week for you. There is no upside to the Taliban in charge for a woman anywhere in Afghanistan. And I think our homeland is far more at risk now that we have no presence on the ground, no ability to detect what Al Qaeda and ISIS K are up to. So to me that’s an easy question to ask. Uh President Biden said he had no regrets about leaving Afghanistan. Do you have any regrets? Um, I don’t senator in the sense that this was America’s longest war now, That’s fair enough. Is the war over? Uh have we ended the war between us and radicalism Leaving Afghanistan? We went to Afghanistan as as you know? Well, for one reason, which is the deal with the folks who attacked us on 9 11, we decimated al Qaeda and its ability to continue attacks beyond Afghanistan. Osama bin laden was brought to justice more than a decade ago. It was time to end. Uh, have you heard the assessment by the Secretary of Defense and others that how long would it be before an attack against America originating from Afghanistan were mature and they said two years, Is that a successful withdrawal? Ah, that’s what they said. I asked him and I don’t wanna myself put words in their mouths. But the question anyway, I just think it’s potentially request is just ridiculous to say that we’re safer by letting the Taliban take over Afghanistan and women have any upside. Uh, let’s go to the Ukraine. Uh, are you pursuing Russia being a state sponsor of terrorism? We’re looking at that. Um, and the question, what was hard about that? The question is this and this is something that the lawyers are looking at, there’s no doubt in my mind Senator that the Russians are terrorizing the Ukrainian people. Well, what about Syria? Uh, the question is this and again, this is something that the, uh, that lawyers are looking at to make sure that we actually meet, uh, the statutory requirements of that designation. And if you need to change the law, so that Russia fits in, you’ll have 100 votes. I don’t know what more you’d have to do as a country to be a state sponsored terrorism. They’ve decimated the Ukraine Ukraine and they’re all over Syria dropping barrel bombs on people. So, you mentioned that you’re looking at it, I would encourage you to look at it and act upon it. Um, Putin vowed today in the Duma, that he would stay committed even though there have been heavy losses to accomplishing the goal of the invasion. What would you like to say to him very simply? And this aggression and it now, um, well, it seems not to be working. What what are the consequences to him if he keeps this up? I think we’ve already seen uh, devastating consequences for Russia. And let me say this first, in terms of his actual objectives, as stated in his own words, he has already failed because those objectives were to eliminate Ukraine as an independent and sovereign country to subsume it back in some fashion into Russia. We know already as a result of the extraordinary courage of the Ukrainians, that that’s not going to happen. And as I’ve said, there is going to be an independent and sovereign Ukraine around a lot longer than Vladimir Putin. So it’s already a strategic from your lips to God’s ears. And I want to help you where I can in that endeavor when it comes to um Winning in Ukraine described very briefly what winning looks like for Ukraine and the United States, Winning is going to be defined by, by the Ukrainians and we will support whatever they decide is in their interest. Have they told you what winning looks like right now for them? And I don’t want to put words in their mouths, but I think their focus is of course on repelling the Russian aggression and getting the Russians said Senator Moran Moran, that our goal was to get Russia out of Ukraine. Is that our goal? Uh that is that is Ukraine’s goal. And as a result that that’s our goal as well? Okay, great. Um, if Russia uses banned chemical weapons in Ukraine, what will our response be the president has been clear that there would be severe consequences for any use of a weapon of mass destruction by Russia. We have been working not only within our government, but with the parameter drone, what severe consequences would look like. I’m not gonna telegraph in in in public. What we can do, I can tell you that a lot of work has gone into planning against every possible scenario and again in a, in a different setting, I’m happy to get well, we’ll take that up if Russia explodes a tactical nuclear device in Ukraine. Would you consider that an attack on NATO? Um because the radiation would go well beyond Ukraine, all of this, uh including the potential use of a nuclear device, a tactical nuclear device is part of the planning we’re doing. And again we can get into that uh in more detail in just a couple more minutes. Do you think our policy regarding Russia and Ukraine has been successful? Ah to date in my judgment, Yes, in the sense that we said this senator before, when we saw the likelihood of a Russian aggression many months ago. So you think this is successful. I would say two things first. When we saw this as a as a possibility. We we did two things and we did both of them at the same time. We work to see if we could head it off through diplomacy and that didn’t work and at the same that did not work. But we also said at the same time that we would make sure that we and the Ukrainians and the world were prepared if Russia went through with this aggression. And we have been, Ukraine has done an extraordinary job in pushing the Russians back from Kiev. Um the world has come together to support the Ukrainians uh as a result of American leadership and American engagement in the world has come together to impose massive consequences on Russia for its aggression again as a result. So I think in terms of what we set out to do uh so far this has been successful, but It has to be sustained. I just take issue with the fact that we have been successful in Ukraine one. They invaded and we told them not to. They did, they’re killing people right and left and you know, we’re slow getting weapons in. I hope it turns out well. But do you think our withdrawal from Afghanistan affected Putin’s decision to invade it all? I do not. Um senator, I think he looks at these things on their own terms. Why did he pick when he went well, when he went into, when he went into Georgia in 2008, we had more than 150,000 troops between Afghanistan and Iraq. That did not deter him. When he went into Ukraine in 2014, he hasn’t dismembered the state of Georgia. Is that, you know, there’s two provinces there, but why did he choose to invade Ukraine this year? You believe? Um I think a number of factors came into play. I think he saw Ukraine moving inexorably to the west to Europe and he saw nothing that was going to interrupt that process. It was democratizing it was strengthening its system and having a successful democracy on Russia’s borders. It was bad for uh for Putin. And he had the ambition that he said in his own words last year ending its sovereignty and independence. And this was he doesn’t recognize Ukraine as a separate nation. That’s correct, yeah. So it’s not really about them being democrats have been moving toward democracy for a long time. I think he invaded this year because I thought he because he thinks he can get away with it. Um So very quickly, one minute here, China just got back from the region. The people in Taiwan are very concerned about what happens in Ukraine. Do you agree that the outcome in Ukraine can influence what china does regarding Taiwan? I do. I think China is looking at this very carefully and the fact that it is seen as a result of our leadership, 40 countries and more come together in a variety of ways to impose these massive costs on Russia for its aggression. That would have to factor into its calculus about Taiwan going forward. Are you as administration committed to following Putin to the ends of the earth in supporting war crimes investigations and prosecution against him individually. Do you believe that we could ever forgive and forget when it comes to Putin. Do you believe it’s the right policy for the international community to pursue him as a war criminal senator. We’re committed to doing everything we possibly can for as long as it takes uh to ensure that there’s accountability for the crimes that have been that includes Putin himself. Whoever committed the crimes, whoever ordered the crime. Um Thank you Mr. Secretary, we both went about 10 minutes. We will endeavor to encourage others to stick to about seven. But I appreciate your forbearance. I’m gonna ask Senator Durbin who’s next. If he would both question and then preside. If I have to run to vote during the next few minutes, you may uniquely among the cabinet be familiar with exactly how this all works. So thank you for your forbearance. Senator Durbin. Thanks Mr. Chairman. I want to make a point of being here today. Mr. Secretary after I witnessed on television last night the exchange between you and the junior senator from Kentucky. I hope that no one left that hearing or believes today that his questioning represents the feeling of America. If Putin or the Russians or anyone take comfort in his questioning, they’re making a mistake. I think it should be clear and you try to make it as clear as you could, that we are not uh conceding any sphere of influence to Vladimir Putin. We are not conceding a an anxious effort to understand what he’s doing in Ukraine. I understand what he’s doing in Ukraine. It’s very clear what he’s doing. He has launched a vicious or barrack genocidal attack on this nation, unprovoked by them and un un sustained by international law as we know it. And I did not want any friends and allies of the United States to think that the junior senator from Kentucky expresses our point of view. I cannot imagine the reverberations of that comment in the Baltics. For example, the Baltics were part of the soviet union because of the aggression of Adolf Hitler and joseph Stalin. It had nothing to do with the people of those countries asking to be part of any soviet union. And they survived to this day as small, vibrant democracies loyal to the United States because they are part of NATO and they share our values and we are not giving that up to Vladimir Putin under any circumstances. I hope what I’ve just said, you agree with good, let me talk to you about a sentiment that has been expressed by senators Moran and also by Senator Graham and I share. And the sentiment is this the earliest analysis of what would occur when the Russians invaded Ukraine suggested, and this is before the invasion, that Kiev would last a matter of days, the bulk of the country, a matter of weeks. But the resistance that would be formed against any Russian occupation could go on for months or years uh and Putin would have learned under those circumstances that he had won a Pyrrhic victory if he even wanted to call it, that the reality of the situation is much different. Kiev has not fallen. You were able to visit that city with the Secretary of Defense. The bulk of Ukraine is at least stable though. They’re terrible ah examples of fighting going on at this point. And my concern is this We are trying to scramble in the last 53 days. Is that correct? 54 days to readjust our thinking about the future of Ukraine. We underestimated the courage and resiliency of the Ukrainian people, the determination they have shown to defend their own country. We perhaps overestimated the power of the Russian military. Uh, and as a consequence, we have to readjust to the fact that the Ukrainians have won some significant victories. My concern is expressed by my republican colleagues, is this Are we throwing a 10-foot rope to someone drowning 20-foot offshore? Are we falling short of what they need for something decisive to happen in our interest and their interest? Are we doing enough from a diplomatic or military viewpoint. From your point of view, I would hate to be able to I’d hate to see the situation where we’re saying how proud we are of NATO coming together with all its strength and at the end of the day, a devastated Ukraine with refugees by the millions and people in unmarked graves is what’s left behind by Putin. That’s hardly a NATO victory. Would you comment on that? Thank you, Senator. What Russia has done and continues to do to Ukraine every day. The brutalization of the country and the parts where Russia is um um is engaged is a tragedy that in and of itself can’t be undone. People have, people have died been killed in the most awful ways that can’t be undone. People have been displaced from their homes. Um five million refugees, seven million displaced persons inside of Ukraine, including by most estimates, three quarters of the Children of the country have been displaced at one point, some are moving back. Um, and even if they come when they come home, that’s not gonna fully erase the trauma that they’ve been through. So there are some of the, some of the damage that’s been done is quite literally irreparable. Having said that, um, I believe that we are the United States, many other countries coming together to make sure that to the best of our ability, the Ukrainians have what is necessary to push back this Russian aggression. They’ve done that successfully uh, in and around Kiev. Um they are engaged now in a ferocious fight in Southern and Eastern Ukraine. And as I mentioned a few moments ago, um Secretary Austin was just in Germany yesterday with 40 Ministers of Defense to make sure that we’re all coming together to get the Ukrainians the kind of weaponry that they need in a battle that has changed in its in its nature to continue to do what they need to do to push back this Russian aggression, we are focused like a laser on that and on making sure that they have what they need, some of that is coming from the United States, some of it is coming from uh, many other countries that are engaged and it’s being done in an organized and coordinated fashion and it’s being done in full consultation with with the Ukrainians. But as I said, we have to continue saying that and follow through. Let me just cite one quick example though of how this has evolved. Um, it used to be that when you have, the President made a a drawdown order, uh, it might take some weeks for between the time the order was given and the time the equipment in question got into the hands Of those that was going to, this is now happening in many cases in as little as 72 hours from the time the president did the draw down to the time weapons are getting into the hands of Ukrainians to use them against the Russian, aggression. 72 hours. We were just there, as you noted, um, and talked with all of the folks on the ground who are helping to make sure and coordinate, the the security assistance is getting in to the Ukrainians. It’s a remarkable operation and it’s working in real time. We have to keep that going and we have to make sure that they are getting what they need to deal with the actual threats that they face. The President has made it clear that a patch of polish real estate is a trip wire. He said that over and over again, I assume there are other trip wires which you may not want to be as explicit with us in this committee setting in describing. I hope that they will include the consideration of the genocide which is taking place there as well. If there is a point beyond which we cannot with a good moral conscience justify or even look the other way or wait for a day to resolve it on the question of war criminals. I was surprised to learn that current American law does not give us any criminal authority to prosecute those who committed war crimes in other countries. Nor does it give us any civil anyone, any civil authority over those same people. I have legislation to change that. We should make it clear to anyone that has been engaged in Putin’s strategy? They will never find a comfortable safe home in the United States. And I hope that I can bring that to your attention and your people will take a look at look forward to looking at that Senator. Thank you. If I could mention two or three other things, Senator Haggerty, I’ll wrap it up quickly because I know you probably are waiting to vote as well. Ah Afghanistan. Mark Frerichs. I wanted to make a point of making a record of our continuing concern about this Illinois resident who is being held captive in Afghanistan, are you familiar with this situation more than familiar with it? It’s something that I’ve intensely focused on. Thank you. We hope that we can bring him home the Chinese bullying of Lithuania over their decision to recognize the Taiwanese office. Are you aware of this situation again? More than aware of it, extremely focused on it. We jumped in very quickly when that happened to make sure that we could um bolster Lithuania including with uh economic assistance, creating greater opportunities for trade and investment. Um we’ve also rallied countries and partners in the European union to do the same thing. Uh, the European Union has stood up against this kind of coercive action by by china, the bullying that it’s trying to use and Lithuania has been extraordinary in its resilience and fortitude against it. But yes, very focused on that as well. Is there a path forward in Haiti with the situation that we currently face? What it’s a it’s a long path forward? Um there as you know very well from the time you spend on this, there are two things that they’re going first. We need to see the government, civil society, all actors come together to get us to elections free and fair elections that re establish a fully legitimate Haitian government and leadership and that work is in progress. We’re trying to facilitate that and support that. But having said that the problems are so deep rooted and so challenging that um I think the road is very long the criminality violence, the lack of basic law and order is a fundamental problem that we’re working to address, including by supporting and strengthening the Haitian national police and getting other countries to do the same. That’s very much a work in progress, the endemic poverty and lack of economic opportunity. One of the challenges senators that, you know, we’ve we and other countries over many years have devoted substantial resources to Haiti, but to date the honest truth is that it has not made a sustainable difference. We have to be. And we are looking at how can we do this more effectively to help Haiti um get to a place where it is sustainable. And of course it has been on the receiving end of one horrific thing after another, including natural disasters that continue to set back what progress is made. So the short answer is this is a long road we’re looking at and focused on trying to get the elections and and and and having a government that can fully represent the people we’re trying to work on on basic security by bolstering the police and dealing with the criminality the gangs which are terrorizing parts of the country. But then there is a much longer project uh, in helping Haiti to really stand on its feet in a, in a self sustaining way. Thank you. I’m gonna send you a written question related to my efforts to secure the release of Philippines. Senator Leila de lima, one of the critics of the regime. I’d like to know your take on the current state of affairs there. I’ll save that because I see Senator Haggerty waiting. I know he asked to vote so senator, please take it away. Thank you. Senator Durbin and um secretary Blinken, it’s good to see you again. I appreciated our inter interaction yesterday at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as we talked about the importance of the US Japan alliance, the quad, uh the indo pacific. And I look forward to continue working with you on those issues. Um I’d like to turn my discussion do today though. Something else that’s related to the region but also it hits us right here at home and that’s um China’s refusal to stop the flow of fentanyl and its precursors into the Western hemisphere. Um I’ve raised this issue with your assistant secretaries, with your deputy assistant secretaries, but I want to raise it with you today because it’s that important. Um I feel like we need decisive action. It’s for the safety of Americans is for the safety of our Children. Were both parents. I’m sure you feel the same. Um Today in America, the number one cause of death for young people between the age of 18 and 45 is drug overdose. 100,000 lives were lost last year to drug overdoses And most of those drug overdoses we’re fentanyl related and the DEA continues to assess that sentinel coming from china into Mexico is the major cause of this. It’s it’s something that I talked about with Mexican officials last May when I traveled to Mexico. They talked about the fact that Chinese entities are sending technicians, they’re sending equipment and setting up production in partnership with Mexican cartels there. And these cartels are multibillion dollar industries that have basically taken control of the northern border of Mexico. I met with your counterpart foreign minister abroad and asked him what we could do to cooperate what we could do to help. And he told me that they would greatly appreciate help with things in the nature of scanning technologies. Anything that would help them determine whether fentanyl or its precursors or the machinery to produce it was coming into this country. Um I appreciated his concern there and um I think it’s something that we ought to to to continue to focus on. You know I was on the phone with White House staff during the buenos Aires G 20 when President trump directly asked President Xi to stop sending fentanyl to the United States. Um my sense is that we need to really double down on our pressure with china on this. If if President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party can shut down a city the size of shanghai, one of the three largest cities in the world. I think they could certainly shut down the flow of fentanyl. Its precursors into our hemisphere. And I know you have many difficult conversations with your Chinese counterparts. but I’d like to hear your thoughts on what our strategy might be and encourage you to take on this difficult challenge to Senator. Thank you for raising that. I very much share your concern. I appreciate your your focus on it and the the the efforts we’ve been making uh and I agree with you this is a problem that needs intense focus and uh and solutions. We’ve been working on this in a number of ways. We’ve been, we’ve been working to add some of the precursors to prohibited lists to make clear that you can’t get uh fentanyl or variants in through the back door by using precursors that are, for one reason or another, not on prohibited lists. We’ve made some progress there. We are working with the Mexicans on exactly this question. We’ve reestablished the security dialogue with them last year. And part of this is looking at the of course the flow of drugs of any kind into the country. And what assistance do they need to more effectively police it. I’m going to follow up on the specific uh suggestion that you referenced to make sure that we are if we haven’t already done it actually looking at that and uh doubling up back with them on what it is they need to effectively police fentanyl. I can tell you this has come up in engagements between President Biden and President Xi uh, so it’s uh it’s been raised to that that level as well. But I’d also welcome working with you uh and your team on ways that we can effectively address this problem. I I appreciate that very much. And again, in my conversations with Foreign Minister Abba, that may have predated what you’ve been talking about. But he sincerely believed that there were technology solutions that we could help provide that would help them. I’ve seen some of those technology solutions deployed at our southern border. I went to our southern border earlier this month to see what’s happening there. It’s a tragedy in in terms of the flow of narcotics coming across the border. But again, I saw the technology that we’re putting in place now, the consents in a very sophisticated manner. Uh the the the the illegal substances that at least where they may be hidden. So I appreciate any efforts that you might make to um to work on that. Um I also wanted to take on for just a moment longer. Um the topic of India and our US India relations. Um the world’s oldest democracy, democracy, of course, uh is the United States, but India is the world’s biggest democracy. And I think they have, you know, I think what what I see before us, It’s something I’m certain that is very frustrating in the short term when we have our differences and you deal with that every day. But in the long term, um the strategic partnership that we have with India, I think poses the opportunity to do more good in the 21st century and have more more consequence, more impact than anything that the CCP could do uh coming from from their perspective and I believe that there’s a great untapped potential there in terms of developing that partnership for the for the good of all. And I would look forward to hearing your views in terms of what concrete steps the United States and India could take together to deepen our strategic alliance. Senator, I very much share your perspective. I think this partnership um has the potential to be one of the most important and foundational partnerships that we have going forward over the next decades. This has actually been I think a success story over multiple administrations going back to the end of the Clinton administration through the Bush administration, uh particularly with the uh peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement that by the way, now President then Senator Biden helped shepherd through uh this institution through the trump administration as well. Uh and uh and prior to that the Obama administration and now through ours, President Biden has spent a lot of time directly engaged with Prime Minister modi and India’s leadership of course, as you know very well, we have energized the the Quad that brings India together with Australia and Japan and us. Uh this has been a very important vehicle for strengthening our collaboration across a whole variety of fronts with India. I’ve spent a lot of time with my Indian counterpart and very much agree with you what’s interesting and we talked about this a little bit yesterday, the Foreign Relations Committee is this is a moment of I think strategic Inflection by which, I mean this is a number of countries are now re looking at some of their relationships uh and some of their interests, particularly when it comes to their relationship with Russia. And of course in the case of India there is a relationship that goes back decades and Russia for India was out of necessity a partner of choice when we were not in a position to be a partner. Now we are and we are investing in that effort. I think there is a growing strategic convergence between the United States in India and of course china is a big, big part of that, but I very much share your perspective and this is a major area of focus uh for the administration and for me to make sure that we are doing everything we can to strengthen and to build on that partnership going forward. I appreciate that very much Mr. Secretary. And I would just add one more point of encouragement in my recent trip to Japan, I spoke with Prime Minister Abe who developed a very good relationship with Prime Minister modi. Um and I know, you know, Prime Minister Abe as well and I would encourage you as you talk with your Japanese counterparts to engage them and um finding good ways to work together with India because they seem to be on the same track in the same mindset as we are. Thank you very much for your comments today, appreciate your testimony. Senator Van Hollen, thank you Mr. Chairman. And let me start by congratulating you on assuming the chairmanship of the subcommittee first hearing and look forward to working with you and the ranking member. And I also want to commend the chairman of the full committee, Senator Leahy as others have done for his incredible service. MR Secretary good to see you. He had a chance to talk yesterday in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So I’m not going to re tread that ground. But I do want to circle back on the sanctions issue because I think you and the president, the Secretary of Defense, the whole team have done a really good job in accelerating now the deployment of weapons um and also isolating Russia to the extent we can at the U. N. And other places and moving forward on sanctions. But as the sanctions go on sustaining them is going to be key and expanding them is going to be key. And leakage in the sanctions only helps Putin. And there are countries that right now and other entities that are violating the sanctions, as you indicated yesterday when I asked, we have not applied any secondary sanctions so far. Um I think we’ve got to use the secondary sanctions authority. The administration has um including against countries and entities in countries that are not simply maintaining their current or prewar imports of Russian oil and gas and other commodities but have increased it. Um And I would just urge you to do it because I think you’re gonna see growing movement for mandatory sanctions in the Senate and the House if you don’t use the existing authorities that you’ve got within the administration, I just want to make that really clear. Uh let me say something about the Czech Republic and you and I and others just came from a beautiful memorial service to Secretary Albright, of course, she and her family came to the United States from Then Czechoslovakia and I think she was about 11 years old. Um I had a meeting with the Czech foreign minister yesterday, uh and uh you know, he indicated that they were willing and wanting to provide some of their Soviet era helicopters in my 20 for uh to Ukraine, but wanted sort of a swift agreement for us to replace uh those with vipers and if not new vipers with some of the vipers out of our inventory now. So I just want to encourage you to move forward on that as fast as possible. And Senator, just on that, the Defense Department looking at at that right now. Yeah, this is um something that I think is very important across the board, which is a number of allies and partners have provided weapons from their stocks um to the Ukrainians in some cases that leaves a void that understandably they want to fill one of the things that will be coming forward with in the supplemental our our funds to help provide additional foreign military financing. Uh 22 partners and allies that is one vehicle by which they can make up any of the systems that they’ve shared with the Ukrainians that leave a void with them. At the same time. Of course, we’re looking at at what we have on hand. The pentagon is focused on this particular case as well as a number of others. Great, no, I appreciate that. No, I know you’re trying to overturn every stone, but anything we can do to accelerate that effort. Um of course, something else. Secretary Albright was very involved in was trying to stop the bloodshed and atrocities in the Balkans um at the time. Um and I also had a chance to meet with the Foreign Minister of Bosnia Herzegovina, Herzegovina yesterday and I think Senator Shaheen raised this issue and I just want to underscore it. I think we’re worried about what will happen in November. Um when as I understand the process. Uh the U. N. Security Council has to continue to authorize the presence of international forces and if Putin exercises that sanctions that that Vito it’s a real problem. I know it’s on your radar screen. Um I think I’m pleased to see the actions the United States has taken with respect to Dodi’s adobe in the I. R. S. I hope will encourage our European allies to to work in that direction, as you said yesterday, to try to accelerate the integration of Bosnia Herzegovina into the into the European family. Um a couple other issues Senator Menendez raised yesterday. The fact that Turkey had now essentially convicted Osman Kavala to a life sentence. You know, clearly a political prosecution, no legitimate basis for it. The administration did make up sort of, you know, a tepid statement, uh you know, showing unhappiness, but this combined with the fact that Turkey is continuing to move forward um in in their effort to ban um the main Kurdish party uh in Turkey from participating in the elections. Um it seems to me something that the administration really needs to press hard on in the case of the HDP, You’ve got just last Tuesday April 19th. Um you know, they were challenging it in the court. This effort to ban them, but Turkey’s top court accepted an indictment filed by the prosecutor seeking closure of the HDP. I mean, this is just a blatant blatant disregard for any standards of of of democracy. And so I just hope will be very strong on it. And obviously we have a complicated relationship with Turkey. There are lots of pieces. But this is something you’ve been involved in for years trying to support our allies, the Syrian Kurds. You know, Turkey continues to try to take them out whenever they can. Uh So I think we have a lot of work to do on that that front. Um let me just close by asking you about uh you know, the President’s pledge during the campaign and I think you you you really emphasized again when you were asked last October about the Consulate in Jerusalem to um establish, you know, greater reestablish that that consulate for our relations with the Palestinians, can you give us an update on where that stands? Um We are committed to reopening the consulate in Jerusalem for for the Palestinians. Um it’s something that we’re working on with the Israeli government. Um I was in uh Ramallah Gist a few weeks ago uh and saw President Abbas, we talked about that, among other things, you know, we re established support for the Palestinians a year ago, January uh including significant humanitarian and economic assistance that had been previously held back. We have reengaged them across the board and the consulate is a piece of a piece of that. It does of course require coordination with and support from Israel, including for example, providing privileges and immunities for the staff of the counselor to be. So it’s a work in progress, but it’s something that we continue to work on. Thank you, I appreciate efforts and thank you for going through a whole lot of issues very quickly. All right. Thank you. Mr. Chairman. I gotta go vote I think and thank you and Mr. Secretary. It’s my understanding we have no other members seeking recognition. If I might. I just had two or three quick questions on some very specific programs that Senator Graham and I have worked together on over a number of years, both to get them authorized in law and then to fund them. Um I have a lot of other questions I’d be happy to ask, but we both have other things we need to get to. Um the Global fragility Act. As you know, one of the things that Secretary Albright contributed to was the development of plan Colombia and the whole concept of a coordinated plan between um diplomacy, development and security came out of playing Columbia, Senator Graham and I worked over several Congresses to ultimately get the global fragility act signed into law. Um and I’d welcome a chance to talk in more detail about the selection process. The path forward, the strategy to prevent conflict and promote stability. Um I’d be interested just in hearing briefly now from you, a timeline for the development of implementation plans. Um and and the the requests for funding were very modest relative to the scale of the problems we have many other areas where we have requests that outstrip the budget of this committee. Um I’d just be interested in your view on the timeline for implementing these strategies and what we might be able to do together to improve the focus and investment in this area. Um Mr. Chairman, The timeline for implementation is now because just a few weeks ago the president signed off on our proposed focus, including the country’s uh in question that we would focus on and so this is something we’re moving out on uh and very much welcome working with you on as we move forward and actually implementing it, but it’s right on the right on the front burner. Thank you. Um The Development Finance Corporation, I’m planning to have a hearing with Scott Nathan, the CEO to discuss their fiscal requests, but I just wanted your view of their performance to date and their role in supporting the administration’s priorities. Senator Graham asked about china, there’s a number of other members that see it’s it’s significant potential, whether it’s in climate resiliency, in combating climate change, whether it’s in the West Bank or in developing um better opportunities for economic development that might promote stability in other areas. What’s your view of how they’ve performed? Uh And I’m sorry, could you just repeat the last the last part of that? Well, the Development Finance Corporation has a potentially very broad range of areas of activity. Each senator has their own view as to whether it should be principally countering china or dealing with climate or working in the Middle East in the Israeli Palestinian conflict or elsewhere. I’d just be interested in your overall view as to whether they have achieved the potential um that the act that created the Development Finance Corporation imagined for. Thank you. Uh First I’m a very strong supporter of the DFc, I think it’s um very important and powerful tool, one that that I appreciate and it gives us the ability to do a number of things. One of the things that gives us the ability to do is to more effectively offer a an affirmative positive alternative to china’s development programs, including Belton Road. Uh We can make this a race to the top, not a race to the bottom, uh including by using the FC not only of course with its own resources, but the fact that it has the ability to leverage significant private sector resources. Uh and so that’s one area of focus for me, is making sure that uh we use this effectively as a way of actually advancing concrete projects that are again attractive and affirmative and don’t bring with them, for example, many of the burdens that we see uh countries take on when they are, for example, working with china that workers brought into from china to actually build the projects instead of using local workers, no respect for the environment, for worker rights, corruption, etcetera, but we needed the tools to do that. The DFc is one of them. Um We also have to make sure and this is an area of a real focus that we have and the DFc can be engaged in viable uh projects. So the money maybe there, we’ve got to make sure that the projects are there. And in a way that really brings the private sector in, so we’re very focused on that. It also joins up with um with a couple of things it joins up with build back Better World, which I think is a very important initiative that the President’s undertaken again to make sure that in critical areas including energy and climate, health and uh and technology, we are investing in, engaged in uh projects that will be erased to the top for the countries that are that we’re doing them with. And DFC is one of the tools that we can bring to bear on making build back better World effective. We’ve been identifying projects in different parts of the world, That makes sense. I think we’ll be moving out on, on a number of them shortly now. Having said that, um I think we need to look at ways to maximize the potential of DFC. DFc. I’m not convinced that we’ve gotten to that point yet. So, um we have a lot of focus on it. I actually, by statute share of the board, the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Brian McKeon is intimately involved with DFc uh and working on that on a, on a regular basis, I’d welcome actually sharing ideas with you about how we can use it even more effectively going forward. Thank you. Um, it as of right now, the way that the equity provisions of it are scored is uh, causing me some agenda. I respect and understand the concerns of long longstanding staff on the appropriations committee about the secondary of follow on consequences. It might have if we were to change the treatment of the DFC equity authority. But I think we are under utilizing a very powerful tool. Um, and I would welcome interacting with you and with my other colleagues on this committee and the administration on how we can make sure that the DFC and build back better World Fund together or allowing us to really combat china’s pernicious influence. In my first six years here as chair of the Africa subcommittee, I saw it in country after country all over the continent. I was with former President Sirleaf of Liberia last night and was reminded of my very first conversation with her a dozen years ago now where she was asking for us help rebuilding the Mount Coffee. Um, that had been destroyed in their civil war. And after several meetings, she basically said, well, I guess the United States doesn’t do this anymore. Will have to take Chinese funding. Ultimately, our partners in Europe were able to provide funding for the restoration of that critical source of clean energy and and stability for Liberia. But there are dozens of countries around the world that would rather work with the United States than work with china if we can just provide them with the source of funding. And I think DFC could be a critical part of the answer to that. I couldn’t agree with you more. And I think one of the things that we really have to work on with DFC and other vehicles is the speed with which we’re able to engage on things. Because what exactly what you described I’ve heard again and again that the process across different agencies, not I’m not just talking about DFC um is uh is slow, laborious now we have to do the right due diligence. That’s that’s vital. But I think there are ways to make what we do more more efficient, quicker, more responsive to needs. And um I agree with you that DFC is a major, can be a major part of that. So we should work on making it work even more effectively. Thank you Mr. Secretary, thank you for your testimony before the subcommittee today. I think the conflict in Ukraine Russia’s completely unjustified and unacceptable brutality against the civilians of Ukraine. Its attempt to rebuild the Russian empire uh and the ways in which it is um shaking the very foundations of peace in Europe. The rules based international order is the most pressing issue of the day. I’m grateful that you and Secretary Austin have taken the initiative to engage with our allies to deploy resources um to travel to Keith personally and to testify before this committee today, when you’ve just returned at a moment when it is so critical that we continue to work in close partnership um to show the impact of American diplomacy and to show the impact of the resources that we can and should provide to support our critical NATO allies, to support the Ukrainian people and their resistance and to meet the pressing humanitarian needs of all impacted by this conflict. Questions for the record will remain open. They need to be submitted excuse me um by five p.m. Tuesday may 3rd. Um so the hearing record will remain open until that point and again. Mr. Secretary, thank you for your testimony. Thank you.

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