[Senate Hearing 115-830] [From the U.S. Government Publishing Office] S. Hrg. 115-830 REVIEW OF THE FISCAL YEAR 2019 STATE DEPARTMENT BUDGET REQUEST ======================================================================= HEARING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH CONGRESS SECOND SESSION __________ MAY 24, 2018 __________ Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Relations [GRAPHIC NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.govinfo.gov __________ U.S. GOVERNMENT PUBLISHING OFFICE 40-669 PDF WASHINGTON : 2020 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS BOB CORKER, Tennessee, Chairman JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey MARCO RUBIO, Florida BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland RON JOHNSON, Wisconsin JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire JEFF FLAKE, Arizona CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, Delaware CORY GARDNER, Colorado TOM UDALL, New Mexico TODD YOUNG, Indiana CHRISTOPHER MURPHY, Connecticut JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming TIM KAINE, Virginia JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts ROB PORTMAN, Ohio JEFF MERKLEY, Oregon RAND PAUL, Kentucky CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey Todd Womack, Staff Director Jessica Lewis, Democratic Staff Director John Dutton, Chief Clerk (ii) C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Corker, Hon. Bob, U.S. Senator From Tennessee.................... 1 Menendez, Hon. Robert, U.S. Senator From New Jersey.............. 3 Pompeo, Hon. Mike, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State.. 1 Prepared Statement........................................... 6 Additional Material Submitted for the Record Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Bob Corker................................ 73 Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Robert Menendez........................... 74 Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Marco Rubio............................... 102 Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Ben Cardin................................ 108 Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Todd Young................................ 115 Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Tom Udall................................. 116 Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator John Barrasso............................. 120 Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Cory Booker............................... 122 Statement From Refugees International............................ 128 Statement From Catholic Relief Services OPED in the HILL Newspaper...................................................... 129 Letter Submitted by Senator Young to the Appropriations Committee Reiterating Bipartisan Support for the Fiscal Year 2019 International Affairs Budget................................... 130 (iii) REVIEW OF THE FISCAL YEAR 2019 STATE DEPARTMENT BUDGET REQUEST ---------- THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018 U.S. Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, DC. The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:05 a.m., in room SD-419, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Bob Corker, chairman of the committee, presiding. Present: Senators Corker [presiding], Johnson, Gardner, Young, Barrasso, Isakson, Portman, Paul, Menendez, Cardin, Shaheen, Coons, Udall, Murphy, Kaine, Markey, Merkley, and Booker. OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB CORKER, U.S. SENATOR FROM TENNESSEE The Chairman. Foreign Relations Committee will come to order. I thank everybody for being here. Because of developments that have occurred, we are going to go a little out of order, if it is okay, and let Secretary Pompeo read a letter. I want to thank him for his service. I really, truly believe he has the opportunity to be a historic Secretary of State. And I thank him for all the things he has been doing since he was sworn in, immediately going to the NATO Summit. But, with that, Mr. Secretary, out of respect for what has just occurred, if you would like to read the letter, I would appreciate it. STATEMENT OF HON. MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Senator Menendez, for allowing me to do this. The President asked that I begin this hearing today by reading a letter that the State Department recently transmitted to Chairman Kim and North Korea. The letter is to Chairman Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and it reads as follows: ``Dear Mr. Chairman, We greatly appreciate your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties which was scheduled to take place on June 12th in Singapore. We are informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is appropriate at this time to have this long-planned meeting''--or ``inappropriate,'' excuse me--``I feel it is inappropriate at this time to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore Summit, for the good of both parties but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used. I felt that a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately it is only that dialogue that matters. Someday, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages, who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated. If you change your mind having to do with this important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history. Sincerely yours, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America.'' Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. Thank you, sir We want to thank you for joining us today. And, you were here just 6 weeks ago for your confirmation hearing. Now you are back in just a month, again, and I want to commend you on an energetic and forceful start to your tenure. We hold a budget hearing each year, and that is the formal subject of today's meeting. But, as you and I have discussed, budgets coming from an administration, these days and for many years, are not really focused on that much. As you know, there is a process we go through here to really determine what expenditures are going to be made. So, since it really does not have a great effect on the outcomes here, it would be my guess that there really will not be many questions around the budget. And I think you know that, even though you are going to present it, fulfilling your responsibilities. While discussing the budget is not a productive use of our time today, in all likelihood, I am hopeful that your remarks will outline your management plan for the State Department and steps that you have taken thus far on that front. I also want to discuss with you our efforts to update authorities we use to fight terror abroad. And, just for members on both sides of the aisle, today we have agreed to two rounds of questions, if necessary. And we realize that there have been questions around the AUMF. And so, I know many questions may focus on the AUMF we have been discussing in recent times. Our bipartisan legislation would replace 2001 and 2002 AUMFs with an updated AUMF against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It provides the administration the flexibility necessary to win this fight while strengthening the rightful and necessary role of Congress. And I believe it is the best chance we have to finally address this issue in a constructive way for the first time in almost 17 years. Since last June, our committee has held four public hearings, a classified briefing, and a number of meetings on authorizing the use of military force. We have heard testimony from legal scholars, policy experts, and Secretaries of State and Defense twice. During your confirmation hearing, you testified that you believe that we should update the AUMF and that you would welcome continuing to work with us towards that end. I know you have had experience working on this topic when you served in the House, and I appreciate your support for Congress's appropriate role with respect to this important issue. I also hope while you are here that you can speak to our strategy to get a new and better Iran deal now that we have withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. As you know, along with a majority of the colleagues on this committee, we staunchly opposed the JCPOA because it allowed Iran to maintain an enrichment capacity, and the limits on that enrichment capacity expired after only 10 or 15 years. While I am disappointed, no doubt, that the Europeans were unable to reach an arrangement with the administration to address the serious flaws in the JCPOA, I am hopeful that moving forward a new agreement that addresses Iran's nefarious nuclear and non- nuclear activities can be reached. With Iran's proxies performing well in the recent Iraqi and Lebanese elections; Iran's rising threat to our partner, Israel; and the war in Syria; transatlantic alignment and countering Iran comprehensively have never been more important. I know you share that belief and have spoken to that recently. So, I am eager to hear your thoughts on what can be done to build on the negotiations with the Europeans that preceded the decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. We thank you again for appearing before us. I thank you very much for accessibility and transparency, and look forward to your testimony. Thank you very much. And I will turn to our distinguished Ranking Member, my friend, Senator Bob Menendez. STATEMENT OF HON. ROBERT MENENDEZ, U.S. SENATOR FROM NEW JERSEY Senator Menendez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, thank you for coming to the committee again and agreeing to two rounds of questions so we can discuss the budget, the administration's views on the new proposed AUMF, and other pressing issues. As you know, I strongly believe that frequent, open, and frank exchanges are critical for this body to conduct effective oversight and for informing the American people. And, to that end, I appreciate our call of last week. Let me depart, for a moment, because, since we started this hearing with current events, let me just remark on them briefly. The art of diplomacy is a lot harder than the art of the deal. The reality is, is that it is pretty amazing that the administration might be shocked that North Korea is acting as North Korea might very well normally act. And, while we applaud robust diplomatic efforts to try to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, many of us were deeply concerned that the lack of deep preparation that is necessary before such a summit is even agreed to was not taking place. And now we see the consequences of that. And I am not sure that constantly quoting the Libya model is the diplomatic way to try to get to the results that we seek in North Korea, because that did not work out too well for Gaddafi. So, I look forward to having an opportunity--I am sure other members will, as well--to discuss that further. I was pleased to hear, Mr. Secretary, that a recent town hall at the State Department, you said that we are--quote, ``We are fortunate that our President values and understands the power of diplomacy and knows that we must use every tool in the diplomatic toolkit.'' So, surely, Mr. Secretary--I am sure you cannot be here to actually defend this budget, which runs completely counter to that very assertion, runs counter to the very goals and ideals that you championed in your confirmation hearing and those that the administration defined in its own National Security Strategy: robust diplomatic engagement, maintaining our position of global leadership, and the President's ambiguously defined political goal of putting America first. The budget that President Trump presented for promoting the foreign policy interests of the United States is, instead, stunningly irresponsible. In my view, it undermines our abilities to promote American foreign policy, it betrays our values, and it makes our citizens in the world less safe. Far from America first, it will leave America isolated and behind. I am sure I do not need to tell you that you have inherited a Department with a prevailing sense of plummeting morale, a corps of senior career diplomats whose expertise cannot be replaced overnight, one career Ambassador left. So, I completely support your efforts and will be a willing partner to fully staff the Department with qualified, appropriate nominees. However, as we discussed, Mr. Secretary, some of the nominees who have been put forward are, themselves, the cause of delays. We have a responsible, transparent vetting process. Some of these nominees have failed to disclose not just campaign donations or organizational affiliations, but some have failed to disclose significant lawsuits of which they have been the subject. It is extremely important that every nominee be completely honest and straightforward with the committee. And with a significant number so far, this simply has not been the case. So, I commend the initial steps you have taken to lift the hiring freeze and open positions to eligible family members, but I understand that some bureaus are still not hiring. And, without a successfully operational agency, I do not know that we can possibly successfully promote our national security interests on behalf of all Americans. But, we also cannot hope to secure our interests when our senior administration officials contradict one another in public, act impulsively, and offer more support to our adversaries than our allies. Senior members of the intelligence community, which were--which included you, until recently-- continue to point to incontrovertible proof of Russia's interference in our 2016 elections. Yet, the President refuses to even acknowledge their attack on our democracy, and the budget request includes a 63-percent decrease in funding to counter Russian aggression. The administration's National Security Strategy talks about the challenge of a revisionist China, yet the President charges the United States Department of Commerce with saving Chinese jobs while the budget request decreases funding for promoting American interests and alliances in East Asia and the Pacific by nearly 50 percent. In the Middle East, even as Iran's proxy fighters inch ever close to the Israeli border from Syria and Lebanon, the budget proposes massive cuts for critical assistance throughout the region. And in the western hemisphere, while the President says combating drug trafficking and confronting the opioid epidemic are priorities, we have a derogatory, hateful, and racist set of tweets and confounding reports that your predecessor ignored warnings that rescinding TPS designations would leave the United States and our citizens more at risk, while the budget proposes cutting critical funding to Mexico and to counternarcotic and law enforcement operations. Let me just say, the administration takes alarming steps to erase the importance of core American values, not only in terms of what they are asking for in this budget, or not asking for, but literally erasing the words, ``these values: democracy, governance, labor, and human right.'' And so, Mr. Secretary, as we discussed, these are not merely ideals, they are critical enablers for our foreign policy success. Let me just close. I do hope to hear from you on the AUMF. I understand that the administration believes it has all the authorities it needs. But, since the Chairman and other distinguished members of the committee are moving forward on an AUMF and there is a proposed AUMF, the Corker-Kaine AUMF, I would like to hear the administration's views on that AUMF as part of your presentation. We look forward to your remarks, and thank you again for joining us. The Chairman. Mr. Secretary, again, thank you so much for being back before us within a matter of 6 weeks. And we look forward to your comments and, as you know, questions thereafter. Secretary Pompeo. Great. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Senator Menendez, as well. You were gracious enough to allow me to read that statement. I will--I have prepared remarks. They have been submitted for the record. I will save a couple of minutes here this morning. A couple of other items that I want to mention off the top, things that have happened recently that I think are important to our diplomatic efforts around the world that I want to share with you and explain to you. And then I want to spend a couple of minutes--you asked, Senator Corker, about what I have tried to do in my first, now, 3 weeks or 3 and a half weeks, to get the team back on the field. And I am happy to share both what we have done and what I have in the queue and how I am thinking about that, that problem set, now that I have had a chance to get onboard and see a little bit more of the challenge that is in front of me. First, you would have seen, in the last 48 hours, that we had two officers declared persona non grata in Venezuela. We have responded reciprocally by expelling two senior Venezuelan officials from the United States. We are deeply worried about what is taking place as a result of the sham election that occurred on Sunday the 20th. We are doing all the right things. We have an American there that we desperately want to get back: Joshua Holt. And so, know that we are engaged. We are--we were disappointed that the Maduro regime kicked our folks out, although, frankly, not surprised. We have been trying to do the good work that diplomacy brings to a country like--that is occupied by the great people of Venezuela. And Maduro found that unacceptable. Second, also in the last 48 hours, there--we notified our workforce in China about a medical incident that took place there in Guangzhou. We had an officer who suffered a medical incident that is consistent with what we had happen to American officers that were serving in Havana. We informed the Chinese government about that. They took--they said all the right things and are--have demonstrated their willingness to help us identify the vector which led to this medical incident. We have medical teams heading there. We have all the appropriate folks heading to help all of the officers--American officers serving there in China, and doing the things we can to mitigate the risk that we have another incident like this there or, frankly, for that matter, anyplace else in the world. And then, thirdly, my first 3 and a half weeks, we have taken steps to allow our team to go effectively conduct their jobs. Two actual announcements. We allowed the team to hire family members, a very ready source of very capable officers to serve alongside our--my current colleagues. We think that will help our families a great deal. And then the hiring freeze, itself, was lifted. Senator Menendez said some of the bureaus are not hiring. We still have a little bit of guidance that needs to be issued, but most of that is now out. We have end-strength goals, we have a plan for how we will do that in a thoughtful way so that resources are expended appropriately. But, know that it is now the case that, where there are demand signals, we need additional talent. The State Department employees are empowered to bring those additional team members on board. The third piece is, I have spent a fair amount of my time, personally, and have big teams working to get America's senior officials on board. There are still big gaps at the Assistant Secretary level, at the Under Secretary level. We are--where there were nominees, we are pushing to make sure they move quickly. And where there were not, we are working to develop nominees to come across so that we can, in fact, engage all over the world, sharing American ideals and values in the way that the State Department has done historically well. And I look forward to being the leader of the organization that is back on the playing field leading America's diplomacy abroad. With that, Mr. Chairman, I will yield back. [The prepared statement of Secretary Pompeo follows:] Prepared Statement of Mike Pompeo Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Menendez, and distinguished members of the Committee: I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the Administration's FY 2019 budget request for the State Department and USAID. Last December the Trump administration released the National Security Strategy. The four pillars of the strategy are protecting the American people, the homeland, and our way of life; promoting American prosperity; preserving peace through strength; and advancing American influence. In order to achieve these national security objectives, the Administration has submitted our FY 2019 budget request of $39.3 billion for the State Department and USAID. The proposed request reflects our obligation to use taxpayer dollars wisely and effectively. Our request also makes clear the United States must exert a proportional financial commitment in the pursuit of goals shared by the international community. It is time for other nations--especially those with high GDP--to assume greater responsibilities and devote greater resources toward common objectives, whether it's crushing terrorists, stopping Iran's malign behavior, strengthening the NATO alliance, eradicating infectious diseases, and so much more. We expect greater burden sharing for our allies and partners. The President is committed to diplomacy as the primary means of achieving the United States' foreign policy objectives, which are further detailed in our State/USAID Joint Strategic Plan. We will use every dollar to deliver on our duty to serve the American people and the enduring foreign policy victories that are within sight. Our top national security priority has been the de-nuclearization of North Korea. The maximum pressure campaign of diplomatic and economic sanctions is bearing fruit with the historic meeting set to take place on June 12th. This campaign has been undertaken in concert with an unprecedented number of allies and partners. Our posture will not change until we see credible steps taken toward the complete, verifiable, and irreversible de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We are clear-eyed about the regime's history. It's time to solve this once and for all. A bad deal is not an option. The American people are counting on us to get this right. If the right deal is not on the table, we will respectfully walk away. On May 21st I unveiled a new direction for the President's Iran strategy. We will apply financial pressure, coordinate with our DoD colleagues on deterrence efforts, support the Iranian people, and hold out the prospect of a new deal for Iran--if it changes its behavior. We seek to work with as many partners, friends, and allies as possible to achieve the common objective of stopping all of Iran's nuclear and non- nuclear threats. The progress against ISIS has been predominantly accomplished through military action. But there is a very important role for diplomacy and assistance in ensuring the permanent defeat of ISIS. We must continue robust stabilization activities with our Coalition partners in order to prevent ISIS from resurfacing. We are also countering ISIS's attempts to gain safe havens in areas such as Afghanistan, the Philippines, and Africa. In addition to providing targeted security sector assistance funding, we are working with our allies and partners to stop foreign fighter travel, cut off sources of revenue, attack ISIS online, share intelligence, and prosecute those who come off the battlefield. We know Russia poses a challenge to our strategic interests and the security of our allies. This is evident from the chemical weapons attack in the UK, for which we imposed consequences in concert with several partners and allies. We've been clear with Russia it must honor its commitments under the Minsk Accords if peace is to prevail in Ukraine. As a guarantor of the Assad regime, Russia has a responsibility to be a constructive actor for stability and peace in Syria, which includes stopping the regime's use of chemical weapons. We are holding Russia accountable to its commitment to the Geneva process. China is a rising strategic competitor. We must work constructively with a nation of China's importance, as we are doing on North Korea, but we cannot sacrifice the interests of the American people and our economic competitiveness, relinquish freedom navigation and the law of the sea in the South China Sea and elsewhere, or passively watch as American intellectual property is stolen. We are making clear to China that the protection of human rights is integral to any country that wishes to be regarded as a great nation. Elsewhere in Asia, we are re- affirming and expanding partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region with nations that share our commitment to security, economic freedom, sovereignty, and liberty. Finally, in our own hemisphere, we are embracing the ``Year of the Americas,'' by re-affirming our commitment to longstanding partnerships grounded in shared interests and values. On Venezuela, we have imposed new economic pressure on the Maduro regime to help steer that country back toward democracy, and we are rallying like-minded regional partners to do the same. Across the world, we have encouraged nations to assume greater responsibilities for maintaining their own and our shared security and stability. In the face of a resurgent Russia, and in response to our urging, many NATO members are newly meeting their commitments to funding deterrence and defense initiatives. President Trump's call to leaders of Middle East countries in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, rallied leaders of those nations to more aggressively combat terrorism inside their own borders and to counter violent extremism abroad. And as part of the new South Asia strategy, we have been clear with Pakistan that ensuring reconciliation, peace, and security in Afghanistan in large part depends on Pakistan's willingness to crack down on terrorist safe havens and instigators of terrorist activity in its own country. Our highest priority is keeping the American people safe. The FY 2019 budget request for $7.3 billion in security assistance will help protect Americans at home and overseas. The State Department will continue to lead international efforts to denuclearize North Korea, and to prevent Iran and other actors from unlawfully acquiring weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, while strengthening the capacity of partner nations to do so as well. This budget request calls for $5.7 billion in support for Coalition efforts to defeat ISIS and other transnational terrorist and criminal groups that threaten the American homeland. The State Department and USAID will sustain programs that address the conditions that give rise to these threats, including poor governance, weak institutions, lack of economic opportunity, corruption, and persistent human rights abuses, and attract additional donor nations' support for these efforts. America's prosperity and national security depends on a strong and growing U.S. economy that can maximize trade and investment opportunities in a free, fair, open and stable international market. This budget request seeks $2.2 billion to help stimulate American economic growth, expand markets for U.S. investment, and ensure partner countries can fully participate in a global economy. This budget request includes an important proposal for a new standalone development finance institution (DFI) broadly consistent with S. 2463, the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act of 2018), being considered by this Committee. Like the BUILD Act, the Administration proposal consolidates existing functions now spread across various agencies to improve efficiencies and better mobilize private sector resources. If approved by Congress, the DFI will advance U.S. national security and development objectives by deploying reformed and modernized development finance tools that support, without displacing, the private sector. The Administration shares the goals of this Committee to foster sustainable development in developing countries and provide strong alternatives to state-directed initiatives. With the consolidation we have both the opportunity for greater impact but also the responsibility to create strong interagency coordination with USAID and other development agencies to advance development outcomes, promote self-reliance among partner countries, and advance U.S. interests and values. To this end, the budget requests $56 million for State and USAID to collaborate and coordinate programming with the DFI and leverage its tools. Americans benefit from sustained engagement with the rest of the world that serves our interests and those of our allies. This budget upholds our commitments to our allies, including $3.3 billion in support of the recent, 10-year Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Israel regarding U.S. military assistance, a 6.5% increase from last year's request. In recognition of our critical strategic partnership and new 5-year Memorandum of Understanding with Jordan, the budget also strengthens our high level of support by requesting $1.275 billion for Jordan in FY 2019. In light of continuing significant humanitarian needs, largely driven by ongoing conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere, the FY 2019 request includes $6.4 billion for humanitarian assistance, an increase of $1.1 billion, or 21 percent, from the FY 2018 request. We will use these resources strategically as part of a new approach to relief to increase burden sharing by other donors, improve U.S. government internal humanitarian assistance coordination, and catalyze reforms and efficiencies at the U.N. and other implementing partners. The ultimate objective is to maximize the impact of hard-earned U.S. tax dollars and deliver the best outcome for those dollars. The President's budget continues global health funding at a level that will sustain our work and our leadership in this area, including through flagship programs like PEPFAR and the President's Malaria Initiative. We sustain our support for these assistance programs because we know they are a projection of American leadership and they contribute to economic growth, and social and political stability. They are not only measures of the values of the American people, but they contribute to our interests. As we have seen with outbreaks of Ebola and other diseases in the past few years, these health programs have provided a foundation to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases of epidemic potential, which helps protect the American people. America's message must be shared with the world at all times. The FY 2019 budget request further defends and advances America's values by devoting $565 million to public diplomacy programs. These programs are essential to informing public opinion abroad and communicating American values like respect for human rights and the rule of law. The people of the world must know not only the policies, but also the principles for which the United States stands. Even as our public diplomacy budget calls for greater burden-sharing of long-standing programs, the $55.4 million requested for the Global Engagement Center covers both its original counter-extremist mission, plus an increase of $20 million to counter state-sponsored disinformation campaigns. We will not tolerate Russian interference in the 2018 elections, and we must take countermeasures in response to an effort to do so. Finally, I would like to update you on what is happening inside the Department. The Department's workforce is our most valuable asset. Since becoming Secretary, one of my highest priorities has been ensuring that the finest diplomatic corps in the world is fully prepared and empowered to achieve our mission. I am unleashing our teams to do what they do best on behalf of the American people. Just last week I held my first town hall in which I laid out my leadership vision, and committed to working as one team with all our personnel. I'm listening to their expertise and counsel. With so many challenges before us, the State Department needs a full team on the field, from locally employed staff around the world to senior leaders in Washington. That's why I lifted the Eligible Family Member hiring freeze as one of my first acts as Secretary, and also lifted the hiring freeze for all Foreign Service and Civil Service personnel last week. All Foreign Service and Civil Service hiring will be consistent with the funding levels that Congress recently enacted. Additionally, I know that our career professionals work best when the goals are clear and the leadership team is at full strength. I have devoted a great deal of time to filling vacancies at the Under Secretary, Assistant Secretary, and Ambassador levels. We need our men and women on the ground, executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy, and representing our great nation. We need the best tools as well: this budget would also invest $150 million for IT modernization. We need to work at the speed of 21st century diplomacy. As I have said many times, my great goal is to restore the trademark State Department swagger that has been instrumental in advancing American security, prosperity, and liberty for centuries. I define swagger this way: we must be everywhere with the best ideas. We must create value during the policy formation process. We must outwork and out-hustle others. We must be aggressive in working with our allies and ferocious in defending American values against our adversaries. Today I ask for your support to ensure that our diplomatic, development and organizational initiatives are successful for the State Department and USAID, and, most importantly, for the American people Thank you for your time. I will be glad to answer any questions you may have. The Chairman. Thank you. And I am going to yield for a moment and will interject along the way. We turn to Senator Menendez. Senator Menendez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, Mr. Secretary, thank you for the insights of the most recent things. Let me start with North Korea, understanding that the summit is not going forward at this point, but hopefully at some point there will be an opportunity to seek the appropriate type of meetings necessary to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. But, since I have heard different statements coming out of the administration, I want to see if we can go through a sense of what it is that we might mutually agree is the essence of the elements that are essential to any deal with North Korea. So, I am going to ask you to give me a sense of ``yes or no.'' Do you--on some of these questions--do you believe that the current nuclear-test suspension must continue and that denuclearization means the dismantlement and removal of all nuclear weapons facilities, technology, and material from North Korea? Secretary Pompeo. There are two questions there. The second one is with respect to dismantlement. I think the answer to that is yes. You--we are looking for the complete dismantlement of their weapon systems, the delivery capability associated with that, and all of the elements of their program that would lead them to have material--enriched material, fissile material that could be used at some time to build out a weapon system. Senator Menendez. So--but, I think---- Secretary Pompeo. I think the answer to that is yes, but I wanted to make sure I clarified. Senator Menendez. Okay. I appreciate that. Do you believe that any deal must include an agreement that North Korea must end the production and enrichment of uranium and plutonium for military programs? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, but, as we begin to head down this path, I have to tell you, I have had discussions with Chairman Kim personally. There have been other discussions. I am going to reserve some space for us to be able to conduct these discussions outside of the public sphere. I think that is important. I think it is important for our eventual ability to achieve the outcomes that I think everyone in this room hopes we can achieve. Senator Menendez. Well, I certainly want to give you negotiating space, but I at least want to understand, as a committee responsible for oversight, what is our standards that we are going into? That is what I am trying to determine. What is the standard that---- Secretary Pompeo. No. Sir, I think we have made very clear what our objectives are. Senator Menendez. Okay. So, let me ask you, then, further, would a deal have to include an agreement that North Korea must permanently dismantle and disable its nuclear weapons infrastructure, including test sites, all nuclear weapons research and development facilities, particularly with respect to advanced centrifuges and nuclear weapons enrichment and reprocessing facilities? Secretary Pompeo. That is certainly our objective, Senator. Senator Menendez. Would any deal have to include agreement that North Korea put forward a full, complete, and verifiable declaration of all its nuclear activities? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. I only wish the Iranians had done so. Senator Menendez. Would any deal include robust restrictions to assure that nuclear material, technology, and expertise are not exported? Secretary Pompeo. Sir, we have a deep aim, wholly apart from denuclearization of the North Korean Peninsula, and a lot of work underway to ensure that proliferation does not occur. Senator Menendez. Does any deal have to include an agreement that North Korea continue its current ballistic missile test suspension, including any space launches, and that any agreement must include the dismantlement of all ballistic missiles and a prohibition on all ballistic missile development? Secretary Pompeo. Sir, I think I--I said this in my confirmation hearing. I am happy to reiterate it. It is the case that it is our objective--and I shared this with Chairman Kim when I met with him, as well--that the missile program is a central component of their capacity to hold America at risk, and that it is our aim that, as part of this agreement that we would reach, that they would no longer possess the capacity to achieve those kinds of launches that I think you are speaking to in your question. Senator Menendez. And, to be truly, completely verifiable and irreversible, any agreement with North Korea should be permanent in nature, with no sunsets on its provisions? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Menendez. Okay. Well, those are all very helpful, understanding the standards of what we are trying to achieve. Let me ask you. So, as we walk away from the summit, where does that put us with the rest of the world? Do you believe that somehow we are strengthened in this regard, or are we weakened as a result of walking away, ourselves, because of some statements? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I do not believe, in that sense, that we are in a position to believe that there could be a successful outcome. I think that is what the President communicated pretty clearly in his letter. I can add to that. Over the past many days, we have endeavored to do what Chairman Kim and I had agreed, was to put teams--preparation teams together to begin to work to prepare for the summit. And we had received no response to our inquiries, from them. So, we--in addition to what the President laid out in his letter, it is also the case that the--I disagree what you said in your opening statement. I think the American team is fully prepared. I think we are rocking. I think we are ready. I think we are prepared for this meeting. I think President Trump is prepared for this meeting. We were fully, fully engaged over the past weeks to prepare for this meeting. So, I disagree with your assessment that the Americans are not ready. It---- Senator Menendez. Well, when I say ``not ready,'' I am talking about, you know, the--we needed to test all of the propositions and lay out all of the elements of what was---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Menendez. --ultimately to---- Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Menendez. --to be decided in a way to find out whether the North Koreans were truly true. But, I---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. That has been done---- Senator Menendez. --gather---- Secretary Pompeo. --that has been done three times before in American history, and Kim Jung Un today possesses the most robust nuclear program he has ever had. Senator Menendez. And as a result of us canceling the summit, he still possesses them. Let me ask you this. In your confirmation hearing, you noted that Russian bad behavior is the driver behind the currently acrimonious bilateral relationship, and this behavior presents a clear danger to the United States. We have seen a whole host of actions, decisions, undisputed findings of the intelligence community. We saw Russia deploy a chemical weapons attack on the soil of a NATO ally. We saw a chemical attack, that Russia supported, by Assad. Can you tell me why it is that the President seems unable to speak of Russia in a way that acknowledges that there was an attack against our own country, in terms of a cyberattack on our elections, and actions that-- we have noted others that were active this way that were put as a terrorist state, and yet we see no such action as it relates to Russia. Give--I am trying to understand the administration's views on Russia. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator, you just said that there have been no actions. I fundamentally disagree with that. I am happy--I brought a list of the actions this administration has taken to push back against Russian aggression of all forms-- their cyber efforts, their election-meddling efforts, their-- the chemical attack that took place in Skripal. The list is long. I think the record ought to properly reflect that it is far more than took place under the previous administration. Indeed, most of this meddling took place during the previous administration. And this administration is now working to deter that from ever happening again. And I think our administration ought to be very proud of the work we have taken, sanctions and otherwise, against Russia. Senator Menendez. I will be happy to---- The Chairman. Senator Johnson. Senator Johnson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, thanks for your service. In your answers to Secretary--or to Senator Menendez's questions, you sure seemed to make clear what your definition of ``dismantlement'' really means. You said you made it also clear to Chairman Kim Jong Un. Did you? Secretary Pompeo. Did I make it clear to him? Senator Johnson. Yeah. I mean, how---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Johnson. --how clear? How many times did you repeat it? Secretary Pompeo. Sir, I spoke in English. There was a translator. But, our team confirmed that the translator said what I said. I do not know. I had two meetings, maybe 3 hours- plus total, enough that I understood him to have understood what it was I was saying. Indeed, put aside what I said. When I heard back from him---- Senator Johnson. That is what I wanted to ask you. Secretary Pompeo. --when I heard back from him, there was-- it was little doubt in my mind that he understood the scope of what it was we were asking for, what it--the nature of what would have to take place, the verification that we would need to undertake in order to be comfortable that we could begin to deliver the assurances that he, in return, asked for. And so, I think we were having a real--a conversation where there was real understanding between the two of us. It is what caused me to recommend to the President that I thought the time would, in fact, permit us to have a real opportunity to do something historic. I am still optimistic that we will reach that point. I know the President is, as well. Senator Johnson. So, you have no doubt that you made it crystal clear, and he fully understand exactly what ``dismantlement'' means, in terms of these negotiations. Secretary Pompeo. To the best of my ability, Senator. Senator Johnson. So, he understood it. Did he have any reaction whatsoever? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. And, while I have---- Senator Johnson. Did he resist it? Did he seem welcoming to it? I mean, what was his--as best you can determine through translators, what was his reaction to what really was table stakes? Secretary Pompeo. He was unsurprised. There would be no surprise what Secretary Pompeo's brief was going to be when he walked into that room. We had made this abundantly clear through multiple channels over months of this administration. So, there was no surprise. It was--the conversation revolved around how it is we would achieve that, what the mechanisms might be to begin to achieve that, and how the United States would demonstrate, in return, that we were committed to the assurances that we were prepared to provide to him. Senator Johnson. So, you would say he, basically, accepted those terms of a negotiation, that what he knew the U.S. side would be pressing for was that--your definition of ``dismantlement.'' Secretary Pompeo. Yes, Senator. I do not know how--why-- yes, I believe that is true. I do not know how you would read the administration's statements over the past months and then have Secretary of State walk in and repeat them, and not at least understand--be careful. Yes. Yes. I think the answer is yes. Senator Johnson. Okay. So, with that understanding, he still released three hostages. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, that is correct. And agreed to have a summit on June 12th, as well. And agreed to send teams to prepare for the June 12th meeting between the two leaders, as well. Senator Johnson. Well, the point I am trying to make is, the administration has been crystal clear, completely consistent. The result of your meeting was still the release of three hostages. So, what has changed here is Kim Jong Un's approach to this thing, correct? Very disappointingly so. Secretary Pompeo. I regret the statements that the North Koreans have made over the past few days, and the fact that we have not been able to conduct the preparation between our two teams that would be necessary to have a chance for a successful summit. Senator Johnson. Do you believe the Chairman also believed President Trump's offer of assistance in return for that complete dismantlement? Do you think--do you have doubt of that, as well? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I always--my wife always reminds me that I should be careful about knowing what is in someone else's mind. Senator Johnson. Mine, too. Yeah, I am just trying to get your understanding of how those talks---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, I communicated very clearly that this was a sincere commitment on behalf of the President of the United States, that we were prepared to make that transaction happen in a way that would allow his regime to have the assurances it needed in order to make this fundamental strategic shift in the history of North Korea--in the North Korean trajectory to make this fundamental shift, where, for decades, it has been that these nuclear weapons were the thing that provided them security, and to convince him that, in fact, his security was best assured by going through this process and working with the United States to achieve that. Senator Johnson. So, what conversations now have you had with the Chinese officials on this topic? Are you convinced that they are going to continue to cooperate and maintain those sanctions, which is the only thing that has been--or going to bring Kim Jong Un to that negotiating table in good faith to actually agree to dismantlement in exchange for all the benefits to his economy and his people? Secretary Pompeo. I met with the Chinese Foreign Minister yesterday afternoon. He assured me that they would continue to abide by all the U.N. Security Council resolutions relating to this, and that they understood that those needed to remain in place, not until June 12th--at this point, we were talking about in the context of there being a summit on June 12th--but not only through June 12th, but until such time as we achieved what it was the Americans believed and, I think, frankly, that China agrees would be the outcome that is best for the world and the best for North Korea, as well. Senator Johnson. Are you aware of--are you getting any hints that there is any relaxation of those sanctions, more goods crossing between the border between China and North Korea? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, we have not seen anything to suggest they have violated the Security Council resolutions in a substantial way. I always--I am a--I worry about everyone. The globe--the global pressure campaign that is put in place is important and needs to continue, perhaps even this morning more than yesterday, that that is--that is very important--so that we can ultimately get to the right place there. Senator Johnson. What gave me some measure of optimism is, from my standpoint, I think it is entirely in China's best interest to achieve exactly what the administration is demanding, here. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, that is what their Foreign Minister told me yesterday, as well, unambiguously. Unambiguously believes that--he told me that China believes that the denuclearization of North Korea is in China's best interest. Senator Johnson. Well, let me just say, I support President Trump's letter. I think it is an excellent letter. We need to make sure that Kim Jong Un understands that this--we are completely consistent, we will absolutely demand that, and that all the benefits that can flow to North Korea will not occur until we achieve our definition, that he is well aware of, you know, crystal clear, the--of complete dismantlement. So, again, thank you, Mr. Secretary. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Cardin. Senator Cardin. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I would ask consent that statements from Refugees International and Catholic Relief Services be made part of our record. The Chairman. Without objection. [The information referred to above can be found at the end of this document.] Senator Cardin. Mr. Secretary, let me just follow up on North Korea for one moment. And that is, in response to Senator Johnson, you indicated that you are trying to convince the North Koreans that their security is going to be better served without nuclear weapons. And I fully support that. It is very possible, if diplomacy is successful, it will require action by the United States Congress in order to deal with some of these issues. During the discussions on the Iran nuclear agreement, my Republican colleagues thought that this should be a treaty type of an arrangement, which would require the two-thirds vote of the United States Senate. My question to you is, how do you intend to keep Congress informed during these negotiations, considering the questions that Senator Menendez asked were ones that I would have asked also, and we have not had the in-depth type of briefings that would be, I think, required in these types of negotiations? So, how do you envision keeping us informed, recognizing that, during the Iran nuclear agreements, Congress felt compelled to pass a statute in order to make sure that we were kept informed? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I appreciate the question. I was but a junior Member of Congress at the time. I do not remember being kept informed at all, for the record, with respect to the JCPOA, in spite of what I think the record would show were constant efforts to be so informed. I am going to do better. Senator Cardin. Yeah, I can tell you, speaking for--and I would welcome my Republican colleagues--we had numerous discussions with the Obama administration during the negotiations. Does not mean we were satisfied with what we were told. We had numerous discussions. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, Senator, I point that out only because I think the bar is low, and I am going to beat that. We will do our best to keep you fully apprised. But, let me state what I think is even more important. It is absolutely the case that it is our intention to achieve an agreement that would be put before the United States Senate. That is our goal. Our goal is to actually do what I had hoped would happen with the Iran deal if the United States Senate would get to---- Senator Cardin. Just to clarify, you are talking about---- Secretary Pompeo. --conduct its constitutionally appropriate duty---- Senator Cardin. So, you are talking about submitting it to the United States Senate as a treaty? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Cardin. Okay, thank you. Secretary Pompeo. It is a--look, there is a lot of work to do. We are--as you can see, we are at the early stages, here. But, we believe that, if we get this right and we are successful, that it would be appropriate to do---- Senator Cardin. I would just---- Secretary Pompeo. --and important for the North Koreans, as well. Senator Cardin. And I appreciate that response. I would just caution you, as far as timing, that the record of the Senate taking up treaties and passing them is---- Secretary Pompeo. I understand. Senator Cardin. --it is---- Secretary Pompeo. I---- Senator Cardin. Just urge you to---- Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Senator. Senator Cardin. That is why I say it would be well-served if we have the---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Senator Cardin. --discussions during the course of these negotiations---- Secretary Pompeo. I do appreciate that. Senator Cardin. --in a venue where we can talk freely and-- -- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Cardin. --openly. Secretary Pompeo. I do appreciate that. And I get the challenge. That is why I left a little room for an agreement that did not quite make it there. But, I think--but, Senator, you hit on an important point. It is important for America, it is important for our constitutional democracy to try and do that. It will also prove important for the North Koreans. Senator Cardin. And let me change---- Secretary Pompeo. And so---- Senator Cardin. I agree. Secretary Pompeo. --I just think it is important, among multiple dimensions, sir. Senator Cardin. I want to change focus to Iran for one moment, if I might. President Trump was pretty clear that he intended to terminate our involvement, but then listed three conditions that, if the agreements were modified, one, to include ballistic missiles within the agreement, even though Congress had passed statutes giving the President the authority to impose new sanctions against Iran for ballistic missile violations; he also mentioned he wanted inspections more intrusive, even though the IAEA had said that they were satisfied with the inspection regime; and, lastly, he said that we needed to deal with the sunset provisions, which dealt with limitations, even though the agreement did--had no sunset on it, but it was certainly unclear as to when tripwires would cause violations of the agreement. Is the administration still in that mode--these are the three changes that must be made in the agreement for it to be satisfactory--or has there been a change in position? Secretary Pompeo. Let me speak to the former and then latter. The first was, I was--I will concede, it was only a couple of weeks the State Department had been working to try and get those agreements from three European countries prior to the President's decision. We were never able to get there. The same problem that existed when I came in--on my--I guess it would have been my fourth day in office, when I was briefed on it, existed until the very end. We--it simply--there was no evidence that the Europeans had any intention of actually agreeing to those three provisions---- Senator Cardin. But, is that still our position, that these are the three changes that must be made? Secretary Pompeo. Sir, we have now laid out a series of things that we are working diligently to get the whole world to sign up for, a series of 12 things that we are demanding the Iranians do. They are simple things, each of them. I think you would agree with each of those 12 items. And that is what we are looking for Iran to achieve, and that is the mission statement the President set out for the State Department. Senator Cardin. So, let me just drill down on that. Are we--is regime change part of our objective, here? Secretary Pompeo. No, sir. Senator Cardin. Do we want to include, in a nuclear type or JCPOA type of commitment, Iran's activities in regards to terrorism? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Senator Cardin. And is there a reason why the Trump administration has not used the additional tools that Congress provided to deal with terrorism and human rights violations? Secretary Pompeo. I do not know the answer to that question. Senator Cardin. Is there a reason why we have not engaged the Europeans, which have offered to join us in these matters prior to us pulling out of the Iran agreement, where now we do not have their attention? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I have to be honest with you, the Europeans have told us, it is true, that they are prepared to engage on missiles and, for 3 years--right?--through JCPOA, almost 3 years--did nothing. Nothing. Senator Cardin. I agree with---- Secretary Pompeo. And, second--I will give you a second: terror. They have talked about agreeing to things on terror. We said--they said they would do it. They are--what happened--and this is my judgment--what happened is--and you saw this yesterday--the Iranians made an announcement. I do not know that you saw this. They said, ``If the Europeans do anything on missiles, we will withdraw from the JCPOA.'' Senator Cardin. I saw their--I saw that---- Secretary Pompeo. This is what happened. The Iranians viewed this JCPOA as not just nuclear. Senator Cardin. I am not--my--the question---- Secretary Pompeo. That is important. That is very important, Senator. Senator Cardin. The question I am trying to get answered is that--we gave you additional tools to deal with these areas. They have not been used. And the Europeans, you had their attention, because they did not want the United States to pull out of the nuclear agreement. Now we do not have their attention, because they are worrying as to whether there are going to be sanctions imposed against companies located in their country. So, I am not sure what the strategy is now in regards to going after them for their terrorist activities and their human rights violations and ballistic missile violations. Secretary Pompeo. The strategy is to develop a global consensus that says that we are simply asking the Iranian regime to do what we ask every other country to do: behave like a normal nation. Senator Cardin. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. Senator Gardner. Senator Gardner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for your time and testimony and the work that you have been able to carry out over the brief tenure you have had there at the State Department. And congratulations on bringing home three Americans and the work that was taking place to lead to the summit on June 12th. I think Kim Jong Un has walked away from a historic opportunity for peace and should be held accountable for his decision. In the internal debate that must be taking place within Kim Jong Un's mind, between Kim, the propagandist, and Kim, the peacemaker, it is clear that Kim, the propagandist, prevailed internally and that the peace lost out to that propaganda. I believe President Trump acted with eyes wide open throughout this entire process, knowing, at any point, he would have the choice of continuing with a summit or walking away from it, should denuclearization not be on the agenda, or at least not be something that Kim Jong Un was willing to entertain at that moment. He made the right choice, because clearly, in the past weeks, we have seen Kim Jong Un walk away from what seemed to be a commitment toward denuclearization. It is the policy of the United States--and I think this answers some of the questions that have been asked already on this panel--when this body passed and this President signed-- President Obama signed into law the North Korea Policy Sanctions Enhancement Act, it clearly lays out, under U.S. law, when sanctions against North Korea can be terminated. Section 402 of that act, Termination of Sanctions and Other Measures: Any sanction or other measure required under Title 1, 2, or 3 may only be lifted when the President determines and certifies to the appropriate congressional committee that the Government of North Korea has met the requirements set forth of complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. It goes on and on and on. So, we have already put into law what we expect of North Korea, and that sanctions--maximum pressure--cannot be lifted until these conditions, under U.S. law, have been met. Mr. Secretary, is it your opinion that this decision by Kim Jong Un is a result of a weak leader who lacks the internal support to go forward with a meeting on denuclearization, or was this just poor negotiating strategies by Kim Jong Un? Secretary Pompeo. I do not think it is the former. I do not think it is a weak leader. In fact, he has demonstrated an enormous capacity to lead his country and his team. So, I do not think that it is. And I--and, frankly, I do not really know that I want to speculate as to why it is they took the actions, because I do not think we know. What I am hopeful is that we can continue to have conversations and put this back on track so that we can get to a place where we can achieve the outcome. But, I think it is worth--we talk a lot about summits and deals and the like. It is not about the deal. It is about the outcome. Right? It is about achieving this permanent physical change and transformation that will have the opportunity to change the world. And it is--a corollary to that is a fundamental change in North Korea that would lead North Korea to have this opportunity for prosperity and good things, all the things that their neighbors to the south have. There will have to be a deal to get us to that point, but we should not spend all our time thinking about ``the deal'' without focusing on where you began your question, Senator, which is, here is what this needs to look like in order to do what President has said, to keep Americans safe from the threat that North Korea presents today. Senator Gardner. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And I think that the--I hope the North Korean people will know what Kim Jong Un walked away from and what he should walk back to, and that is this opportunity for peace and prosperity on the Peninsula, the entire Peninsula, as they look to the south and see the opportunities that they could have if they rejoined the global community of responsible nations. With this decision, though, is it the determination of the State Department, the commitment of the President, to again continue the full implementation of the maximum pressure doctrine? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Senator Gardner. Does Congress need to take additional steps, including perhaps a full economic embargo of North Korea? Secretary Pompeo. I do think we should--I think Congress and the executive branch should work together to do everything we can to continue--I do not believe it ever ended--but to continue the campaign, which I am hopeful will lead to the good outcome that we have described here this morning. Senator Gardner. And so, in addition to that economic embargo on North Korea, that we must continue to pursue any enablers who wish to help violate sanctions, or help North Korea violate those sanctions. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir, that is correct. Senator Gardner. Thank you. Mr. Secretary, turning to the issue of Taiwan, quickly, Burkina Faso has announced a decision, this morning I believe, that it would no longer recognize Taiwan. The World Health Assembly meeting has again excluded Taiwan. Senator Markey and I have introduced legislation to encourage--to make it the policy of this country that we will pursue involvement of Taiwan in international organizations, and pursue high-level visitation by the United States. The Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which you and I have talked about at length, reiterates our important relationship with Taiwan and our full support of Taiwan, and that we continue around the globe to build support for Taiwan and their acceptance and involvement in international organizations. What is your sense of what is happening and how we can pursue such a policy with Taiwan? Secretary Pompeo. I think your point about you and Senator Markey working together demonstrates the long history of consistent U.S. policy with respect to Taiwan over multiple administrations from both parties. That has not changed under President Trump. The same One China policy, along with the three communiques, is still American policy. I am very aware of the Taiwan Relations Act, which was passed during this administration. I do not see that there has been any change there in those commitments. Senator Gardner. Thank you. And as it relates to China and South China Sea activities, Mr. Secretary, could you talk a little bit about the administration's actions as it relates to China's further militarization? Secretary Pompeo. So, I will leave the details to Secretary Mattis, but yesterday this Department of Defense made the decision to disinvite the Chinese from an exercise, RIMPAC, that they had previously been invited to participate in, in a direct response to the strategic weapon systems that have been put on islands that the Chinese had agreed not to do. And so, we are working along multiple fronts, not the least of which is my diplomatic efforts to work to convince the Chinese that it is not in their best interest, nor the world's, for them to continue to expand throughout the South China Sea. It is an important American interest to make sure that those sea lanes and our access to them remain available to us. Senator Gardner. Thanks, Mr. Secretary. And finally, I look forward to working with you on passage of the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by members of this committee. Thank you. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Kaine. Senator Kaine. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you for your work on bringing Americans home from North Korea. One of them was a Virginian, and we appreciate it. So, thank you for that. Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Senator Kaine. It was an amazing day. Senator Kaine. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. Three great Americans. Senator Kaine. Very--I am--you were deservedly proud on that day, and we were grateful. I was listening to some of your testimony in response to questions from Senator Cardin. So, to return to a conversation that we have had before, I think you testified that regime change in Iran is not an administration policy at this point. Secretary Pompeo. That is correct. Senator Kaine. Thank you. When you were before us in April, at your hearing, I asked you a question about trying to have this committee receive a legal memo that had been done in April 2017 regarding U.S. airstrikes in Syria. And you said, at that time, quote, ``I promise I will work alongside you to do the best I can to get you that information, and, if it is a classified version of it that you have a right as a member of the legislative branch to see, I will work to get you that. And if it is an unclassified version, will work to get you that, as well.'' Two days after that hearing, we once again carried out airstrikes in Syria against the Assad regime. We have not received the memo, in any version, yet. And I would like to ask why. And will you work with us so that we can see the appropriate version of that memo? Secretary Pompeo. I will accept responsibility. I have not turned to that. Senator Kaine. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. I will. Senator Kaine. You have been busy, but it---- Secretary Pompeo. Sir, I---- Senator Kaine. --I do want your commitment that we---- Secretary Pompeo. --I made a commitment to you that I would do it. I will turn to it this week. Senator Kaine. Thank---- Secretary Pompeo. I may have an extra day now. Senator Kaine. Okay, thank you, Mr. Secretary. I want to ask you about something you said in your opening. You were talking, in your opening, about the recently reported instance of an American serving in Guangzhou who was hit by what appeared to be a sonic attack. You spoke yesterday and said it bore signs that were very similar to those that were inflicted upon Americans serving in Cuba. Now, the Cuban situation has been very significantly studied, including by a medical team at the University of Pennsylvania. The reported incident in China apparently started in Guangzhou in late 2017, and continued through just recently. And the State Department, I guess, has done some study, and you have reached the conclusion that the symptoms experienced by this American are very similar to the symptoms experienced by the Americans in Cuba. Is that correct? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, Senator, that is correct. There has been a great deal of work done. And I will try to stay inside the technical term. The term is ``consistent with.'' That is, the symptoms are very, very similar. That may be a Mike term and not a medical term, but---- Senator Kaine. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. --but very consistent with---- Senator Kaine. So, here is a significant concern. When these things were happening in Cuba, we were speculating about what was going on, and the speculations were pretty naturally: Is it the Cuban government that is doing it? Is it a rogue element in the Cuban government that is doing it, maybe to try to upset a bromance between Cuba and the United States? Or is it some third party, a foreign government, possibly Russia, that is trying to do it, maybe to achieve the same thing? Now that something very similar has happened in China, the question about motivation and attribution gets much more complicated. We have been talking about this on the Armed Services Committee, as well, and I know there has been an FBI investigation, as well. State has got part of this, the DoD is looking at this, the FBI is looking at it, the medical teams from the University of Pennsylvania are looking at it. Who is in charge, in the administration, of trying to figure out, (a) what is going on? Who is behind it? And what advice should be given to Congress? Or what we should be doing to counter it. Secretary Pompeo. Right. Senator Kaine. Because it seems like there is a lot of cooks right now. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, that is a very good question. Opening up a second venue, where we have consistent--I do not want to overstate---- Senator Kaine. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. --I do not want to overstate the nature of that. They could be separate, independent activities. It is possible. But, knowing what we know now, this has really changed. It has gone from a localized incident to one that is much broader. And now the question is, where? Where all might we see this? I think those are reasonable questions to ask. So, the State Department will lead the effort. Because it is an overseas security issue, the State Department will lead the effort. But, you should know we will lead that effort. My Deputy will be in charge of the team. Deputy Secretary---- Senator Kaine. Sullivan. Secretary Pompeo. --Sullivan will run the team. And we will have it--soup to nuts, if you will--we will have it from what was the vector that led to it. There will be folks from the Department of Energy trying to do work to figure out what could lead to these symptoms. There will be multiple agencies involved. But, the responsibility ultimately will fall to the State Department to lead this effort to resolve this and to protect our officers serving overseas. And, too, if it is the case this was a--bad behavior, something that was intentionally done by someone, there will be--others do a lot of that work, but the State Department will lead the effort to identify---- Senator Kaine. Sitting here today, Mr. Secretary, are you aware of U.S. diplomatic personnel in any countries other than Cuba and China who have experienced attacks of this kind? Secretary Pompeo. No, sir. Senator Kaine. Well, I think this matter is really, really critical. I just came from a closed briefing of the classified portion of the NDAA annex. And, without getting into what was said there, this was part of the discussion. And I asked the same question there. Actually, I am not sure I asked them--it might have been Senator McCaskill: Who is in charge of this? If we have got---- Secretary Pompeo. Did we give the---- Senator Kaine. --the FBI---- Secretary Pompeo. --same answer? Senator Kaine. Basically--they did not say you were in charge of it, they did not say who was in charge of it. I am glad you have said somebody is in charge of it, and it is going to be the State Department, because it is very critical. But, the ability to inflict damage upon U.S. personnel who are out patriotically serving their country in a way that is sort of hard to attribute and hard to measure should really, really scare us. And again, happening in one country leads to a set of hypotheses you have got to run down, but now happening in a second country really raises the stakes, I think, in terms of trying to get to the bottom of it. And I would hope, Mr. Chair, that, as the State Department investigation of this continues, that, in an appropriate setting, we would be briefed upon this, because I think it would have some significant bearing upon all kinds of decisions we might need to make as a Foreign Relations Committee. I do not have any other questions. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I am personally prepared to do that. I am prepared to do the piece that we can do in this forum, and I am prepared to provide you information in classified settings as we continue to develop what it is we know. Senator Kaine. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Young. Senator Young. Mr. Secretary, welcome. Good to have you here. Let me start with Afghanistan. I support the goal of ensuring that Afghanistan is never again used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks, like those we saw on 9/11. I know you support that objective, as well. I also support making sure that we are constantly assessing our progress there and, frankly, revisiting our objectives, as well. And so, this morning, as you are likely aware, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction published a report on stabilization efforts in Afghanistan. And the report looks at 17 years of reconstruction efforts there. They identify seven key findings, 10 lessons, 11 actions that be-- can be taken to increase the likelihood of success in future stabilization missions. My sense--I know how busy you are. You--it will take some time, I suspect, to digest the findings and so forth. I only ask that you review this and provide a written response to this committee by the 1st of October on what actions the State Department plans to take and not take in response to this report. Can I get your agreement? Secretary Pompeo. You can, sir. I have seen the recommendations. We have a team. It is a report that is very sobering. Senator Young. So, by October---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes. You have my commitment, yes. Senator Young. All right. Thank you so much. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Young. I would like to pivot to China's predatory economic policies. In your prepared testimony, you referenced the National Security Strategy. And a couple of pillars of that strategy relate to promoting American prosperity and preserving peace through strength. I know you will agree that these are related pillars on--there is a lot of overlap there. Our economic competitiveness impacts our prosperity, but also our national security. I chaired a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on May 9th pertaining to predatory international economic practices. We heard from three thoughtful witnesses and discussed China's troubling use of force, technology transfer, intellectual property theft, you know, denial of access to Chinese markets, state-owned enterprises, and related topics. I hear from Hoosiers at home about this topic all the time, typically about the economic implications, but, as you know, the--there are a major national security implications associated with this. The National Security Strategy says the Trump administration will no longer tolerate economic aggression. And I just want to know whether you agree that, for us to have an effective response to these ongoing practices of the state capitalist model, it is going to require a multilateral approach, a strategic approach, and one that is understood not just by those in the administration, but also those of us here in Congress. To that end, first, do you agree with everything I just said--multilateral, strategic, and understood by the administration and those of us in Congress? Secretary Pompeo. I do. Senator Young. Okay. Well, based on that common understanding and--of the nature of the threat and a consensus about, sort of, generally, what needs to be doing--done, moving forward, I introduced legislation, along with Senators Merkley, Rubio, and Coons, the National Economic Security Strategy Act of 2018, S. 2757. And so, I will just say, by--I would hope that your team could review this legislation. I look forward to working with you and your team, moving forward, to see if we can advance this important legislation. This would create a written strategy analogous to the National Security Strategy to deal with predatory international economic practices, whether they are--they emanate from China or other countries. So, look forward to working on that with you, moving forward. In my remaining time, I just want to emphasize what we are here, in part, to discuss, which is the international affairs budget funding. I know you agree that today's national security challenges require the U.S. to utilize our full range of nonmilitary tools to keep us safe and secure and to advance our values and interests. I know you also agree that diplomacy and development can help avert conflict, shorten its duration, prevent its return, and, frankly, keep our men and women off of the battlefield, wherever possible. So, I helped lead a bipartisan letter to the Appropriations Committee last month. I was encouraged that 42 Senators signed on to it. They do not typically do that as it relates to State Department funding. But, there is a growing sense, here in this body, I know, that we need robust funding for FY19. And I just, here again, look forward to working with you and your team to do whatever we can to ensure that the State Department gets that funding, moving forward. Mr. Chairman, I request unanimous consent to enter this letter into the record. The Chairman. Without objection. Thank you. [The information referred to above can be found at the end of this document.] Senator Young. Okay. So, I just want to encourage you. And I will join the others in congratulating you and the administration for the recent prisoner release. That is--that was a great early morning for our country. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Young. Well done. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Thank you. Senator Young. I yield back. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Shaheen. Senator Shaheen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, Mr. Secretary, thank you for being here. Secretary Pompeo. Senator. Senator Shaheen. And let me begin by thanking you for lifting the hiring freeze at the State Department and moving to address some of the morale issues there. That is a commitment you made to this committee, and I appreciate you following through on that. I understand that you are going to be meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister in early June. And, as I am sure you are aware, the Turkish Foreign Minister could decide to release Pastor Brunson from jail and send him directly back to the United States. Pastor Brunson has been held there since October of 2016. Do you intend to raise that issue when you meet with the Foreign Minister? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Senator Shaheen. And can you also give us some insights into how you might discuss the issue of Turkey's decision to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system? Secretary Pompeo. Certainly, Senator Shaheen. So, I have spoken with the Turkish Foreign Minister at least once, maybe twice, in my first 3 weeks. On many topics that we have covered, certainly, in each case, have talked about the incredible need for them to return Pastor Brunson. It is just deeply wrong, immoral, unjust. No success, so far, but you can be assured that we are working diligently on that. Second, we have spoken to them--I have spoken, in each case, and will again next week, about the S-400. We have implored them not to take that weapon system, for a host of reasons I will not belabor today. You know them well. The other--there are several, but the other major topic that we are going to be working on is trying to achieve a resolution about the Turkish activities in northern Syria in and around Afrin and Manbij. My predecessor began a process, called the Roadmap, and it is our effort to put the details together surrounding that. We have a team--I think there is a team in Ankara now, or this week, to work on that. And I am hopeful, during his visit here, we can resolve that so that we do not end up in a situation where we have two NATO allies too close together, creating risk. Senator Shaheen. Thank you. I appreciate that. Mr. Secretary, were you part of the decision-making around the President's letter this morning about pulling out of the summit with North Korea? And were there discussions, as part of that decision, about what should happen next? And what do you expect to happen next? Are we going to see a return to the volatile rhetoric that increased most Americans' concerns about the potential for a threat of nuclear war with North Korea? Or is there something else in mind for how to move forward next? Secretary Pompeo. I was part of the discussion, both last night and then this morning. Obviously, it was the President's decision, ultimately. And we did talk about what the path forward would look like, the negotiating path that is the path that we hope will resolve this, as well as the things we would need to do in the days and weeks ahead to prepare for the eventuality that we were back where we were 6 or 8 or 12 weeks ago. And I--there is still lots of discussion going on inside the administration about exactly how to proceed on that. But, I am confident, in the coming days, we will have laid that out in some detail. We always knew, too, that there could be a summit that did not work, that ultimately was unsuccessful. And so, there has been a great deal of work to think about what happens when you are at a moment when you do not have the opportunity sitting right in front of you. I hope that we do. I hope we quickly are able to get back to that place. But, ultimately, Chairman Kim will have that decision to make for himself. As the President said, we welcome their call, their outreach to head back down that path. Senator Shaheen. So, can you share with us any other insights about how the administration is looking at what should happen next? Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. In some ways, it is situation normal. The pressure campaign continues. Senator Shaheen. Not a lot of insight there. Secretary Pompeo. Well, I mean, it is what--I do not know what to say, other than there will--has been an incredibly effective global campaign to create pressure on the North Korean regime so that we could resolve the issue of Chairman Kim's regime threatening the United States of America. That existed yesterday, it exists today, it is likely to exist tomorrow. And so, our process remains the same. Senator Shaheen. There is a story that just came out that said that the South Koreans were completely surprised by this decision. Did we consult with our allies about the decision before making it public? Secretary Pompeo. I do not want to get---- Senator Shaheen. Or at least advise them that this was coming? Secretary Pompeo. I do not want to get into who all we notified. The White House, I think, will speak to that at the appropriate time. Senator Shaheen. Well, apropos of that---- Secretary Pompeo. But, may I say just one more thing, Senator Shaheen? I--Chairman Moon was here. We have had extensive discussions. We are locked in with the Republic of Korea. We have spoken to the Japanese. Foreign Minister Kono was here. I spoke with him yesterday afternoon at 1630 hours. We are---- Senator Shaheen. To advise him---- Secretary Pompeo. We are---- Senator Shaheen. --that this is---- Secretary Pompeo. We are in lockstep with them. Senator Shaheen. And did---- Secretary Pompeo. And we---- Senator Shaheen. --we advise them that this was coming? Secretary Pompeo. We told them that we hoped that the summit would proceed, that there would be discussions, but we always knew there was a risk that they would not move forward. We have been consistent with that privately and, as you well know, publicly, as well. President Trump has said repeatedly he is very hopeful it would proceed, but---- Senator Shaheen. Sure. No, I understand that. Secretary Pompeo. --but, it might not. Senator Shaheen. But, that is a very different situation than saying, ``This letter is coming tomorrow. The President is pulling out of the summit.'' And that is the question that I am really asking. And it goes to the approach to Iran's behavior, as well, because, as America was trying to negotiate the Iran deal, there was a real effort to work cooperatively with our European allies. The President's response to pulling out of the nuclear agreement with Iran has, to some extent, blamed our European allies who are part of that negotiation for the failure to get a stronger agreement. Do you think that is going to have lasting impact on our relations with the Europeans? Secretary Pompeo. A couple of hundred years of history would suggest that the answer to that is no. Senator Shaheen. So, we are moving forward with them on a united front for how to approach Iran? Secretary Pompeo. I think, throughout history, there have been differences between not only Europe and the United States, but individual European countries amongst themselves. This is no exception. They are in a different place. They have stated publicly their intent to work to try and remain inside of the JCPOA framework. When I saw Foreign Minister Mas on Wednesday-- I think it was yesterday--of this week, he indicated that that was continuing to be their policy. I explained to him why I thought this makes sense. I urged him--I urged him to acknowledge that the Iranians are launching missiles into Riyadh, and there is a German going to get killed, and one ought to think that that should be a condition that would be unacceptable to the people of Germany. And I am hopeful that they will join us to push back against what we would ask from Iceland: Do not launch missiles into Riyadh. Right? We ask this--this is--people have said that what the President laid out and what I spoke to on Monday is a fantasy. If you go look at the 12 items, it is nothing that we do not ask of every civilized nation in the world. It is--join the league of normal nations. This does not--it does not seem like too tall an order for any European---- Senator Shaheen. Well, I am---- Secretary Pompeo. --country to join us---- Senator Shaheen. --I am not taking issue with what you---- Secretary Pompeo. Yeah, but I--but, to my---- Senator Shaheen. --would like to add. Secretary Pompeo. --to your point, I think the Europeans share our value set and our interests. I think they would agree with our assessment of that bad behavior. And so, I am very hopeful that they will join us in our effort to cease that bad activity by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Senator Shaheen. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Barrasso. Senator Barrasso. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Appreciate you being here. You--we are so appreciative of your efforts and the President's efforts to achieve complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea. And I know we are going to continue to work toward that goal and continue our efforts to impose maximum pressure on North Korea, especially in light of the--today's announcement. As we continue to impose sanctions and conduct joint military exercises, keep the regime fully aware of the consequences of their actions, I was just going to ask a little bit about China. And do you believe China is embracing maximum- pressure strategy in order to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program and, just in terms of what we can expect of China in regard to North Korea for future activities, and have they responded in our efforts to continue along this line? Secretary Pompeo. So, I have not spoken to him since this letter was released, but I did speak to him as recently as yesterday afternoon. And they made every commitment that they were prepared to continue in the way that they have. And I wish we would give the Chinese full credit for what they have done. It is historic. It is different than what they had done in previous iterations of this. So, we are very appreciative of that. I made clear we were going to need them to continue even while these negotiations take place, and they agreed that that made sense, for them and for the world. Senator Barrasso. Yeah. You have been very clear on our ultimate goal with regard to North Korea. Could you speculate on what your view is on China's ultimate goal in North Korea or what they have expressed to you? Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. I can tell you precisely what they said to me. They agree that CVID is the correct answer for the Korean Peninsula. Senator Barrasso. Okay, move to Iran. And I think, on Monday, you really gave a--I thought, outstanding remarks at The Heritage Foundation on Iran. Two weeks ago, the President ended participation of the United States in this flawed Iranian deal. I strongly support the decision. You know, you stated, ``First, we will apply unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime.'' You said, ``The leaders in Tehran will have no doubt about our seriousness, and, thanks to our colleagues at the Department of Treasury, sanctions are going back in full effect, new ones are coming.'' So, will the administration be on track to have these sanctions fully re-imposed by the November deadline? And are there--can you talk a little bit about what additional sanctions may be considered? And are there things that Congress can do to be helpful? Secretary Pompeo. So, the answer to the last one is always yes. I am sure there are tools that we will contemplate, that we will need assistance with. That is, there will be some authority, although you have given us, through CAATSA and other tools, enormous capability and breadth there. And we appreciate that. Second, I think the second question, Can I lay out for you what the next set of actions will be? No, only to say that there are--the preparations are well along for rolling those out, here, before too long. You saw some initially against the Central Bank of Iran and some of its officials in that same vein. The effort--the core effort with respect to the sanctions is to deny Iran the wealth to do the bad stuff that they have been out doing during the JCPOA. Senator Barrasso. Right. Secretary Pompeo. People forget that all of this bad activity took place during the JCPOA. And so, it is not the case that the withdrawal caused the Iranians to launch missiles into Riyadh and into the Golan Heights, but, rather, this activity occurred during the JCPOA. And so, we have got a serious on--we are hopeful. My task is to build a consensus around the world so that the world begins to join in those sanctions, as well, so they are not simply U.S. sanctions, but global and U.N. sanctions, in addition to those that the United States puts in place. Senator Barrasso. In addition to--talk about some of the bad things that you said Iran is doing, certainly in the region. I have concerns about what is going on in Lebanon with regard to Hezbollah, the recent elections. In May, Lebanon held its first legislative election in 9 years, resulting in electoral gains by Hezbollah. It is a--Hezbollah is a U.S.- designated foreign terrorist organization. The leader of Hezbollah has promised thousands of foreign fighters deploying to Lebanon to fight Israel in the next war. Congress has put in place restrictions on U.S. funding for the Lebanese internal security forces in the Lebanese Armed Forces if either body, it says, is controlled by a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization. So, has the Lebanese state become indistinguishable from Hezbollah? And should we continue to provide assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces? Secretary Pompeo. I do not believe that it is, although we are reviewing that to be sure--to make sure that the actions that we take, the funding that is provided, is provided appropriately and consistent with the law. We have reviewed that for our--well, certainly, the time that I have been in service in this administration. So, we will continue to review that. The Lebanese election was not what America would have hoped; I think, what most of the Lebanese people would have hoped, either. But, I do hope that, when the--when it all shakes out, that we can continue to provide support to the Lebanese Armed Forces in a way that is appropriate, and do our best to help return Lebanon to what everybody knows it once was. Senator Barrasso. The jewel of the Mediterranean, as it was once called. So, yeah, things are different. Could I move to Turkey? I think, during your testimony this week before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, you said we need to get Turkey to rejoin NATO. Others have called Turkey and NATO a troubled marriage. Turkey has increasingly taken steps, to me, that undermine the NATO alliance, from cooperating with Russia to attacking the Kurds, fighting ISIS. You know, in December, Turkey announced it is going to be purchasing these S-400 antiaircraft defense system. It is not compatible with the NATO system, like the Patriot system. Could you talk a little bit about our strategy to bring NATO back-- Turkey back into the NATO fold and, you know, the areas where we could actually be working cooperatively with President Erdogan? Secretary Pompeo. So, there are places, right? They were in support of the efforts that we took in--some of the efforts we took in Syria. There are pockets where we still are able there--continue to allow us to operate out of airbases there, so there are pieces that are very important to the Department of Defense, as well. But, the trend is wrong, to be sure. They--their actual possession of the S-400 causes multiple levels of challenges between us and between Turkey and NATO. We are pressing, diplomatically, to make clear we are trying to offer them alternatives, as well. We are trying to provide for what are legitimate defense needs, to assist them with legitimate defense needs, as well. We are trying to do the things that will encourage them to come back. If I said ``rejoin NATO'' yesterday, I may have misspoken. They are obviously still a member of NATO. I hope that their actions will prove to be more consistent with what it is NATO's primary objectives are. Senator Barrasso. There is a whole question about their request to buy 100, I think, F-35s, and how that would stand. It is taking us in the wrong direction, and worth its way to bring them back in. Secretary Pompeo. It is still--and it is still very much a live issue, the Turks' capacity to have access to the F-35. Senator Barrasso. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Booker. Senator Coons. Senator Coons. Thank you, Chairman Corker, Ranking Member Menendez. Secretary Pompeo, it is good to be with you again. Thank you for your service as Secretary. I want to commend your recent decision to lift the ill- considered State Department hiring freeze, and congratulate you on securing the release of three American detainees from North Korea. Although I recognize you did not craft the State Department budget for FY19, I will just second the terrific comments by Ranking Member Menendez, who offered a detailed criticism of how it undermines our values and our security. I am frustrated that the administration ignored the bipartisan, bicameral will of Congress and submitted, again, a budget request that would cut, by 30 percent, much of the State Department and AID activity that I think would weaken our global standing and reverse bipartisan progress. Today, I want to focus, not just on that budget request, but on some important foreign policy issues challenging us. And I also want to make sure I thank you for your strong endorsement, in your written testimony today and in your spoken testimony before House Foreign Affairs, of the BUILD Act, a genuinely bipartisan bill that I think could help us step up around the world to crowd in American private capital and to confront the challenge of China's mercantile activity in the developing world. I think that is a promising bipartisan initiative. And I want to make sure we work together to use that to strengthen international development and advance our foreign policy interests. Let me ask you about Ebola, if I might. In 2014, I visited Liberia and saw the devastation of an epidemic that cost over 11,000 lives before it was finally halted, at a cost of more than 5 billion to the United States. Thousands of volunteers and government employees were deployed. Folks went there because of their strengths and skills in medicine and nursing, their religious faith, from across a wide range of groups and countries. But, in the end, American action in Liberia was key to turning the tide and to restoring some semblance of health and stability to Liberia. And I think, in many ways, that response represented the best of American leadership. But, today I am concerned. The President is considering rescinding funds to fight the new Ebola outbreak in the DRC. There are cases, in a city of over a million people, that have alarmed, I think, many of us who were involved in the response in 2014. Reportedly, the President is close to closing part of the NSC designed to help lead U.S. and international responses to pandemics and cutting funding, as I mentioned, in the budget for global health security. Do you agree with these steps? Do you think this is a responsible response, including the rescissions to Ebola funding? Secretary Pompeo. Senator Coons, thanks for the question. It is an important issue. The--we are watching closely. I think the good news, with respect to the situation in the DRC, is, I think we are further out in front than we were last time. Having said that, as you well know, you are on top of it until you are not. And so, we are deeply focused on making sure that we try and stay out in front and do everything we can. We also believe we have enough resources today. That is, we do not think there are funding shortfalls that prevent us, in the near term, from doing the things we need to do. So, we think we are okay there. You asked directly about the rescission. I have had many discussions about that. And my push has been: This is important, we need to make sure we have the resources, not only for the current issue, the one that we know about, the one that is in the news today, but, rather, for each of these global health challenges, these risks, in a way that is appropriate. And so, there are still live discussions. I was a little late-- I was a little late to the debate, but I am on the scene now. And I did not receive any pushback, generically, from my request to make sure we had the right number of resources. Now---- Senator Coons. My---- Secretary Pompeo. --it is a matter of---- Senator Coons. My sense is that the rescission package continues to include rescissions to the Complex Crises Fund, which has been critical in allowing a rapid response to major humanitarian crises, as well as funds from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, despite the President just signing into law a bipartisan bill that grants that agency new authorities. I hope you will really look at these rescissions. My impression is that our response, as of now, is significantly underfunded and puts us at some risk of repeating what happened in 2014, where, as you said, we thought we were on top of it, and then it emerged, and then it---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Coons. --became a regional tragedy. I will also just reference that President Trump, then a private citizen, in 2014 tweeted that the U.S. cannot allow Ebola-infected people back. Quote, ``People that go to faraway places and help out are great, but must suffer the consequences.'' Many of the folks who were on the front lines in responding in 2014 were U.S. Public Health Service, USAID, U.S. military. Do you think health and development professionals who risk their lives to contain an outbreak should bear the consequences and be kept out of the United States, as that suggestion in a different context from our now- President might lead one to believe? Secretary Pompeo. Boy, there have been no discussions about that. Yes, I think they need to, obviously, be able to come back after doing the great work that they did. Senator Coons. I would hope we could work together to ensure that anybody who deploys is certain that they can safely return home. Now, let me move to Iran strategy. There has been a vigorous discussion about it. You gave a speech Monday at The Heritage Foundation. You laid out 12 demands of the Iranian regime. I would agree with you that we should expect no less of nations that are part of the community of civilized countries, but I am struggling with exactly how we are going to get there. This is an ambitious agenda, and, other than threats to impose secondary sanctions that I am concerned will distance us from our European allies, I am wondering about how exactly we are going to push back on Iran in Syria, push back on Iran in other places in the region, in Yemen. One of the lines of effort you mentioned included supporting the Iranian people, which I was intrigued by. Are you advocating that President Trump remove Iran from the list of countries whose citizens cannot come to the United States through the travel ban? And help me with whether the Trump administration's visa policy is consistent with outreach to the Iranian people. Secretary Pompeo. So, there are many pieces of this that I will concede we still have work to do to figure out. I would say that, more broadly, that set of policies is under review to try and make sure we get that right. What I was speaking to was not actually that. I was speaking to a broader understanding, where it is important to know--for the Iranian people to understand that they will not be on their own. It was--some have suggested--there was a question from Senator Kaine earlier about whether our motive is regime change. Right? Out--outside external was implicit in that. It is certainly not. It is the case that we are convinced that the Iranian people do not support the adventurism that it has been engaged in. And so, the efforts we have--we talked about the GEC, we talked about other public diplomacy tools that America has and, I think, has fallen into disrepair, getting those back out and being effective communicating with the Iranian people there, as well. But, I am happy to take onboard to consider what we ought to do with respect to visa policy, as well. But, my--I would have to think about the--there are second-order effects to that, as well. But, I am happy to consider---- Senator Coons. I think it might send an important signal in that area of effort. And I respect the complexity of the undertaking, but look forward to asking more questions about how we are going to move forward---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Coons. --with our European allies. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Portman. Senator Portman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And, Secretary, thank you for being back with us. I am disappointed but, frankly, not surprised by the summit being canceled, given the nature of the regime. And seems to me that the reason they were willing to come to the table in the first place was because of the maximum-pressure campaign, because of the sanctions, and because you were able to internationalize those sanctions; in particular, having China play such a central role. I guess, a couple of questions. First, it seems to me that the maximum-pressure campaign has been somewhat paused over the last several weeks. Do you intend to reengage, to ramp that back up? And what do you intend to do with regard to our international sanctions, specifically with regard to China getting back engaged? Secretary Pompeo. So, I did not--my sense was, we had not taken much of a pause. We were still out, working around the world to convince others to do the things we needed them to do to--when there were North Korean workers there, to send them back to North Korea, to stop remittances, go back--there were lots of activities. We still had extensive work on ship-to-ship transfers. We were still building out that capacity, as well, to stop refined products from entering North Korea, as well. So, I think we have been continuing that even up and through today in--as were contemplating the June 12th summit. That will not change. We have still got work to do to build out each of those. I am sure there are additional sanctions that we will seek to put in place. The United States, I am sure, will go back to others, asking them to do more, as well. You had a second question. I am sorry, Senator Portman, it slipped my mind. Senator Portman. Yeah, I think--I think you had answered it, with regard to the international pressure. Secretary Pompeo. Senator Portman, if I can say---- Senator Portman. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. --one more thing. It is, Senator Portman, very, very important that the world observes that this effort continues. It is one thing for the United States to be out after it. We need our partners, who have done so much good work, at economics--at economic pain to their own countries but stay with us until we achieve the outcome. Senator Portman. I think that is absolutely essential and, you know, again, key to the apparent success you had at one point in getting them to talk. And you have had conversations, direct negotiations. As you know, I spent a couple of years trying to get Otto Warmbier back to the States, and, during that time period, talked about the need for direct negotiations. You have now done that. And so, there has been a step forward, even though the summit has been canceled. And I think that is appropriate. Again, given the nature of the regime, it is not surprising that they have canceled. You talked, at the State Department, about ``getting its swagger back.'' And you and I talked about--a lot about this during your confirmation process, private meetings and public testimony. I think that is important. I think morale is higher. One of the ways you can get your swagger back is to do exactly what you said a moment ago in response to the question from Senator Coons. You talked about using the GEC, which is the Global Engagement Center, in an effort to communicate directly to the Iranian people more aggressively. You even said, a moment ago, that you thought that some of our efforts to do so have fallen into disrepair. I could not agree with you more, as you know. And, based on legislation, Senator Murphy, who is with us today, and I wrote, a couple of years ago, you now have the ability to do that, because we have invested in the State Department this responsibility to coordinate all of our international efforts on pushing back against disinformation, propaganda, but also be more effective at getting our narrative out. I am encouraged by your budget request, 53.5 million bucks, also encouraged that DoD funding is finally coming your way. I do think that DoD funding perhaps should be looked at as a 2-year funding source now that we are so close to the fiscal year. I hope you will look into that. I think that would be helpful. You also talked about ensuring that the right people are in place, not just contractors, but having folks who are there who are senior members of your Foreign Service organization who can really make this GEC the effective body that I think you believe it ought to be. So, first, I appreciate your personal commitment to this that you made during the confirmation process. And, second, just want to ask you, Where are we with regard to GEC? What more could we be doing here to help you? Secretary Pompeo. I have, sadly, little progress to identify for you this morning. But, we now--we now can hire. There are 13 full-time positions that were frozen out from being hired. We are working that. I agree with you, we need career professionals working, leading parts of that organization. It is going to take me a bit to get where we need to be. So, a little forbearance. But, know that we are working hard at it. I want--I would like to put that in the context of what I think is an incredible priority. So, it is not just the GEC. That is an important place. It has a lot of money. As publicly--public diplomacy goes, $60 million is a lot of money. We should be able to do some incredibly effective work there. But, we have got the BBG, which, too--right?--the Broadcasting Board of Governors, that I am an ex officio member of--it, too, has--there is just a lot of places. And I will tell you, I do not believe it is well coordinated inside the State Department. It sits in at least two different places--four bureaus, two secretariats. There is a lot of work to be done to get that right so that we can begin to--that important piece of American diplomacy. And I am focused on it. I have got, oh, one of my seniors coming to me with a plan. I have believed this for a long time. When I was a young member from Kansas, I spent some time thinking, trying to get it going, and it overwhelmed me. Now I have the opportunity to do it. I am looking forward---- Senator Portman. Well, we---- Secretary Pompeo. --to building it out. Senator Portman. --appreciate your prioritizing it, and we do think, based on the fact that Congress has now given you this mandate, that State Department is the right place to do it. And so, let that swagger work. And let us go for it. By the way, I was in the Czech Republic visiting Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty about a month ago. One of the issues that came up there was CFIUS. And I know---- Secretary Pompeo. Yeah, sure. Senator Portman. --you are on the CFIUS board. When I was at--in the Trade Reps's office, I was on that board. I hope you are involved in that. The ZTE sanctions issue has put more light on the fact that, particularly with regard to China, and also Russia and other countries, there is an effort to influence and try to obtain more access to our key technologies. One thing they said in the Czech Republic is, they do not have a CFIUS there, and there can be backdoor, as you know, efforts by China and other countries to get into our technology through Europe. One question I have for you is whether you would be willing to work with our European allies so that the EU can have an effective CFIUS regime in place, as well, and that we can work with them and other allies. Because, by multilateralizing this, I think it is going to be much more effective as we begin, finally, to engage, not just on pushing back on the disinformation and propaganda we talked about, and getting our narrative out there, but dealing with the reality that the technological race is on, and other countries are accessing our technology in ways that is harmful to our national security. Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Yes, sir, I agree. We should help other countries get the same CFIUS-related--CFIUS regime put in place, as well, much like ours. They are--some of them are begging for help. We need to get out there and do it. Senator Portman. Great. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. Senator Booker. Senator Booker. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, again, I want to echo some of the comments that my colleagues have said in thanking you. You spoke to me personally and privately, as well as publicly to the committee, about doing things about the morale. As I was traveling around, I heard a lot of disturbing comments, especially the effects the hiring freeze was having on the families of people that were committing themselves to serve our country. You have addressed some of those things, and I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am for you sticking to what you said you would do. Secretary Pompeo. There is a lot more work to be done. I hope--a handful of things I hope I can roll out, here, in a handful of weeks. There will be some that will take months. But, I intend upon honoring the commitment that I made, not only to this committee, but to the workforce, when I spoke to them last week. Senator Booker. Well, I expected you to fix all the problems in the first 2 months, sir, and a little disappointed that you have not moved that quickly. [Laughter.] Senator Booker. You and I both share a--not only a patriotic bent, but a humanitarian bent, as well. And I know that you are personally disturbed by what is going on in South Sudan. Since 2013, the civil war, 50,000 human beings have been killed. You have 4 million people displaced, 7 million people who have had to receive aid to survive. And now we are seeing a level of a humanitarian crisis where 5 million people are on the brink of starvation. And what is painful in this is, it is compounded by the challenges that we are seeing with epic levels of violence against women. About 65 percent of the women in the country have experienced violence of a sexual nature, and rape and the like. In addition to this, if you--the crisis in South Sudan has allowed for almost a proxy battle between other regional countries. It is causing destabilization in the entire area. You have Uganda, you have Ethiopia, you have Kenya, who are all now seeing effects of this civil war and undermining a lot of-- some of the important work that we are doing in a security nature. This is just a situation that is growing worse and worse and worse, both from the humanitarian concerns as well as--I know you know this, as well, better than I do--as well as, sort of, a--regional interests, counterterrorist interests in the region, as well. And I say all that to say I have had some constructive conversations with Chairman Corker about our diplomatic focus in the area. I know where there are some issues where we were withholding support for an Ambassador in the region. But, I just would like to get your frank opinion on some of the things that the Chairman and I have been discussing, given the--sort of the transnational nature of the crisis. I am just wondering if you share our concerns that we do not have a special envoy that is getting up every single day and focusing on this issue and trying to address the grievous humanitarian, diplomatic, political, and security consequences that this crisis is causing. Secretary Pompeo. Senator Booker, I cannot--your factual statement about the situation is spot-on. You characterized the risk and the--there are not words to capture a tragedy that is taking place there perfectly. I will also say, I saw this issue a little bit in my previous role. I have had a chance to dig into it only a little bit here in this one. There may be some fundamental rethinking--maybe this is your point--about our approach to this. We have been at, sort of, the same diplomatic line for an awfully long time, with--I do not know--I would say marginal success. But, perhaps if we had not been doing that, it would be far worse. But, somehow we have to create a situation that is fundamentally different than the set of incentives that sit on the ground today and spill over into the regions that you describe. You talked about some Sudan, too. This risk is real. As for whether there is a requirement for a special envoy, I have not given it any serious consideration, and I will do so. We do need our team focused on this issue every day. And whether it requires a special envoy to do that, I do not know the answer to. I am certainly willing to consider it. Senator Booker. I am grateful for that. And my team also made me aware that the--a director--the previous director was moved from the South Sudan office into a different office, without explanation. So, at least from standing outside of your agency and organization, it looks like we are pulling back on the people that are--have the specialty and the focus, and not sure what is filling that void at a time where I think, as you have heard, sort of, my bias, we should be ramping up attention, focus, energy into that region. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, you are informationally ahead of me. I regret that. Senator Booker. Okay. Secretary Pompeo. But, thank you. I will dig into it. Senator Booker. I am grateful, sir. And, again, I--you know, observing you and feeling like I know your core values, and we had a--some private conversations about this, the great power that your position holds. And I know that there is --your attention--we all have the same 24 hours--with Asia and with Europe, with the Middle East, that demand so much right now. Senator Coons, Senator Flake, a number of the folks I have had the privilege of serving on this committee, have shown me what attention to issues going on in Africa can do in literally relieving human suffering. What we have done--you know, PEPFAR, USAID, as I am now learning, and as--joining this committee--is stunning. The--and every American should be proud in understanding that not only is it humanitarian, but you--as--what Martin Luther King said for our Nation is true for the globe, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, that these issues, allowed to fester, do become issues to our national security. And infectious diseases, especially, we are now learning, with transnational flights and the like, that injustice anywhere--we do not deal with contagions in a proactive way, they have a chance of spreading. And so, I just want to echo what Senator Coons said with more eloquence than me about, sort of, my grievous concerns about the growing crises in--that we see in the DRC, in general, which I think is an area in need of more diplomatic attention, more American pressure, more guts and swagger that we are talking about in other areas of the world that we should be focusing in the same areas with some of our African nations and brothers and sisters in humanity. And it does, to me, send out a stunning reflection of our values--as you know, budgets reflect values--when we are announcing rescission packages that do things that just do not seem to make economic sense as well as moral sense. And I know you operate with strong moral core and also an understanding of fiscal conservatism about making investments that can save our country money. And the rescission of the 232 million for Ebola funding just took--struck me as staggering, when we know, from past experience with outbreaks, a small amount invested could save us a tremendous amount on the back end on a fiscal manner, but just the human suffering alone that the United States has something to do--and I just appeal to you, not just as a fellow American, but a fellow humanitarian, to give some focus to the DRC, give some focus to what is going on with American posture and resources in dealing with the Ebola virus. We have so much power in this country, and this is a place where, if we make the investment, if we apply the focus, we can make a tremendous impact on human suffering. And it is not going to be on the front page of the New York Times, will not be talked about in--on CNN when they want to talk about what they seem to be distracted by these days, but, when you and I are towards the end of our lives, you are in a position right now where you can make a difference in--on these issues in such a substantive way. Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Senator Booker. Senator Booker. Thank you, sir. The Chairman. Thank you. Senator Paul. Senator Paul. I think many people would admit that the Iran agreement had some deficiencies. One of the largest deficiencies might have been that the $100 billion was released all at once instead of maybe gradually to help modulate behavior over a longer period of time. That being said, the $100 billion that was released was a great inducement to get Iran to sign the agreement. That was a carrot. And that carrot is gone. They have gotten the good thing, and now we want compliance. Now we are pulling out. And so, the question is, you know, what are the next inducements to get them to sign things, or will there not be? I think there is a question with--there are two possibilities, basically, of what will happen. So, you reintroduce the strongest sanctions ever. They either do not work--that is one possibility--because they are unilateral, and some say unilateral sanctions will not work. Let us say they do not work. That means Europe, China, and Russia continue to trade with them, and Iran says, ``Well, they are going to continue to trade with us, we will just keep abiding by the agreement.'' They do not develop any more nuclear weapons or technology towards that, but they do not do anything else that you would like--ballistic missiles, less terrorism. So, really, basically, we do not get what we want if the sanctions do not work. Second possibility. Let us say the sanctions do work. We have enough manipulation of money that flows through us from Europe, Europe does a lot of trade with us, Europe buckles. I think Russia and China still will trade with them, but let us say Europe buckles. And let us say it works and it puts enough pressure on Iran. Then there are two possibilities of what Iran does. The first possibility is, they say, ``Oh, Secretary Pompeo--we love Secretary Pompeo's 12-point strategy, and we are going to accept that.'' I think that is unlikely. The second possibility, if the sanctions work and they put enough pressure on them, Iran feels the pressure--is that they restart their nuclear centrifuge program. So, those are two possibilities. But, what I would like to do is go through the 12 steps that you would like Iran to do and sort of explore what these would mean if we thought about them in terms bigger than Iran. So, one of your first things is--and this was--came up during JPOH, but nobody really could really get this done-- they--you want Iran to reveal the military dimensions of its nuclear program. Well, let us substitute Israel for Iran there. Does anybody think Israel is going to reveal the military dimensions of their nuclear program? Well, you will say, ``Well, they are our friend.'' Well, yeah, but, from Iran's perspective, they say--they see Israel as a rival, and a regional rival. Let us put Saudi Arabia in there. Will Saudi Arabia reveal the military dimensions of its nuclear program? Well, some might say, ``Hmmm, they do not really have it.'' But, I am guessing there are files over at the CIA that say, ``Well, you know what? They have talked to people about purchasing it. Some say they have purchased nuclear technology.'' I guarantee we know that, and you probably cannot admit it, but let us put Saudi Arabia in there. Are they willing to discuss anything they have done to develop nuclear weapons? So, really what you are asking for is something that they are never going to agree to. Okay? You can try to cripple them. It is sort of like unconditional surrender. You are not getting that. Let us move on. Proliferation of ballistic missiles. I do not like them threatening surrounding countries or us with ballistic missiles. Nobody does. But, they respond, not just to us, they respond to Saudi Arabia. There is 1,000-year-old war over there, there is a 1,000-year-old religious war over there, and there is hostility between the two. So, when we supply weapons, and the Saudis buy ballistic missiles--the Saudis have a ballistic missile program--they respond to that. The Saudis and their allies, the Gulf shiekhdoms, spend eight times more than Iran. So, when you tell Iran, ``Oh, well, you will have to give up your ballistic missile program,'' but you do not say anything to the Saudis, you think they are ever going to sign that? They would have to be crippled and starving people in the streets for them ever to agree to give up their ballistic missile program. Had we kept the Iran agreement with them, and you said to the Iranians, ``Well, we want less of an arms race over there. We would like to have peace with Saudi Arabia,'' could we get Saudi Arabia to the table with Iran to discuss either a freeze of ballistic missiles--you know, when we went to Russia, we did not just succumb and say we would give up our weapons. Neither did Russia. We did it in parity, we had an agreement. If you leave Saudi Arabia out of it, and you leave Israel out of it, and you look at Iran in isolation, that is not the way they perceive it. So, I do not think they are going to jump at your 12 notions, here, of what you would---- Secretary Pompeo. Senator---- Senator Paul. --like them to do. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, may I just make--may I make just one---- Senator Paul. Go ahead. Secretary Pompeo. --point? I think the example of Saudi Arabia is a reasonable one. We have told the Saudis exactly what I asked from the Iranians. Senator Paul. To talk about their nuclear program? Secretary Pompeo. We have--they have said they want a peaceful nuclear energy program, and we have told them we want a gold standard Section 123 agreement from them, which would not permit them to enrich. That is simply all I have asked of Iran, as well. Senator Paul. Do we have information that the Saudis have talked to actors in Pakistan and other places about purchasing nuclear technology? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I cannot answer that here this morning. Senator Paul. Which is to say---- Secretary Pompeo. Senator---- Senator Paul. --we probably--in all likelihood do have that information. And so, the thing is, it is a one-way playing field. Unless we understand that there are two big players over there--really, three big players--you have got Iran, you have got Israel, and you got Saudi Arabia--we want Iran to do things that we are not willing to ask anybody else to do, and that we would never do. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I---- Senator Paul. So---- Secretary Pompeo. --I disagree with you. I think we ask most nations to do precisely what we are asking Iran to do. Senator Paul. Let us move on to another one your 12 points. End the military support for the Houthi rebels. Well, once again, you are asking them to end it, but you are not asking the Saudis to end their bombardment of Yemen. I mean, if you look at the humanitarian disaster that is Yemen, it is squarely on the shoulders of the Saudis. And so, we are going to ask the Iranians to quit supplying it--and they, in all likelihood are the ones supplying the missiles--and you--we get reports, and the Defense Department comes in and says, ``There has been a-- you know, 32 missile strikes in Saudi Arabia.'' Well, there has been like 16,000 bombings of Yemen by Saudi Arabia. Nobody even mentions that. We act as if it did not even happen. If we are so ignorant that there are two sides to this war, we are never getting anywhere. Iran is not going to stop doing that. But, they might, if you sat them down with the Saudi Arabians and said, ``This arms race does not make sense,'' and Saudi Arabia is willing to sit down at the table. You know, is Saudi Arabia willing to stop--another one is ``withdraw all forces under Iran's command throughout the entirety of Syria.'' Well, dozens of groups in there, even ISIS, that were getting weapons from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In fact, one of the leaked emails from WikiLeaks was from Podesta to--or from Clinton to Podesta, saying, ``My goodness, we have got to stop Saudi Arabia and Qatar from funding ISIS.'' That is a direct email. They were acknowledging they knew about it, and they were acknowledging it was a problem, but weapons were flowing in to all kinds of radicals in there. So, if you want Iran to stop--and, I mean, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, 10 times the problem. You know, the whole Syrian war has all of these radical jihadists. The people who attacked us came from Saudi Arabia. We ignore all that, and we lavish them with more bombs. So, really, until we acknowledge there are two sides to the war--or three sides to the war in the Middle East, you are not going to get the agreement. I think it was naive to pull out of the Iran agreement, and I think, in the end, we will be worse off for it. The Chairman. Senator Udall. Senator Udall. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Secretary Pompeo, for being here today with us. As you know, the--ZTE, the Chinese cellphone company, was hit with a $1.9 billion fine for violating U.S. law. The Department of Defense has also warned about the security vulnerabilities in these phones. Soon after ZTE reported its resulting financial problems, the Metallurgical Corporation of China made a decision to support a half-billion-dollar project in Indonesia, which included Trump-branded properties. Then, soon after President Trump sounded the alarm on behalf of the Chinese company ZTE, tweeting, and I quote here, ``President Xi, of China, and I are working together to give massive Chinese phone company ZTE a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce has been instructed to get it done.'' That is the end of the quote on the tweet. Many observers have found these events and their timing strange. I would say, very strange. As you know, the Trump organization owns assets around the world, in India, the Middle East, Panama, and have pursued a project in Russia well into 2016. Members of Congress and the executive branch are under an ethical duty to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Do you agree that there is at least an appearance of a conflict of interest with this sequence of events with China? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I have not seen any indication that would support the connection that you seem to be drawing. I was part of the conversation early and then, frankly, more recently, about ZTE. I knew about ZTE in my previous role, I knew about it when I was a Member of Congress, as well. This administration takes the threat that ZTE poses incredibly seriously. Indeed, it is the first administration to take any action against ZTE, in spite of the fact that it has been a known threat to the United States of America for years. Previous administration chose to do literally nothing against ZTE. And so, the critiques that this administration has done-- not done enough and the ``many others'' that you refer to--I do not know who they are--are not reflective of the deliberations that I have seen this administration undertake with respect to how to respond to ZTE. Senator Udall. Given that the President refuses to disclose his tax returns, how can you assure the American people that American foreign policy is free of his personal conflicts of interest? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I find that question bizarre. Senator Udall. I did not--you do not want to answer it, then. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, after you--you just said---- Senator Udall. You just want to describe it as bizarre---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, I do. I think---- Senator Udall. --and not give me an answer. Secretary Pompeo. --I think that is indicative of my answer, Senator. I have been incredibly involved in this administration's foreign policy now for some 16 months, and I have seen literally no evidence of what you are---- Senator Udall. Well, that is what I want to ask you---- Secretary Pompeo. --spuriously suggesting. Senator Udall. --ask you specifically---- Secretary Pompeo. Spuriously, Senator. Senator Udall. No, it is not---- Secretary Pompeo. Is it---- Senator Udall. --spuriously---- Secretary Pompeo. It is an outrageous suggestion. Senator Udall. My friend, it is not spuriously. This has been raised by a number of people---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Udall. --out there. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir, it has. You want me to tell you who those folks are and what their---- Senator Udall. No, it is---- Secretary Pompeo. --political interests may well be? Senator Udall. No, I know. It is fake news. Now, let me ask my question. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Udall. Okay. Back to the specific case with ZTE. Do you believe that it is in the U.S. interest to help the problematic ZTE phone company get back into business, fast? That is the Trump tweet. And is the State Department using any resources to work with the Commerce Department on this issue? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I do not know the question to-- the answer to your second question. I have certainly been involved. So, yes, the State Department is using some resources to work with the Department of Commerce, some part of my time, for sure. There may be others. Certainly, my team members have been involved in this along the way, as well. Senator Udall. But, you--and then, the first question was, do you believe that it is in the U.S. interest to help the problematic ZTE phone company get back into business, fast? Secretary Pompeo. I am convinced this administration will make a decision that is in the best interest of the United States of America with respect to ZTE and all things. Senator Udall. Now, the former Ambassador to Panama recently told The New Yorker that the President asked him, quote, ``What about the hotel?'' That is the quote from the Ambassador in the Oval Office meeting to discuss the U.S.- Panama relationship. Does the President ever discuss overseas Trump properties when discussing foreign policy issues with you? Secretary Pompeo. I have never seen us make any decision based on anything like you are suggesting, Senator. So, I do not know how else to answer that question. Senator Udall. Well, good. I just want a straight answer. Secretary Pompeo. Well---- Senator Udall. That is great. I want to offer my---- Secretary Pompeo. I am not sure---- Senator Udall. --condolences ---- Secretary Pompeo. --that is--I am not sure that was exactly your point there, Senator---- Senator Udall. No, no. I wanted---- Secretary Pompeo. --to get a straight answer. Senator Udall. I wanted a straight answer from you. We will see how history plays this out. I want to offer my condolences to the people of Cuba and to those who perished on the flight from Havana last week. This is the--yet another example, over 50 years, failed isolationist policies towards Cuba. And it just continues on and on. The United States embargo prevents Cuba from leasing U.S. planes and parts. This is a safety hazard that may have led to a disaster on the island last week. The plane--the crashed plane was an inter-Cuba flight, a route that generally is not serviced by U.S. air carriers. This means that Cubans and American tourists alike are subject to the same dangers of a poorly regulated airline industry. There is no doubt that the U.S. companies would benefit from business with Cuban airlines. And Cubans as well as American tourists, I think, would be safer because of it. Unfortunately, this administration continues to backtrack on efforts to engage with Cuban officials. Would the State Department be open to a dialogue with Cuban officials to help improve air safety and upgrade aircraft to avoid another catastrophe? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, the implicit suggestion there is somehow that the responsibility for this aircraft's failure did not rest with Cuba and its people. I simply disagree with that. I am happy to consider whether there are useful and appropriate mechanisms for the State Department to engage with Cuba on civil aviation. I do not know the answer to the question. Senator Udall. Yeah. Well, the point the question was trying to make is, when there is cooperation on all fronts in Cuba, I think Americans do better and Cubans do better. And that is what the last policy of the last administration was, to uplift everyone. And I--and when I had a discussion with you in my office, you talked about, ``We are going to try to have a-- have an engaged policy with Cuba. We are not going to go backward.'' But, my time is up, Mr. Chairman, so I would wait for the second round. Thank you. Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Senator. The Chairman. Thank you. I--on the ZTE issue, we had a--there were a few of us that were part of a briefing last night, and I do think that having nothing to do with other countries' interests, I think that--I do think the administration is using trade policy and some of these other sanctions issues maybe too transactionally--I know that does not happen at the State Department--and sometimes based on just feelings about a--an individual that they are dealing with. And I do think that inconsistency is creating problems. I--the thing they have discussed over the last 24 hours relative to autos, to me, is an abuse of the authority granted to the President in Section 232, absolutely an abuse of that authority and, to me, feels like it has more to do with domestic politics or some other issue. And I hope that will be abandoned quickly. I think it is dangerous and destabilizing and should end immediately. But, I have to say, I would agree with the Secretary, I saw nothing whatsoever enough that related to some kind of personal conflict that may have taken place. But, I do think the inconsistencies are creating problems for our Nation. Senator Isakson. Senator Isakson. Thank you, Mr. Chair. It has been a long hearing, I know, and I am--my dad used to tell me the mind can only absorb what the seat can ensure. So, I think, if you are like me, we are both enduring a extra- long hearing. But, it is an important hearing, and it is about the budget, and I want to ask about that for--briefly, if I can. One, Senator Coons raised the question of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. And he was right on point, because the rescission that the administration has put together includes removing part of the emergency money that went to Ebola in the crisis response of the United States, which, in part, the State Department is responsible for. And, by reducing that, it raised a point I want to make sure you were aware of, because I know, since you and I talked, a month ago, when you were--we went through a confirmation. You have had Iranian deals fall through, you have had changes in the Korean deal, you have had all kinds--you have been a busy man. I do not expect you to know about all of it. This is important. We had 16 isolation beds in the United States of America that met the standard necessary to try and stop an Ebola outbreak from expanding in the United States of America. We did not have enough, but we had just enough. And we saved 16 lives by having those isolation beds at--and they were at Emory University, in Atlanta. They were at the National Institute of Health, in Maryland. And there were two other locations. I cannot remember where they were. But, there were four in each place, where we brought back the Samaritans Purse doctors who went in there and contracted Ebola, brought them back to the United States, put them in those isolation chambers to ensure that we were not spreading the disease around, and we curtailed the growth of--potential growth of Ebola in the United States. And a few months later, we stopped Ebola's outbreak in Nigeria, which is a country of 50 million people. So, it is an important response that you have got to have, and you cannot just all of a sudden build it when the problem comes. You have to be prepared for it. So, I would hope--I would just ask that, as you go through all the many things you have to look at--in this rescission, we are making--we are playing a dangerous game if we are reducing our preparedness for something like Ebola or a pandemic. We are just passing the pandemic bill out of the HELP Committee this week, and we will get it to the floor soon. But, I hope you will take a look at that. I think Senator Coons was absolutely right to bring it up. And we have tangible proof in--we know we have got the Democratic Republic of Congo having a problem now with an outbreak--potential outbreak. And we know how we stopped the last one, but we are going to need to be prepared again. And being prepared early is going to be very helpful. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, Senator. I will absolutely look at it. Senator Isakson. And I would say--and that is a State Department diplomatic issue. You talk about having---- Secretary Pompeo. It absolutely is. Senator Isakson. --diplomatic problems. You need a--you get a hunger--a famine or a disease pandemic, and you got a problem. And it is a political problem to have. So, I wanted to point that out. The second thing I want to talk about, or just ask about, is the--you lifted the hiring freeze, I think, in May 15th. Is that not correct? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, Senator, I believe that is correct-- 15th or 16th, it went into effect. Senator Isakson. I think the impact initiative that the Department has got going, which is a $246 million request for any number of areas you want to make changes in the State Department, is that enough to do--implement the impact that you want to have on the Department? And will you be able to get it in place or--as quick as possible? Secretary Pompeo. That is the right question, Senator. I do not know the answer to that. There are pieces of that initiative that are incredibly worthy and will have a high ROI, that will get us a good return, for sure. I have not had a chance to dig into it enough to know if we have hit the mark on the number or if there is additional resources needed. Senator Isakson. I asked you, in the--your confirmation hearing--I have been told, and it has been reported by many people, that the job you did at the CIA in restoring morale and swagger, if you will, was remarkable. And you got high marks for that. And I told you, on the confirmation hearing, that my take on the State Department was that they were having a morale problem, and you were going in to a second challenge on that talent that you have. So, I know it has been--with all the things you had going on, and you have not had a chance to implement a lot of programs that you would like to that would deal with that subject, but I do urge you to work on ensuring that we have got the best morale possible in our diplomacy, in our diplomats around the world, and on the responsibility of the State Department. You are a great leader, and they need that swagger, and they need it back quick. Secretary Pompeo. Great. Thank you, Senator. I will work on it. I work on it a little bit every day. There is important components of getting that right, returning their authority to them, giving them all the room they need to go do the great work they came to State Department to do. And we are getting along the way to achieving that. Senator Isakson. Well, thank you for coming, and thanks for a great start on your new challenge. Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Senator. The Chairman. It is good to be with you all. Senator Markey. Senator Markey. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, were you involved in the drafting of this letter? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Senator Markey. Then maybe you can help me answer some questions about it. The President wrote, quote, ``Based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in North Korea's most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate at this time to have this long-planned meeting.'' Mr. Secretary, how did you expect North Korea to react to comparisons between North Korea and Libya, between the fates of Kim Jong Un and Gaddafi? Why would you expect anything other than anger and hostility in reaction to these comparisons? Secretary Pompeo. I actually--I really appreciate this question, because there is this misunderstanding that has taken place with this idea of a Libya model. I have not had a chance to go do the work to find out what that really was, what transpired when the Libyans chose to give up their nuclear weapons. It was quick, decisive diplomatic work negotiated over--it is all--all things relative, a relative short period of time in 2003. That is the Libya model. Senator Markey. Well, the Libya---- Secretary Pompeo. That is the Libya model. It was some---- Senator Markey. The Libya model---- Secretary Pompeo. --it was some 8 years later---- Senator Markey. The Libya model, as Kim Jong Un has been interpreting it, is that it is one where the leader of the country surrenders their nuclear capability, only to then be overthrown and killed. Why would you not think that Kim would not interpret that, as it continued to escalate with John Bolton on the Sunday shows, with the Vice President talking about the Gaddafi model--why would you think that there would be any other interpretation than what happened to Gaddafi at the end of his denuclearization, which is that he wound up dead? Why would you think that that would not, in fact, elicit hostility from a negotiating partner only 3 weeks from sitting down across the table from him? Secretary Pompeo. There are probably several reasons that I think that. The first is, that is not what they were talking about when they spoke about Libya. Right? I---- Senator Markey. No, not right. Not---- Secretary Pompeo. It was---- Senator Markey. --right. Not right. Secretary Pompeo. Ambassador Bolton---- Senator Markey. That is not how Kim would be interpreting-- this is---- Secretary Pompeo. Senator---- Senator Markey. --diplomacy. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I am telling you what they said, so we hope that they would--he would hear---- Senator Markey. I am sorry, what who--what who said? Secretary Pompeo. Give me a second. Senator Markey. With what who said? Secretary Pompeo. I heard Ambassador Bolton speak to this. I cannot quote them back, but he was speaking about the nuclear negotiation, itself. Let me---- Senator Markey. But, what John Bolton said---- Secretary Pompeo. Let me---- Senator Markey. I will quote to you what he said. Here---- Secretary Pompeo. Okay. Senator Markey. --is what John Bolton said. He said, ``We have very much in mind the Libyan model of 2003-2004.'' That is what he said. Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Senator Markey. Now, how---- Secretary Pompeo. Exactly. Senator Markey. Well, how would you---- Secretary Pompeo. That is my point. Senator Markey. How---- Secretary Pompeo. Do you recall when Gaddafi was killed? Senator Markey. I think perhaps Donald Trump is the only person in America who would not be interpreting that to mean that, at the end of the story, the leader of that country dies. So, why would President Trump think that that was a good model to be used---- Secretary Pompeo. I actually think you made my point, Senator. Senator Markey. What is that? Secretary Pompeo. 2003 and 2004. Gaddafi survived long after 2004. Senator Markey. Right. Secretary Pompeo. Right. And, Senator--and Ambassador Bolton spoke to 2003 and 2004. Let me give you the second reason I think---- Senator Markey. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. The model is, he gives up the weapons in 2003 and 2004, and then he ultimately gets killed. Okay? That is what we are saying went by using the Gaddafi model. Why would that be a good way of having a conversation with someone who we are asking to engage in denuclearization? Secretary Pompeo. Let me---- Senator Markey. I do not understand what you are talking about. Secretary Pompeo. I do not--we apparently are having a-- difficulty in communicating this morning, Senator, because I am doing my best to articulate, and I am clearly incapable of communicating to you adequately. I apologize for that. Senator Markey. I think you are. I think you are trying to divide---- Secretary Pompeo. I am just---- Senator Markey. --this Gaddafi question---- Secretary Pompeo. I am describing---- Senator Markey. --into a negotiation in 2003 and 2004 to give up the nuclear weapons, and then what happened to him subsequently, as though it is two separate story lines. Well, in the mind of Kim, it will not be two separate story lines. It will be the Gaddafi story as it is understood by, I think, everyone but this White House, that winds up with him dead. So, I do not--why are we not understanding that that is the story of Libya from 2003 and '04 on to the day he gets killed? Secretary Pompeo. You will recall that is not what Senator Bolton said. He talked about specifically to--if you quoted it correctly--I do not have it; you have got it written down---- Senator Markey. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. --he spoke specifically to 2003 and '04. But, let me give you one more reason that Chairman Kim should understand it differently. He and I spoke about--he and I spoke about what assurances were going to be provided to him. These were assurances that would clearly have to be capable, in the same way that we are demanding a permanent, irreversible denuclearization--verifiable denuclearization. In that same way, we have to provide him assurances that extend beyond the end of the negotiations, as well. And so, we had exactly--we had a discussion exactly in this vein. It is the case that we are going to have to make commitments that will extend---- Senator Markey. All right. So---- Secretary Pompeo. --well beyond that. But, there---- Senator Markey. Did you---- Secretary Pompeo. --is a second reason that I think---- Senator Markey. Did you agree--did you agree that using the Gaddafi model was a good way to incentivize Kim to denuclearize? Did you agree with that decision? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I did not make that decision. Senator Markey. No, I am asking you. Did you agree with the decision to use the Gaddafi model as a way to get him to denuclearize? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I think what--I do not want to speak for--I have tried--I have---- Senator Markey. No, you are our chief diplomat, Mr. Secretary. Did you agree with that approach? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I have given you my approach. You are trying to characterize what Ambassador Bolton said. We clearly have a disagreement about how---- Senator Markey. And Vice President Pence said--he made reference to Gaddafi, as well. Does insulting, Mr. Secretary, our negotiating partner now a pass for American diplomacy? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, we have done everything we can to get us closer than America has been under previous administrations to achieving a really good outcome. We are determined to continue to work down that path. Senator Markey. Right. Well, do you think moving from ``fire and fury'' to ``let us talk'' and then, in this letter, moving to ``You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God that we will never have to use them''--that is talking about using nuclear weapons again, as we were 3 weeks from sitting down with them, based upon a response to our use of Gaddafi as a model for denuclearization of the country. So, we should be negotiating peace, Mr. Secretary, but you seem to want to negotiate war. You seem to be--really to miss this opportunity to defend the Gaddafi approach here before this committee today. And I just think that you have missed an opportunity. You have missed a chance to actually give some confidence to the American people and the world that we are on a pathway towards reaching a negotiated settlement with North Korea. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. Yeah. I want to use some of my time, here. I will say that one of the reasons I oppose so strongly what the Obama administration did in Libya was exactly the argument you are laying out right now. I think you opposed it, too, if I remember correctly. I may be wrong. But, to have someone like Gaddafi, who gave up their nuclear weapons, and then to go kill him, to me, sent exactly the signal that you are laying out right now. So, we may be reprocessing his materials, maybe we are doing it in Tennessee right now. Gaddafi is now a dead man, and it sent to me a strong signal that Secretary Pompeo is having to overcome right now to give assurances that, in the event Kim Jung-Un gives up his weapons, the same thing will not happen to him. So, I hear what you are saying, but it was, in fact, let us face it, the doctrine of the last administration to take out a leader that gave up their nuclear weapons. And that does make it more difficult for us down the road. I stated that at the time. I will state it again now. I would like to give Secretary Pompeo the opportunity to talk a little bit about what happened in '03 and '04, just to edify a little bit what the Libya model could have meant if that is what was referred to. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. So, we had a very robust identification of the systems that were in place. Concededly, a much smaller challenge than is faced in North Korea, so a more difficult verification problem we are faced in North Korea than we were in Libya. But, ultimately, weapons transshipped, left the country, and we continued to believe successfully got all of the nuclear capability out from Libya at that time. It was-- I know the negotiators that did really hard, painstaking work. It was not straightforward, either. There were bumps and hurdles along the way. But, they achieved that outcome, the outcome that they had set out to achieve. The Chairman. Senator Murphy. Senator Murphy. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. My only comment on this exchange is that I think you may be providing a little bit more pushback than is necessary on Senator Markey's foundational point, which is that, as much as it matters what you think you mean, in the context of diplomacy, it matters more what the actor on the other side thinks you mean. And so, its relevance, but not dispositive, as to what Ambassador Bolton thought he meant when he said that-- we need to think about what the other actor interprets that as. And I just think it strains credibility to suggest that it is outside of the realm of possibility or completely unfair or unwarranted for Kim to read that as an advertisement that we are going to repeat the mistake that we made years ago. I want to come back to the budget for a second, and I will probably go off the budget if I have time, as well. I want to talk to you about the consequences of some of these cuts. We regularly read reports of Russian money and influence flowing into the Balkans at rates that, frankly, we did not see before the Trump administration. They see an opportunity, as we withdraw from the Balkans, to essentially set up a new front, a new hybrid scenario, like we have seen in Ukraine. They are buying up media companies, they are securing contracts for oil and gas, they are bribing government officials, they are funding biker gangs, martial arts clubs, all sorts of pseudo-militaries. It really looks a lot like the lead-up to what happened in eastern Ukraine. But, this budget that you are presenting to us calls for governance funding cuts of 91 percent in Albania, 75 percent cuts in Macedonia, 69 percent in Serbia, 67 percent in Bosnia. I mean, they are catastrophic withdrawals of funding, and another signal, a very clear signal, to the Russians that, ``We are out, and you should fill the void.'' So, my question is, why? Why are you proposing these big funding cuts to governance programs in the Balkans? Secretary Pompeo. You are talking about the budget numbers, the budget numbers that were sent out for FY 2019. Is that where the DSF comes from? Senator Murphy. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. Well, we have a 2-year agreement on what we are going to spend, and I am confident that the Russians can see that we are not, in fact, doing what you describe. We are-- we are active. I have had, I promise, per capita, more than its fair share of time in my first 3 weeks spent on this set of issues. They are very important. I know them well. They are not just State Department issues. There are others involved, too. But, I agree with you, the threat there of the Russians continuing to move aggressively is very real, and one that we have an obligation to counter. Senator Murphy. But, how can you do that when you are cutting---- Secretary Pompeo. But, we are not going---- Senator Murphy. --funding to those programs? Secretary Pompeo. But, we are not going to, Senator. We are going to have the resources we need. Senator Murphy. But, why propose it? Secretary Pompeo. I--FY 2020. I was not around. I cannot--I can only speak to what I am going to endeavor to do. I am going to try and make sure we have every dollar we need to deliver, not only on that mission in the Balkans, but each of our missions around the world. Senator Murphy. I want to bring you--and I appreciate your verbal commitment to the region. I think if we do not pay some attention to it now, we are going to be really sorry. Secretary Pompeo. I completely agree. Senator Murphy. Let me bring you back to Yemen. You have had a couple of questions on Yemen. Maybe let me ask the questions Senator Paul might not have gotten to. So, there is no evidence that we have had any success in changing the trajectory of civilian deaths on the ground. In fact, it is the exact opposite. April was the worst month for civilian deaths inside Yemen. Since we had the debate on the Senate floor, a private residence in Sa'dah was bombed, killing 20; a residence in Hudaydah was bombed, killing 12--seven kids; a gas station in Najah, killing 24; a commuter bus in Taiz, killing 20. The civilian death count is getting worse, not better. And so, what evidence can you provide to the committee that we are having success in our efforts to try to make sure that civilians are not the casualties of a bombing campaign that we continue to assist the Saudis and the Emirates in? Secretary Pompeo. I do not know the data the same way you did. I will take it at its face value. There is a lot of work to do. There is no doubt about that. We still have risks. We have humanitarian risks, too, that remain. You talked about the civilians deaths. There are still real risks of outbreaks of disease. Those are all very real. I have met with the new Envoy there. It is a long, hard negotiation road that is in front of him. I am hopeful that some of the things that have transpired, that he has been able to do with all the parties, both the Houthi government, the Saudis, the Emirates, will yield a political outcome that will stop this death, which, at the end of the day, is the only way that really gets fixed. Senator Murphy. But, with all due respect, there is no political process. In fact, very much the opposite. We had a hearing with your Acting Assistant Secretary for the region, Mr. Satterfield, in which we asked about the planned assault on Hudaydah. The coalition has been wanting, for a long time, to march on Hudaydah. The United States has pressed the coalition to refrain from taking that course, because 80 percent of the humanitarian relief supplies come through Hudaydah. Mr. Satterfield said, in front of this committee, we would not view such an action as consistent with our own policy upon which our support is based, suggesting that we might pull our support if they go for Hudaydah. They are going for Hudaydah. They are marching on Hudaydah as we speak. They are planning to launch an assault. So, why were we not successful in convincing them to refrain from an assault on Hudaydah? And will we contemplate pulling our support if they continue with a military campaign that will turn a nightmare into a cataclysm, from a humanitarian perspective? Secretary Pompeo. So, we have made clear our view on that. I think Ambassador Satterfield sounds like he adequately communicated that to you. Our primary objective there--well, there is multiple, but we certainly are concerned about what the humanitarian outcomes are of such a thing, and we have articulated that to them, as well. Senator Murphy. But, why continue to be part of this coalition if we have no effect on the most important decisions that are being made by the coalition? Secretary Pompeo. You assume a status quo, absent our involvement, that might not be the case. Right? It is the case that our involvement may well--however bad things are today, it could be that our involvement has made them less worse than they would be. That is bad grammar, but the truth. Senator Murphy. Yeah, it is a--it is--I---- Secretary Pompeo. You have to concede that there have been many cases where our involvement has absolutely improved the lives, reduced the humanitarian catastrophe that was taking place. There are absolutely places where our involvement has made a material difference. And so, as bad as it is, it is our judgment today that it is still worth engaging. Senator Murphy. I think that is a hard case to be made, given the reality of the conflict on the ground in Yemen, that our involvement has made things better for the Yemeni people. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Menendez [presiding]. Thank you. Senator Corker has asked me to preside while he is voting. And, since I believe in democracy and not coups, I will not ask for unanimous consent to do something I want to do. So, with that, I will just simply do what he would have done, which is recognize Senator Merkley. Senator Merkley. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Just to follow up. In terms of our involvement in refueling both Saudi bombers that are dropping bombs in Yemen, it makes sense, if we are providing this assistance, for us to understand what is being hit. Could you work with us to provide a monthly report of the--our best understanding of the impact of those bombs on either civilians or civilian installations, infrastructure? Secretary Pompeo. I am pausing, Senator. Certainly work with you on that. It may be that there--I will need help from the Department of Defense to get that, as well as their--some of that information would probably be only in their possession, but I will personally work with you to try and see if we can get the information that you are looking for. Senator Merkley. Thank you very much. I sure appreciate that. And during your nomination hearing, I raised a question about the work of the UNFPA and how important it was around the world to the health of women. We have cut off its funding, based on concern that they are involved in providing abortions. Every evidence is that that is not the case. And I had asked if you would consider looking into that. And you responded that you would be willing to look into it. And I realize you have been on the position a very short period of time. In the State Department Human Rights Report, there is no mention of the UNFPA in the pages that address China's coercive family planning practices. And I may be wrong in assuming you have not had time to look into this yet, but would you be able to follow up on that in the weeks ahead? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. I will do so in a timely manner. We are now at the end of May. It seems, by the end of June, I could have a response to you. Senator Merkley. Thank you very much. We have, currently, Ambassador Brownback, who is working hard, in partnership with the Bureau of Populations, Refugees, and Migrations--and I think they are the lead--to put together a report on the atrocities that occurred on the Rohingya villages, Rohingya people, in Burma. I would like to get a sense of when that report is going to be completed, if we have a date for that. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I do not know the answer to that. Senator Merkley. I have heard that it could well be very, very soon. And when it--we do receive that report, will that be a public report, or is there a reason it could not be made public? Secretary Pompeo. Sir, there is no reason that I know of that it could not be made public. Senator Merkley. I think that may be a moment for us to retake up this discussion, to have that report from the State Department. This committee has voted out sanctions against the military, based on all the reports that we had about what had occurred. We have also voted out a resolution related to standards for repatriation so that there is not revictimization. And we are sitting right now with more than 700,000 new refugees--and by that, I mean from this last conflict, from August through now, in Bangladesh. Bangladesh needs a lot of support to help provide services. And can the U.S. be--the U.S. has been a significant factor of that--can the U.S. continue to be of assistance? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. And may I say one more thing? I think I answered the question incompletely about the report. Not only do I see no reason it could not be published--and I am happy to be told I am wrong for some reason--but it would be important that it be published. I actually think--I agree with you, I think it would be very, very important that we make that public. Senator Merkley. And I move that--well, let me just express it this way. We have the humanitarian conflict or--that is of-- ethnic cleansing that is enormous in its scale. And I am hoping the U.S. will help summon an international response after this report comes out, because to fail to do so is to fail in our moral leadership in the world. And also, to fail to do so encourages other countries that may have belittled and denigrated a minority to proceed to engage in ethnic cleansing if they do not see the world respond to this situation. Do you anticipate being in this dialogue as we go forward? Secretary Pompeo. I do. Senator Merkley. Thank you very much. And, finally, I wanted to turn to special immigrant visas. Last year, Congress worked together to authorize additional visas for qualified Afghans who come under threat because of their service to the United States. But, over this fiscal year, admissions have plummeted from roughly 1800 Afghan wartime partners and their families per month to roughly 500 per month. Do you have any sense of the reason for this sudden drop-off? Secretary Pompeo. I do not. Senator Merkley. These are the folks who were the key partners to our ability to function. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Merkley. And is there a possibility that the State Department could work to accelerate their ability to come to the U.S.? Because, quite frankly, they are at enormous risk. Secretary Pompeo. I know the--I mean, I know the--who these folks are. I know the service they have provided. I am happy to dig in and figure out. I am sorry I do not have the answer. I do not know the answer. But, I will certainly come to understand the answer, and then work towards resolving it. Senator Merkley. I appreciate that. And I mentioned the Afghans, but there is also a tremendous---- Secretary Pompeo. Absolutely. Senator Merkley. --number of Iraqis that are in the same exact situation. And they knew that, when they signed up, that, if we did not partner with them to protect them and their families afterwards, they were in deep trouble. And I do not know what sort of explicit support or assurances we have, but it was kind of an implicit understanding from previous conflicts of our responsibility. So, I would really appreciate your attention to this. Thank you. Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Senator Merkley. Senator Menendez. Thank you, Senator Merkley. So, as I understand it, there are no members who have not had a first round, so, in the interest of time, we will start the second round. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Menendez. And--as the Chairman comes back. So, I will recognize myself. Mr. Secretary, before I ask you a question, let me just say I join in the expression of sympathy for those who were lost on the airplane in Cuba, with Senator Udall. But, for the record, that plane was a Boeing 737 leased to Cuba's flagship carrier, Cubana, by a Mexican company, which clearly could have kept it updated. And so, I think we have to recognize that reality. And one other comment before I return to some questions I would like to ask you, Mr. Secretary. I have listened to my Republican colleagues question you, Mr. Secretary, on North Korea. And I have heard your responses. And it seems to me that there is an effort here to create alternative facts in which North Korea walked away. But, it is rather clear to me that this was President Trump's decision. He walked away and, from my perspective, my only observation is, likely because he maybe finally came to the conclusion that the challenges that dawn on him of the full nature of the negotiations with the North, and that his approach was setting us up for failure. And I think, again, as I expressed earlier, this was a direct failure of the administration to have a credible and pragmatic policy and strategy and lay out the foundations before you ever got to that point. And I am afraid that the--that failure and the President's impulsive decisions have lost us leverage. I hope we can regain it, as well as reassure allies. I would like to go to the AUMF, because part of the reason we asked you for two rounds was to be able to deal with that. So, let me ask you, Mr. Secretary, knowing, as a premise, that the administration fully believes it has all of the authorities it needs and, therefore, does not need an AUMF, but also having heard, as my good friend Senator Kaine has said various times, that Secretary Mattis and others have said, that it would be good to have the United States Congress in full support of the actions being taken across the globe by having Congress weigh in. So, recognizing that, that you feel you have all the authorities, but if Congress is going to vote on an AUMF, does the State Department support the Corker-Kaine AUMF? Secretary Pompeo. We still are seeking some additional changes to it. I will give you Mike's view, which is, it is better than what we have seen before, but we are still hopeful that some of the terms--there is a lower threshold for the quadrennial review, there are issues surrounding associated forces, and a couple of others that we would still like to work on language. Maybe it is just technical, but certainly things that we would like to work on you before we say that we support it. Senator Menendez. Okay. So, let me ask you this. Specifically under the text as it is, it theoretically is possible that Congress could pass a resolution disapproving the use of force against a new associated force after kinetic action by the administration has begun. Would the administration comply with such a congressional resolution of disapproval, if this was the law? Secretary Pompeo. I do not know the answer, Senator. I do not know the answer. I mean, if it is the law, well, we always comply with the law, if that is your point. But, I--but, you are asking me to interpret a piece of legislation--to give a legal interpretation of a piece of legislation---- Senator Menendez. No, I am not asking your legal interpretation. So, it is very---- Secretary Pompeo. But, if you are asking---- Senator Menendez. --clear that---- Secretary Pompeo. --we would comply with the law---- Senator Menendez. --comply with the law---- Secretary Pompeo. --sign me up. Senator Menendez. Okay. Well--all right, good, because I am afraid---- Secretary Pompeo. Try to do that every day, sir. Senator Menendez. Well, good. I appreciate that. But, we also have the ability to have interpretations or to invoke other powers--other powers--to suggest that that action is going to take place. So, I worry about that. It is the same type of question that I would ask you about the administration complying--it is possible, under this text, that the Congress could pass a resolution disapproving the use of force in a new country---- Secretary Pompeo. Country, sure. Senator Menendez. --after kinetic action. And so, when you said you are not ready to give your unqualified support, I was wondering--and you mentioned associated forces--I am wondering ---- Secretary Pompeo. The new-country provision is---- Senator Menendez. --whether that---- Secretary Pompeo. --is identically troubling. Senator Menendez. Okay. Let me ask you--let me go back, finally, to Russia. So, from my own point, let me be clear that, until the President publicly declares that Russia interfered in our election and lays out a clear strategy to counter Russian aggression, questions will remain about his commitment to promoting the U.S. national security interests, vis-a-vis Russian. Now, you say the administration has taken actions against Russia. But, Section 1239(a) of the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act required the Departments of Defense and State to produce a strategy to counter Russian malign influence. I understand the Department of Defense has finalized its portions of the strategy, but State has yet to complete it. It was due on April 12th of this year. Now, I recognize you have not been here that long. Will you commit to completing this report? And can you give us a sense of the timeframe? Secretary Pompeo. I will commit to repeat--completing the report. And if you will give me until the beginning of next week, I will get you a date. Senator Menendez. I appreciate that. Secretary Pompeo. I am happy---- Senator Menendez. Fair enough. Secretary Pompeo. I am happy to commit to working diligently on it and not dragging it out, but---- Senator Menendez. Good. Secretary Pompeo. --I try to give dates to folks when I know it is in my control. This one is bigger than me. Senator Menendez. That is fair enough. Let me just say, I understand the administration has designated, under authorities laid out in the Obama era, executive orders some individuals--and we are still speaking about Russia--but, in my view, the administration has ignored the will of Congress and the CAATSA law by not imposing sanctions under the new mandatory provisions of the law. And, to make sure everyone is on the same page, let me run through the mandatory provisions that I believe have been ignored. Section 225, sanctions on special Russian crude oil products. Section 226, sanctions on Russia and other foreign financial institutions. Section 227, sanctions on significant corruption in the Russian Federation. Section 228, sanctions on certain transactions with sanctions evaders and serious human rights abusers. Sanctions--Section 231, sanctions on persons engaging in transactions with the intelligence and defense sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation. And 233 and 234, just not to belabor, sanctions on the transfer of arms and related material to Syria. This is pretty clear. Can you commit to us that you will follow the law--I appreciated what you said earlier, in a different question-- follow the law--that you seek to follow the law every day--and impose sanctions under these mandatory provisions? Let me tell you, as someone who has been the architect of a lot of the sanctions policy, both on Iran and Russia and others, I never saw the Congress actually come to moment where they made it mandatory without waivers. They did here. And yet, those mandatory provisions are not being followed. Will you commit to pursuing them? Secretary Pompeo. I will. Will you make a commitment that you will help Secretary Mattis get the waivers that he needs in order to make sure that these sanctions do not hit folks that, I think, were not intended to be harmed by these sanctions? I know it is not my day to ask questions, but it is my day---- Senator Menendez. I am---- Secretary Pompeo. --it is my day to ask for things that I think---- Senator Menendez. I am happy---- Secretary Pompeo. --we need. Senator Menendez. --to have you ask questions. I do not know how well the Chairman would let me get--to that. But, in any event, I will just--the quick response is that, look, I have to see the specifics---- Secretary Pompeo. I understand. Senator Menendez. --that Secretary Mattis wants. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Menendez. But, I also have to say, if we are going to allow countries that are sanctioned because we believe in the sanctions policy, and they want to get off the hook because there is some other benefit, well, then we begin to erode the sanction policies, and we pick and choose, and other countries will seek the same question. So, I am open to listen to it, but it has to follow, in essence, what our policy is trying to achieve. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I appreciate it, and I hope I answered your first question with respect to my commitment to-- -- Senator Menendez. You did. Secretary Pompeo. --those sanctions. Senator Menendez. Thank you. The Chairman [presiding]. Thank you. Senator Shaheen. Senator Shaheen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, Senator Kaine asked you about, and you announced, the attack in China that is consistent, or seems to be consistent, in terms of symptoms, with what we have seen from Embassy personnel in Cuba, and also pointed out that you were the person in charge of that investigation. I assume that you are working with our intelligence agencies in that investigation. Are you also working with the Department of Defense? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. Indeed, I had--I guess, this week, I had my former agency in to brief me on the situation, because-- anyway, I had them in to brief me, yes. Department of Defense will be working alongside of us, as well, to be sure. It could well be that we end up with other agencies, too. It could be that there are---- Senator Shaheen. Good. Secretary Pompeo. --other investigative bodies that will need to be part of it, as well. Senator Shaheen. It seems to me that this is the kind of situation where it is very important to have interagency cooperation to see what---- Secretary Pompeo. We have had great---- Senator Shaheen. --how we find out as much information as possible. Secretary Pompeo. We have actually received great help from across the Department of Energy, and some of their lobs are trying to figure out. So, there are--it is a multi-agency process. Senator Shaheen. Okay, thank you. This week, there were reports of renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian military. How are we working to de-escalate this situation? And how did--how does the current unrest in eastern Ukraine factor into the budget request? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I do not know--that budget request would have preceded that timing. But, there has been unrest there for a significant period. Senator Shaheen. No, I understand. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Not---- Senator Shaheen. But, this is some renewed---- Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Shaheen. --fighting in a way that we have not seen for a little while. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. So, there are--the State Department has a part of this, other agencies do, as well, working, frankly--trying to work with all sides to get the violence to stop. It has proven intractable for a long time. There has been--I am not familiar with what happened this week, but sporadic violence---- Senator Shaheen. Right. Secretary Pompeo. --for an extended period of time. I do not know if you can characterize this as sporadic today, but suffice it to say there are diplomatic efforts with all the parties. There are U.N. agencies that are hard at work at it, as well. It is a multilateral effort. I wish we could get even more support from our European partners to help us take down this effort, as well. It is going to take a lot of us to resolve the conflict there in southeast Ukraine. Senator Shaheen. And does that not also speak to continuing to implement the CAATSA sanctions as expeditiously as possible? Secretary Pompeo. It does, yes, ma'am. Senator Shaheen. And I--are you pushing to do that? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, ma'am. Senator Shaheen. You may be aware that, in the Senate, we have restarted the Senate NATO Observer Group to try and continue to support efforts in--that NATO is undertaking, given the renewed threat from Russia and cyber and other threats we are facing. And there is an upcoming NATO summit in Brussels. Can you---- Secretary Pompeo. Well, I---- Senator Shaheen. --talk about what the U.S. goals are, what we are hoping to achieve, and how you think we might be helpful in the Senate? Secretary Pompeo. Sure, although I will leave you all to make your own choices. But, I can talk to you about what we are hoping to achieve. First--so, my first trip, literally 13 hours after I was sworn in, was to the---- Senator Shaheen. Right. Secretary Pompeo. --Foreign Ministers' meeting there in Brussels, spent a day and a half on the ground there. Really, maybe half a dozen things, three or four of which are worth recounting. First, lots of discussion about everyone's continued commitment that has a burden-sharing element to it, so a real focus on making sure that people are honoring the commitments that they have made, including getting to the levels of support for NATO that they have committed to. Second, there are other NATO missions being contemplated--a training mission in Iraq. There was a lot of talk about how we would put that together, what that ought to look like, what the external face of that ought to look like, as well. I certainly went there to make a statement about my personal commitment--indeed, to America's commitment--to Article 5 and to NATO. And then there are a number of discussions about new potential members and how to successfully continue to keep an open door at NATO. And so, there will be discussions around each of those. I think Secretary Mattis is either there or going there soon for the Defense run-up to the leaders meeting. And then, in July, there will be the NATO summit itself, where I am very hopeful we will get some of those accomplished. Senator Shaheen. Great, thank you. I know that several Senators asked you about Yemen and what is happening there. I am not going to reiterate that. I was part of the effort to try and get something done in this committee. But, I do hope that, if this legislation is signed into law, and even if it is not, that you will take the opportunity to try and continue to work with our allies to encourage them to think about how they can help with the humanitarian situation there and bring the various parties to the table in Yemen. Because, ultimately, there is no military solution, there is only a political solution there. And whatever we can do to encourage that, I think will be very important. So, I will take your nodding as a yes, that you will work---- Secretary Pompeo. I am happy---- Senator Shaheen. --at that. Secretary Pompeo. --for the record, yes, ma'am. Senator Shaheen. Thank you. We saw, over the last couple of weeks, a lot of unrest in the Middle East as the result of the move--moving our Embassy to Jerusalem. And I know that President Trump has suggested that moving our Embassy has brought us closer to peace. But, given what we have seen, in terms of the unrest, given the administration's efforts to stop bilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza, to cut off our contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, I do not understand how this is helping to move us closer to a lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. So, can you try and share with us the strategy of how this helps? Secretary Pompeo. Well, I think the decision that many on this panel voted for to move the Embassy was what the President just simply felt was the right thing to do. He felt like the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was the right thing to do. And, frankly, vast majority of Members of Congress have voted that way, some of them many times. So, I think that is what the aim was. Senator Shaheen. But, the President has said that that has, in fact, moved us closer to peace. Can---- Secretary Pompeo. So ---- Senator Shaheen. --you explain how ---- Secretary Pompeo. I will walk you ---- Senator Shaheen. --how that ---- Secretary Pompeo. I will walk you through the efforts that the administration is engaged in. So, it is fair to say that, for decades, the existing policies when this administration took office had failed. I do not think--I think that is indisputable. Lots of efforts, a lot of energy, lots of people running around, lots of envoys, and a lot of time in airplanes, and each of those had failed. So, this administration is seeking to take an approach that is different to try and work quietly to develop an outline of a solution, and then to find partners--certainly, the Israelis and Palestinians will ultimately be the decision-makers here--to find willing partners who are prepared to--and we have talked about this in other regions before--to conclude that there is a better way-- that there is a better way, that these fights over these historic things are perhaps worthy and important, but that there is a better solution, that people everywhere--the Gaza, West Bank, Israel--can all be better if we achieve an outcome. And so, we are working diligently. Mr. Kushner is still in the lead and working on the project. But, this administration is committed to finding a solution that the Israelis and Palestinians can ultimately each sign up for. You have to have willing partners from each of those two places. Senator Shaheen. Well, I am out of time, but I would argue that, so far, we have not seen that the move has suggested that that has been an improvement for the peace process. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. You are welcome. Senator Cardin. Senator Cardin. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, I just checked with our staffs in regards to the consultations during the Iran nuclear agreement, and there were regular updates to the committee and to staffs after each of the negotiating sessions. There was also classified briefings that we were part of. There were part of the negotiators who came in for classified briefings for us, and we had many meetings in the White House at the National Security Council level, bipartisan, with both Democrats and Republicans. So, just pointing that out. Secretary Pompeo. I do remember them. Sound and fury, signifying not a whole lot of learning, as I recall them. Senator Cardin. Well, we may have different views on that. But, look, I--at the end of the day, you know, I voted against the agreement, but I think it is critically important that we speak as one voice as strongly as we can, and you are going to need--we are going to need to be on the same page. I would just---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Cardin. --urge us to understand your strategies as you are going through it, and have confidence, as you used to be a member of the House, as to the appropriate roles between the administration and the legislative branch. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Cardin. What--in regards to the AUMF, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the plain reading of the 2001 authorization, it is impossible to understand how that was intended to apply to our military campaign against Syria. That is a statement. I am not asking your view on that. I do understand that President Bush, after he got the authorization for the use of force in regards to those who were responsible for the attack on our country, came to Congress shortly thereafter to seek another Authorization for Use of Military Force in regards to Iraq, because President Bush understood that the 2001 did not apply to Iraq. And yet, there is a closer nexus between the 9/11 attack and our military campaign in Iraq than there is between one now in Syria against ISIS. So, my point is this. We need an Authorization for Use of Military Force in regards ISIS. Three administrations now have taken the convenient way out in saying, ``Look, if we can get our lawyers to say we have the authority, why bother with Congress?'' And I understand that. And there is no way that we can enforce the interpretation of the 2001 authorization. Congress cannot do that. But, now the administrations are running into problems with court cases in regards to detainees, so now there is--we are getting your attention. We should pass a new AUMF. I think everyone agrees on that. But, I am just going to make a plea, because I voted for the 2001 authorization, and I never thought, in my wildest interpretations, it would be used 18 years later, in a campaign against ISIS, particularly since al-Qaeda has disavowed any interest in ISIS. So, we need to pass an AUMF, but I am very concerned about voting for any AUMF as to how it will be interpreted three administrations from now in regards to campaigns somewhere else than in Syria. So, I would just urge you to consider this offer. And that is to give the authority you need, without restrictions, to conduct your campaign in Syria or a campaign against ISIS, but put a hard sunset on it so that we do not put into place an authorization that will be--could be misinterpreted and will never get off the books, with plenty of lead time so that we are not putting you against any deadline, so it is not clear--it is clearly not a deadline, but a way in which we can keep these authorizations currently available. That is a plea I make to you. And if you want to respond, fine. But, I would just urge us to find a common ground, where we can do what is right for the American people. Secretary Pompeo. I would only respond, Senator, by saying that--maybe it is because of my previous role--I have enormous--sympathy is not the right word, but I have a deep understanding of why you feel this way, why you think it is important. There is no recourse for enforcement of the definition, which presents a conundrum for our constitutional democracy. I accept that as a fact. I am happy to try and work to get to a place where we get what we think we, collectively, need to move this forward. Senator Cardin. And I thank you for that. And I am not going to---- Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Cardin. --drill down more than that at this particular hearing, other than to say there is a lot of us who want to vote for an authorization, and we hope we could find a time and a place--we can, but currently we are not heading in that direction. And I am afraid we are going to end up doing nothing, and there will be this legal issue that will be hanging over. But, worse than that, we are using a contorted interpretation that, in history, will show that it was just not what should have been done by administrations or Congress. One last question, if I might, and that deals with the Syrian--with President Assad being held accountable for his war crimes. And there is legislation that is pending here, that has passed throughout this--through this committee on bipartisan basis. There has been appropriations made. I know you were asked, on the House side, about the funds that were made available in regards to our cooperation with the United Nations in collecting the information necessary. And we have had hearings in this committee before with administration witnesses, and we have always said, ``You have got to hold these people accountable, otherwise we are just going to repeat history.'' The--President Assad needs to be held accountable for what he has done. And the United States needs to be in the leadership of making sure that option is available, because, as we move through this campaign, it is--becomes more and more difficult to preserve information. So, I would just like to get your help in regards to making sure we hold those who commit these war crimes accountable. Secretary Pompeo. You have my commitment. I agree, there are lots of challenges. We now do not--we no longer have even the joint investigative mechanism available, because of Russian bad behavior at the U.N. So, yes, we need to find a mechanism, a process by which accountability can be achieved. Assad is a good example. There are many others around the world, as well. Senator Cardin. I thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. Thank you. I have some questions that I would have done in writing to keep this from going much longer, but as a courtesy, Senator Kaine wanted to come back and ask a few questions. So, I have a series of questions that, again, I would have sent in by writing. But, before I do so, is there anything you wish you clarify about any comments you have made over the last almost 3 hours? Secretary Pompeo. No. Just that I--I did not get a chance to fully respond to Senator Menendez's statement he views the United States as having made the decision to withdraw from the summit. I just--just for the record, I have a fundamentally different view of how it came to be that we, unfortunately, cannot have a meeting between our two leaders on June 12th. The Chairman. And I would like to emphasize what you briefly passed over earlier. It was your sense, as we were moving along, that--you can tell when something is coming together and people are getting back quickly and the logistics are all being worked out--it was your sense, over the course of the last week or so, that that was diminishing. Is that correct? Secretary Pompeo. We got a lot of dial tones, Senator. The Chairman. So, obviously, there was not a lot of momentum towards this prior to some of the things that have happened over the last 48 hours. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir, that is correct. The Chairman. If I could--I know you said, to Senator Menendez or maybe Senator Cardin, that you understood where he was coming from on a sunset. On the other hand, as I understand it, there were three things that the administration had put forth, that a new AUMF must not sunset, it must not be geographically constrained, and it must be enacted before the repeal of the 2001 or 2002 AUMFs--it must be enacted before the repeal of those. Are those still the three major premises that the administration is looking for in an AUMF? Secretary Pompeo. They are. What I think Senator Cardin was driving to, and what I am sympathetic to, as well, is to try and find a mechanism that is a forcing mechanism that sort of does not let this sit out in perpetuity. We have to do that. And he suggested this, at least a bit, which is, you cannot have a hard stop, you cannot run into something where, you know, we now have a--we have the clock running at the lower right-hand screen of TVs all across America, where there is a hard stop and the authorities go away, when we have got folks committed. We cannot tolerate that. That is why the sunset provision is something that does not work. And so, somewhere in there, if there is a way to drive that these do not just sit out there forever while not risking pulling the rug out, that was what I was trying to get to. The Chairman. Yeah. So, something like a quadrennial review--something along those lines, where Congress weighs in periodically. Secretary Pompeo. Yes. And so long as it is the case that the authorities, as they exist at that time, continue until such time as there has been a change in that. Right? That is a--that is the sunset risk, is that we have got an active effort ongoing, and we hit a hard stop. That just does not work. The Chairman. Is it your understanding that the AUMF that we have presented includes express language to avoid any legal uncertainty following the repeal of the 2001 AUMF, including language stating that our new AUMF shall provide uninterrupted authority for ongoing military operations? Secretary Pompeo. I believe that is correct. Yes, Senator. The Chairman. And I understand that lawyers can always file lawsuits, but have you considered the legal risks of continuing to rely upon the 2001? I think we have preferred to just being able to hold people. Is that correct? Secretary Pompeo. Yeah, that is where--we are concerned about the shift, when it jumps, that we will have some discontinuity that will be--that will present legal challenges. The Chairman. But, there are risks that are starting to build on relying solely on the 2001, too. Is that correct? Secretary Pompeo. That is also correct. Yes, sir The Chairman. And it is true that the President's authority to detain a member of ISIS, and whether the 2001 AUMF applies to ISIS, is currently being challenged in court today. Is that correct? Secretary Pompeo. Believe that is correct. Yes, Senator. The Chairman. Is there not a growing risk, the further we get from September 11, 2001, that the courts could call into question or limit the authority provided by the 2001 AUMF? Secretary Pompeo. Yes. We would argue vigorously against that, but---- The Chairman. So---- Secretary Pompeo. --I have---- The Chairman. --there are some significant legal risks with the status quo. Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator, I--having been around this long enough, there is legal risk, yes. The Chairman. And let me say this. I agree that the administration has the legal authorities necessary to conduct operations against ISIS. Would you agree that enacting our new AUMF providing refreshed statutory authority for the use of force against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces, and explicitly authorizing the detention of members of ISIS, would help put to rest these legal uncertainties? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, I think that is true, Senator. The Chairman. So, I will stop here. Thank you for that. And I will turn to Senator Coons. Senator Coons. Thank you, Chairman Corker. And thank you, Secretary Pompeo. You have shown great endurance in engaging with this committee today, and I look forward to continued rigorous engagement with you. Let me--on the topic of the AUMF, the particular issue I want to talk through for a moment is guidance around drone strikes. President Obama provided an unclassified fact sheet to summarize his policy guidance on drone strikes overseas in support of our counterterrorism operations. News outlets have reported that President Trump signed off on a revised guidance last year, but he has not made any version or summary of that public. I would be interested in whether you think that is wise or unwise, and whether you would commit to publishing an unclassified fact sheet so that the American people and our allies would understand these operations and their constraints. And I intend to offer this as an amendment if and when we take up and debate an AUMF. Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I would rather not--I will say only this. I know that there--it has not been published. It will not be the Secretary of State's decision whether or not to do so. I am happy to talk to you about issues surrounding that. Senator Coons. I would welcome that, in whatever---- Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Coons. --setting is appropriate. I just am concerned that, in the absence of our making a public pronouncement on what we are doing, where, when, and why, that less charitable views of our actions proliferate in ways that are not helpful to us. I know this has been covered, but I think it bears repeating. I think we are currently, as a country, ill-served by the absence of Ambassadors in dozens of posts around the world. The country of Zimbabwe has just emerged from the strongman rule of Robert Mugabe for decades. There is a new President there. A group of us went, a number of months ago, to both South Africa and Zimbabwe. These are counties that would significantly benefit from the presence of an American Ambassador. South Korea, Egypt, Honduras, Turkey, Saudi Arabia--there is a long list. Chairman Corker has done a great job, with the Ranking Member, of moving nominees quickly. I just wanted to see if you had any views on whether we are going to be able to move forward, in a timely way, nominees, particularly in countries like Zimbabwe, where there is an upcoming election and a critical opportunity for the voice of the United States in a country that has at times looked to China and at times looked to the West, and where I think we can and should play a real role in their transition to restoring a real democracy there. Secretary Pompeo. Careful what you ask for. Senator Coons. Yup. Secretary Pompeo. I am hoping to make you all real busy. Senator Coons. Look forward to being busy. Secretary Pompeo. That is a little bit too jovial. It is a serious matter. We need to get the Ambassadors out in place. I am working through them. I have prioritized to try and make sure that places like South Korea and Saudi Arabia are front and center. Senator Coons. And South Africa and Zimbabwe. Secretary Pompeo. There you go. Yes, Senator, absolutely. Senator Coons. Two other---- The Chairman. If I could--and we agreed to what we agreed to. I know there is beginning to be a little bit of a freakout by staff as it relates to time, not by the Secretary, himself, I am sure. But, if there are things that we really need to ask--I agreed to have two rounds--let us ask them. If there are things that we might do by QFR, that would be great, too. If we could just realize we have been going for about 3 hours. I am not reprimanding anyone. I am saying that, to the extent they really do not need to be asked in person, if we could not do so, that would be great. Senator Coons. I have a number of questions I wanted to ask about China. I will submit them as QFRs. Could I simply say, we have not discussed the U.S.-India relationship at all. I think it has huge strategic significance. I will make my closing question, Mr. Secretary, if you would like to say anything about how we can work with this most populous democracy, a potential strategic partner, to strengthen that relationship. I will make that my last question. Secretary Pompeo. For scores of reason, India needs to be central to what we do. Issues--Pacific issues, Asia--South- Central Asia issues, Southeast Asia issues, they ought to be one of our closest partners, and we ought to do everything we can to make sure that we achieve that. Secretary Mattis and I will jointly meet with our Indian counterparts in a dialogue that the two countries have had. I do not know that the date has been set, but we are looking to do it. I think it is yet this summer. Very important. Senator Coons. Great. I think sustaining a strategic dialogue and then closing our partnership with them is something that would enjoy strong support here. Let me yield to Senator Udall. Senator Udall. Thank you very much. And thank you for being with us so long and an extended time here. I am going to stick, Mr. Chairman, to the AUMF sequence that I have, and give everything else on the record. Mr. Chairman, we have a presidency that has not only pushed back on the oversight responsibilities of Congress, which many administrations have done, but that is actively hostile to any sort of congressional oversight, including a new Authorization for Use of Military Force. Congress has failed to exert its legitimate constitutional authority, even in the face of the most clearly unauthorized use of military force to date. This administration's use of military force against the Government of Syria, Congress has not declared war on, or authorized the use of military force against, this nation's government. The executive's legal analysis justifying force is still being withheld from the public. While lobbing cruise missiles at Syrian targets may have a short-term political gain, the risk of escalation was absolutely unacceptable and could have dragged the U.S. into a wider war with greater--with great policy implications. And now, Mr. Secretary, you laid down points of contention, at The Heritage Foundation, which could lead to an even wider war in the Middle East against Iran. I tend to agree with Susan Maloney, at The Brookings Institution, who said this strategy is, quote, ``not a strategy at all, but rather a grab bag of wishful thinking wrapped in a thinly veiled exhortation for regime change in Iran,'' end quote. Of course, Congress has not approved the use of military action against Iran, but, more importantly, the power to wage war was intentionally restrained by writers of the Constitution. Neither you nor the Secretary of Defense nor the President have the constitutional power to declare war on Iran or any other country. I spoke to the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Milley, recently, and he had the opportunity--and had the opportunity to question him during the Defense Subcommittee hearings on appropriations. As a threshold, he reminded all of us of the nature and character of war, that the traditional idea is that war, at its base, is an extension of politics. War forces our will on an opponent or through military means to reach a political objective. And taking an expansive view of what we approved after 9/11, the political objective is to stop terrorism at a broad level. However, at a more restricted view, and the view that was sold to Congress when I voted in favor of the 9/11 AUMF, was that we aimed to punish and deter the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, specifically al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Which view do you believe is the appropriate political objective for today, or is there something in between that Congress should consider? We must be clear about the baseline we are considered--considering approving so that we do not end up in the situation where we are today with AUMFs being stretched to the point of breaking. Secretary Pompeo. Thank you. I am sorry, which point of view, with respect to Iran? Senator Udall. Yeah. The--yeah. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. So, there--I--trying to recall--I do not recall any of the items that I spoke of that day having anything to do with the U.S. strikes in Iran. Senator Udall. Well--okay. Well, then let me---- Secretary Pompeo. And I spoke for some half hour. Senator Udall. Yeah. Let me rephrase it here. In your opinion, do you believe that the 12 points you laid out earlier this week represent political objectives worthy of war? Should the United States send its sons and daughters to war to coerce Iran to capitulate on these demands if the President's violation of the JCPOA fails to garner worldwide support? Secretary Pompeo. I spoke at great length, as the Secretary of State, talking about how I am going to diplomatically achieve each of the 12 things that I laid out. Senator Udall. Yeah. And, as a matter of sequence, should the President seek the assent of Congress before engaging in hostilities inside countries, especially where such actions could lead to a wider conflict, such as in Syria or Iran? Is that not the role of Congress that the Constitution calls for? Secretary Pompeo. Well, it is a little more complicated than a yes-or-no question. Senator Udall. Please. Explain it. Secretary Pompeo. So, there is--there are volumes of articles written on the intersection between the power between these two branches. And yes, it is very clear what the Constitution says about the power to declare war, but multiple administrations have taken similar positions, certainly with respect to the actions we have taken in Syria, very similar activities undertaken across a broad swath of previous administrations. I think what--this administration was wholly lawful and wholly consistent with past practices. Senator Udall. And the--and is the President going to ask Congress, if he wants to go to war with Syria? As President Obama did? Is--if he is deciding to engage in a war with Syria, is he going to ask Congress to declare war? Secretary Pompeo. I have seen no indication the President has any intention of going to war with Syria. What the President did was to respond to the use of chemical weapons, which was, in my judgment, in--I--certainly lawful, but, in my judgment, the right thing to have done. Senator Udall. Since President Trump announced the United States withdrawal from the JCPOA, there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of the U.S. using military force against Iran, a possibility that is concerning to me and many of my colleagues. In your view, does the 2002 or 2001 AUMF provide President Trump with the congressional authorization to use military force against Iranian militias present in Iraq or Syria? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I would--someone would have to-- I would have to take a look. I do not know the answer to that. Senator Udall. Okay. Well, if you could answer that---- Secretary Pompeo. Happy to---- Senator Udall. --for the record---- Secretary Pompeo. Happy to have---- Senator Udall. --for me---- Secretary Pompeo. --lawyers stare at it---- Senator Udall. --that would be great. Secretary Pompeo. --and---- Senator Udall. Yeah. Secretary Pompeo. --solve it. Yeah. Senator Udall. Thank you. Senator Coons [presiding]. Senator Kaine. Senator Kaine. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. We covered a little bit of this ground during your hearing a month or so ago, and I do not need---- Secretary Pompeo. I hope I give the same---- Senator Kaine. --to repeat it. Secretary Pompeo. --answers to you. Senator Kaine. Yeah. Well, I am actually not going to make you even try to give the same answers. But, basically, if I could sort of summarize where we are as a committee. We have heard from both administrations, the Obama and now the Trump administrations, fairly similar things from diplomats and military leaders, that--and the basic message has been this, while we think we have the authority to do what we need to do, the idea of a--an updated authorization for military activities against non-state terrorists would be a good thing, if we could agree upon---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Kaine. --the basic language. And your predecessor, Secretary Tillerson, and Secretary Mattis delivered a letter to us--I think Senator Corker talked about it--where they sort of put out ``thou shalt nots'' while, again---- Secretary Pompeo. Yeah. Senator Kaine. --supporting the notion their ``thou shalt nots'' they did not want to have a hard sunset, they did not want to have a hard geographic limitation, and they wanted the 2001-2002 authorizations to be in place until something--until a replacement was passed. And I gather that Secretary--Senator Corker has asked you that question, and you said that is your general point of view. Secretary Pompeo. It is. May I just say---- Senator Kaine. Absolutely. Secretary Pompeo. --the solution you have drafted has taken an--it is a--it is an approach that has moved considerable way towards that. I--what is the right word?--I applaud that, slash, concede that. Senator Kaine. And I understand, from your earlier testimony, that you are sharing with staff some thoughts that the State Department or administration, more generally, might have about the draft. And this is a good time to do it. Because, I will tell you where we are right now on this committee. And my colleagues will speak for themselves. But, I think there is near unity--maybe not unanimity, but near unity--that we should be engaged in military action still against ISIS, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. There is near unity that it would be a good idea to have an updated authorization. Some of us believe it is legally mandatory, others believe it may not be, but that it would be a good idea. There is near unity on the proposition that, if we are going to do an authorization, it should be bipartisan rather than just one side supporting military action and one side not, for purposes of the troops. You served in the military, you understand why that is important. And there is near unity--and this is the hardest one--that, of course, if we are going to do it, we should try to do as good a job as we can, because we could be living with it for a long time, there are consequences that we can predict, there are consequences we might not predict. And I would suffice to say, based upon my knowledge of your record when you were a House member and your testimony last month, you sort of share those propositions: We ought to be engaging in military action, it would be a good idea to update the authorization, it ought to be bipartisan, and we ought to take the time to get it right. Is that fair? Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. I am part of the community. Senator Kaine. Yeah. Great. Well, then here is where we are right now. We had a hearing last week with, sort of, constitutional experts who like--you know, one who liked--sort of liked the proposal, but had some suggestions, one who did not like the proposal, but had suggestions. It was a very productive discussion. I think members of this committee have a lot of ideas about things they might want to do to make it better. Some might want to move it left or right, some might want to--or maybe some might want to be more restrictive of the administration, some less, and some want to add in provisions that are not in now that probably are not either more or less restrictive, but just more comprehensive. The Chair has indicated a willingness, after we have a hearing and hear from the administration, to sort of tackle this. The suggestions that you referenced earlier, are you communicating those to the committee, sort of, in writing so that if--we are going to be on recess next week, but, if we come back the following week and we want to start grappling with amendments by members--I do not believe that Congress needs to play ``Mother may I?'' with the administration on anything, but---- Secretary Pompeo. But---- Senator Kaine. --but we want your advice and suggestions. Are you communicating those in some kind of a formal way to us? Secretary Pompeo. If we have not, we will. Senator Kaine. Okay. That would be very helpful. And again, it is the Chair and Ranking that will decide when we might take it up, but I think that--that day may be coming, and we would want to know what your points of view are. Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Kaine. And--good. If we could get your commitment on that, that is really, again, all we need. And I state the point that I made earlier. We--our Article 1 job is not to play ``Mother may I?'' with the Article 2 branch. We need not ask permission to exercise oversight. However, the advice of our diplomats, the advice of our military leadership about ongoing conflict, what would be helpful, what would be harmful, is very important to us. So, we will take those under consideration. The last thing I want to say, just switching back to an earlier topic. Both Senator Shaheen and I have now had the experience on the sonic-disturbance issue, Cuba and China, of sitting in a closed meeting with Armed Services staff and them not knowing who is in charge of this investigation. There are investigative agencies, at least two, there is the Department of Defense, there is the State Department. And when we asked, in that setting--and I am not revealing any classified information--but just who is in charge, they basically said nobody was in charge. We--both Senator Shaheen and I are very heartened that, at this hearing, you said--because it is your personnel, it is your personnel who have been involved--that-- -- Secretary Pompeo. Those security issues are my responsibility. Senator Kaine. Yeah. And Embassy security of these personnel is paramount. But, then also what it might say about activities and technologies and expertise of our adversaries is paramount for us to know. So, that---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Kaine. --that was a heartening part of the take testimony. I appreciate it. The Chairman [presiding]. So, I just had a discussion with the Secretary's staff. I know he is late--15 minutes late for a meeting now. He has been here for 3 hours and 15 minutes. I am glad to let a couple of comments be made, but I am going to hard stop it in 5 minutes. Okay? Senator Markey. I do not think that--what is the--who is the meeting with, Mr. Secretary---- Secretary Pompeo. I---- Senator Markey. --that you are not going to stay here and answer questions from us? Secretary Pompeo. I do not know. Senator Markey. Can you not push that back 15 more minutes? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I would--I will go look and see. Let us proceed, if we may. Senator Markey. Well, he is only giving us 5 minutes. You have---- Secretary Pompeo. Senator, can we---- The Chairman. You are burning up your 5 minutes right now, and I--look, this is getting a little bit--this type of discourse--I am sorry, I am the one doing this. I have been very generous. Senator Markey. But, we agreed to two 7-minute question periods, Mr. Chairman. And it is just being ended here for the two members at the end. Okay, thank you. Mr. Secretary, I would like to go back to our earlier conversation, which I think is a microcosm of this administration's approach to foreign policy. Diplomacy is not simply sharing your position and demanding that the other party accept it. Diplomacy is a process of working with others to create real leverage that can meaningful change the status quo. So, let us be clear. North Korea is a significant and pressing threat, and we need to get them to denuclearize. And we share that goal. In the letter that was sent by the Trump administration, with your participation, as you testify, in drafting it, the letter says, at the end, ``If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write.'' Well, President Trump is the one who pulled out of the summit. So, what does President Kim have to change his mind about in order to get back to a summit? Does he have to change his mind about whether or not the Gaddafi model in Libya is an apt analogy to use for a negotiation on the denuclearization of North Korea, Mr. Secretary? What does he have to change--what does he have to change his mind on? Secretary Pompeo. He--we are hopeful that we will see behavior that indicates that there is some real opportunity for a successful summit. I think you were here, perhaps you were not, when I indicated that we had reached out, in accordance with what Chairman Kim and I had agreed to, to conduct the work that would prepare our teams across a broad spectrum of issues for that summit. And we did not get responses, indicating that the opportunity for a successful summit was significantly reduced. And we are hopeful that he will engage in a way, and use language in a way, that is indicative of there being a real opportunity, not just to meet, but to achieve a historic outcome that---- Senator Markey. Well, Vice--the---- Secretary Pompeo. --that I know that--and that I know you share, Senator. Senator Markey. Well, the Vice Foreign Minister of North Korea said that Mr. Pence had made unbridled and impudent remarks that North Korea might end up like Libya. Does he have to change his mind about that? Does Kim have to accept that analogy? Secretary Pompeo. I---- Senator Markey. Would you recommend that the--that Mr. Bolton and the President continue to use Libya as an analogy that would further our ability to reach a negotiated settlement with this issue with North Korea? Would you recommend that? Secretary Pompeo. We have been very clear about what we are asking Chairman Kim to do. Unambiguous, I believe. Senator Markey. Do you want him to accept this analogy? And do you feel that you should be continuing to use it as an analogy? That is all I am asking you. Secretary Pompeo. And I am telling you what we have communicated. Senator Markey. No, you have not. Secretary Pompeo. Yes---- Senator Markey. Should--no. Answer my question. Do you---- Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I was in Pyongyang. I know precisely what I communicated. Senator Markey. No--you communicated. Would---- Secretary Pompeo. Yes, sir. Senator Markey. --you recommend that Mr. Bolton and President Trump not communicate a Libyan analogy, a Gaddafi analogy, as something that is helpful to your efforts to negotiate? Secretary Pompeo. Senator, I think this administration has behaved incredibly well with respect to encouraging and get us closer to a solution, certainly than the last administration did. Certainly. There was the previous administration--Senator, just for the record, this guy built this out and had the infrastructure to build this out over the last 15 months that occurred over the last 8 years. This just--this is just simply factually indisputable, Senator. Senator Markey. Wait, who is debating that? No one is debating that. We are debating---- Secretary Pompeo. Senator, we are---- Senator Markey. --we are not---- Secretary Pompeo. The diplomacy this administration is engaged in has gotten us this far. I am confident that we will move forward in a way that will continue to give us the opportunity to achieve this. Senator Markey. Well, where did it get us? We are not going to the table. We are walking away from the table. We are walking away from the table---- Secretary Pompeo. We did not---- Senator Markey. --in the week---- Secretary Pompeo. Senator---- Senator Markey. --in which there has been---- Secretary Pompeo. --we did not walk away from this. Senator Markey. --a Gaddafi-Libya analogy used, a repudiation by the North Korean government, and then President Trump saying, ``Well, we are walking away, because we are not happy with the North Korean response to that language,'' meaning the North--the Libyan and Gaddafi language. So, I do not understand what you are talking about, the progress that we have made up until this point. The whole world was looking forward, with great anticipation, to this summit, and it has collapsed over a misuse, in my opinion, of an analogy that has the likelihood of precisely zero of getting to the result which we all sincerely hope is the case. The Chairman. Time expired. Senator Merkley. Senator Merkley. Thank you, Mr. Secretary and Mr. Chairman. So, during the confirmation hearing, I asked a question about whether there--whether the War Powers Act, which lays out three foundations for the President to take the country to war, represented the spectrum of activity; and that is a declaration of war, a specific authorization for a specific action, or a third, emergency powers that involve an attack directly on U.S. assets, military, so on and so forth. And you said, no, that you--that Article 2 exceeded that. Can you give us a sense of how broad Article 2 is, in your opinion? Secretary Pompeo. Boy, sitting here today, I hate to give you my legal analysis in 2 minutes on the scope and breadth of Article 2. Senator Merkley. Okay. Secretary Pompeo. It is a power that is clearly enumerated. It is broad. But, to begin to scope that and define that in--I do not think I can do that for you. Senator Merkley. Okay. I would love to follow up on that, because, essentially, the witness we had on the--in support of a new drafted AUMF, the Corker-Kaine AUMF, indicated that there were virtually no limits on it, but he liked the idea of us doing an AUMF specifically because it is helpful to have the backstop, if you will, of congressional sanction of support. So, that--in essence, if it is completely broad, then it makes our whole discussion of authorization of war, as envisioned under the Constitution, kind of irrelevant. But, I will just make that point and move on. We have the 2001 AUMF that was very specific, in terms of attacks on us on 9/11, or those who harbored those attackers on 9/11, but it has now been stretched, as people say, to activities by different counts in 14 to 18 different countries, some of--in some cases, forces that had no known association or connection with 9/11 and no connection with the forces who attacked us on 9/11 or who harbored it--harbored the forces that attacked us on 9/11. So, when we look at that, stretching, and now we are looking at a new AUMF that has a much broader definition than the 2001 AUMF, what is to prevent future Presidents from simply stretching that authorization in a similar fashion? Secretary Pompeo. Well, there are always constraints. I am not sure I would characterize the stretching of the current one in the same way you do, as egregious as you do. I know it has occurred across both administrations, in your view. I think you shared that with me last time. But, I am not sure I would characterize it that way. Look, there are all sorts of political constraints on political actors' power, including the President of the United States. That power is not unbridled. We have elections, we have all kinds of things that continue to provide constraints. So, it is--no, it is not unlimited. The founders clearly understood that. You can read it in the Federalist Papers. They understood precisely the language they were using in the Constitution. And I will concede, as a former Member of Congress, I saw a piece of legislation that I thought had been grossly misinterpreted. I sat on the Energy and Commerce Committee and watched the EPA walk over language that was very clear about carbon and issues that I did not like and I thought they had used inappropriately. Senator Merkley. Okay. Secretary Pompeo. So, what constrains executives from doing that? Politics. Senator Merkley. Okay. So, very clear uncertainty about what constraints exist on that and how an administration could stretch that definition in the future. Let me ask you this. If the Quds Force or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were to transport themselves into Syria and be engaged in activities that are hostile to our forces currently there, would you see that as a situation where they are now in a--potentially, an associated force under the Corker-Kaine draft of an AUMF? Secretary Pompeo. Well, we do not have to imagine the Quds Force in Syria. There is no need to transport them. They are there as we sit. I do not know. I would have to think about the legal ramifications. Senator Merkley. Okay. It would be completely---- Secretary Pompeo. Certainly would have the right to defend--our forces would have the right to defend themselves. I would have to have someone---- Senator Merkley. Okay. Secretary Pompeo. --help me through the legal framework. Senator Merkley. Okay. Because the point I would make here is that it is very easy to imagine that this could be--a President could say that this does meet the definition of associated forces in the legislation we are considering, which means we would have given clear authorization for unlimited action in Syria, which is a challenge. It is a challenge on where we draw these lines. The---- The Chairman. Time is up. Senator Murphy. And I know he is late for a meeting. And you said you wanted to talk just a little bit, if that is---- Senator Murphy. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Just one question. I know you have heard some concern from this committee, not unsurprising, about some of the extraordinary means by which foreign governments may be trying to gain influence in this administration. I just wanted to raise one report with you and get your response to it. There is a report from the BBC that the Ukrainian government paid $400,000 to Michael Cohen as a means of securing a meeting with the President. The--I--my question is simply, Have you looked into that report? I know the Ukrainians have denied it. And what would be your message to governments that were considering trying to pay nonregistered lobbyists, friends of the President, to gain access to you or to the President? I imagine you would not look on that kindly, but I think, given that the report is out there, and that others are maybe thinking that that is the way that business is done, it might be important for you to comment on that. Secretary Pompeo. It is not how business is done. I have not seen that be the way business is done, certainly with me, but I have not seen it in this administration, either. I saw the report. I--going to try to--I think there is an investigation related to that. I am going to try not to talk about it. But, yes, I would tell the world that this is not how one engages with America. Senator Murphy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The Chairman. Thank you very much. You have some closing comments? We thank you very much for your---- Secretary Pompeo. Thank you, Senator. The Chairman. --generosity of time. The meeting is adjourned. [Whereupon, at 1:28 p.m., the hearing was adjourned.] ---------- Additional Material Submitted for the Record Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Bob Corker Question. With regard to the lifting of the hiring freeze, can you please tell me precisely how many FTEs were assigned to the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons prior to the hiring freeze and how many FTEs are now assigned to the TIP Office? Answer. Consistent with FY 2017 hiring plans, prior to the hiring freeze there was a total of 63 FTEs assigned to J/TIP (56 Civil Service and 7 Foreign Service). Currently J/TIP is authorized to hire up to 49 FTEs (42 are Civil Service and 7 Foreign Service), consistent with FY 2018 Ceiling Allocations. Question. As you finalize the Trafficking in Persons Report, will you ensure that the situation of Rohingya in Bangladesh is fully and accurately reflected in the report? Answer. The annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report reflects the State Department's assessment of whether foreign governments' efforts comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons established under U.S. law. The Department strives to make the report as objective and accurate as possible, documenting the successes and shortcomings of government anti-trafficking efforts measured against the minimum standards. We remain concerned about Rohingya communities' vulnerability to human trafficking and continue to address those issues. As in prior years, this critical issue and the relevant government responses to the crisis will be covered in this year's Report. ______ Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Robert Menendez Question. North Korea: I would like to ask you some yes/no questions today about elements that I see as being essential to any deal with North Korea. So, yes or no, do you believe: a) That any agreement must include sufficient safeguards to assure that no ballistic missiles and associated technology are proliferated or exported? Answer. Our goal for a diplomatic solution is to achieve the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula including delivery systems. Any agreement must also include carrying forward the restrictions, as contained in relevant DPRK- related U.N. resolutions (beginning with UNSCR 1718), prohibiting the export of ballistic missiles and associated technology from North Korea. Question. b) That any deal must include a commitment by North Korea to robust compliance inspections including a verification regime for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including complete access to all nuclear related sites and facilities with real time verification including ``anywhere, anytime'' inspections and snap-back sanctions if North Korea is not in full compliance? Answer. Our goal is to achieve the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula including delivery systems. Question. c) That to be truly complete, verifiable and irreversible, any agreement with North Korea must be permanent in nature, with no sunsets on its provisions? Answer. Complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula including delivery systems is the goal of the diplomatic efforts. Irreversible is, by nature, permanent. Question. d) That progress on sanctions relief should be dependent on dismantlement and removal of North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs? Answer. We are not interested in granting concessions for every North Korean action and will maintain the maximum pressure campaign until North Korea denuclearizes. Question. e) That any deal that gives North Korea sanctions relief for anything other than the verifiable performance of its obligations to dismantle its nuclear and missile arsenal is a bad deal? Answer. We are not interested in granting concessions for every North Korean action and will maintain the maximum pressure campaign until North Korea denuclearizes. Question. China, I believe, will continue to play a critical role as North Korea moves to halt, dismantle, and remove its nuclear weapons. Will you maintain a tough approach to China to assure that it, in turn, delivers North Korean performance? Answer. Acknowledging China's unique leverage and influence on this issue, I will continue to engage with China as we work towards the goal of denuclearizing the DPRK. The United States will continue to hold all nations including China accountable to fully implement UNSCRs and keep the pressure on North Korea until denuclearization is achieved. Question. To be successful in such an ambitious undertaking our regional allies--in particular the Republic of Korea and Japan--are foundational . . . to our success. No concessions should be granted that threaten to undermine our core alliance commitments or our posture in the region. Do you agree with that principle? Answer. Our commitment to our regional allies--the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan--remains unwavering. It is through our continued joint commitment to further strengthen these alliances that we can address together the significant security challenges we face in the region. I look forward to enhancing our relationships with the ROK and Japan as we work together even more closely on regional and global issues of concern. Question. Will you commit to establishing a full and robust set of regular congressional briefings, consultations, and engagements [on our DPRK efforts]? Answer. The Department is fully committed to ensuring Congress has the information necessary on the North Korea summit discussion and negotiations to conduct its oversight role. Question. Mr. Secretary, as we have discussed, I strongly support diplomatic efforts to pursue a peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. I have expressed concerns, however, that there was not enough careful, thoughtful and smart diplomatic groundwork in place before the hastily announced summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The Administration has been adamant that it has not made any ``concessions'' to North Korea for this meeting, which seems to ignore that the meeting itself is the concession by granting the acceptance and legitimacy Kim Jong-un is seeking for his brutal, evil, dangerous regime. He has already benefitted from an enormous propaganda victory, and as we have watched the President second guess his meeting and the Administration scramble this week to develop a strategy, Kim seems to be calling all the shots. In the meantime, I agree that it's essential we maintain maximum pressure on North Korea until and unless they take concrete steps to verifiably denuclearize. a) So, please explain to me your diplomatic strategy and where you are in your negotiations with Kim Jong Un? Answer. The United States and North Korea have been holding direct talks in preparation for a summit and North Korea has confirmed to us its willingness to talk about denuclearization. Now is the time for bold action and concrete steps toward denuclearization. The Trump administration has been working to create the conditions so that the President and Kim Jong Un can sit together to begin to resolve this incredibly difficult challenge. We hope this will set us down the course of achieving a diplomatic outcome that America and the world are seeking. If North Korea is unwilling to denuclearize, we will be ready to intensify the maximum pressure campaign. Question. b) Is it still your position that North Korea must completely dismantle its nuclear program? Answer. Our goal is to achieve the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula including delivery systems. Question. c) Can you be specific about what that means? Answer. Denuclearization means the complete, verifiable, and irreversible abandonment by North Korea of its nuclear weapons and all existing nuclear and delivery programs. Question. Since President Trump took office, North Korea has conducted three ICBM tests (which it had never done before) and their largest nuclear test, which some experts have stated was a hydrogen bomb. d) Would you say over the last 12 months under President Trump the threat to the United States from North Korea has increased, decreased, or stayed the same? Answer. North Korea's unlawful nuclear and ballistic missile programs pose a grave threat to the United States and to the world. This threat has grown more serious with time. The Administration is making efforts to maintain pressure on North Korea while holding direct talks to address this threat. Question. e) How meaningful is the proposed test moratorium North Korea has proposed given their declaration after their last IBCM test that ``we have finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force''? Answer. The United States and North Korea have been holding direct talks in preparation for a meeting between our two leaders, and North Korea has confirmed to us its willingness to talk about denuclearization. The Administration has been working to create the conditions so that the President and Kim Jong Un can sit together to begin to resolve this incredibly complex and difficult challenge. The moratorium declared by North Korea is a welcome development and has helped created an environment conducive to dialogue, but much work remains to keep our nation and the world safe. Question. f) Isn't North Korea beginning these talks from a greatly strengthened position due to the technological breakthroughs it has achieved over the last 12 months? As you look at significant steps that North Korea can undertake, isn't it a concern that because of the size of their current program they actually have a lot more now that they can ``give away'', making denuclearization look real, while retaining core capabilities? Answer. The United States and North Korea have been holding direct talks in preparation for a meeting between our two leaders, and North Korea has confirmed to us its willingness to talk about denuclearization. Our goal for a diplomatic solution is to achieve the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula including delivery systems. We are not interested in granting concessions for every North Korean action and will maintain the pressure campaign until North Korea denuclearizes. Question. Just 4 days after your confirmation hearing on April 16, Washington and London issued a joint alert about continued Russian cyber-attacks on governments, businesses, and critical infrastructure around the globe. Also in April, Russia supported a chemical weapon attack by the Assad regime in Syria that killed at least 70 people. In March, Russia deployed a chemical weapons attack on the soil of a NATO ally which injured several people; when a chemical weapon was used by the North Korean government against Kim Jong Un's half-brother, the Trump administration quickly designated the DPRK a state sponsor of terrorism. And in February, reports indicate that the Kremlin was directly involved in authorizing an attack against American forces in Syria. Threats emanating from the Russian government against democratic processes and U.S. national interests around the globe are acute, constant, and lethal--begging the question, what is the State Department doing about it? a) Do you consider the Russian government responsible for the incidents I have just described? Answer. Yes. The U.S. government has been clear in both its statements and its actions that Russia is responsible for all forms of destabilizing behavior. Our long-term goal is for Russia to choose to play a constructive role internationally and not to be the revisionist power it is today. The Administration has made clear to President Putin that if Russia is serious about ending the Syrian conflict, it must stop fueling Assad's ruthless assault on his own people and stop shielding its ally at the United Nations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and in other international fora. In response to the April 4 attack on a UK citizen and his daughter, the United States along with the UK, 27 other countries, and NATO collectively expelled more than 150 Russian intelligence officers. We will continue to work with allies and partners to hold the Russian government to account over its failure to fulfill its international commitments. Question. b) Has President Trump convened any cabinet level meetings to design a strategy to stop these Russian threats? Answer. The Administration is actively working to counter Russia's aggressive behavior through numerous strategies. The Department is strengthening deterrence and defense for NATO Allies in the Baltic region and working with partners and allies to strengthen their resilience to malign influence and hybrid threats. The Department also currently participates in NSC-led interagency efforts to counter Russian malign influence abroad and at home and leads efforts to strengthen our partnerships and alliances across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. As seen with the coordinated international response to the Salisbury attack, we are strongest when we resist Russian aggression through collective action with our allies. Question. c) Has the Trump administration developed any responses to punish and prevent Russian attacks on U.S. service members? Russian support for Assad regime atrocities in Syria? Russian cyber-attacks on the U.S. or other countries? Russian interference in our 2018 elections or electoral processes in our European allies? Answer. From Russia's flagrant violation of international law in the March 4 Salisbury attack to its continued support for the Syrian regime and ongoing malign activities across Europe, Moscow's behavior is a serious threat. The Administration is actively working to counter Russia's aggressive behavior through numerous strategies such as the March sanctions against 5 entities and 19 individuals for a wide range of Russia's destabilizing activities, ranging from interference in the 2016 U.S. election to conducting destructive cyber-attacks, including NotPetya, the most costly cyber-attack in history. The U.S. government has been clear with the Russian government at the highest levels that there will not be an improvement in the bilateral relationship if Russia continues its destabilizing activities, including interference in U.S. elections. I will continue to press Russian officials against further intrusion in the democratic processes of the United States and those of our allies and to adhere to its international commitments. Question. d) Using the same logic applied to the North Korea case, has President Trump determined that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism? Answer. As a matter of law, in order for any country to be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, the Secretary of State must determine that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism. State sponsor of terrorism designations are made after careful review of all available evidence to determine if a country meets the statutory criteria for designation. I have not determined that Russia meets the statutory criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The U.S. government has already taken a number of significant and effective steps to indicate our concern and respond to Russian aggression and destabilizing behavior. We will continue applying pressure against this behavior until Russia chooses to become a responsible member of the international community. Question. The last time this Committee held a hearing on Russia was on February 9th of last year and there was not one administration witness at that hearing. e) Mr. Secretary, can you commit to me that you will return as a witness for a hearing on Russia policy? Answer. I support the work of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which covers many important foreign policy issues around the world to include Russia. The Department's leadership has fielded numerous questions and provided written questions for the record on this key priority. Additionally, I responded to the committee's invitation to testify on the FY 2019 budget within 3 weeks of assuming office and look forward to continuing engaging with the Committee for meetings, briefings, and hearings on topics of importance to the Committee. Question. This Administration's budget is an outright assault on democracy and governance funding . . . . For example, you slash funding for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) by 60 percent. Congress has viewed the NED as a vital instrument in the global competition for ideas and values . . . . a) At a time when competitors like China and Russia are seeking to fill power vacuums and weak and failed states offer fertile openings for our adversaries and for extremists seeking to exploit despair, why would you deconstruct and defund the NED? Answer. Democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) programs are critical for defending national security, fostering economic opportunities for the American people, and asserting U.S. leadership and influence. The National Security Strategy (NSS) makes clear that respect for human rights and democracy is more likely to produce peace, stability, and prosperity at home and abroad, and is therefore integral to our national security. Furthermore, the Department values the good work of the NED and its commitment to advancing democracy, human rights, and good governance. The President's FY 2019 budget request factors in the Administration's commitment to restraining overall non- defense discretionary spending, including foreign assistance resources. Therefore, the FY 2019 budget request is a reflection of U.S. national priorities while remaining within an overall budget topline. The request for DRG assistance encourages the four core institutes to compete for U.S. government funding in alignment with the Administration's goal to centrally manage and streamline how 501(c)(3) organizations are funded. The FY 2019 budget request upholds U.S. commitments to key partners and allies through strategic, selective investments that enable America to retain its position as a global leader while relying on other nations to make greater contributions toward shared objectives, including advancing democracy worldwide. Question. b) Why take an ax to an organization that has made successful long-term investments in like-minded civil society actors, political parties, workers and business entrepreneurs in almost every country in the world? Answer. The FY 2019 President's Budget Request supports the value that the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its four core institutes provide, evidenced by substantial government funding from the Department of State and USAID. The budget request recognizes that the core institutes' regional expertise and presence are valued by the international community and are used by many organizations, including the U.S. government, to achieve programmatic objectives. The FY 2019 request continues to support NED's competitive grant making programs. The NED's four core institutes are separate non-profit organizations, which are eligible to compete for the $1.4 billion in U.S. democracy, human rights, and governance foreign assistance requested as a part of the FY 2019 budget. Question. Mr. Secretary, CAATSA also required that the Administration transmit a comprehensive Iran strategy to Congress by January 2018. I am aware of the speech you made earlier this week, and, like your predecessors, you lay out a series of objectives: contain Iran, go after supporters of terrorism, stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. I share all those goals. We all do, but they require an operational strategy. a) When will we get that strategy? Answer. The Regional Strategy for Countering Asymmetric Iranian Threats in the Middle East and North Africa is in the final stages of clearance by the interagency. The Department apologizes for the delay. The Administration's commitment to the Iran strategy President Trump laid down in October 2017 remains. It will now be executed outside of the JCPOA. We will bring unprecedented financial pressure to bear on Iran, coordinate with DoD on deterrence efforts, support the Iranian people, and perhaps most importantly, hold out the prospect for a new deal with Iran if it changes its behavior. We seek to work with as many partners, friends, and allies as possible to achieve the common objective of stopping Iran's nuclear and non-nuclear threats. Question. As I look at President Trump's approach to Syria, Mr. Secretary, I am concerned that although it may not be his intent, the effect of his Administration's approach is to empower Iran throughout the region and to create space that has allowed Iranian proxies to operate ever-closer and with ever-greater impunity and lethality against Israel. As Prime Minister Netanyahu stated at the Munich security conference just this past weekend, ``Through its proxies, Shiite militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Iran is devouring huge swaths of the Middle East.'' b) Can you help me to understand how your approach is leading to a diminution of Iranian power and reach in the region, as opposed to Iran devouring ever-larger swaths of it? Answer. We will contain, constrain, and roll back Iranian influence throughout the region. Crucial to pushing back on Iran's regional ambitions will be shoring up Iraq's unity and realizing sustainable and genuine political solutions in Syria and Yemen. We continue to work extensively with our Gulf partners and Israel to deter and disrupt Iranian threats. Examples of such cooperation include military and diplomatic efforts to prevent Iranian weapons shipments from going into Yemen. We also have numerous domestic authorities--including sanctions--to counter Iran's support for terrorism and its destabilizing activities in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. We will continue to vigorously use these authorities. Question. Conflict in South Sudan has resulted in a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe. People are dying every day, and the prospects for a diplomatic solution seem grim. The Administration has announced its plans to ``review assistance.'' You committed to evaluate the need for a Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan in your response to questions in advance of your confirmation, and yet all that seems to have happened is the departure from the Sudan and South Sudan team of the Senior Advisor, who was leading our diplomatic efforts. a) What is our plan for South Sudan and how does this budget support that plan? Answer. The United States is working with regional leaders to bring peace and stability to South Sudan. We support regional efforts to conclude a negotiated arrangement for an inclusive transitional government that reflects South Sudan's diversity and provides checks and balances on political and economic power. As announced by the White House on May 8, the United States is undertaking a comprehensive review of its assistance programs to South Sudan to ensure our assistance does not contribute to or prolong the conflict or facilitate predatory or corrupt behavior. The FY 2019 request reflects the U.S. commitment to helping the people of South Sudan and provides resources to advance U.S. foreign policy goals. Question. b) You mentioned in a response to a question during today's hearing that you had not looked into the issue of a Special Envoy. When do you plan to look into the issue, and when will you begin consultations with Congress about the need for a Special Envoy? Answer. I am committed to helping the people of Sudan and South Sudan achieve the security, stability, and development they deserve. I will analyze the diplomatic tools available to achieve this goal effectively and efficiently, including by analyzing the value and impact of a special envoy. Question. The U.N. Secretary General warned late last year that ``violent extremist and radical armed groups are asserting control over increasingly large areas'' of Mali. In your response to questions in advance of your confirmation, you stated that you would ``urge all Malian parties to fully implement the peace accord, especially through good governance, respect for human rights, and provision of services to affected populations.'' That's a bit vague, and seems like exactly what we've been doing for 3 years with no effect. Can you be more specific about what efforts you will undertake to support implementation of the 2015 peace agreement and counter violent extremism, and how does this budget support it? Answer. Establishing sustainable peace and reconciliation in Mali and countering the terrorist threat in that country are long-term projects that require commitment over time. Together with our international partners, we continue to press the parties to implement their obligations under the Algiers Accord. Our embassy in Bamako is particularly active as an observer to the international mediation, and we send representatives to engage in the Accord Monitoring Commission's subcommittees. We also provide assistance to strengthen defense institutions and build the capacity of Mali's security forces so the Government of Mali is better able to respond to the grave and growing terrorist threats it faces. Question. DRC: The U.N. said earlier this year that the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a ``humanitarian disaster of extraordinary proportions.'' UNICEF released a report on May 11 that said that as a result of violence between the government and militia, up to 400,000 children are at risk of starving to death unless humanitarian aid efforts are ramped up. World Health Organization officials have sounded the alarm at the spread of Ebola from a rural area to a city with a population of over 1 million. Twenty-three deaths are reported thus far. Aside from actively pushing a reduction in the number of U.N. peacekeepers, what is our plan to address the political and humanitarian disaster in DRC and how does this budget request support it? Answer. I share your concerns about the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The Administration seeks to consolidate peace and security, provide humanitarian assistance, foster good governance, reduce extreme poverty, improve health and education outcomes, ensure accountability for human rights violations, and respond to serious pandemic threats in the DRC such as the recent Ebola outbreak. These priorities are reflected in our FY 2019 budget request, which totals approximately $214 million for our work in the DRC. The United States is the largest bilateral humanitarian donor in the DRC, having provided a total of nearly $277 million in life-saving humanitarian aid for DRC and Congolese refugees in the region since FY 2017. While the causes of the humanitarian crisis are complex, the situation has been exacerbated by the ongoing political impasse. We are actively pressing for credible elections in December 2018, as now scheduled, leading to a democratic transition that is key to averting violence and strengthening long-term stability and development. While elections will not solve all of DRC's challenges, they are essential to stabilize the country, support development, create opportunities for U.S. businesses, and scale down the most expensive U.N. peacekeeping mission in the world. Question. Nigeria: In response to a question for the record submitted in the wake of your confirmation hearing, you said that ``If confirmed, I will underscore to the Nigerian government that human rights abuses and impunity for such violations tarnish Nigeria's international reputation, undermine the trust of its citizens, impede counterterrorism efforts, and hinders U.S. ability to partner with Nigeria.'' There is no indication in the public readout (attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert) of your May 17 phone conversation with President Buhari that you raised those issues. Have you looked into any of the reports alleging human rights abuses by the Nigerian military? Answer. I take all reports of human rights violations and abuses seriously. The Department of State continues to raise our concerns about human rights and accountability at all levels of the Nigerian government and to offer assistance to support improvements in defense institutions, security sector forces, and other institutions. The Nigerian Army is taking some action to hold to account soldiers found guilty of abuse, in particular through court-martial proceedings in the northeast, though more needs to be done to improve the number and quality of these proceedings. In his remarks in the Rose Garden on April 30, President Buhari committed to ensuring accountability for human rights violations. I will press the Nigerian government to live up to that commitment. Question. Did you discuss the need for accountability for human rights abuses with President Buhari? In a question for the record submitted in the wake of your confirmation hearing, I asked how you would work with the Government of Nigeria to address bureaucratic obstacles to the effective delivery of humanitarian aid to northeastern Nigeria. Your answer was unclear. Answer. The Nigerian government is taking some tangible steps to improve accountability for human rights violations and protect civilians. I am encouraged by the statements President Buhari made during his April 30 official working visit to the White House highlighting the importance of human rights and accountability and the increased emphasis his administration seeks to place on transparency and accountability for allegations of human rights violations and abuses. Building on his leadership, I will continue to encourage the Nigerian government to expand and improve efforts to protect human rights and ensure accountability. Question. Did you discuss this [bureaucratic obstacles to humanitarian assistance] with President Buhari? Do you plan to raise this issue through formal diplomatic channels? Answer. U.S. officials frequently raise the important issue of bureaucratic obstacles to humanitarian assistance with the Nigerian government, including during President Buhari's April 30 visit to Washington. Our Mission in Nigeria continues to work with the Nigerian government to reduce bureaucratic impediments to the international humanitarian response, in particular related to visas, work permits, importation of relief supplies, and access to vulnerable populations. The United States is the largest humanitarian donor to those affected by terrorism in the Lake Chad region, providing more than $649 million for the region in fiscal year 2017, and the Department of State will continue to support this life-saving assistance. Question. Staffing of the Africa Bureau: You mentioned in your answer to a question for the record for your confirmation that you ``support full staffing of positions in the Africa Bureau.'' You committed to work ``to identify qualified candidates.'' Have you begun work on this issue? If not, when will you do so? Answer. I support full staffing in the Bureau of African Affairs (AF). Of AF's 46 missions, the bureau has 36 confirmed ambassadors, two missions to which we do not send ambassadors but have permanent Charges d'Affaires in place, and eight missions for which I am working with the White House to identify candidates. The President has nominated Tibor Nagy to serve as Assistant Secretary for African Affairs. I recently announced an end to the Department's hiring freeze on Foreign Service and Civil Service positions, in accordance with the law to hire to attrition and maintain the onboard Foreign Service and Civil Service staff levels at the Department of State and USAID as of December 31, 2017. Question. You mentioned in your answer to a question for the record for your confirmation that you would ``examine staffing needs . . . including in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy.'' a) Have you met with Ambassador Birx yet? b) Have you begun the process of examining vacancies in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy? If not, when will that process begin? Answer. I recently met with Ambassador Birx to receive an update on the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). We also discussed what support and resources are needed to continue our trajectory toward epidemic control, including filling vacancies in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Health Diplomacy (S/ GAC). I lifted the hiring freeze on May 15 and am addressing vacancies at the Department of State to fill critical staffing gaps. Question. Your lifting of the hiring freeze earlier this month was a welcomed positive first step in starting to rebuild the morale and capacity of the State Department. We understand, however, that hiring managers still cannot hire and fill gaps in their respective bureaus thanks to a December 2017 cap on all positions mandated by then- Secretary Tillerson. Will you be raising these position caps now that you have lifted the hiring freeze so that bureaus can hire and fill positions that were previously frozen? If not, why? Answer. My intention is to comply with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, allowing us to return to Foreign and Civil Service staffing levels that were in place on December 31, 2017. Bureaus were notified of employment caps, or ceilings, based on the Act. Bureaus now have the flexibility to hire the most qualified people with the right skills in positions that are essential to promoting the Department's mission and the United States' foreign policy goals. The lifting of the hiring freeze will result in hiring at or above attrition levels for the remainder of FY 2018. Question. Will you work with Congress to ensure that the Department can hire civil service positions as well as Foreign Service positions? Answer. The Civil Service is critical to the State Department's operations. The lifting of the hiring freeze will result in hiring at or above attrition levels for the remainder of FY 2018. Within the funded level, as determined by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, Bureaus may laterally hire Civil Service employees, hire from outside (e.g., Presidential Management Fellows), or convert Pathways interns to meet mission priorities. It is essential that we ensure that both our domestic bureaus and overseas missions have the flexibility to hire the most qualified people with the right skills in positions that are essential to promoting the Department's mission and the United States' foreign policy goals. I will continue to consult and work with Congress to ensure that all critical priorities are met within the funded levels for FY 2018, and as Congress considers the FY 2019 budget. Question. Last month, when the State Department released its annual human rights report, a State Department spokesperson justified the elimination of a long-standing section on Reproductive Rights by stating that this term is not derived from treaty law and that reproductive rights as used in the U.S. means only freedom from coercion and involuntary sterilization . . . . Can you explain why the State Department is now taking a position on reproductive rights that appears to be in direct conflict with international human rights law? Answer. In the 2017 Human Rights Report, the ``Reproductive Rights'' subsection was renamed to ``Coercion in Population Control'' in accordance with the requirement of U.S. law that we report on ``wherever applicable, practices regarding coercion in population control, including coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization.'' Additional material on maternal mortality, contraception, etc., is available via hyperlink in each country chapter and in an appendix to the reports. As every U.S. administration has said, the term ``reproductive rights'' as used in the Cairo Program of Action and the Beijing Platform for Action does not include a right to abortion. But activists on both sides of the abortion issue have claimed it does, so we chose not to use that term but revert to the requirements of U.S. law. There is no incompatibility between the language of the reporting requirement established in U.S. law and the terminology used in Cairo and Beijing. The essence of the Cairo and Beijing usage of ``reproductive rights'' is the element in its definition (Cairo para 7.3 and Beijing para 95) about the basic rights of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children free of discrimination, coercion, and violence. The revisions to this year's Human Rights Report to bring it back to the requirement in U.S. law that we report on ``practices regarding coercion . . . '' is fully consistent with the Cairo and Beijing definitions of reproductive rights. Question. Global Gag Rule: During your confirmation process, you were asked about the expanded Mexico City Policy, and your understanding that the Secretary of State may authorize case-by-case exemptions to the policy. a) What process are you putting in place to regularly review service disruptions due to the policy? Answer. The vast majority of foreign NGOs to which the U.S. government has provided global health assistance funding subject to the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA) policy are accepting the conditions on awards required under the policy and continue to participate in U.S. government-funded global health assistance programs. Departments and agencies providing global health assistance routinely monitor all of their programming to ensure transitions to different partners are as smooth as possible, regardless of the reason for the transition. Question. b) How will you determine the impact of the policy on underserved, marginalized, or hard-to-reach populations? Answer. Under the Department of State's leadership, the relevant departments and agencies conducted a review of the first 6 months of implementation of the policy. We plan to conduct another review of the implementation of the policy by the end of 2018. Question. How will you ensure transparency in the next review of the policy, and will you publicly release stakeholder comments provided for the 6-month review and in advance of the December 15 review? Answer. It is our intention to continue to be transparent. The review of the first 6 months of implementation of the policy was published on the Department of State's website, as well as USAID's. We do not plan to release stakeholder comments, as we did not inform stakeholders that their comments would be made public when they submitted them. Stakeholders, however, are free to make their own comments public. Question. What is the rationale for halting assistance intended to help bring some semblance of safety to the people of Syria? Answer. In line with the President's request to review all bilateral foreign assistance for Syria, we continually reevaluate stabilization assistance levels and how best they might be utilized. We do this on an ongoing basis, as we do elsewhere around the world. The Department of State and USAID continue to work with the international community, members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and our partners on the ground to provide much-needed stabilization support to vulnerable areas in Syria. Question. How does withholding this funding fit into the administration's strategic objectives in Syria? This is not the first time that Congressionally-approved funds and sanctions mechanisms have gone unused or unimplemented by this administration. Answer. In line with the President's request to review all bilateral foreign assistance for Syria, we continually reevaluate stabilization assistance levels and how best they might be utilized. We do this on an ongoing basis, as we do elsewhere around the world. Our objective in this review is to ensure our assistance is targeted, effective, and set at the appropriate level. Question. What guarantee can you offer that, once approved, funding will be used as authorized/ appropriated? Answer. We continually reevaluate appropriate bilateral assistance levels and how best they might be utilized. We do this on an ongoing basis. Our objective in these reviews is to ensure our assistance is targeted, effective, and set at the appropriate level. Question. Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq: Earlier this year the Department announced a U.S. commitment to the private sector in Iraq through a $3 billion MOU signed between the Iraqi government and the Export-Import Bank, as well as $250 million in ongoing projects supported by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Although a healthy private sector is essential to creating the jobs and stability that are needed in Iraq, the private sector alone cannot address the country's ongoing long-term humanitarian needs. As you correctly noted, ``We must continue to clear unexploded remnants of war left behind by ISIS, enable hospitals to reopen, restore water and electricity services, and get boys and girls back in school.'' a) How much funding will the State Department provide to achieve those goals, and in particular, will you commit U.S. funding and support to fulfill Iraq's Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019? Answer. The U.S. government is committed to supporting the Government of Iraq's efforts to create the conditions for the safe and voluntary return of Iraqis to their homes. Clearing explosive remnants of war (ERW) is a top priority. The President's FY 2019 budget requests $40.0 million to support these efforts. Our request also includes up to $96.5 million in order to help the Iraqi government restore essential services in areas liberated from ISIS. Since FY 2014, the U.S. government has provided more than $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance for the Iraq response. We will continue to provide assistance to help the displaced and returnees in the coming years, including programs and needs outlined in the U.N. Humanitarian Response Plan. Question. Complex Crises Fund: The White House Budget recognized the need for ``rapid response capabilities to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen complex crises.'' However, the final budget numbers indicate a diminishment of funding in this area as well as generate obstacles that will limit rapid response capabilities, particularly as it concerns the Complex Crises Fund (CCF). Given the risks related to the outbreak of violence globally coupled with a Budget request that decreases resources, how can you successfully accomplish the stated goal of rapidly responding to emerging or unforeseen complex crises? Answer. The FY 2019 Request attempts to eliminate overlapping and duplicative contingency accounts. The Department and USAID can and do provide significant support to address complex crises from a variety of funding accounts that Congress provides, including the Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) and Transition Initiatives (TI) accounts. The FY 2019 Request for the TI account provides resources directly to the Office of Transition Initiatives, which manages TI and has been an implementer of the Complex Crisis Fund, which improves efficiency. Question. The Administration recently announced that it is withholding the bulk--approximately 83%--of the U.S.'s annual contribution to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Despite other countries pledging millions more than last year, this is not enough to fill the gap, and UNRWA expects to shut down this summer if new funding does not materialize. a) When does the Administration plan to decide whether it will commit any more funding to UNRWA? Answer. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians remains under review. Despite the generosity of the United States, which has been UNRWA's largest single donor for decades and provided $60 million to UNRWA in January, UNRWA continues to face financial crises year after year. It is essential that donors work together to create a fairer, more equitable, and more predictable funding mechanism for UNRWA. UNRWA has reported approximately $200 million in new voluntary pledges so far this year as part of the ongoing work to increase and diversify its funding. The United States welcomes the new voluntary pledges made to UNRWA. Question. b) If the U.S. does not provide more funding for UNRWA, what is the Administration's plan to ensure services are not disrupted for the 3.5 million Palestinians served by UNRWA's programming? Answer. The United States remains committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, as demonstrated by a voluntary contribution of $60 million to UNRWA in January to keep schools and health systems operating in Jordan, the West Bank, and Gaza. The United States should not be asked to bear a disproportionate share of these costs. The Department of State has called on other donors to do their part and respond as needed, including those that have contributed in the past as well as those that have the means but have not yet lent their support. Question. Refugee Resettlement: On January 29, new procedures were announced to process refugees from certain countries for resettlement, in addition to new data-collection and processing requirements put in place over the last year. I would imagine all of these new systems, and the lengthened time it takes to process refugees, takes resources. a) How will the Department of State utilize federal funding for the rest of FY18 to ensure the U.S. refugee admissions program resettles 45,000 refugees this fiscal year, including supporting refugee vetting agencies where possible? Answer. The President authorized the admission of up to 45,000 refugees in FY 2018. Over the 18 months, U.S. government agencies have worked to strengthen the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program's security measures. While necessary to improve national security and public safety, these reviews and enhancements have lengthened processing times for some cases, initially slowing the rate of admissions. In addition, the United States is focusing resources on the domestic asylum backlog, which is over 300,000 cases and growing. Vetting agencies have their own budgets to conduct refugee security checks separate and apart from the Department of State's budget. Question. Rohingya Resettlement: What are your plans to use resettlement to address the Rohingya refugee crisis? Answer. I will continue to work with the international community in the ongoing humanitarian efforts to support the many vulnerable Rohingya in need as we search for durable solutions that include the assurance that any returns to Rakhine State are fully voluntary, safe, and dignified. Question. Resettlement of Iraqis: More than 50,000 Iraqis who have close affiliations with U.S. government in Iraq and who have faced risks as a result are waiting for interviews in USRAP. a) How do the Administration's plans for refugee resettlement ensure that these Iraqi allies continue to have a path to safety, given that only 36 Iraqi P2s have arrived this FY? Answer. The United States continues to resettle vulnerable people who are fleeing persecution and conflict while upholding the safety and security of the American people. Additional vetting procedures announced in October 2017 and January 2018 are enabling departments and agencies to more thoroughly review applicants to identify threats to public safety and national security. We continue to operate the Direct Access Program for Iraqis who have a close affiliation with the United States, although processing time may be slower as we implement additional security vetting procedures. Question. Lautenberg Program: For decades, the Lautenberg Program has provided persecuted religious minorities with a path to resettlement in the U.S. This year, an unprecedented percentage of Lautenberg asylum-seekers are being rejected. In light of the Administration's public commitment to aiding persecuted religious minorities, what is your plan for continuing the Lautenberg Program? Answer. Since FY 2004, Iranian religious minorities have fallen within the scope of the Lautenberg Amendment. Applicants under this program are subject to the same rigorous process for resettlement as all refugee applicants. Since January 2017, more than 800 Iranian religious minorities have been approved for admission in the United States through this program and have been successfully resettled in the United States. This Administration remains committed to supporting the Iranian people and is deeply concerned about the situation of Iranian religious minorities. The Lautenberg Amendment was renewed on March 23, 2018 and we continue to accept applications. Question. Trafficking: The Trump administration has declared that human trafficking is a priority issue. The Atlantic recently published an article on the trafficking of domestic workers by diplomats in the United States. Federal law requires suspension of countries from the A- 3/G-5 domestic worker visa program where there is: 1) evidence of exploitation of a domestic worker; and 2) evidence that the diplomat's sending state has tolerated the abuse. NGOs are calling for the suspension of three countries: Malawi, Bangladesh, and India. a) Will you suspend these countries from the A-3/G-5 visa program? The State Department's Protocol Office deserves credit for the pilot program to interview domestic workers in the United States on A-3/G-5 visas. These welfare checks allow Protocol to screen for abuse and exploitation. Answer. The Department is committed to implementing all applicable provisions of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008 (``the Act'') and related law as reauthorized, including those provisions relating to the suspension of A-3 and G-5 visas. Although there has not yet been a case of visa suspension under the Act, the law has been a factor in motivating foreign mission and international organization personnel to address allegations of abuse, and in some cases, to settle civil cases brought by former domestic workers. Consistent with the expectation that mission members comply with U.S. law, the Department is committed to diplomatic engagement that assists in obtaining payment of final court judgments awarded to A-3 and G-5 visa holders, including payment from sending states directly to victims. Question. b) When will this program [the domestic worker In-person Registration Program] be expanded to cover New York? And when will the program be expanded to cover the entire United States? Answer. To strengthen protections for domestic workers employed by foreign personnel at foreign missions and international organizations, the Office of the Chief of Protocol manages an annual In-person Registration Program. The program currently operates in the Washington, DC area. A-3 and G-5 visa holders employed by accredited personnel in the metropolitan region are registered with Protocol upon arrival and annually thereafter. The launch of a national In-person Registration program to include New York is under review, as the expansion of the program would have budgetary implications. Question. c) Expansion of this prevention program [the domestic worker In-person Registration Program] is long overdue. Is there a schedule for its expansion? Answer. Now that the program is fully operational in Washington, the Department is reviewing expansion to other cities, including New York. The treatment of domestic workers employed by foreign mission personnel in the United States is a matter of great importance, and the Department of State is committed to protecting the welfare of these workers, both to prevent abuse and to address allegations of mistreatment when they arise. The In-person Registration Program serves as an important prevention tool and provides domestic workers an avenue by which they can bring to the Department's attention matters of concern related to their employment. Question. Trafficking in Persons: Secretary Pompeo, combatting human trafficking has been a major bipartisan priority for this committee. The President's budget proposes a drastic 68 percent cut for anti-trafficking programs. a) How does the administration propose to lead in fighting modern slavery while cutting those programs at the same time? b) What signal about American priorities do you think your proposed cut sends to the countries we are encouraging to more vigorously fight human trafficking? Answer. The Administration is committed to addressing human trafficking, a crime that robs millions of their freedom, undermines the rule of law, distorts global markets, and enriches transnational criminal and terrorist organizations. The Department prioritizes bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, targeted foreign assistance to build sustainable capacity of foreign governments, and partnerships with civil society and the private sector to lead the fight against modern slavery. The reduced request for human trafficking as compared to appropriated levels is partly because the Department has never requested funds for the Program to End Modern Slavery, which was funded from congressional directives in FY 2016, FY 2017, and FY 2018. The Department appreciates the robust support Congress has shown for ending modern slavery. The Department and the Administration will continue to prioritize combating human trafficking as a key component of our diplomatic efforts around the globe. Question. Myanmar/Bangladesh: Recent reports show that the government and military of Burma continue to destroy Rohingya villages and have no accountability for the vast human rights violations that have driven the Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh. What kinds of accountability mechanisms will you support to ensure that military and other leaders are held accountable for their actions and to ensure that refugees are not forced to return to an unsafe context? Answer. Justice and accountability are critical to changing the behavior of bad actors in Burma to prevent future atrocities, abuses, and violations and to help create the conditions for a safe, voluntary, and dignified return of refugees and other internally displaced persons. The United States is working with our allies and partners to explore further all options to help ensure that those responsible for ethnic cleansing, as well as other human rights violations and abuses, face appropriate consequences, including consideration of all options available under U.S. and international law. At the same time, we continue to press the Government of Burma to cooperate with the independent international U.N. Fact-Finding Mission and other U.N. mechanisms. Question. USAID's Disability Policy recognizes that development programs are more impactful if the estimated 15% of the world's population that has a disability are included. However, Special Protection and Assistance Needs of Survivors is again zeroed out in the President's budget request. Please detail how the President's budget gives a voice to people with disabilities, particularly through global democracy and governance programs. Answer. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shares the Committee's commitment to giving voice to people with disabilities. The President's FY 2019 budget request included funding for activities directed at supporting children in adversity, victims of war and torture, and people with disabilities. USAID is committed to maximizing resources to further inclusive development practices and to provide support to marginalized populations. USAID also strives to be more efficient and effective with its resources and to leverage funding from other sources. USAID continuously works to make our programming inclusive not only in democracy, human rights and governance programs but across all sectors. Our approaches to achieve this include disability-related provisions required for contracts and grants; disability-inclusive sector strategies and programming; the development and dissemination of training materials; and designated expert staff who serve as a resource to USAID on these important issues. Moreover, USAID has recently decided to initiate a review and update of the Agency's 20-year-old Disability Policy. Question. U.S. leadership was critical in averting famine across Africa last year. Despite some improvements, many of these same crises persist, and new ones have arisen, such as with the Rohingya refugee crisis. The President's budget request calls for cuts of roughly 18% as compared to FY17 to key accounts funding agencies such as PRM and OFDA. a) How can the administration ensure U.S. assistance continues to reach those in need? Answer. Under the FY 2019 request, the United States will continue to show global leadership in responding to the needs of millions of refugees, disaster and conflict victims, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other vulnerable populations around the world through critical programs that provide protection, water, sanitation, healthcare, food, and other essential services. However, to manage taxpayer dollars properly while balancing competing priorities across the federal budget, it is imperative we grow the global pool of humanitarian resources by encouraging others to step up, do more, and contribute their fair share. This is particularly important in light of increasing humanitarian need. We will also continue to focus on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations, both that of our implementing partners, including international organizations, as well as U.S. government agencies. Question. b) Wouldn't a reduction in funds for the famine response, for example, mean going backward on the investment, successes and lives saved in the past year? Answer. In FY 2017, the United States provided more than $2 billion in humanitarian assistance to alleviate severe food insecurity in Nigeria, Yemen, South Sudan, and Somalia, as well as in Kenya and Ethiopia. On March 6, 2018, we announced more than $372 million in additional assistance for humanitarian responses in South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria. Additionally on April 3, 2018, we announced nearly $87 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Yemen. Through programs like Feed the Future, the U.S. government also continues to make long-term investments in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and other countries across East Africa and the Sahel to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities and improve their food security and nutrition. While humanitarian aid is helping save lives, we urge leaders and political actors in countries such as Nigeria, South Sudan, and Yemen to support and implement resolutions that address the underlying drivers of conflict and end violence. Question. There continues to be a threat of famine in Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia, and that threat will remain until the conflicts are resolved. While it is important that the U.S. provide humanitarian assistance in these countries, we are expecting the needs will continue to increase until peace is found. Can you provide the committee with your diplomatic engagement plans to resolve these 4 conflicts? Answer. In Nigeria, our diplomatic engagement seeks to strengthen democratic institutions, improve transparency and accountability, promote good governance, and professionalize security forces. In South Sudan, we support regional efforts to conclude a negotiated arrangement for an inclusive transitional government that reflects South Sudan's diversity and provides checks and balances on political and economic power. As announced by the White House on May 8, the United States is undertaking a comprehensive review of our assistance programs in South Sudan to ensure they do not contribute to or prolong the conflict, or facilitate predatory or corrupt behavior. In Yemen, we strongly support U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths and his efforts to revive political negotiations on an accelerated timeline. I have met with Special Envoy Griffiths and offered him our full support. I will continue to engage with key regional partners, including the Saudis and Emiratis, to reinforce his work. Finally, in Somalia, the United States works closely with its international partners to support the efforts of the Federal Government of Somalia and its member states to expand legitimate governance, promote reconciliation, develop capable security forces, and advance economic growth and job creation. Question. I am deeply concerned by what appears to be drastic cuts from for funding for gender programs. These are critical investments to ensure that development is effective, and that women and girls are included and respected. How do you justify shrinking the request by 52% from last year, which was already a large cut from FY17? Answer. Societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful. The United States will continue to support efforts to advance women's equality, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote women and girls' empowerment programs across the globe. I look forward to leading the Department as it continues to address critical issues including women's access to finance and protection from violence. Even as we have to make difficult trade-off decisions in a challenging budget environment, funding for gender programs remain a priority. The State-USAID's FY 2018 request for gender programs (including all women's leadership; gender based violence; women, peace, and security; and women's economic empowerment programs) totaled just more than $781 million. The State-USAID FY 2019 request for the same array of programs comes to more than $875 million, reflecting a 12 percent increase. We look forward to continuing to that empower and protect the rights of women and girls around the world through these invaluable programs. Question. As of January, the mention of gender equality integration was taken out of the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM). This language is important because it enabled the Global Women's Office Ambassador to coordinate with the Chief of Missions, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and other leadership to ensure gender considerations are integrated into our diplomacy and programs around the world. Why was this language taken out of the FAM? Answer. The advancement of gender equality and the full empowerment of women and girls remains a priority for this administration. The section of the FAM that addresses the promotion of gender equality as a foreign policy objective, like other sections of the FAM, is in the process of being updated and streamlined through the standard internal clearance processes. While this process is underway, the Office of Global Women's Issues continues to play a central role in ensuring the Department has the know-how and the appropriate processes to strategically incorporate gender equality concerns into bilateral, regional and multilateral diplomacy as well as public diplomacy and programming. Department efforts strive to encourage our counterparts to support progress toward gender equality and the advancement of the status of women and girls. Question. What will be done to include in the FAM guidance for integrating the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of the status of women and girls into the full range of Department planning and activities? Answer. I will continue to lead the Department in advancing the status of women and girls and advancing gender equality through the formulation and conduct of U.S. foreign policy. We are continuing to incorporate gender-related issues into training at the Foreign Service Institute. Such training ensures our officers gain the essential skills and knowledge to apply these values in the field and operationally and are able to make the essential connections between advancing women's rights and foreign policy as fundamental to building peace, security, and prosperity. These efforts, as well as the updated FAM guidance, maximize the potential and effectiveness for U.S. diplomacy while advancing American values of women's empowerment and equality. Question. The National Security Strategy and the State-USAID Joint Strategic Plan both recognize the need for the U.S. to advance gender equality for global security and progress. a) What are you doing as Secretary to nominate a highly qualified and broadly supported Ambassador for Global Women's Issues and to promote Gender Equality at the G-7? Answer. The Secretary's Office of Global Women's issues (S/GWI) leads the Department's work to empower women and girls socially, politically, and economically in the communities and societies in which they live. I am committed to finding a qualified person to serve as the ambassador-at-large for global women's issues and working to ensure his/her confirmation as quickly as possible. In the G-7 and other multilateral fora, the Department continues a long tradition of U.S. leadership in promoting the rights and empowerment of women and girls. In coordination with the White House, which leads on G-7 policy, the Department has advanced women's economic empowerment as a U.S. priority for the G-7 this year, building on the Administration's broader policy initiatives on this topic. In April, G- 7 foreign ministers also announced a new commitment to promoting women, peace, and security (WPS), which will reinforce the Department's implementation of the WPS Act of 2017. Question. The United States has been a historic leader on providing humanitarian assistance on the basis of need--if people face crises, we generally respond. a) As you look to allocate humanitarian assistance in FY18 and beyond, will there be any adjustment to how vulnerable populations are assessed? Answer. As the National Security Strategy states, ``the United States will continue to lead the world in humanitarian assistance.'' Providing lifesaving assistance to those who need it most has been and will remain a commitment of the U.S. government, led by the Department of State. In light of increasing humanitarian need, it is more important than ever that we work to grow the global pool of humanitarian resources by encouraging others to step up, do more, and contribute their fair share. Question. b) Is there any distinction to be made between the needs of a persecuted Rohingya in Myanmar or Bangladesh, a persecuted Yazidi in Iraq, and a child at risk of starvation in Yemen? Answer. All are vulnerable populations that the U.S. government seeks to assist. Question. It is our understanding that the Central European University (CEU) Board of Trustees will make its final determination on moving all operations out of Hungary 1 month from now when they convene in late June. As you know, since the Hungarian government's passage of a law last year curtailing academic freedom and foreign institutions in the country, CEU has sought the Hungarian government's agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding with the state of New York that would allow the university to remain in Budapest. But with no response from the Hungarian government side, CEU has been forced to develop contingency plans to relocate its campus to another country. Do you commit at the earliest available opportunity to raising this issue with Foreign Minister Szijjarto, and directing State officials to raise with their Hungarian counterparts, to encourage an agreeable resolution of this issue? Answer. I commit to raising the issue of the Central European University (CEU) with Foreign Minister Szijjarto. The State Department Bureau of European Affairs and our embassy in Hungary have been in regular contact with CEU and have raised this issue with Hungarian officials for some time. We will continue to do so until CEU's status is resolved. The United States relies on its Allies and partners to uphold the values shared by members of NATO and of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. I will encourage our Allies and partners to stand by those commitments, both privately and, when needed, publicly. Question. There are growing concerns that the Good Friday Agreement will be further jeopardized by the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union, and U.S. engagement to encourage full implementation of the agreement remains critical. a) Will the Trump administration appoint a Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, as we understand it has expressed intent to do? Answer. The United States remains firmly committed to the Northern Ireland Peace Process including the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements. We will continue to engage all parties and communities to work together to build a better, shared future. Through our consulate in Belfast we promote reconciliation, two-way trade and investment, and cultural exchanges. We will work with the British and Irish governments, as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, and the European Union to ensure 20 years of gains in the peace process are not sacrificed by the exit of the UK from the EU. We are looking into the possibility of naming an envoy to the region. No personnel decision has been made. Question. Does this Administration commit to a policy to never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, similar to the 1940 Welles Declaration in which the U.S. refused to recognize the Soviet annexation of the Baltic States? Answer. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and announced its purported annexation of Crimea, it directly challenged and undermined bedrock international principles, including the obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. These principles constitute the foundation upon which Europe's security and safety rests. The United States will never recognize Russia's purported annexation of the Crimean peninsula and never accept anything less than the full restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity. Respective U.S. sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine will remain in place until Russia fully implements the Minsk agreements and returns control of the Crimean peninsula to Ukraine. I will continue to work closely with our European Allies and partners to maintain unity on Russia sanctions and their implementation. Crimea is Ukraine. Question. What will you do to raise human rights concerns in Crimea with your counterparts in the Russian government, and to advocate specifically for the release of political prisoners from Crimea? Answer. The United States is deeply concerned by Russia's campaign of coercion and violence in Crimea, targeting any voice that questions Russia's occupation. Abuses have become increasingly frequent over the past 4 years as Russia has further consolidated its occupation of the peninsula. We recognize Russia uses its judicial system to suppress dissent in Crimea and the number of political prisoners--now over 60-- is growing. I will continue to work with allies and partners to call on the government of Russia to uphold its international obligations to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in occupied Crimea. This includes continuing to raise concerns about the health of filmmaker Oleh Sentsov and farmer Volodymyr Balukh, two imprisoned Ukrainian patriots who are now on hunger strike, as well as calling on Russia to release Ruslan Zeitullayev, Emir Ussain Kuku, and the dozens of other Crimean Tatars it has imprisoned on baseless terrorism charges. Question. The Cuban people have long suffered under a regime that suppresses their freedom and fails to respect human dignity. The President has acknowledged this fact and yet your FY 2019 budget has slashed democracy and human rights assistant funding for Cuba by 50% from FY 2018 reducing it to $10 million. How do you expect to continue the critical work of promoting free and democratic Cuba with such a reduced budget? Answer. The Department of State continues to support and engage with human rights and democracy activists in Cuba and to work with regional partners to support respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for those in Cuba, including freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. In announcing a new Cuba policy in June 2017, President Trump made clear his intention to show solidarity with the Cuban people and promote human rights and democracy, while maintaining engagement that serves U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. As the Department of State and USAID work within a reduced topline funding level to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. taxpayer dollars, we have had to make some tough choices about the programming for which we requested funding in FY 2018. The requested foreign assistance funding levels were reduced globally; Cuba was not singled out. We plan to continue to support the above-described democracy and human rights promotion efforts with the many tools we have, including through our embassy, engagement in multilateral fora and with international partners, and through bilateral talks. Question. The Cuban people have long suffered under a regime that suppresses their freedom and fails to respect human dignity. The President has acknowledged this fact and yet your FY 2019 budget has slashed democracy and human rights assistant funding for Cuba by 50% from FY 2018 reducing it to $10 million. Does this represent a shift in our support for democracy on the island and the region writ large? Answer. No. Our priorities in promoting democracy and human rights in Cuba, and in the entire Western Hemisphere, remain as strong as ever. The requested foreign assistance funding levels were reduced globally. Neither Cuba nor the region writ large was singled out. The Administration's Cuba policy announced June 16, 2017 makes clear our continued support of democracy and human rights on the island and the intention to demonstrate solidarity with the Cuban people in the face of a repressive regime. Question. At your hearing on House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 21, you noted that the Accountability Review Board's report on the Departments handling of the Cuba health attacks would be finalized in the next week. Do you commit to briefing Congress on the results of the ARB findings? Answer. The Department will be happy to brief appropriate Congressional committees regarding the Accountability Review Board's (ARB) findings and recommendations as well as how the Department intends to address the recommendations. In accordance with the law, within 90 days of receiving the ARB's report, I will submit a report to Congress summarizing the ARB's recommendations and providing an overview of the actions the Department will take in response. If the ARB determines that serious injury was a result of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance of any individuals employed by the U.S. government or any entities under contract with the U.S. government, the Department or affected federal agency will report those findings to Congress within 30 days of the ARB's report. Question. At your hearing on House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 21, you noted that the Accountability Review Board's report on the Departments handling of the Cuba health attacks would be finalized in the next week. Do you commit to implementing any recommendations from the Board to ensure the safety of our diplomats not just in Havana, but worldwide? Answer. The Department takes seriously all Accountability Review Board (ARB) recommendations. As with prior ARBs, we will review the Cuba ARB's findings and recommendations and assess how best to implement them to ensure the safety of our diplomats worldwide. Question. Do you assess that ending TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti poses a risk to U.S. national security? Answer. No, the decision to end TPS does not pose a risk to U.S. national security. We have longstanding relationships with these countries. We will continue to work with these respective governments to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, combat drug trafficking, halt illegal immigration, and promote sustainable economic growth by addressing the underlying causes of insecurity, impunity, and lack of economic opportunity. Question. Do you believe that the Governments of El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti have the capacity to effectively repatriate more than 400,000 people, in total? Answer. With respect to El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti, the Secretary of Homeland Security determined that the adverse conditions that served as the basis for their respective TPS designations had ceased to exist and therefore the designations had to be terminated. DHS announced a delayed effective termination date of 18 months for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti to permit an orderly transition, both for those returning home and for the country receiving them. The phase-out period will provide time for TPS beneficiaries to arrange for their departure and for the countries to prepare for the reception and reintegration of their citizens. Question. Is it your assessment that the repatriation of more than 400,000 people to El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti--if not handled effectively--would threaten the stability and security of these countries? Answer. It is unclear how many individuals with TPS ultimately will return to their home countries as they may still receive other protections under our immigration system for which they are eligible. Further, I do not believe that the stability and security of El Salvador, Honduras, or Haiti is threatened by the return of its citizens. Our embassies in El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti have met with host government counterparts to encourage the further development of programs to reintegrate their citizens. I will continue to encourage strengthening the region's ability to reintegrate its returning nationals, including former TPS beneficiaries. Question. In the event that the more than 400,000 TPS beneficiaries are accompanied by their more than 270,000 U.S. citizen children, do you believe that the Governments of El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti can guarantee the safety and well-being of these American children? Answer. Our embassies and consulates overseas stand ready to provide appropriate consular services for U.S. citizens. We encourage parents to apply for a passport for their U.S.-born children prior to departing the United States to document citizenship and identity. We are conducting outreach to foreign missions and other community stakeholders in the United States about the importance of documenting U.S. citizen children before traveling outside the United States. In addition, we are engaging host governments on programs and resources that can help reintegrate their returning citizens, including those with U.S. citizen children. Question. In his October 31, 2017 letter to Acting DHS Secretary Duke, Secretary Tillerson cautioned that ending TPS for El Salvador and Honduras could jeopardize U.S. foreign policy objectives in those two countries. Do you agree with that assessment? Answer. The United States' support for Central America remains unchanged. A secure and stable Central America contributes to a safer and more prosperous United States by helping to secure our borders, protect U.S. citizens, and increase opportunities for U.S. and other businesses. The multi-year U.S. Strategy for Central America addresses the underlying economic development, security, and governance challenges that contribute to illegal immigration. We will continue to work with Central American governments to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, combat drug trafficking, halt illegal immigration, and promote sustainable economic growth. Question. In his October 31, 2017 letter to Acting DHS Secretary Duke, Secretary Tillerson cautioned that ending TPS for El Salvador and Honduras could jeopardize U.S. cooperation with both governments to combat transnational organized crime. Do you agree with that assessment? Answer. The United States' support for Central America remains unchanged. A secure and stable Central America contributes to a safer and more prosperous United States by helping to secure our borders, protect U.S. citizens, and increase opportunities for U.S. and other businesses. The U.S. government partners with law enforcement agencies in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to facilitate real-time information sharing and inform law enforcement operations to combat transnational organized crime. We will continue to work with Central American governments to dismantle transnational gangs, such as MS-13 and 18th Street, and other transnational criminal organizations. Question. In diplomatic cable San Salvador 860, dated July 7, 2017, the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador warned that U.S. citizen children accompanying TPS beneficiaries returning to the country could be vulnerable to gang recruitment or other forms of illicit employment. Do you agree with that assessment? Answer. I remain concerned with the security situation posed by gangs in El Salvador and the region, including gang recruitment of minors. Through the U.S. Strategy for Central America, the Department of State and USAID implement programs to empower youth by supporting educational, social, and employment opportunities for at-risk and disadvantaged youth and violence prevention activities. We will continue to work with our in-country partners on programs to address gang recruitment of youth. We will continue to provide all available consular services to U.S. citizens, including U.S. citizen children of TPS beneficiaries. Question. In diplomatic cable San Salvador 860, dates July 7, 2017, the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador warned that repatriating more than 260,000 TPS beneficiaries to El Salvador could accelerate ``illegal immigration'' to the United States. Do you agree with this assessment? Answer. The multi-year U.S. Strategy for Central America addresses the underlying economic development, security, and governance challenges that contribute to illegal immigration. Our embassies in Honduras and El Salvador have met with host government counterparts to encourage the further development of programs and services that will facilitate the effective reintegration of their citizens into their respective societies. USAID has hosted migration workshops in El Salvador and Honduras to explore challenges and best practices in reintegration. We will continue to work with the Government of El Salvador to strengthen its ability to reintegrate all migrants, including TPS returnees. Question. In diplomatic cable Tegucigalpa 618, dated June 29, 2017, the U.S. Embassy in Honduras warned that U.S. citizen children accompanying TPS beneficiaries returning to the country could be vulnerable to gang recruitment or other forms of illicit employment. Do you agree with that assessment? Answer. I remain concerned with the security situation posed by gangs in Honduras and the region, including gang recruitment of minors. Through the U.S. Strategy for Central America, the State Department implements programs to empower youth by supporting educational, social, and employment opportunities for at-risk and disadvantaged youth and violence prevention activities. One example of these programs aimed at preventing youth from joining gangs is the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program. The GREAT program supports nationwide prevention of violence and youth gang involvement through the development of a positive relationship between Honduran law enforcement, families, and young people. Since INL launched the GREAT program in 2013, more than 375 Honduran National Police officers have been trained as GREAT instructors and more than 240,000 students have participated in the program. I will continue to work with our in- country partners to continue GREAT and other similar programs to address gang recruitment of youth. We will continue to provide all available consular services to U.S. citizens, including U.S. citizen children of Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries. Question. In general, what steps will you take to guarantee that U.S. foreign policy objectives are not undermined by the decision to end TPS for El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti? Answer. The multi-year U.S. Strategy for Central America addresses the underlying economic development, security, and governance challenges that contribute to illegal immigration, including a number of the reasons why individuals with TPS left Central America in the first place. I will continue to work with these governments to help them dismantle transnational criminal organizations, combat drug trafficking, halt illegal immigration, and promote sustainable economic growth by addressing the underlying causes of insecurity, impunity, and lack of economic opportunity. Question. What resources and what amount of resources from the FY 2019 budget request will the State Department dedicate to ensuring the effective repatriation of more than 400,000 TPS beneficiaries to El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti? Answer. The Department does not pay for repatriations of individuals from the United States and does not have estimated repatriation costs. Question. How is the State Department working with these three governments to mitigate the massive upheaval if 400,000 people are returned to their country of origin, as well as guarantee the safety of these individuals and that of their U.S. citizen children that will be accompanying them? Answer. USAID has hosted migration workshops in El Salvador and Honduras to assist both governments in their evaluation and adoption of best practices in reintegration for their citizens. Our embassies in El Salvador, Honduras, and Haiti have met with host government counterparts to encourage the further development of programs to reintegrate their citizens, particularly in light of the imminent return of their citizens who have benefited from Temporary Protected Status. Additionally, our embassies and consulates overseas stand ready to provide appropriate consular services for U.S. citizens. Question. Will you reconsider the recommendations of your predecessor to DHS in order to draw on the expertise of the State Department, as you stated in your response to the question for the record from the Foreign Relations Committee? Answer. No, I do not intend to reconsider the Department's recommendations on decisions that DHS has already taken. The Department's role in Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is advisory. Section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides the DHS Secretary with sole authority to designate a foreign state for TPS or to extend or terminate its designation, after consultation with appropriate government agencies. DHS has traditionally consulted with the Department of State. As the Department develops its TPS input for DHS, all relevant information received from different parts of the Department is considered. The Department's internal TPS review process is comprehensive and well established. As requested, the Department will continue to contribute its input to DHS for use by Secretary Nielsen as she makes future determinations. Question. What contact did the State Department's Office of Policy Planning and Secretary Tillerson's immediate Staff have with the White House Domestic Policy Council prior to Secretary Tillerson issuing his October 31, 2017 recommendations? Answer. We do not comment on internal or interagency deliberations. Question. Did the State Department's Office of Policy Planning and Secretary Tillerson's immediate Staff lend more credence to the recommendations and guidance of the White House Domestic Policy Council than the recommendations and warnings of U.S. diplomatic personnel? Answer. We do not comment on internal or interagency deliberations. Question. Did the State Department's Office of Policy Planning and Secretary Tillerson's immediate Staff provide direct policy guidance to the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs as to how it should formulate its recommendation to Secretary Tillerson? If so, what was the nature of that guidance? Answer. The Department of State has established internal processes by which bureaus and offices, including the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and the Office of Policy Planning, advise the Secretary of State on foreign policy matters. We do not comment on internal deliberations. Question. You recently submitted a Congressional notification for rebranding of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. a) Do you commit to ensuring editorial independence at the BBG/U.S. Agency for Global Media (or any successor name of this organization)? Answer. Yes, I commit to working to ensure editorial independence at the BBG/U.S. Agency for Global Media (or any successor name of this organization) under the current structure, including respecting the legislatively mandated firewall between BBG's management and its independent journalists. Question. b) Will you commit to ensuring that the CEO cannot breach the ``firewall'' with political influence between journalists who work under any of the BBG/U.S. Agency for Global Media/ any successor name affiliate networks--Voice of America, RFE, RFA, OCB, and MEBN? Answer. Yes, I commit to protecting the integrity of U.S. civilian international broadcasting by maintaining the legislatively mandated ``firewall'' between the management of BBG/U.S. Agency for Global Media, including its CEO, and its affiliated networks and independent journalists, under the current structure. Question. In a March 1st speech Russian President Vladimir revealed several new nuclear weapons including a nuclear powered cruise missile and a nuclear powered underwater drone. If deployed these weapons would be dangerous and destabilizing. In addition, Russia recently cancelled the latest round of the U.S.-Russian Strategic Dialogue. On the other hand, last month Russia meet their obligations in the New START treaty to limit their strategic nuclear forces. a) Can you explain to me whether the nuclear systems President Putin announced are covered under the New START Treaty? Answer. Russian President Vladimir Putin's March 1 announcement of new strategic nuclear weapons systems--including an intercontinental- range nuclear-powered cruise missile, an intercontinental-range underwater drone, and a maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicle--confirm what we have long suspected: the Russian Federation has been developing destabilizing strategic systems since at least 2004. The New START Treaty permits parties to raise questions about potential ``new kinds of strategic offensive arms'' within the Treaty format, should the need arise. We will continue to monitor Russia's nuclear weapons developments to assess its compliance with Russia's treaty obligations and respond appropriately. This is an ongoing process. Question. In a March 1st speech Russian President Vladimir revealed several new nuclear weapons including a nuclear powered cruise missile and a nuclear powered underwater drone. If deployed these weapons would be dangerous and destabilizing. In addition, Russia recently cancelled the latest round of the U.S.-Russian Strategic Dialogue. On the other hand, last month Russia meet their obligations in the New START treaty to limit their strategic nuclear forces. b) Will these new systems impact the overall strategic balance between the United States and Russia? Answer. The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review makes clear that the highest priority of the Department of Defense is deterring nuclear attack and maintaining the nuclear capabilities to do so. The United States is committed to maintaining flexible, adaptable, and resilient nuclear capabilities required to protect the United States and our allies and partners and to promote strategic stability. President Putin's announcement in no way changes this commitment. We have sought to engage Russia in meaningful discussions to clarify our policies and doctrines related to the strategic relationship but regret that Russia decided to postpone the second round of these talks. Question. In a March 1st speech Russian President Vladimir revealed several new nuclear weapons including a nuclear powered cruise missile and a nuclear powered underwater drone. If deployed these weapons would be dangerous and destabilizing. In addition, Russia recently cancelled the latest round of the U.S.-Russian Strategic Dialogue. On the other hand, last month Russia meet their obligations in the New START treaty to limit their strategic nuclear forces. c) What steps should we take to maintain strategic stability with Russia, should we extend the New START Treaty for another 5 years? Answer. The Administration is committed to fully implementing New START. The United States and Russia met the Treaty's central limits on February 5. The Treaty contributes to strategic stability, as its verification regime permits the United States to verify information about Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal. We have offered to engage Russia in discussions to clarify our policies related to the strategic relationship but regret that Russia decided to postpone the second round of these talks. As the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review states, the United States will consider effective and verifiable arms control measures with Russia that benefit U.S. national security. The Administration will consider next steps related to the New START Treaty at the appropriate time, taking this into account. Question. I am also concerned that the Administration has failed to impose Iran-related sanctions under the mandatory provisions of The Iran section of the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act--CAATSA.
Section 104 Imposition of additional sanctions in response to Iran's ballistic missile program. In particular, Section 104(b)(6) provides the authority to impose sanctions on any person who knowingly provides or attempts to provide financial, material, technological, or other support for goods or serves related to Iran's ballistic missile program. Section 107 Enforcement of arms embargos, which provides the authority to impose sanctions on persons who have knowingly engaged in activities that violate the arms embargo against Iran. Since the enactment of CAATSA, how has the Administration specifically used these new authorities and what new designations have been imposed? Answer. The Administration continues to support the goals of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) and is actively implementing this legislation. With respect to Iran, we implement CAATSA sanctions where possible through existing executive orders, such as E.O. 13382, which we have continued to use to target Iran's missile proliferation activities. Since the Administration took office in 2017, State and Treasury have combined to designate more than 110 persons and entities for their involvement in Iran's malign activities. These designations reflect our strong commitment to imposing costs on Iran for these activities, including its support of terrorism and its development of a ballistic missile program. Question. Putin's aggressive foreign policy to undermine democratic processes and values in Europe and the United States is a function of his domestic policy to eliminate dissent and shore up his brittle, corrupt regime. So part of our response to Russian aggression must be to support to those Russians pushing for reform, transparency, and human rights in their own country . . .. What is the State Department specifically doing to engage the Russian people and support their human rights and their hope for transparent, accountable governance? Answer. Department officials at all levels, including officials at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, regularly meet with civil society groups. We believe that the Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution. We will continue to call on the Russian government to uphold its international obligations and commitments to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to cease restrictions on the work of civil society organizations. We will also continue to support and uphold laws enacted by Congress such as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act to hold human rights abusers in Russia accountable. Although the space for civil society and free media in Russia has become increasingly restricted, Russian organizations and individuals continue to express a desire to engage with the United States. As long as this continues to be the case, we will support opportunities for direct interactions between Russians and Americans, including through peer-to-peer, educational, cultural, and other regional programs that provide exchanges of best practices and ideas on themes of mutual interest. Question. State-USAID Relationship/F Bureau Holds: Mr. Secretary, I will reiterate my steadfast support for a strong and independent USAID, specifically their development efforts, which are a necessary and equal element within the Diplomacy--Defense and Development approach to smart power. That said, the State Department has had considerable impact on this Agency's ability to successfully fulfill its mission. For example, the Office of Foreign Assistance Resources, (F Bureau), is withholding FY17 appropriated funds for a variety of USAID's Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance programs. In fact, there are several USAID programs facing similar funding crises not for lack of congressional appropriations for FY17 but because State Department, specifically F Bureau, will not release the funds to USAID. Members of this committee have heard you and others on your leadership team repeatedly profess support for USAID's autonomy, yet over the course of the last 15 months you've take actions to the contrary. a) Why wasn't the original final draft Mission Statement the USAID Administrator submitted to the Secretary in August approved? Answer. USAID remains a critical part of achieving U.S. national security goals. Since I became Secretary, Administrator Green and I have had a productive dialogue on a wide range of issues. I fully support USAID's mission and their new Mission Statement. Question. b) What did State do to precipitate USAID's withdrawal from participating in the development of the Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) just weeks before the final JSP was due to OMB? Answer. The JSP process was co-led by a joint State and USAID team and every part of the process involved both State and USAID participants as appropriate. USAID never withdrew from the JSP process. At the working level, State staff continued to coordinate and work closely with USAID representatives in Goal, Objective, and Performance Goal Working Groups throughout every stage of the JSP process from beginning through publication. The final draft of the JSP was reviewed by USAID and approved by Administrator Green and Secretary Tillerson. Even now, as we move forward tracking and reporting progress on our JSP Performance Goals, our efforts remain closely coordinated. Question. c) How many USAID FY17 Spend Plans and Operations Plans remain unapproved at F Bureau? Are any of these delays related to policy or political disagreements to congressionally-mandated programs? Answer. The vast majority of the FY 2017 Operational Plans and Spend Plans are approved and completed. The Department of State and USAID will continue to work diligently to ensure that funds appropriated by Congress are obligated as quickly as possible while assuring compliance with applicable legal and other requirements. Question. d) Has the State Department's Foreign Assistance Bureau delayed the obligation of any FY17 funds at the request of the Office of Management and Budget? Answer. The Office of U.S. Foreign Assistance Resources is working quickly and diligently to ensure that FY 2017 funding appropriated by Congress is obligated consistent with applicable law. The vast majority of FY 2017 funds are currently in the process of being notified and obligated. Question. e) Will you provide a timeline outlining the State Department's Foreign Assistance Bureau's steps to apportion and approve operation plans for FY16 and FY17 funds? Answer. The vast majority of the FY 2016 and FY 2017 Operational Plans are completed and approved. The Department of State and USAID will continue to work diligently to ensure that funds appropriated by Congress are obligated as quickly as possible while assuring compliance with applicable legal and other requirements. Question. f) Explain how, based on the various delays in obligating FY17 funding, the Administration has not violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974. Answer. FY 2017 funding appropriated by Congress is in the process of being obligated consistent with applicable law, including the Impoundment Control Act. Question. In January, Secretary Tillerson traveled to California and announced the Trump administration's policy for Syria--which sounds to me like the making of another ``forever war.'' He stated that U.S. forces will remain indefinitely in Syria, using the term ``conditions- based,'' which as many us who have been on this side of the oversight effort know means whatever you want it to mean in order to keep U.S. forces from returning home. The objectives, according to the Administration, of U.S. military presence in Syria are (1) preventing the re-emergence of ISIS and fighting Al Qaeda, (2) paving the way for legitimate local governance and the departure of Assad, (3) denying Iran the opportunity to further strengthen its position in Syria, and (4) creating conditions for the safe return of refugees. Only one of these objectives is arguably covered by the 2001 AUMF. In his State of the Union address, President Trump said ``I'm proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated very close to 100 percent of the territory just recently held by these killers in Iraq and in Syria.'' a) If ISIS has been pushed out of the territory it used to control like President Trump says, is it defeated? Answer. The President has made clear and repeated on March 29 that we are in Syria to defeat ISIS and that the group's enduring defeat remains a top priority of the Administration. Although we are close to recapturing the critical territory that ISIS used to claim as its so- called physical ``caliphate,'' the mission is not over. ISIS remains in pockets of Syria in regime-held territory and will continue to seek to resurge in the areas liberated by the Coalition in a continuing threat to Syrians in these areas. Once major operations are complete, the work of stabilizing liberated communities and preventing ISIS resurgence will continue as we ensure ISIS's enduring defeat. The U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS is committed to helping to stabilize liberated communities through activities, including restoring basic essential services, de-mining, and facilitating our partners' transition to sustainable, credible, inclusive governance. Question. b) What is the Administration's working definition of ``defeat'' so that we have a benchmark against which to measure progress? Answer. ISIS will be defeated in Iraq and Syria when ISIS is no longer able to exploit safe havens and control critical populations and key terrain and when local governance, security, and law enforcement can detect and disrupt its violent activities. ISIS as a global network will be defeated when it can no longer direct or enable threats against the U.S. homeland or U.S. persons or interests and no longer function as a unified, global organization, including its ability to exploit safe havens and control populations and terrain. For ISIS branches and networks, we seek that these regress into smaller, disaggregated organizations that can be disrupted by local and regional governance, security, and law enforcement. Key to this definition are a range of activities to prevent ISIS re-emergence by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, including stabilizing liberated communities and addressing ISIS's narrative of hate. Question. If we are so close to ISIS's defeat, does the Administration plan to seek new authority from Congress in order to keep U.S. forces in Syria to accomplish your non-ISIS objectives? Answer. ISIS has not been fully defeated and the continued military presence in Syria is critical to ensure that the Coalition can complete the eradication of ISIS and prevent its resurgence. Our military's purpose for being in Syria remains unchanged: defeating ISIS and degrading al-Qa'ida. The Administration has sufficient legal authority to prosecute the campaign against al-Qa'ida and associated forces, including against ISIS. Therefore, we have no plans to seek additional authority from Congress. Question. Our budget for the State Department Human Resources bureau has a line about its responsibilities to recruit and manage a talented diverse workforce. As you have said before, we need a State Department that reflects the American people and unfortunately we currently have a huge diversity gap in our Foreign and Civil Service workforce, especially at the higher ranks. a) How much of the State Department budget request prioritizes diversity and inclusion efforts at the State Department? Answer. The Department prioritizes its diversity and inclusion efforts by funding hiring and recruitment programs, mentoring initiatives, and outreach to veterans. For example, more than half of the budget for the Office of Recruitment, Examination, and Employment in the Bureau of Human Resources is focused on recruiting and including diversity in our workforce. Funded programs include the U.S. Foreign Service Internship program, Minority Summer Internship Opportunities, Don Bosco High School Corporate Work Study Program, the IT Fellows Program, the Workforce Recruitment Program for employees with disabilities, the Pickering and Rangel Fellowships, and the International Career Advancement Program. Question. b) In particular how much of the human resources budget focuses on retention at the State Department with professional development, unconscious bias training, and career advancement opportunities? Answer. Funding for professional development, unconscious bias training, and career advancement opportunities is spread across several bureaus in the Department. The Bureau of Human Resources' budget funds the Career Development Resource Center that provides professional career counseling services to Department employees, professional development courses not available through the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), and funding to support travel so employees can take mandatory training. FSI offerings include several courses that address diversity and mitigating unconscious bias as part of the broader leadership and management curriculum. A stand-alone course on mitigating unconscious bias will be rolled out in 2019. Question. I am deeply concerned by this Administration's systematic assault on women's rights and health. There appear to be drastic cuts from the FY18's budget request for funding for gender programs. These are critical investments to ensure that development is effective and that women and girls are also included and respected. How can you justify shrinking the request by 52% from last year, which was already a large cut from FY17? Answer. Societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful. The United States will continue to support efforts to advance women's equality, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote women and girls' empowerment programs across the globe. I look forward to leading the Department as it continues to address critical issues, including women's access to finance and protection from violence. Even as we have to make difficult trade-off decisions in a challenging budget environment, funding for gender programs across all sectors, including health, remains a priority. The Department and USAID's FY 2018 request for gender programs (including all women's leadership; gender based violence; women, peace, and security; and women's economic empowerment programs) totaled just more than $781 million. The State and USAID FY 2019 request for the same array of programs comes to more than $875 million, reflecting a 12 percent increase. We look forward to continuing to empower and protect the rights of women and girls around the world through these invaluable programs. Question. The Trump administration has repeatedly appealed for greater international burden-sharing. U.N. peacekeeping is a prime example of this type of burden-sharing in action. The U.S. is the largest financial contributor to U.N. peacekeeping operations, currently assessed at 28% of the U.N.'s annual peacekeeping budget. At the same time, as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. has final say over the decision to deploy peacekeeping missions in the first place. In addition, we provide very few personnel to these endeavors (currently just 57 personnel). This gap is filled by 120 other countries. a) Do you agree that the deployment of U.N. peacekeeping operations helps the U.S. to share the responsibility for protecting international peace and security with other countries? Answer. It is essential for other nations to share the burden for protecting international peace and security and United Nations peacekeeping is an important means of leveraging international support to address these challenges. U.N. peacekeeping is an example of burden- sharing by countries across the globe, and provides a collective benefit to the entire international community. However, the shared responsibility of peacekeeping also means shared burdens and shared costs. One country should not shoulder more than one quarter of the U.N. peacekeeping budget and I am committed to a more equitable distribution of the budget among member states in a fair and sensible manner that improves the efficiency and effectiveness of U.N. peacekeeping. Question. In light of the fact that the President is so keen to ensure that the U.S. is not burdened with such responsibilities, do you think it is in our national interest to continue to support U.N. peacekeeping missions? Answer. Peacekeeping is absolutely in the U.S. interest and remains a national security priority. For 70 years, U.N. peacekeeping has proven to be a powerful tool to address global challenges to international peace and security, and an important mechanism for sharing the costs of collective security. Today's peacekeepers are addressing some of the most challenging conflicts across the globe through missions that seek to protect civilians, prevent atrocities, and create space for political solutions to take hold. However, reform is needed to achieve better, smarter peacekeeping operations that are able to more effectively and efficiently address conflicts, support political solutions, and meet the needs of people on the ground. Question. Currently, the State Department estimates that the United States was likely to accumulate $274.6 million in peacekeeping arrears in FY 2017. Do you think failing to pay our bills in full and on time undermines our ability to work constructively with other members and with the U.N. management to pursue U.S. interests? Answer. The United States is accumulating peacekeeping arrears as the result of not exceeding the rate of 25 percent of total peacekeeping assessments. This rate reflects the principle that no one country should pay more than one quarter of U.N. peacekeeping assessments. The 25 percent rate for peacekeeping assessments mandated under U.S. law is not new, having been first enacted into law in 1994. As long as the actual U.S. peacekeeping assessment rate exceeds 25 percent and current law caps U.S. contributions at 25 percent, U.S. peacekeeping arrears will continue to grow. There is an effort underway to obtain General Assembly agreement to place a 25 percent ceiling on any country's peacekeeping assessment rate. This will not alleviate the current level of U.S. peacekeeping arrears, but it will arrest any further growth. Question. Last month, the U.N. Panel of Experts on Yemen reported to the Security Council that it had ``identified missile remnants, related military equipment, and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo.'' The experts concluded that Iran violated sanctions by failing to prevent the supply, sale, or transfer of the missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to the Houthis in Yemen. This seems like a clear opportunity where there is international consensus that Iran has unclean hands in destabilizing the region, and yet it does not appear that there is an action plan for imposing U.S. or U.N. sanctions in response to the regime's violations beyond words and tweets. Can you inform the Committee as to the Administration's plan to ensure that there are consequences for Iranian violations of the arms embargo? Answer. We continue to ask the U.N. Security Council to hold Iran accountable for weapons shipments into Yemen in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions 2231 and 2216. On May 21, the United States imposed sanctions on five Iranians (including four with ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) who facilitated the transfer of missile technology and expertise to the Houthis that was later used to attack Saudi Arabia. We are working to expand missile defense cooperation and interoperability with Israel, the GCC countries, and others--many of whom are purchasing significant missile defense capabilities from U.S. companies--and to deter and disrupt Iranian threats and to interdict ballistic missile technology destined for Iran. Question. Mr. Secretary, the U.S. is currently suffering an opioid epidemic that is one of the worst public health crises in our country's history. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 42,000 Americans lost their lives to opioid overdoses in 2016--more than 20,000 of those deaths were related to fentanyl and more than 15,000 were related to heroin. As you know, the majority of the heroin coming into the U.S. originates from Mexico and much of illicit fentanyl entering the U.S. comes from China. While the President signed an emergency declaration on the opioid crisis, alarmingly, your budget proposes a 30 percent cut of $375 million for our international counternarcotics budget and, in the specific case of Mexico, you've proposed a 38 percent cut. a) Can you explain to this Committee and the American people why you want to cut funding to programs that seek to stop illegal drugs before they get to our border--cuts that literally put the lives of our fellow citizens at risk? Answer. The FY 2019 budget request focuses resources on the highest national security priorities, including combating the opioid epidemic. Within the request for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE), we increased funding to counter opioids for counternarcotics programs targeted at reducing the flow of heroin and fentanyl to the United States. These efforts focus on curtailing the sale of illicit opioids on the internet, disrupting the supply via mail, attacking drug trafficking organizations, and expanding the global tools available for law enforcement to combat the opioid crisis. The Department of State maintains strong cooperation with Mexico and China to disrupt the production and trafficking of heroin and illicit fentanyl and I commit to continue this effort and seek more opportunities where we can be more effective. Question. How do you plan to effectively address the opioid crisis in our country with such a reduced budget? Answer. The Department's FY 2019 budget request focuses resources on U.S. national security priorities, including efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. The request includes increased funding for countering opioids by focusing on programming that can directly help reduce the flow of heroin and fentanyl to the United States. The Department of State continues to work closely with key international partners, including Mexico and China, to reduce the production and availability of heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit drugs and to dismantle transnational criminal organizations fueling their illicit supply. Question. Do you believe the United States and Mexico must have a productive working relationship to address narcotics trafficking? Answer. Mexico is a critically important partner on counternarcotics and disrupting transnational organized crime. The Department of State must work closely with Mexico to reduce the availability and trafficking of heroin, fentanyl, and other illicit drugs to the United States. To protect American lives, we must curb U.S. demand that fuels the illicit drug trade; disrupt networks that smuggle drugs, cash, and weapons across our shared border with Mexico; partner with Mexico to achieve meaningful criminal justice outcomes that deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to act with impunity and profit from their crimes; and fight the corruption that undermines our efforts. Question. How will you ensure that the U.S. refugee resettlement program is at a minimum reaching the Administration's cap and will you advocate in favor of resettling the most vulnerable refugee populations? Answer. The President authorized the admission of up to 45,000 refugees in FY 2018. Over the last year and a half, U.S. government agencies have worked to strengthen the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program's security measures. While necessary to improve national security and public safety, these reviews and enhancements have lengthened processing times for some cases thus initially slowing the rate of admissions. In addition, the United States is focusing resources on the domestic asylum backlog, which is over 300,000 cases and growing. Nevertheless, the United States continues to prioritize the resettlement of the world's most vulnerable refugees. We work closely with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and other partners to identify the refugees at greatest risk and in most need of resettlement in a third country. Question. I understand there is a push to move core functions of refugee resettlement into DHS and refugee funding from State into USAID and out of the State Department's diplomatic and policy-making purview. This would be a grave mistake. Do you believe that refugee support and resettlement should be considered in concert with broader U.S. foreign policy objectives? Answer. Yes, I believe assistance to refugees and refugee resettlement must be considered in concert with broader U.S. foreign policy objectives. I support the important work of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, which manages U.S. refugee policy, assistance, and resettlement. PRM fulfills a critical role in providing humanitarian aid, durable solutions and other assistance for refugees, conflict victims, and stateless people around the world and is an integral part of State's efforts to prevent and respond to crises and conflict. Question. Should our refugee programs and policy therefore be housed under the State Department, which is responsible for making and executing foreign policy objectives? Answer. As I noted, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, which manages U.S. refugee policy, assistance, and resettlement, is an integral part of State's foreign policy efforts to prevent and respond to crises and conflict, and promote regional stability. I understand that as part of E.O. 13781, the Administration is in the process of reviewing agencies throughout the executive branch in pursuit of increased efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. The Department of State is working with USAID to optimize our overall humanitarian assistance efforts. Question. I look around the world and see humanitarian heartbreak . . . but I know that OMB has withheld greater levels of humanitarian assistance from one year to the next. a) How much of the funding that Congress provided for humanitarian assistance is the administration carrying over from FY17 to FY18 and FY18 to FY19? Answer. In FY 2017 and FY 2018, Congress generously provided significant resources to respond to humanitarian challenges and the tremendous growth in needs. Due to the timing of the generous appropriation that Congress provided in FY 2017, we carried over roughly $1.1 billion into FY 2018 from the IDA and MRA accounts that, when combined with this year's appropriation, will allow us to respond adequately to humanitarian challenges in FY 2018. As for carryover into FY 2019, the crises to which we are responding are evolving continuously. As such, we will not have a sense of the level of carryover until the end of the fiscal year. We will continue providing humanitarian assistance based on need; bureaus are not carrying over a specific amount of funding into FY 2019. We appreciate the no-year availability of humanitarian assistance funds and the flexibility it provides to respond to changing and evolving emergency contexts. The availability of carryover is integral to our ability to seamlessly continue ongoing responses or to mount a humanitarian response to an unexpected disaster at the beginning of the next fiscal year. Question. b) What is your plan to get those funds out the door in a responsible yet timely fashion to address the massive needs around the world? Answer. In FY 2017 and FY 2018, Congress generously provided significant resources to respond to humanitarian challenges and the tremendous growth in needs. The State Department and USAID will continue use all resources made available to support populations with the greatest humanitarian need while also focusing on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations, both by the U.S. agencies and implementing partners, including international organizations. When making funding decisions, we carefully consider many factors, including the severity of needs, funding availability, contributions from other donors, access and security constraints in affected countries, as well as the absorptive capacity of implementing partners, all in order to ensure that humanitarian resources are programmed responsible, effectively, and in a timely manner. Question. China's official development assistance to African countries has increased by more than 780% since 2003. And last year, while the Trump administration proposed deep cuts in our diplomacy and development budget, President Xi of China pledged $124 billion for a new global infrastructure and development initiative called ``One Belt One Road.'' At the same time, the Administration is proposing to close USAID missions and eliminate economic and development assistance to numerous countries in Asia and to slash the budget of the East Asia and Pacific Bureau by over $380 million. Are you concerned that your cutbacks could provide an opening for China to exert additional influence in Asia and around the globe? Answer. The United States is advancing economic development and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific region and around the globe. The Administration will remain engaged internationally to maintain U.S. power and influence, work with allies and partners to address China's growing influence and ambitions, and identify ways to ensure America's continued presence and leadership. Question. China and ZTE: What is your view, knowing what you know from your previous position in this Administration, about the threat that ZTE poses to U.S. national security, and their actions in violating U.S. sanctions? Answer. It is a longstanding practice of the Department of State not to comment on matters of intelligence. ZTE's actions were clearly laid out in the civil and criminal cases presented by the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, and Justice. I refer you to those agencies for further comment. Question. Given that reality, do you think it is appropriate for the U.S., as President Trump expressed, to seek to work to get ZTE ``back in business'' and to seek to support ZTE's Chinese jobs? Answer. For information about the Administration's response to ZTE, I refer you to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Question. Was easing off ZTE was a quid pro quo for a trade deal with China? Answer. This was an enforcement action and not a part of a trade deal. I refer you to the U.S. Department of Commerce for further information. Question. Was the President's action on ZTE an indication that we need China so much on North Korea that we're willing to give up other objectives? Answer. North Korea is a shared security threat. It is in the interests of America and China to work together on this issue. Acknowledging China's unique leverage and influence on the DPRK, I will continue to engage with China as we work towards the goal of denuclearizing the DPRK. Our goal for a diplomatic solution is to achieve the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. I would refer you to the White House for more information regarding the President's action on ZTE. Question. Do you think this sends a signal that the president is not willing to enforce legally mandated sanctions? Answer. No. The Administration is in the process of imposing the strongest sanctions in history on Iran, and the sting of sanctions will only grow more painful if the regime does not change course from the unacceptable and unproductive path it has chosen for itself and the people of Iran. Since President Trump took office in 2017, the Department of State and the Department of the Treasury have combined to sanction more than 110 individuals and entities for their involvement in Iran's malign activities, including the designation of 18 individuals and entities this past week. The Administration has also sanctioned more than 148 individuals and entities under the North Korea sanctions program. These sanctions are part of the Administration's global maximum pressure campaign against North Korea launched in April 2017, which will remain in force until complete denuclearization is achieved. Question. What implications does this have as we look to confront Iran? Or other nefarious actors? Answer. Our assessment is that the Administration's policies and decisions with respect to ZTE will not affect our ability to work with partners, allies, and others on Iran. Question. Today Burkina Faso broke its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan. This is now the third country to end its diplomatic ties to Taiwan in the past year under pressure from Beijing, a very troubling set of developments--and developments to which the Administration does not yet appear to have developed an effective policy or response. a) Can you share with me your perspective on these developments? Answer. I am aware of China's efforts to alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and undermine the framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades is concerning. I am greatly disappointed in countries' decisions to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, as well as China's increased efforts to entice Taiwan's remaining diplomatic partners to follow suit. Per longstanding policy, the United States opposes unilateral actions by either side that alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. Switching diplomatic recognition is destabilizing to that delicate balance. The United States continues to stand by Taiwan and to maintain cooperative and friendly relations with Taiwan in accordance with our one China policy set forth in the three Joint Communiques and Taiwan Relations Act. Question. b) What actions will you take to respond to and counter China's efforts to constrain Taiwan's international space? Answer. Although Beijing seeks to continue to constrain Taiwan's involvement in global affairs, I am committed to supporting Taiwan as it seeks to expand its already significant contributions to addressing global challenges. The United States supports Taiwan's membership in international organizations that do not require statehood. In organizations that require statehood for membership, we support Taiwan's meaningful participation. The most recent example of this was a multi-country effort to push for Taiwan's participation at the 2018 World Health Assembly as an observer. While the proposal was blocked, it sent a strong message to Beijing that the United States and like-minded partners support Taiwan's meaningful participation in the World Health Organization. Moving forward, I will continue working to find creative ways to expand Taiwan's international space, such as the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), a joint U.S.-Taiwan effort that addresses emerging global and regional security challenges by providing training to third country nationals. Since its launching, the GCTF has served as a strong platform to advance common goals. Question. c) What concrete actions will the Administration take to engage with Taiwan's remaining diplomatic partners to encourage them to continue to maintain relations with Taipei? Answer. I have instructed our embassies to underscore the importance of cross-Strait stability to the United States and express our great disappointment with countries that fail to consider this critical factor in their decision to switch diplomatic recognition and destabilize the delicate balance in the Taiwan Strait. We also cautioned that China's financing practices can come at a steep price for recipient countries in terms of the negative effects on local labor and environmental conditions, debt sustainability, and rule of law. Question. The Administration's approach to Africa--to the extent that it has one--has for over a year appeared disjointed and uncoordinated. In key countries on the continent, the Administration does not appear to have embraced a whole of government approach which places equal emphasis on the three D's: Defense, Diplomacy and Development. The starkest example is Niger. We have troops there, we are building a base in Agadez, and our military has suffered casualties. What is not clear is our diplomatic strategy there. a) What is our strategy, and how does this budget support it? How do you plan to fill critical vacancies at Embassy Niamey? Answer. The U.S. strategy in Niger seeks to improve the country's ability to defend itself against terrorist and other transnational threats; counter radicalization to violence; strengthen democracy; promote good governance; and improve health, nutrition, and agriculture. The Department works closely with the Department of Defense and USAID to advance this strategy and coordinate programs with regional and other partner nations such as through the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. Since I lifted the hiring freeze, the Bureau of African Affairs and Embassy Niamey have been working to identify potential candidates among qualified Civil Service and Appointment Eligible Family Member applicants, in addition to Foreign Service Officers. We are optimistic that critical vacancies will be filled in the coming months. Question. b) Given the need to ensure balance between the three D's, will you support the establishment of a full USAID mission there? Answer. We regularly review our posture at all our overseas missions to facilitate appropriate allocation of resources and staff, which is dependent on the unique circumstances of each location. Question. The amount available for Democracy and Governance for Africa in 2017 was approximately $330 million. The Administration's request for the past 2 fiscal years has been less than half that amount. In advance of your confirmation, I asked how you propose to achieve the stated policy goals of the Administration for Africa in working with promising nations to promote effective governance, improve the rule of law, and develop institutions accountable and responsive to citizens with such a drastic reduction in the democracy and governance budget. You said, in part, that we would rely ``on other nations to make greater contributions toward shared objectives, including advancing democracy worldwide.'' a) Which nations were consulted about their contributions in this area in advance of finalizing the Fiscal Year 2019 budget request? What did they commit to provide? Answer. Democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) programs are key to safeguarding national security, fostering global prosperity, asserting U.S. influence and leadership, and ensuring foreign assistance programs are sustainable and effective. DRG programs support rule of law and human rights, good governance, political competition and consensus building, and civil society. The Administration continues to have regular discussions with like-minded allies, including the EU, France, and UK, to discuss the need for greater assistance to Africa to support democracy, human rights, and good governance initiatives, specifically the need to coordinate assistance between foreign partners. Each of these countries has expressed a willingness to work with us to achieve shared goals related to democratic strengthening in the region. Question. b) To your knowledge, were discussions about their doing so held in advance of submitting the budget request? Answer. The Administration's FY 2019 budget request was developed over the course of many months of interagency deliberation, during which a number of factors contributed to the final decision-making process. Among the factors considered are the current development needs being met by foreign partners that advance U.S. government objectives across the globe. The FY 2019 request was submitted to Congress on February 12, 2018, several weeks prior to my confirmation; however, I know the Administration has had regular and ongoing discussions about shared objectives with like-minded partners since the President took office in January 2017. ______ Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Marco Rubio Question. Do you believe that if the United States eases sanctions penalties against ZTE, it would risk making sanctions enforcement more difficult in the future? Answer. No. Regardless of the outcome in ZTE's current situation, ZTE has already experienced enormous consequences for its actions. For specifics on the ZTE issue, I refer you to the Department of Commerce, which has responsibility for enforcing denial orders. However, I do note that the ZTE denial order is an example of the significant consequences of violating or seeking to evade U.S. sanctions or export controls. The United States intends to continue to vigorously enforce our sanctions, including those related to Iran and North Korea, and has repeatedly demonstrated willingness to impose penalties on those who violate or seek to evade our sanctions, including third-country companies. In light of this, I do not anticipate any negative impact on our sanctions enforcement writ large. Question. If we ease the penalties against ZTE, are Chinese companies more likely to participate in U.S. sanctions-busting in the future? Answer. I am clear-eyed about Chinese companies' record on sanctions compliance and ZTE's record in particular. No company in China or elsewhere should be able to violate U.S. sanctions or export controls without consequence; whatever the final outcome of ZTE's current situation, they have experienced enormous consequences for their actions. The unprecedented actions taken against ZTE send a strong message to all companies worldwide that flout U.S. law that such behavior will not be tolerated and can have severe consequences. Question. A growing list of American companies have made concessions to the Chinese government in hopes of protecting their bottom lines, but doing so has only further emboldened Beijing. American and United Airlines are in the throes of navigating this. Just last week, Gap was forced to apologize for printing a T-shirt with a map of China on it that did not include Taiwan and the South China Sea, which Beijing illegally claims. How is the Department proactively engaging with American companies on this issue? Answer. I am very concerned by Beijing's attempts at economic coercion. We have told the Chinese government that the United States strongly objects to China's attempts to compel private firms, including airlines, to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available context. We have called upon China to stop threatening and coercing American companies and citizens and have expressed concern over unspecified threats of punishment to airlines that do not implement the changes China has requested. We have requested consultations with China on the matter and also requested that China delay implementation of its order to airlines pending those consultations. We have also raised--and continue to raise--this issue with partner governments, urging them to express concerns to China as the United States has done. We remain in close touch with U.S. airlines and other federal agencies. Question. What, if anything, is the Administration willing and able to do to defend U.S. companies from this type of inappropriate Chinese aggression? Answer. We regularly press China in support of U.S. business interests. As part of our overall effort to ensure a fair and reciprocal economic relationship between the United States and China, we protest instances in which U.S. companies operating in China are subject to opaque rules, arbitrary imposition of regulations, and political interference in their business operations. As a general principle, we advise companies to use international best practices and their own internal procedures rather than allow China to dictate how they conduct their internal business. We deplore China's efforts to export its censorship and impose its political views on U.S. and other foreign companies. We will consider additional steps in response to coercion or pressure on a case-by-case basis. Question. What are our red lines for when a U.S.-based employee for Marriott is fired for accidentally liking a tweet on Tibet? Answer. We deplore China's efforts to impose its political views on U.S. and other foreign companies and advise companies to use international best practices and their own internal procedures rather than allow China to dictate how they conduct their internal business. We have strongly urged Chinese authorities to work constructively with company representatives to resolve business disputes in the spirit of openness, transparency, and without resort to coercion or threat. Official retaliation for clerical and other procedural issues sends a chilling signal about China's ability to ensure fair and predictable treatment for foreign investors and to sustain a welcoming investment climate. American companies are major investors in China and support millions of local jobs and other economic activity of direct benefit to China. Question. What is the State Department doing to encourage countries with diplomatic relations with Taiwan not to concede to efforts by the Chinese government and Communist Party to aggressively use their coercive ``long arm'' to target or isolate Taiwan, especially after the regrettable decisions by Panama, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso? Answer. China's efforts to alter the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and undermine the framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades is concerning. I have instructed our embassies to underscore the importance to the United States of cross- Strait stability and express our great disappointment with countries that fail to consider this critical factor in their decision to switch diplomatic recognition and destabilize the delicate balance in the Taiwan Strait. We have also cautioned countries that China's financing practices can come at a steep price for recipient countries in terms of the negative effects on local labor and environmental conditions, debt sustainability, and rule of law. Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and reliable partner that has made valuable contributions to addressing global challenges. The United States continues to stand by Taiwan and to conduct cooperative and friendly relations with Taiwan in accordance with our one China policy set forth in the three Joint Communiques and Taiwan Relations Act. Question. On May 23, 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing acknowledged that a State Department employee in China had experienced a ``mild traumatic brain injury and permanent hearing loss, with such additional symptoms as loss of balance, severe headaches, cognitive disruption, and brain swelling.'' As you noted in your testimony, this is consistent with what U.S. diplomatic personnel experienced in Havana. Has a U.S. government employee been attacked in China? Answer. The health, safety, and well-being of U.S. government employees and their family members are our greatest concern. In March, an employee at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou reported experiencing a variety of physical symptoms. The employee was screened by medical personnel at the consulate and in April went to the United States for further medical examination. On May 16, medical personnel in the United States informed the State Department that the employee's symptoms and clinical findings were consistent with the 24 previously identified cases from the U.S. Embassy in Havana. A State Department medical team is expected to arrive in Guangzhou on May 31 to begin medical screening for employees and their family members at the Consulate General, where more than 100 individuals have requested screening. We do not know what caused the symptoms, and an investigation is ongoing. The Department has undertaken a government- wide effort to find the cause behind this incident. Question. How is the State Department investigating the incident? Does it plan to convene an Accountability Review Board (ARB) for this incident in China? Answer. The Department has undertaken a government-wide effort to find the cause behind this incident. We continue to gather information to determine whether the criteria have been met for convening an Accountability Review Board. Question. Are you viewing this as directly connected to the attacks in Cuba? Answer. The medical indications of the incident in Guangzhou are very similar and entirely consistent with the medical indications that have taken place to U.S. citizens in Cuba. However, a direct link among cases has not been made. Question. Have other U.S. government employees in China complained of these symptoms? Answer. A State Department medical team is expected to arrive in Guangzhou on May 31 to begin medical screening for employees and their family members at Consulate General Guangzhou, where more than 100 individuals have requested screening. Question. How has the Chinese government responded to the situation so far? Answer. We have stressed our concern to the Chinese government, which has offered its support. The Chinese government has also assured us it will honor its commitments under the Vienna Convention to protect our diplomats. We are working with the Chinese government to look into this situation. Question. The human rights abuses occurring daily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of China are deeply disturbing and include mass surveillance, the involuntary collection of biodata, severe violations of religious freedom, and arbitrary arrests. Some estimates have as many as 500,000 to 1 million Uyghurs, Kazaks, Kyrgyz, and Hui currently detained in ``political education camps.'' Among those detained are dozens of family members of Radio Free Asia Uyghur Service journalists. The crackdown has intensified since Communist Party Chief Chen Quanguo came to leadership in 2017, having previously served in the same role in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, where he imposed onerous restrictions on the Tibetan population, including the imposition of so-called ``convenience police stations.'' Is the State Department acting on my written request for Ambassador Branstad and the U.S. Embassy in China to begin compiling relevant information regarding specific XUAR officials who are responsible for the arbitrary mass detention and abuse of Uyghurs, for possible sanctions under Global Magnitsky? Answer. I am deeply concerned by reports of an ongoing and deepening crackdown on Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang, China. The Department of State has a variety of tools to press for progress on human rights issues with China. We are looking at Global Magnitsky sanctions to combat serious human rights abuses and corruption on a global scale. We have used this authority in the past to sanction a Chinese official implicated in serious human rights abuses. I can assure you that we are committed to continuing our robust implementation of this program. Question. July 13 marks the 1-year anniversary of the death of Chinese political prisoner and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. His widow, Liu Xia, continues to languish unjustly under house arrest. A devastating audio recording of a phone call that she had with a friend in exile recently emerged in which she said: ``There is nothing I fear now. If I can't leave, I'll just die at home. Xiaobo has already left, there is nothing in this world for me. Dying is easier than living-- there is nothing simpler for me than to protest with death.'' What specifically is the State Department doing to secure her release? Answer. I remain deeply concerned about the well-being and freedom of Liu Xiaobo's widow, Liu Xia. I am also troubled by reports that her health is deteriorating. Ambassador Branstad and senior State Department officials are engaged in sustained public and private advocacy on behalf of Liu Xia in order to secure her freedom to movement, including in coordination with U.S. allies and partners. Question. Will you commit to issuing a public statement on the July 13th anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's death that calls for Liu Xia's release? Answer. Liu Xiaobo remains a powerful symbol for all who fight for freedom, democracy, and a better world. I will continue to support public advocacy to press for Liu Xia's well-being and freedom of movement, including on the 1-year anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's passing. Question. Has Ambassador Branstad invited her [Liu Xia] to visit the embassy? Answer. Ambassador Branstad and senior State Department officials are engaged in sustained advocacy on behalf of Liu Xia in order to secure her release from 8 years of unjustified house arrest and her ability to leave the country according to her wishes. I am also willing to leverage whatever requests for access and visits that will help Liu Xia. Question. Is the prospect of renaming the street in front of the Chinese embassy after Liu Xiaobo under consideration if the Chinese refuse to allow her [Liu Xia's] freedom of movement and travel? Answer. I am committed to making use of all tools at my disposal to press for Liu Xia's well-being and freedom of movement. Question. In order to remove the Maduro regime from Venezuela and return the country to the democratic order, we cannot be the lone voice on the issue. I was heartened to see the Lima Group on May 21, 2018, issue a declaration after the sham elections in Venezuela in which members pledged not to recognize the election, to recall ambassadors from Venezuela for consultations, and, critically, to warn other countries from taking on Venezuelan debt that wasn't approved by the National Assembly. Is the State Department coordinating efforts with the Lima Group in order to place maximum pressure on the Maduro regime? Answer. Yes. The Department is coordinating closely with like- minded democracies, including the Lima Group, to intensify the international community's efforts to urge the Maduro regime to restore peacefully Venezuela's democracy and resolve quickly the political, economic, social, and humanitarian crisis. We supported the Lima Group's condemnation of the May 20 presidential elections, which included concrete steps member countries will take to place additional pressure on the regime. At the Lima Group's invitation, the Department has participated in four of its six meetings, including my participation in the most recent one on May 14. I will continue to support future Lima Group activities as appropriate. Question. Following the latest round of U.S. sanctions, do you believe that countries like Russia and China will continue to take on Venezuelan debt? Answer. Russia and China have substantial investments in Venezuela. Both countries publicly congratulated Maduro following the sham election, making clear they intend to continue to protect and promote their interests in Venezuela, possibly at the expense of the Venezuelan people. Before this latest round of U.S. sanctions, however, and even before the August 2017 U.S. financial sanctions, it appeared neither China nor Russia was willing to take on large amounts of additional debt under current circumstances given the uncertainty of repayment and Venezuela's record of defaulting on debt. The Department follows this issue closely and sees no willingness on the part of other countries to add to Venezuela's unsustainable debt load. Other evidence, such as Venezuela's use of IMF special drawing rights to pay creditors and bartering natural resources for imports, indicates an absence of new credit. Question. Is the White House committed to not recognizing any debt not approved by the legitimate National Assembly? Answer. The Department is committed to supporting legitimate, democratic actors in Venezuela including the National Assembly, which is established under the Venezuelan constitution of 1999 and whose members were democratically elected, as it seeks to fulfill its mandate to review and approve any debt incurred by Venezuela. The Maduro regime continues to undermine the National Assembly's constitutional role. I support the Department's efforts to restore the National Assembly's duties and those of other legitimate democratic actors and institutions within Venezuela to help resolve the crisis. Question. Venezuela's economy is in a total freefall. The IMF forecasted in January that inflation would reach nearly 13,000% in 2018, while other measurements indicate that prices double every 17.5 days. The average Venezuelan has lost an average of 24 lbs. on the ``Maduro diet.'' Because they can't cast a legitimate ballot at home, many Venezuelans have decided to vote with their feet, flee their country's crisis, and seek refuge in neighboring countries. Over the past 3 years, nearly 600,000 Venezuelans have sought asylum or received an alternative legal status from other Western Hemisphere nations, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency, which estimates that up to 900,000 more may be residing in Colombia and other countries in the region without authorization. This massive migration is quickly burning through the available resources of their host countries. Is the Trump administration willing to provide assistance to the Venezuelan people? Answer. Since 2017 the United States has committed nearly $40 million to the regional response to the Venezuelan crisis, mostly to support Venezuelans in Colombia and Brazil. In coordination with the Lima Group, the OAS, and others, I stand ready to do more to support Venezuelans fleeing their country. The Department is also prepared to offer humanitarian support within Venezuela should the Maduro regime allow vital assistance to reach its people. I support ongoing discussions regarding how the Department can increase its support and urge others in the international community to do the same. The Venezuelan people are the focal point of our assistance efforts, as they suffer the most from this terrible crisis. Question. Have you staffed a coordinated State Department and USAID strategy to address the immediate humanitarian needs of Venezuelans, both inside Venezuela and in neighboring countries? Answer. The Department and USAID are working together to organize our response to the humanitarian needs of Venezuelans inside and outside the country. As you are aware, the United States is unable to get urgently needed supplies into the country due to the regime's rejection of humanitarian assistance. We are coordinating efforts with our international partners to provide additional assistance beyond the nearly $40 million we have offered since 2017, mostly to support assistance to Venezuelans in Colombia and Brazil, and I will continue to support these efforts. Question. How are you working with our friends and neighbors in the region to address the humanitarian crisis? Answer. I support the Department's efforts to work alongside the Lima Group, the EU, the Vatican, and other partners in the international community to address the regime-orchestrated humanitarian, economic, political, and social crises facing the Venezuelan people. In order for our efforts to be successful, I will continue to coordinate our humanitarian response with others to prevent further regional instability. I also stand ready to support any Lima Group efforts to discuss the migration and humanitarian crisis. Question. Is there a plan for assisting the legitimate and democratic future government of Venezuela with reconstruction efforts? Answer. Yes. The Department is considering additional options to support democratic actors who wish to develop an alternative vision for Venezuela's future that would include political and economic restructuring and support for a consensus plan to restore Venezuela's democracy. I support this effort to ensure legitimate democratic actors are coordinating with each other and have the necessary mechanisms in place to promote an interim, inclusive government that would enable a return to democracy, including free and fair elections. I am also prepared to support the Venezuelan opposition and civil society as they solidify a plan to provide a democratic future for the millions of Venezuelans suffering under the regime. Question. One of the unintended consequences of the flawed peace deal in Colombia has been a large increase in cocaine coming towards our borders. This was easy to see coming. President Santos, at the request of the FARC, halted aerial eradication efforts. Jesus Santrich, one of the FARC's leaders who is now a member of parliament, was recently accused by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of planning to smuggle eleven tons of cocaine into the United States. The FARC claims that if the Colombian government extradites Santrich, the peace deal would be at risk of ``truly failing.'' Do you believe there will be a large increase in cocaine entering the U.S. due to the Colombia peace deal? Answer. The success of the peace accord and our shared efforts against drug trafficking are inextricably linked. Increased coca cultivation can be attributed to multiple factors, including coca growers moving plantings to areas where aerial eradication was more difficult, FARC efforts to encourage new plantings from 2013 onwards, and the increasing use and effectiveness of social protests to block manual eradication. Colombia needs to do more to reverse the alarming growth in coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia. We are working with the Colombian government to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia to 50 percent of current levels by 2023. Question. Do you support the extradition of Jesus Santrich? Answer. I strongly support U.S. efforts to seek extradition of those who break U.S. laws wherever they might reside or travel so that they can be held accountable in U.S. courts, including FARC Secretariat member Seusis Pausivas Hernandez, alias Jesus Santrich. The United States and Colombia enjoy an outstanding law enforcement, security, and extradition relationship that has benefited the victims of transnational crime in both countries. Colombia extradited 2,124 individuals to the United States from 1997 through April 2018--by far the largest number of extraditions to the United States from any country during that period. Question. Do you support the continued robust foreign assistance to Colombia in order to help stem the flow of cocaine to the United States? Answer. Yes. We are working with the Colombian government to reduce cocaine production and coca cultivation in Colombia to 50 percent of current levels by 2023. The Department will urge the incoming Colombian government to enhance its counternarcotics policies, particularly through approaches such as forced eradication and by expanding capable government services and economic opportunities to vulnerable regions. Question. By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's eternal and undivided capital and moving our embassy there, the United States acknowledged reality and righted a historic wrong. Now that the embassy has officially opened, what are the State Department's plans going forward for a new permanent embassy facility in Jerusalem? Answer. The Department of State has started the process of site selection for a permanent U.S. Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. We are looking at all sites we currently lease or own as well as other options. We expect site selection, design, planning and permitting, and construction of a permanent embassy in Jerusalem to take 7 to 10 years. That timeframe reflects our firm commitment to the safety and security of U.S. diplomats and citizens abroad. Question. Does the Administration intend to request funds in the FY 2020 budget for building a permanent embassy? Answer. The construction of a new U.S. Embassy facility in Jerusalem is a high priority for the Administration. While decisions on the Administration's FY 2020 budget request have not yet been made, planning for the construction of a permanent facility for Embassy Jerusalem is ongoing and the Department intends to utilize available funding from the Capital Security Cost Sharing program, as necessary, to execute this project as design and construction plans are finalized. Question. There have been multiple reports of the Administration freezing about $200 million for Syria stabilization efforts, including assistance for landmine and rubble removal, restoring basic services, and to groups such as the White Helmets who are doing lifesaving work every day in the face of Assad's brutality. What was the reasoning for freezing these funds? Answer. In line with the President's request to review all bilateral foreign assistance for Syria, we continually reevaluate stabilization assistance levels and how they might best be utilized. We do this on an ongoing basis, as we do elsewhere around the world. The United States continues to work with our partners in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS to support immediate stabilization and early recovery efforts in areas liberated from ISIS control, including Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) removal, the restoration of essential services, and building local capacity to support longer-term sustainability. We appreciate the brave, life-saving humanitarian work the White Helmets undertake for the Syrian people and the sacrifices they have made. Question. What are the Administration's plans for these funds? Answer. In line with the President's request to review all bilateral foreign assistance for Syria, we continually reevaluate stabilization assistance levels and how best they might be utilized. We do this on an ongoing basis, as we do elsewhere around the world. Our objective in these reviews is to ensure our assistance is targeted, effective, and set at the appropriate level. Question. Do you expect assistance for stabilization efforts will resume in the near future? Answer. While we reevaluate appropriate assistance levels and how best they might be utilized, the Department of State and USAID continue to work with the international community, members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, and our partners on the ground to provide much-needed stabilization support to vulnerable areas in Syria. Question. Raif Badawi is a prominent Saudi blogger who was arrested in 2012 on charges of insulting religion through electronic channels and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. I have long advocated for his release. If Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud is serious about reform, releasing political prisoners such as Mr. Badawi would be an important first step. Additionally, it would help strengthen the strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia as we confront a number of issues, including terrorism and the growing threats from Iran. Have you raised Raif Badawi's case in your meetings with senior Saudi officials? Answer. Human rights issues are part of the Department of State's conversations with the Saudi Arabian government, and Mr. Badawi's case is raised in those discussions. U.S. officials encourage the Saudi government to recognize and respect the rights of its citizens to exercise freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. The Department of State condemns any punishment for exercising those rights. I will continue to raise these issues with the Saudi Arabian government and encourage the government to afford all necessary legal and juridical guarantees to protect the rule of law and fundamental human rights of all citizens and residents. Question. Will you commit to making Raif Badawi's case and those of the many other political prisoners wrongfully detained by the Saudi government a priority in our bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia? Answer. Human rights issues are part of the Department of State's conversations with the Saudi Arabian government, and Mr. Badawi's case is raised in those discussions. We also confer with like-minded countries on this and other related human rights issues. No one should be charged, prosecuted, or imprisoned for engaging in peaceful advocacy or political activities or freedom of expression, even when that expression is critical. We will continue to raise Mr. Badawi's case with the Saudi government at the highest levels and encourage the government to afford all necessary legal and judicial guarantees to protect the rule of law and fundamental human rights of all citizens and residents. ______ Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Ben Cardin Question. What is your strategy to support the people of Iran? What is the status of U.S. democracy and broadcasting programs in Iran? Do you think we can do a better job of getting our message directly to the Iranian people? Answer. Supporting the long-suffering Iranian people is a top priority for the U.S. government. We regularly speak out on Iran's human rights abuses. We work with like-minded partners to raise international pressure on Iran. We use every opportunity to speak directly to the Iranian people, like my recent interview with VOA's Persian language television service. We support the free flow of information in Iran. Our democracy programming for Iran funds a range of government accountability, civil society, anti-censorship, and human rights initiatives. We continue to hold the Iranian government accountable through sanctions for human rights abuses. Question. In March of this year, the Treasury Department issued sanctions against Russian oligarchs, officials, and entities in response to Russia's meddling. Can you commit to us here today that you will comply with the spirit and letter of the law and implement further sanctions against Russia for its meddling in our election? Answer. Together with the Department of the Treasury, the State Department is implementing CAATSA to impose costs on Russia for the totality of its malign behavior. We remain committed to the comprehensive implementation of CAATSA to achieve this end. Since January 2017, the U.S. government has sanctioned 205 individuals and entities for their involvement in Russian malign activities; 136 of these designations were made under Ukraine-related sanctions authorities codified by CAATSA. This number includes the most recent action on April 6, 2018, in which Treasury designated 7 Russian oligarchs and 12 companies they own or control, along with 17 senior Russian government officials. In addition, on March 15, 2018, Treasury designated five entities and 19 individuals under relevant authorities, including CAATSA Section 224 as well as Executive Order 13694, ``Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enable Activities'' for interference in the 2016 U.S. election and other malicious cyber-enabled activities. In coordination with the interagency, we continue to review potentially sanctionable activity and make appropriate determinations under mandatory provisions of CAATSA as well as related authorities. Question. Last month, our Committee held a hearing to examine U.S. policy in Yemen. During the hearing, I asked our Department of Defense witness how we are ensuring that our assistance to the coalition is helping to reduce civilian casualties when we don't in fact track those casualties. Mr. Karem responded that we have ``insight into Saudi targeting behavior,'' and that ``Saudi and Emirati targeting efforts have improved.'' As Secretary of State, how do you think civilian casualties impact our ability to help negotiate a political resolution to the Yemen crisis? Answer. We take all credible reports of civilian casualties seriously and are proactively engaging with the Coalition to assist it in reducing the likelihood of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure. We continue to press Saudi-led Coalition partners at the highest levels to mitigate the conflict's impact on civilians. Civilian casualties feed a cycle of violence between the parties, worsening the crisis. Ending the conflict in Yemen is in the national security interests of the United States and is the Administration's ultimate goal. To that end, the United States firmly believes that the only solution to the conflict in Yemen is a negotiated political settlement under U.N. auspices. Question. Do you agree that these casualties put America's reputation at risk? How would you suggest the U.S. address this risk? Answer. We take all credible reports of civilian casualties seriously and are proactively engaging with the Coalition to reduce the likelihood of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure. We have delivered courses for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) that specifically include training on law of armed conflict and air-to- ground targeting processes. The Saudi Ministry of Defense has committed to fund training for the RSAF from U.S. forces on minimizing civilian casualties, including as part of a $750 million, multi-year Foreign Military Sales training case. We continue to urge the Coalition and all parties to the conflict to allow full access for humanitarian relief and commercial goods to address Yemen's humanitarian crisis. Question. What steps are you taking to ensure a political resolution to this crisis? Answer. The Administration strongly supports and is working closely with U.N. Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths to revive political negotiations on an accelerated timeline. Our support is not passive. I, along with Secretary Mattis and senior White House officials, have met with the Special Envoy. I offered him our full support and will continue to engage with key regional partners, including the Saudis and Emiratis, to reinforce the Envoy's work. All sides, including the Houthis, will also have to make compromises in order to reach a political solution. Question. What is the status of the Administration's review of the Gaza humanitarian funding that was allowed for by the Taylor Force act? Answer. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians remains under review. I can assure you that Congress will receive briefings on the conclusions of the review when it is complete. Question. What is the prospect for restarting the Israeli- Palestinian peace process? Answer. The Administration is committed to achieving a lasting and comprehensive peace agreement and remains optimistic that progress can be made. Question. Do you expect the Administration to lay out its peace plan in the near future? Are you involved in those discussions? If so, what can you tell me about them? Answer. The Administration is hard at work on a plan that would offer a brighter future to both Israel and the Palestinians. That plan will be presented to the parties when the time is right. Question. How can we improve the situation for the majority of people in Gaza who simply want peace, security and prosperity? Answer. On March 13, the White House hosted a conference on Gaza with representatives from 20 countries, including Israel and many Arab states. Participants discussed a series of concrete proposals and projects that would address the urgent challenges faced by Palestinians in Gaza, including chronic shortages of electricity and water. Hamas has consistently put its own destructive priorities above those of Gaza's population. Despite that, the United States will continue to work with our partners to find ways improve the lives of the people of Gaza. Question. Anti-Semitism: There has been an acute global increase in anti-Semitic incidents over the last year, often taking place in the form of violent attacks, bomb threats, vandalism, and hateful rhetoric spanning all levels of society. It is critical that the United States lead with action to combat anti-Semitism at home and abroad. Last week, 41 Senators sent a letter to President Trump urging him to appoint a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism at the U.S. Department of State. The position has been vacant for over 15 months. Do you believe this is an important position within the State Department? If so, when do you expect to fill the position? Answer. The Trump administration considers the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to be an important position in documenting abuses against members of international Jewish communities and developing and implementing policies to combat global anti- Semitism. Combating anti-Semitism internationally is a critical human rights issue, and is a priority for this administration. I share your deep concern about rising anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere and I agree with you that the United States must continue to lead on combating this scourge. I am working to get a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti- Semitism appointed as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback and his team at the Office of International Religious Freedom have been meeting with Jewish leaders to hear their concerns, and urging governments in Europe and elsewhere to condemn anti-Semitism, provide appropriate levels of security to Jewish communities, and prosecute attacks on Jewish communities and individuals around the world. Question. Rule of Law: The Wilson Center recently published a report on the rule of law that calls for more U.S. government strategic investment and coordination of our rule of law programming across the interagency process. The report made clear that we must do more on this effort, because rule of law issues have an impact our national security. Leadership at the State Department on this issue is not in place. When can we expect to see the president nominate an Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights at the State Department? Answer. Filling vacant leadership positions is a top priority of mine, and I am working closely with the White House to fill this and other leadership positions. Question. Rule of Law: The Wilson Center recently published a report on the rule of law that calls for more U.S. government strategic investment and coordination of our rule of law programming across the interagency process. The report made clear that we must do more on this effort, because rule of law issues have an impact our national security. Leadership at the State Department on this issue is not in place. How does this the budget address this issue? Does the budget prioritize rule of law, governance, and anticorruption programing? Answer. Democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) assistance, including rule of law, good governance, and anti-corruption programming are critical for defending national security, fostering economic opportunities for the American people, and asserting U.S. leadership and influence. The National Security Strategy (NSS) makes clear that respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law is more likely to produce peace, stability, and prosperity at home and abroad and is therefore integral to our national security. The President's FY 2019 Request includes $1.4 billion for DRG assistance, including $392.1 million for rule of law and human rights and $615.9 million for good governance programming. The FY 2019 Request factors in the Administration's commitment to restraining overall non-defense discretionary spending, including foreign assistance resources. Therefore, the FY 2019 budget request is a reflection of U.S. national priorities while remaining within an overall budget topline. Question. Addressing Violent Conflict/atrocities: The 2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community found that ``poor governance, weak national political institutions, economic inequality, and the rise of violent non-state actors all undermine states' abilities to project authority and elevate the risk of violent--even regime-threatening--instability and mass atrocities.'' How does this budget prioritize efforts to address the root causes of violent conflict like poor rule of law, governance, weak political institutions, and economic inequality? What tools are your employing to prevent atrocities that would impact our national security interests? Answer. I believe it is in our national interest to work with partners to mitigate conflict and prevent mass atrocities around the world. These conflicts not only have dire consequences for the people living in the affected regions but also impose a significant security and financial burden on Americans and the international community. U.S. foreign assistance programs, particularly when combined with diplomatic efforts, can effectively help to mitigate and respond to these threats. Our budget request includes dedicated funding to advance ongoing conflict mitigation and stabilization efforts in key countries such as Libya, Nigeria, and Iraq. Question. The Department of State has a pivotal role in implementing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the United States' most cost-effective, far-reaching, and powerful tool for keeping human rights abusers and corrupt officials out of our country and financial system. Individuals sanctioned under this law have their dollar-denominated assets frozen and are banned from entering the United States. This enhances national security and increases deterrence against these crimes. It also shows solidarity with those fighting for human rights and democracy around the world by denying legitimacy to their tormentors. Do you agree that it is critical to designate funding towards implementing the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act? Answer. Yes. The Department of State's role in the implementation of Global Magnitsky encompasses every embassy, regional bureau, and many of our functional bureaus as well. Global Magnitsky is a powerful sanctions program, and no individual or region is immune from being held accountable for human rights abuse or corruption. The Administration appreciates continued Congressional support for this versatile tool. Question. I was pleased to see your statement last week marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia that the administration U.S. ``opposes criminalization, violence and serious acts of discrimination'' against LGBTI persons. I also appreciated the administration using the Global Magnitsky law to sanction officials responsible for the gruesome pogrom against gay men in Chechnya last December. Over the last year, in a number of places around the globe, LGBTQ people have been targeted, rounded up, tortured and even killed, just for being who they are. We've seen it not just in Chechnya, but also Egypt, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and other places. Based on that, what specifically will you commit to do to help LGBTQ people in Chechnya, Egypt and other places to ensure they are not targeted for abuse? What will you do to make your commitments a reality on a day-to- day basis? Answer. The horrible treatment of LGBTI persons is truly despicable. As my statement for the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia confirmed, ``the United States stands with people around the world in affirming the dignity and equality of all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics. Human rights are universal, and LGBTI people are entitled to the same respect, freedoms, and protections as everyone else.'' Under my leadership, the Department will continue to use a range of public and private actions to counter violence and severe discrimination against LGBTI persons including through bilateral and multilateral channels, by offering emergency assistance to LGBTI persons and organizations at risk, and by imposing visa restrictions and economic sanctions, as appropriate, against those who violate their human rights. Question. As you know, the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) plays a critical role at the State Department. The Department of State's efforts to respond to crises includes efforts to address refugee flight and solutions require the integration of diplomatic engagement and assistance. Moreover, most of the State's provision of humanitarian assistance are through investments in a network of international organizations, and the State Department's strong role in governing bodies like UNHCR and ICRC, for example, provide the United States with crucial influence over how those institutions operate in areas of concern to the U.S. government. Will you support the important work of the PRM bureau at the State Department, including both the humanitarian responsibilities as well as refugee resettlement? Answer. I support the important work of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). PRM fulfills a critical role in providing humanitarian aid and other assistance for refugees, conflict victims, and stateless people around the world and is an integral part of U.S. foreign policy efforts to prevent and respond to crises and conflict and to promote regional stability. PRM's work strengthens our worldwide diplomatic influence and gives the United States great impact in shaping global humanitarian responses to conflict. Question. We are hearing that USAID continues to experience unusual program and funding delays. Confusion caused by the President's Budget request and bureaucratic delays at the State Department risk rendering aid less effective and causing increased suffering for people on the ground. As a former Member of Congress, do you believe that when Congress appropriates funds that those be spent as set forth in the mandate in the Appropriations bills? Answer. The Department and USAID will use the funds appropriated by Congress consistent with the appropriations acts and other relevant statutes. The Department of State and USAID will continue to work diligently to ensure that funds appropriated by Congress are approved and obligated as quickly as possible while assuring compliance with applicable legal and other requirements. Question. What are the challenges you face in ensuring that the funds appropriated by Congress are moving quickly to the Missions to help deliver assistance to those in need? Answer. The Department of State and USAID work diligently to ensure that funds appropriated by Congress move as quickly as possible to embassies and missions to help them deliver assistance to those in need. We will continue to look for opportunities to improve the timeliness of this process while assuring compliance with applicable legal and other requirements. Question. What are your views on the Department spending $12 million on consultants for the 'redesign' process, while refusing to spend funds appropriated for critical programs, like democracy and governance funding, for example? Answer. The Administration is committed to restraining overall non- defense discretionary spending, including for the State Department and USAID. I understand the Redesign surfaced a number of proposals designed to improve efficiency and strengthen the tools available to our staff, consistent with the President's Management Agenda. This contract for analytical support was funded from the Department's operating resources and had no effect on funding for democracy and governance programs since they are funded from separate accounts. The Department remains committed to ensuring effectiveness of U.S. taxpayer dollars, driving efficiencies, and working on behalf of the American people to advance national security objectives and foreign policy goals. I look forward to continuing discussions with Congress on funding for our diplomacy and foreign assistance programs. Question. The President's budget request will leave the Department of Defense without strong U.S. diplomatic or development partners. Given the importance of cultivating institutional development expertise within our civilian workforce, I am deeply concerned about the proposed budget cuts to the State Department and USAID and the ongoing staffing vacancies. Now that the State Department-imposed hiring freeze has been lifted, are you confident that you will be able to put in place the 21st-century workforce your agency needs and demands? Answer. The Department's workforce is our most valuable asset, which is why on May 15 I lifted the Department's hiring freeze on the Foreign Service and Civil Service and authorized the Department of State to hire to the funded levels as determined by The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. This will result in hiring at or above attrition levels for the remainder of FY 2018. It is essential we ensure that our domestic bureaus and overseas missions have the flexibility to hire the most qualified people for positions that are essential to promoting the Department's mission and the foreign policy goals of the United States. Question. After almost a decade of transparency from bipartisan administrations (9 years) about country-by-country allocations for foreign assistance, there will be no such information submitted by the Administration as part of its FY19 budget request. The Administration has put forth a 43% cut to development programs but failed to share how various development sectors and priorities will be impacted by this and other cuts. As the Administration targets specific countries to be strategically transitioned away from foreign assistance this information is absolutely critical to congressional oversight. When will Congress have access to this information? We expect this Administration to maintain some commitment to transparency. Answer. The FY 2019 Congressional Budget Justification and the accompanying appendices and supplementary tables include country-by- country allocations for foreign assistance, as they have in previous years. Please see web address for the documents here: https:// www.state.gov/s/d/rm/c6112.htm. Please note that funds previously requested under the Development Assistance (DA) and Economic Support Fund (ESF) accounts are being requested as part of the Economic Support and Development Fund (ESDF) account. The ESDF account is requested in the FY 2019 budget in an effort to streamline accounts and ensure the most effective use of foreign assistance funding. The ESDF account will continue to support select programs and activities previously requested under the ESF and DA accounts, allowing the Department and USAID to better assess, prioritize, and target development-related activities in the context of broader U.S. foreign policy objectives and partnerships around the world. Question. Are the State Department and USAID capable of submitting country-by-country allocations for topline development and security assistance accounts for the record? If yes, we formally request that be submitted for the record. Answer. The FY 2019 Congressional Budget Justification and the accompanying appendices and supplementary tables include country-by- country allocations for foreign assistance, including for development and security assistance. Please see the web address for the documents here: https://www.state.gov/s/d/rm/c6112.htm. Please note that funds previously requested under the Development Assistance (DA) and Economic Support Fund (ESF) accounts are being requested as part of the Economic Support and Development Fund (ESDF) account. The ESDF account is requested in the FY 2019 budget in an effort to streamline accounts and ensure the most effective use of foreign assistance funding. The ESDF account will continue to support select programs and activities previously requested under the ESF and DA accounts, allowing the Department and USAID to better assess, prioritize, and target development-related activities in the context of broader U.S. foreign policy objectives and partnerships around the world. Question. Which countries are being strategically transitioned away from development assistance and under what timeline? How do these timelines align, if at all, with the FY19 budget request? Answer. The Administration is assessing how to optimize U.S. foreign assistance, including how to reorient development around the concept of ``self-reliance''--the ability for countries to plan, finance, and implement solutions to solve their own development challenges. USAID has identified a set of objective, third-party metrics to help assess its partner countries' relative levels of self- reliance. For the most self-reliant partners, USAID plans to have conversations about a strategic transition toward a partnership beyond the traditional donor-recipient paradigm. A strategic transition is not the immediate closeout of a mission--it means making data-informed and thoughtful decisions about the right role and footprint for USAID in that country. The process will include consultations with the inter- agency, Congress, the host country, and key stakeholders, which will guide the selection of target countries and subsequent design of the new partnership with selected countries. At present, in consultation with the Department of State, USAID is examining countries for possible strategic transitions. For example, one country selected is Albania, where State and USAID are working closely on a plan. The FY 2019 budget request was completed independently of this broader effort around self-reliance strategic transition. USAID intends to use the funding provided by Congress to advance self-reliance in all the countries in which it operates and prepare for strategic transitions in the ones deemed ready for a new type of partnership. Question. I am deeply concerned by what appears to be drastic cuts from FY18's budget request for funding for gender programs. These are critical investments to ensure that development is effective, and that women and girls are also included and respected. How do you justify shrinking the request by 52% from last year, which was already a large cut from FY17? Answer. Societies that empower women to participate fully in civic and economic life are more prosperous and peaceful. The United States will continue to support efforts to advance women's equality, protect the rights of women and girls, and promote women and girls' empowerment programs across the globe. I look forward to leading the Department as it continues to address critical issues including women's access to finance and protection from violence. Even as we have to make difficult trade-off decisions in a challenging budget environment, funding for gender programs remain a priority. The State-USAID's FY 2018 request for gender programs (including all women's leadership; gender-based violence; women, peace, and security; and women's economic empowerment programs) totaled just over $781 million. The State-USAID FY 2019 request for the same array of programs comes to over $875 million, reflecting a 12 percent increase. We look forward to continuing to empower and protect the rights of women and girls around the world through these invaluable programs. Question. With the recent CDC directive to focus on national health interests and the decision to not request any additional global health security funds once the Ebola funds expire, it seems that the State Department and USAID will need to do more to ensure HIV/AIDS and global health security programs will continue to prevent the spread of disease. With cuts to global health funding how do you plan to ensure that HIV/AIDS and global health security programs will continue in a robust manner? Answer. The Department of State and USAID are committed to ensuring that U.S. HIV/AIDS assistance and our global health security programs continue to stem the spread of disease. This commitment is reflected in the FY 2019 President's Budget, which requests significant funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other U.S. global health programs and proposes to redirect funding for global health security from remaining FY 2015 Ebola supplemental funds. The request for health assistance accounts for 25 percent of the Department of State's and USAID's total foreign assistance request. The United States will continue to lead international efforts that support global health security and control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but these health challenges should not just be met by contributions from the United States. U.S. assistance programs will continue leveraging our dollars to ensure that other donor countries and local partners are contributing their fair share. Question. Just last week, the Democratic Republic of Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola, with dozens of suspected cases and 17 deaths so far. Yet on the same day, the White House released its rescissions package, which included the rescission of $252 million for critical Ebola funding reserved for emergencies such as this. What message does this rescissions package send regarding U.S. leadership in global health, especially at a time of increasing global health crises and humanitarian conflicts that threaten America's national security interests? Answer. The Administration has taken swift action in response to the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). On May 22, the Administration announced that USAID is contributing $8 million towards interventions to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease, including $5 million I released from the international health emergency reserve fund. We commend the efforts of the Congolese and our international partners to confront this outbreak and help prevent a global health crisis and welcome future contributions from international partners and other countries toward this effort as well as long-term global health security efforts aimed at preventing future crises. With respect to the proposed $252 million rescission for Ebola, these funds were targeted for the West Africa Ebola crisis, which the WHO declared to be over in 2016. Separate from the funds being proposed for rescission, Congress has generously provided other funds, including the emergency reserve fund, which enable us to respond appropriately to emergency needs like the current DRC outbreak, if needed. Question. I was very concerned that this year's human rights report failed to offer a complete picture of the abuses that women face by censoring descriptions of reproductive rights violations. This year's human rights report details only cases of coercion, such as forced abortions or sterilizations--serious incidents that absolutely belong in the report, but far from the full range of reproductive rights violations that women face. Do you believe that denying women access to contraception--which could help them to plan their families and reduce maternal and infant deaths--is also violation of their rights? Answer. I support the Administration's efforts to address the maternal health and voluntary family planning needs of women around the world. Enabling couples to determine whether, when, and how often to have children is vital to safe motherhood and healthy families. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) finances programs that help individuals make a free and informed choice about having children by providing access to and information about a variety of voluntary family planning options. The United States remains the largest donor to women's health around the world, and the President's Budget Request for FY 2019 includes $302 million for voluntary family- planning programs. Question. The White House has indicated that it will propose a package of rescissions targeting funds appropriated by the FY18 Omnibus bill at some point this year. I am concerned that, given the Administration's recent budget proposals, these cuts will fall disproportionately on the State Department and USAID, which make up just over 1% of all federal spending. I am also concerned that the submission of multiple rescissions packages is meant to, in part, significantly delay FY 2018 appropriated funding. Can you assure us that, as budget discussions in the Administration move forward, you will advocate for State and USAID to receive the funding they need to carry out their multifarious mandates? Answer. As I said in my testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 23, I will ensure that the State Department has every dollar it needs to achieve its mission around the world. The Department remains committed to ensuring effectiveness of U.S. taxpayer dollars; driving efficiencies; and working on behalf of the American people to advance national security objectives and foreign policy goals. Question. Will you commit to ensuring operating plans mandated by law are transmitted to Congress in an expeditious matter and not slow- walked under the guise of being part of potential future rescissions packages? Answer. Yes. The Department will seek to provide the operating plans required under the annual appropriations act in a timely manner. Question. U.N. peacekeeping operations have been shown to be more cost-effective than other forms of military intervention. A report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in February 2018 compared the cost of the current U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with a hypothetical operation undertaken by the U.S. military. Overall, the GAO analysis showed that peacekeeping is eight times less expensive for U.S. taxpayers than the U.S. going it alone, while also highlighting the positive burden- sharing elements of U.N. peace operations. Isn't this an example of what the Administration is repeatedly calling for--cost effective investments in the U.N., which other countries participate in and advance U.S. interest? Will you commit to taking the views of our military into consideration with regards to future decisions you make regarding U.N. peacekeeping operations? Answer. U.N. peacekeeping is a powerful tool to share the burden of addressing global challenges to international peace and security and provides a collective benefit to the entire international community. However, reform is necessary to achieve smarter peacekeeping operations that can more effectively and efficiently address conflicts, support political solutions, and meet the needs of people on the ground. I will continue to work closely with Secretary Mattis on decisions regarding the future of U.N. peacekeeping. Question. In December 2017, the General Assembly approved the 2018- 2019 U.N. Regular Budget, which covers the organization's core activities and expenses. Overall, the budget for this 2-year cycle totals $5.397 billion, a reduction of $285 million (5%) from the final 2016-2017 appropriation. These savings are significant, and wouldn't have been possible without strong U.S. engagement and creative diplomatic maneuvering. However, despite the fact that the U.S. is getting a lot of what it wants out of these budget negotiations, the Administration's FY19 request fails to fully fund our Regular Budget assessments. What message does it send to other countries--including our allies--when they agree to cuts proposed by the U.S. and we then fail to pay our bills? Answer. The Administration proposed reductions in U.S. contributions to the United Nations and other international organizations. This is consistent with the stated objective of achieving greater burden-sharing by other countries. The actual contributions that the Department will pay depend on the amounts of funding that Congress appropriates and any conditions or restrictions that apply to those funds. Question. Don't you think it makes it harder for us to generate the goodwill necessary to push forward on our U.N. reform agenda over the long term? Answer. The President's budget proposal for FY 2019 reflects the U.S. commitment to spur long-needed reforms and more equitable burden- sharing among U.N. member states. As President Trump told U.N. Security Council ambassadors on April 24, 2017, ``the United Nations has tremendous potential,'' but ``for the United Nations to play an effective role in solving challenges, big reforms will be required.'' By demanding fiscal discipline, the United States is leading the United Nations to become more effective and efficient in achieving its mission and reducing conflict and violence around the world. Question. Earlier this year, the Administration announced that it is withholding the bulk--approximately 83 percent--of the U.S.'s annual contribution to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Established by the U.N. General Assembly in 1949, UNRWA provides an array of critical services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. As the U.S. has traditionally seen it to be directly in our national interest and that of Israel, we have been UNRWA's largest financial contributor. The loss of U.S. funding puts all of these programs in jeopardy, threatening a humanitarian crisis and leaving a vacuum that could fuel instability and boost extremist groups like Hamas. How could such outcomes possibly be positive for our national security interests in the region? Answer. We are committed to promoting security and stability in the Middle East, including the security of our allies Israel and Jordan. The Administration regularly reviews our foreign assistance to identify how to leverage it to achieve our policy objectives, including global and regional security, and to ensure that it is providing value to the U.S. taxpayer. The ongoing review of our assistance to the Palestinians, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is no different. The State Department looks forward to briefing you when the review is completed. The United States remains committed to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, as demonstrated by our voluntary contribution of $60 million to UNRWA in January; however, as across the U.N., the United States should not be asked to bear a disproportionate share of UNRWA's costs. The State Department has called on others donors to do their part to advance regional security and stability. ______ Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Todd Young Question. What is your assessment of Iran's current activities in Syria (e.g. size, disposition, activities)? Answer. Iran views Syria and its relationship with the Assad regime as crucial to its supplying of weapons to Lebanese Hizballah and as key to its regional influence. Iran supports the brutal Assad regime in Syria with weapons, financing, and training. This assistance has prolonged the conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Iran has funneled large numbers of Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani, and other foreign Shi'a fighters to the battlefield to support the Syrian regime and has sent members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force to Syria as ``advisors,'' many of whom have taken part in direct combat operations. Iran's continued support to the Assad regime has enabled it to avoid seeking a constructive, negotiated end to the conflict. Question. How do those Iranian activities in Syria threaten Israel, the United States, and our interests? Answer. In Syria, Iranian-backed forces are perpetuating the Assad regime's brutality against the Syrian people and contributing to instability that spills into neighboring countries and floods Europe with refugees. We are deeply concerned that Iran and Lebanese Hizballah seek a long-term presence in Syria to threaten Israel and other regional states. Their network to transfer arms from Tehran to Hizballah increases the risk of war and contravenes several U.N. Security Council resolutions. We are equally committed to ensuring that Iran and Hizballah do not establish a presence in Syria from which to threaten Israel. Our commitment to Israel's security remains rock solid, as it has for decades. Question. Does Iran rely on a logistical pipeline to sustain its activities in Syria? Answer. Iran continues to provide arms, financing, and training to the Syrian regime and has sent large numbers of foreign fighters, advisors, and weapons to assist in the fighting. Iran has also provided financial support to Hizballah, which fuels Hizballah's extensive role in the conflict. Iran's assistance has served to prolong the fighting in Syria and impeded attempts at a lasting peace settlement. Iran has utilized both an overland supply line and an air route to provide support to its allies in Syria and the Levant. Question. Can you describe that Iranian logistical pipeline to Syria? Is it via ground routes through Iraq? Is it air or sea routes? Answer. Iran continues to provide military equipment, financing, and training to the Assad regime via several ground supply routes and an air route over Iraq's air space. Question. What more can the U.S. and our partners do to make it more difficult for Iran to logistically support its malign activities in Syria? Answer. We will continue to work with key partners to prevent Iran from establishing permanent overland routes through Iraq to supply its allies in Syria. We continue to support Iraq's government in implementing its plan to right-size, integrate, and professionalize the Popular Mobilization Forces. We are working to help Iraq restore a capable border security presence at Iraq's borders in an effort to limit Iran's ability to transport material and manpower to the Syrian regime and its allies. Question. Consistent with international and U.S. law, precedent, and Supreme Court rulings, in order to keep enemy combatants off the battlefield and to gather necessary intelligence, do you agree that it is important for the United States to have the means to conduct law of war detention of enemy combatants for the duration of the military conflict? Answer. I believe the United States must have the means to conduct law-of-war detention of enemy combatants. As the Supreme Court has stated, the capture and detention of enemy belligerents to prevent their return to the battlefield has long been recognized as an ``important incident[s] of war''. Today, the United States remains engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, and associated forces, including with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Law-of-war detention and criminal prosecutions are important tools in preventing members of these armed groups from returning to the battlefield. ______ Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Tom Udall Question. You stated that the State Department is using resources to work with the Commerce Department on this issue. Please describe how much of the budget and which offices within the State Department are currently working with the Commerce Department to address the ZTE issue. Answer. The Department does not have a budget devoted to ZTE. Our work with the Department of Commerce on ZTE issues is spread across multiple bureaus as part of regular Department and embassy staff work. Department of State bureaus with expertise on ZTE issues include Economic and Business Affairs, East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Legal Adviser, Intelligence and Research, and International Security and Nonproliferation. Question. Would the State Department be open to a dialogue with Cuban officials to help improve air safety and upgrade aircraft to avoid another catastrophe? Are you currently or planning to work with the FAA and commercial aerospace companies to address aviation safety shortfall in order to avoid another tragedy in Cuba? Answer. The National Security Presidential Memorandum ``Strengthening the Policy of the United States Toward Cuba'' announced by President Trump in June 2017 specifically identifies civil aviation as a national interest for bilateral engagement with Cuba. The Department therefore continues to support ongoing dialogues between U.S. civil aviation technical agencies--such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Transportation Security Administration-- and Cuban counterparts to improve the safety and security of air travel to and from Cuba. In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA have been working closely, and successfully, with Cuban authorities on the May 18 B-737 crash investigation in Cuba. I understand the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security, which administers the Export Administration Regulation, generally approves license applications for the export to Cuba of items necessary to ensure the safety of civil aviation and the safe operation of commercial aircraft engaged in international air transportation, including the export of aircraft leased to Cuban state-owned enterprises. I am also aware the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, administered by the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, authorize the provision of civil aviation safety- related services to Cuba and Cuban nationals, wherever located, to ensure the safety of civil aviation and the safe operation of commercial aircraft. Question. I want to express my strong support for Peace Colombia. I had a productive discussion with the Colombian Ambassador recently, and feel strongly that we need to ensure funding is robust to continue the peace process and prevent a return to fighting in the region. Do you plan to keep our agreements with the Colombian government and continue our strong partnerships as part of this budget agreement? Answer. The United States strongly supports Colombia's efforts to secure a lasting peace. Colombia remains one of the United States' strongest partners in the region, and successful implementation of the peace accord is in the national interest of both nations. U.S. assistance plays a key role in supporting implementation. The FY 2019 request provides important and necessary funds to advance U.S. interests in Colombia, particularly on peace accord implementation and counternarcotics. I will continue to work with the Colombian government to support the implementation of the peace accord, strengthen rule of law, and reverse the alarming growth in coca cultivation and cocaine production in Colombia. Question. You were not part of the decision to cut humanitarian assistance when this budget was first announced. So will you support Congressional efforts to increase these accounts to better meet the humanitarian needs of displaced people around the world? Answer. In FY 2017 and FY 2018, Congress generously provided significant resources to respond to humanitarian challenges and the tremendous growth in needs. However, this rate of growth is not sustainable within broader fiscal constraints. We have worked to ensure significant support for humanitarian assistance by keeping our humanitarian assistance request proportionally the same amount as it was in FY 2017 (25 percent) as in FY 2019 (24 percent). Over the last 10 years (FY 2008-FY 2017), funding for humanitarian assistance has grown by $5.3 billion (almost 130 percent) while the rest of the foreign assistance budget has not been able to keep pace, particularly funding for our development efforts to prevent humanitarian crises from occurring in the first place. America will continue to show leadership on humanitarian response; however, in a context of fiscal constraints and competing priorities across the federal budget, it is imperative that others step up, do more, and share this burden. The State Department and USAID will continually use all resources made available to support populations with the greatest humanitarian need while also focusing on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations, both by the U.S. agencies and implementing partners, including international organizations. Question. You stated that the sonic attack reported in China against a U.S. government employee was quote ``very similar'' and ``entirely consistent'' with the reported sonic attacks against diplomats in Havana. The State Department's rush to judgment in Cuba led to a cut in embassy staff in Cuba which ultimately hurts U.S. citizens and companies visiting the island. Is the State Department prepared to do the same in China, or are such rash decisions only reserved for our dealings with Cuba? Yes or no? Answer. The Department is taking this incident very seriously and is working to determine the cause, scope, and impact of the incident. We have stressed our concern to the Chinese government, which has offered initial support. The Department has undertaken a government- wide effort to find the cause behind this incident. Question. Taking an expansive view of what we approved after 9/11, the political objective is to stop terrorism at a broad level. However, a more restrictive view--and the view that was sold to the Congress when I voted in favor of the 9/11 AUMF--was that we aimed to punish and deter the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, specifically Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Which view do you believe is the appropriate political objective for today, or is there something in between that the Congress should consider? Answer. Our most important obligation is to defend the Homeland, including from terrorist attack. The President has said that we must ensure the enduring defeat of terrorist organizations that threaten the United States, including ISIS and al-Qa'ida. As the National Security Strategy states, we will work to disrupt plots, take direct action, eliminate safe havens, sever terrorists' sources of strength, combat terrorist radicalization and recruitment, and we will work with our partners to share the responsibility in fighting these barbaric groups. Question. In your opinion, do you believe that the 12 points you laid out earlier this week represent political objectives worthy of war? Answer. The Administration is committed to using diplomacy to help solve the greatest challenges our nation faces, even with our staunchest adversaries. The Administration is fully aware of Iran's destabilizing behaviors in Syria and elsewhere in the region, which includes providing arms, financing, and training to the regime, and funneling foreign fighters, including Hizballah, to support the Assad regime. Through diplomatic and economic pressures, the Administration has strengthened its comprehensive strategy to counter malign Iranian influence in the region including sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, countering Iran's cyber aggression, and asking countries to pressure Iran to end its destabilizing activities. Question. Should the United States send its sons and daughters to war to coerce Iran to capitulate on these demands if President Trump's violation of the JCPOA fails to garner worldwide support? Answer. The Administration is committed to using diplomacy to help solve the challenges facing our nation. The President said he is ready, willing, and able to negotiate a new deal with Iran. But the deal is not the objective. Our goal is to protect the American people. Question. As a matter of sequence, should the President seek the assent of Congress before engaging in hostilities inside countries, especially where such actions could lead to a wider conflict, such as in Syria or Iran? Isn't that the role for Congress the Constitution calls for? Answer. I respect Congress's role in authorizing the use of military force and in providing oversight on these issues. Generally, I think the interests of the nation are best served when the President and the Congress act together to provide a clear and unambiguous legal authorization to support the military as they defend our national security interests. The efforts of the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Syria aim to defeat ISIS. The legal authority to use military force against ISIS in Syria includes the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force. The United States does not seek to fight Iran. The Trump administration is committed to using diplomacy to help solve the greatest challenges our nation faces, even with our staunchest adversaries. Question. In your view, does the 2002 or 2001 AUMF provide President Trump with Congressional authorization to use military force against Iranian militias present in Iraq or Syria? I'm not referring to a situation in which U.S. troops find themselves under attack and clearly have the authority to fire back at their attackers. Answer. The efforts of the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS aim to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The United States does not seek to fight the Syrian government or pro-Syrian-government forces, including Iran. While I am not in a position to speculate about how the authorities provided in the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations to Use Military Force (AUMFs) may apply to hypothetical situations, the Administration has been clear that the 2001 AUMF authorizes the use of force against al- Qa'ida and associated forces, including against ISIS, including in Iraq and Syria. We have also been clear in indicating that the 2001 AUMF also provides authority to use force to defend U.S., Coalition, and partner forces engaged in the campaign to defeat ISIS to the extent such use of force is a necessary and appropriate measure in support of these counter-ISIS operations. Question. In withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), President Trump asserted that Iran ``supports terrorist proxies and militias'' including ``the Taliban, and al-Qa'ida.'' Moreover, in your speech announcing a new strategy for Iran, you stated that Iran ``continues to serve as sanctuary for al-Qa'ida.'' It is my belief that neither the 2001 nor 2002 authorizations to use military force, each passed over 15 years ago to deal with threats posed by al- Qa'ida and the government of Iraq, do not authorize any future military action against the government of Iran nor any Iranian governmental entities in any way, shape of form. Is it the administration's view that the 2001 or 2002 authorizations give the administration authorization to use military force against Iran under any circumstances? I'm not referring to a situation in which U.S. troops find themselves under attack and clearly have the authority to fire back at their attackers. Answer. The Trump administration is committed to using diplomacy to help solve the greatest challenges our nation faces, even with our staunchest adversaries. While I am not in a position to speculate about how the authorities provided in the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs may apply to hypothetical situations, the Administration has been clear that the 2001 AUMF authorizes the use of force against al-Qa'ida and associated forces, including against ISIS, including in Iraq and Syria. We have also been clear in indicating that the 2001 AUMF also provides authority to use force to defend U.S., Coalition, and partner forces engaged in the campaign to defeat ISIS to the extent such use of force is a necessary and appropriate measure in support of these counter-ISIS operations. Question. You have repeatedly expressed your confidence that governments in Europe and Russia would eventually join the U.S. in an anti-Iran coalition, but our European allies have sharply criticized Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran deal. How do you envision getting our allies to support the U.S. by honoring new U.S. sanctions? Answer. The United States and Europe agree on the full range of threats Iran poses to our collective interests, including aggressive ballistic missile development and proliferation; support for terrorism, extremism, and regional proxies; destabilizing behavior in the region; and, human rights abuses against the Iranian people. Since the President's announcement of U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, we have and will continue to increase our engagement with our friends and allies in Europe, believing our shared values and commitment to confront common challenges should transcend any disagreements over the JCPOA. We anticipate that our cooperative efforts to address Iran's destabilizing behavior and its threats to regional stability will not only continue but also expand. This is a period of real opportunity for the United States and Europe to address our fundamental difficulties with the Iranian government and together seek a new, stable security architecture in the region. Question. John Bellinger, who testified before this committee last week wrote during the last Presidential campaign that, quote ``Trump has urged other policies that are dangerous, if not illegal, from a national security perspective.'' The President said he would target the families of ISIS terrorists, threatening: ``you have to take out their families.'' Targeting civilians not engaged in hostilities is a war crime. The President's rhetoric is not only anti-American, but could be used by other countries to justify torture. Secretary Pompeo, given this rash rhetoric, should a new authorization for military force specifically restrict the President from taking illegal action against non-combatants, and ensure that basic legal rights are protected? Answer. I firmly believe that the U.S. armed forces must comply with the law of armed conflict and are fully committed to doing so. The United States is also clear that torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment are categorically prohibited under domestic and international law, including international human rights law and the law of armed conflict, and that these prohibitions exist everywhere and at all times. I do not think it would be necessary or appropriate for any new authorization for use of military force to contain the restrictions you have described. Question. We face legitimate terrorist threats and terrorist groups that are continually evolving. How can the United States gather intelligence on these groups and attack when necessary to protect the homeland without placing us in increased danger or without authorizing any president to take action against a country that could lead to wider war? Can and should this be done utilizing air, space, sea-based, and intelligence assets without placing troops directly into hostilities that can spiral out of control? Answer. The U.S. government's Intelligence Community (IC) marshals the intelligence resources to monitor, evaluate, and analyze intentions and capabilities of a variety of malign actors to provide warning, and to assist in countering global threats. The Bureau of Intelligence and Research, as the IC element within the Department of State, is charged with ensuring foreign policy and international security equities are appropriately represented within IC priorities. Issues regarding the broader allocation and utilization of IC resources would be more appropriately addressed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. ______ Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator John Barrasso Question. Yesterday, the State Department issued a warning to Americans in China after a possible sonic attack against a U.S. government employee. Media reports indicate that one U.S. government employee in China reported ``subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.'' This sounds very similar to the medical issues experienced by U.S. government personnel in Cuba, which resulted in serious health problems for individuals. I am concerned about the health, safety, and well-being of our Embassy diplomats and personnel. When did the U.S. employee in China first report the medical problem? Please describe the timeline of events and actions taken to respond to the attack. Answer. The health, safety, and well-being of U.S. government employees and their family members are our greatest concern. In March, an employee at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou reported experiencing a variety of physical symptoms. The employee was screened by consulate medical personnel and in April went to the United States for further examination. On May 16, medical personnel informed the State Department that the clinical findings were consistent with previous cases from the U.S. Embassy in Havana. After coordination within the State Department and between the State Department and Mission China, on May 23 Mission China published a notice to employees and a consular alert, and convened ``town hall'' meetings for employees. Question. Do we know the cause or source of the attack? Answer. The Department has undertaken a government-wide effort to find the cause behind this incident. We currently do not know the underlying source of the incident. Question. Have there been any other reports from Americans? Answer. We have no verified reports that private U.S. citizens have experienced these phenomena. The Department of State issued a Health Alert on May 23, 2018. We disseminate alerts to inform U.S. citizens of specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as health conditions, and provide clear actions U.S. citizens should take if they travel or reside there. We urge all travelers to review our information on travel.state.gov before they travel. We will provide additional updates as they are available. Question. Who do we believe is responsible for the incidents in China? Answer. The Department is taking this incident very seriously and is working to determine the cause and impact of the incident. We are working with the Chinese government to look into this situation and have no further information to provide at this time. Question. What is the U.S. government's determination of the cause and entity responsible for the sonic attacks that occurred in Cuba? Answer. Criminal and medical investigations into the attacks in Cuba are ongoing as part of a government-wide effort, but to date, we have been unable to make a determination regarding the cause and perpetrators of the attacks. We continue to demand Cuba fulfill its obligations under the Vienna Conventions to take all appropriate steps to protect our diplomats in Havana. Question. The Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister submitted a request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to immediately open an investigation against Israel dealing with the situation on the Gaza border last week. Under a U.S. law enacted in 2015, the PLO office in the United States must be closed if the Palestinians try to influence the ICC to initiate a judicially authorized investigation or actively support such an investigation that subjects Israeli nationals to an investigation for alleged crimes against Palestinians. What is the current status of the PLO office in Washington, DC? Answer. The Secretary of State has been delegated authority to make certain statutory certifications to waive restrictions on the PLO Office in Washington. Following statements about the ICC made by Palestinian leadership, a new waiver was not issued in November at the time that the most recent waiver lapsed. The Department of State advised the PLO Office to limit its activities to those related to efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and to not make any new long-term commitments such as leases or contracts. The status of the PLO Office has not changed since November. The Administration continues to evaluate the situation and will determine next steps accordingly. Question. Does the Administration plan to take action to close the PLO office because the Palestinian Authority requested an investigation against Israel at the ICC? Answer. This Administration firmly opposes Palestinian actions against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which are counterproductive to the cause of peace. We have made our position clear to the Palestinians and to members of the international community. We do not believe the Palestinians were eligible to accede to the Rome Statute and join the ICC. The Administration continues to evaluate the situation and will determine next steps accordingly. Question. Are the Palestinians engaging in direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel? Answer. The Palestinians are not currently engaging in direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel. The Administration is firmly committed to pursuing a comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and remains optimistic that progress can be made. We continue to urge the Palestinians to engage constructively. The Administration remains hard at work on a plan that would offer a brighter future to both Israel and the Palestinians, and will present that plan when the time is right. Question. I appreciate the efforts of the United States to support a stable, peaceful and prosperous Africa . . . . How does the State Department manage its engagement on emerging threats and security issues with African governments while also ensuring the same governments are addressing the needs of their people, including the rule of law, human rights and individual freedoms? Answer. There is a critical link between democracy, human rights, and governance (DRG) and peace and security within Africa. Without a sustained diplomatic effort and programs emphasizing critical human rights norms, democratic processes, and good governance, peace and security in the region will remain unattainable. The State Department and USAID continue to support core DRG programming in the region. The Administration also seeks to address the underlying drivers of conflict and hunger through programs including food security and resilience work under USAID's Food for Peace, the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy, implemented by Feed the Future, as well as other programs. The Departments of State and Defense also recognize that human rights-sensitive security assistance is important to efforts to strengthen democracy and governance in Africa. Continued engagement with our security partners enhances our ability to mitigate human rights abuses and security force overreach by emphasizing professional, human rights-respecting security forces and civil control of the security sector. It also allows for an ongoing dialogue, and frank conversations, about shared goals and objectives at high levels of government that are often otherwise closed to international engagement and cooperation. Question. In 2012, the United States joined leaders of the Western Hemisphere in committing to an initiative called ``Connecting the Americas 2022.'' The initiative's aim was to achieve universal access to electricity through enhanced electrical interconnection by 2022. What is the status of this initiative and what progress has been made in reaching the initiative's goals? Answer. The Department continues to promote efforts under Connecting the Americas 2022 through the U.S. Strategy for Central America, which supports advancing electricity integration in the region to help build stronger economies, as well as addressing the underlying economic conditions contributing to illegal immigration and illicit trafficking. U.S. engagement since 2012 has accelerated regional energy integration, strengthened Central America's power sector, and advanced electricity integration efforts with Mexico and between Andean region countries. The Department will continue advancing efforts through energy diplomacy and foreign assistance, which have helped promote opportunities that created new markets for U.S. energy companies. Question. What kind of technical assistance and capacity building programs is the United States currently providing to strengthen regional electricity market, power generation, and regulatory institutions in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Andean region? Answer. The Department manages a number of assistance programs in the region. In Central America, U.S. programs aim to strengthen power sector governance, regulation, and technical efficiency to strengthen natural gas use and regional electricity integration. In the Caribbean, we support efforts to reduce financial reliance on Venezuela, including through the development of resilient and cost-effective power systems in hurricane-impacted nations and development of geothermal power generation in St. Kitts and Nevis. In the Andes, we continue to develop a regional electricity market, including assessments of regional interconnections and power market structures among Argentina, Chile, and Peru. ______ Responses of Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Questions Submitted by Senator Cory Booker Question. ENVOY TO SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN: Mr. Secretary, I shared with you my concerns about the dismantling of key positions and offices in the State Department under this Administration. One such office that has been unstaffed in this Administration is the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Since the start of the civil war in 2013, 50,000 people have been killed, 4 million people have been displaced, 7 million--over half the country have needed humanitarian assistance just this year and 5 million are on the brink of starvation. Women and girls continue to suffer the worst of the conflict. A report by the International Rescue Committee and George Washington University found up to 65 percent of women and girls said they had experienced sexual or physical violence. The war in South Sudan is influenced by Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. This transnational nature of the crisis requires a diplomat who has the mandate to work across borders. A Special Envoy can bring the much needed focus and leadership to the crisis that would be nearly impossible for the U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan. I appreciated your commitment to give the issue serious consideration to appointing a Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan during the hearing. Now that you have had a chance to review these issues, can you commit to appointing a special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan? Answer. The people of South Sudan deserve a government that is able and willing to lead the country to a stable future. The United States supports regional efforts toward a negotiated arrangement for an inclusive transitional government that reflects South Sudan's diversity and provides checks and balances on political and economic power. I am committed to analyzing the diplomatic tools available to achieve this goal effectively and efficiently, including by analyzing the value and impact of a special envoy. Question. RESCISSION AND EBOLA: This month, the Democratic Republic of Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola, with dozens of suspected cases and 28 deaths so far. Yet at on the same day as we learned about this global health emergency, the White House released its rescissions package, which included the rescission of $252 million for critical Ebola funding reserved for an emergency such as this. What message does this rescissions package send regarding U.S. leadership in global health, especially at a time of increasing global health crises and humanitarian conflicts that threaten America's national security interests? Answer. The Administration has taken swift action in response to the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On May 22, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar II announced a contribution of $8 million towards interventions to help prevent the spread of this deadly disease, including $3 million from Global Health Security Agenda funds at USAID and $5 million I released from the Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious-Disease Outbreaks. We commend the efforts of the Congolese and our international partners to confront this outbreak to prevent a global health emergency and welcome immediate contributions from other donors, as well as long-term investments under the Global Health Security Agenda aimed at preventing future crises. With respect to the proposed $252 million rescission, Congress directed these funds for the West Africa Ebola crisis, which the World Health Organization declared over in 2016. Congress has generously provided other resources, separate from the funds proposed for rescission, including the Emergency Reserve Fund, which enable us to respond quickly to emergency needs like the current outbreak in the DRC, if needed. Question. In 2014, the Ebola epidemic cost the international community around $4 billion, of which the U.S. contributed $2.5 billion. $252 million seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the billions that will be needed if there is another major outbreak. If this Administration is as concerned about making sure that we are using our aid money efficiently, does it not make sense to maintain focus on our response capabilities so that Congress is not back here approving billions of dollars in an emergency supplemental? Answer. We are committed to preventing, detecting, and responding to emerging global health threats posed throughout the world, including the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been working on global health security and emerging health threats for many years. USAID and HHS have excellent scientific and technical staff devoted to this work, including experts deployed now to the DRC, and will continue to lead efforts that support global health security. These investments have already increased the ability of host-government partners to prepare for and respond to dangerous infectious diseases, as evidenced by the professional and coordinated response led by the Congolese government to this and previous Ebola outbreaks. U.S. assistance programs will continue to leverage our dollars to ensure other donor countries and local partners are contributing to these truly global challenges. Question. SYRIA: Last month, the President announced he would freeze $200 million in stabilization assistance. Stabilizing gains against ISIS through targeted programs to remove mines and explosive devices, deploy electricity, and provide basic services is essential to getting displaced Syrians back to their homes and to dealing the final blow to ISIS. The military recognizes the critical role that these programs play. U.S. Central Command Commander General Joseph Votel said during a January visit to Raqqa that stabilizing areas formerly controlled by ISIS, ``is also about removing the conditions that lead to things like insurgency, that lead to instability. So, from a military standpoint we're very keen to make sure that the follow- through in our operations is completed as effectively as the military operation.'' Freezing this funding also puts our approximately 2,000 troops in Syria and 8,000 troops in Iraq at greater risk. If ISIS regains strength in Syria, its reach will quickly spread across the porous Syria/Iraq border. Additionally, the absence of U.S. leadership to help stabilize areas cleared of ISIS control could result in others--including Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime--filling the vacuum to the detriment of our national security objectives in Syria and the region. What are your objectives for stabilization in Syria? Answer. The United States is working with our partners in the Global Coalition to Defeat-ISIS to support immediate stabilization and early recovery efforts in areas liberated from ISIS control, including Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) removal, the restoration of essential services and building local capacity to support longer-term sustainability. Our stabilization activities help ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS through support for representative, legitimate local governance and service provision in liberated areas. The Administration has repeatedly emphasized that we are committed to completing the fight against ISIS and rooting out its remaining havens. Question. SYRIA: Last month, the President announced he would freeze $200 million in stabilization assistance. Stabilizing gains against ISIS through targeted programs to remove mines and explosive devices, deploy electricity, and provide basic services is essential to getting displaced Syrians back to their homes and to dealing the final blow to ISIS. The military recognizes the critical role that these programs play. U.S. Central Command Commander General Joseph Votel said during a January visit to Raqqa that stabilizing areas formerly controlled by ISIS, ``is also about removing the conditions that lead to things like insurgency, that lead to instability. So, from a military standpoint we're very keen to make sure that the follow- through in our operations is completed as effectively as the military operation.'' Freezing this funding also puts our approximately 2,000 troops in Syria and 8,000 troops in Iraq at greater risk. If ISIS regains strength in Syria, its reach will quickly spread across the porous Syria/Iraq border. Additionally, the absence of U.S. leadership to help stabilize areas cleared of ISIS control could result in others--including Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime--filling the vacuum to the detriment of our national security objectives in Syria and the region. Does the Administration plan to continue to withhold this funding? Answer. In line with the President's request to review all bilateral foreign assistance for Syria, we continually reevaluate stabilization assistance levels and their optimal utilization. We conduct reevaluations on an ongoing basis, as we do elsewhere around the world. The Department of State and USAID continue to work with the international community, members of the Global Coalition to Defeat- ISIS, and our partners on the ground to provide much-needed stabilization support to vulnerable areas in Syria. Question. SYRIA: Last month, the President announced he would freeze $200 million in stabilization assistance. Stabilizing gains against ISIS through targeted programs to remove mines and explosive devices, deploy electricity, and provide basic services is essential to getting displaced Syrians back to their homes and to dealing the final blow to ISIS. The military recognizes the critical role that these programs play. U.S. Central Command Commander General Joseph Votel said during a January visit to Raqqa that stabilizing areas formerly controlled by ISIS, ``is also about removing the conditions that lead to things like insurgency, that lead to instability. So, from a military standpoint we're very keen to make sure that the follow- through in our operations is completed as effectively as the military operation.'' Freezing this funding also puts our approximately 2,000 troops in Syria and 8,000 troops in Iraq at greater risk. If ISIS regains strength in Syria, its reach will quickly spread across the porous Syria/Iraq border. Additionally, the absence of U.S. leadership to help stabilize areas cleared of ISIS control could result in others--including Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime--filling the vacuum to the detriment of our national security objectives in Syria and the region. How does this funding freeze bolster Iranian and Russian influence in Syria? Answer. The hold on the approximately $200 million does not bolster Iranian and Russian influence in Syria. The Administration has made clear to President Putin that if Russia is serious about ending the Syrian conflict, it must stop fueling Assad's ruthless assault on his own people. However, we remain realistic regarding Russia's ability and willingness to do this. The Administration also remains focused on neutralizing Iran's threatening influence in Syria. Iran is subject to a variety of U.S. sanctions, including a broad U.S. embargo on trade with Iran, and we have used and continue to use targeted authorities to impose sanctions related to Iran's support for terrorism, ballistic missile program, and human rights abuses. Question. PAKISTAN: After a New Year's Day tweet by President Trump accusing Pakistan of ``deceit'' and of harboring terrorists, the State Department caught up to the President's policy pronouncement a few days later that the U.S. will suspend most security assistance to Islamabad. Have there been any changes in behavior by the Pakistanis as a result of withholding security assistance? Answer. We have made clear both publicly and directly to the highest levels of Pakistan's government that the Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other militant and terrorist groups must not be allowed to use Pakistan's soil to plan or launch attacks against neighboring countries. Our suspension of security assistance and security-related payments to Pakistan reflected our assessment that, while Pakistan has taken some initial constructive steps, we have not yet seen decisive, sustained action on these requests. Our assessment has not changed. We continue to engage with Pakistan's leadership in private and will use the full range of tools at our disposal to encourage Pakistan to take action against all militant and terrorist groups operating on its soil. Question. Can you comment on whether the escalating violence in Afghanistan is a signal from elements in Pakistan displeased by the withholding of security assistance? Answer. This year's level of violence in Afghanistan has been broadly consistent with previous fighting seasons and is driven by a range of factors, including the Taliban's Al Khandaq offensive, high profile terrorist attacks by ISIS-Khorasan Province, local grievances, and criminality. We see no evidence suggesting a linkage between the levels of violence in Afghanistan and the withholding of security assistance to Pakistan. The President's South Asia strategy, announced last summer, prioritized the bilateral security relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the need for Pakistan to take active measures in support of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and regional security. During an April 6 visit to Afghanistan, Pakistan's prime minister affirmed his commitment to an Afghan peace process, saying there was no military solution to the ongoing Afghan conflict and that a political solution was the best option to stop the Taliban's violent campaign. We continue to encourage Pakistan to take concrete steps to support an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process that yields a negotiated settlement that will end the conflict and ensure lasting stability in Afghanistan and the region. Question. Earlier this month, The Daily Beast reported on a joint operation of U.S. and Somali Special Forces in the Somali village of Ma'alinka that resulted in several civilian casualties. This is now at least the third reported incident of possible non-combatant casualties in Somalia in which the U.S. military was involved. The first was in August 2016 when an airstrike killed local militia forces instead of a convoy of Al-Shabab militants that was the presumed target. The second was in August of last year, where locals allege that civilians were killed in a raid in Barire. Again, The Daily Beast, among other media sources, reported that 10 civilians were killed. AFRICOM is yet to release its assessment of what took place there and who was killed. With Somalia's complex local dynamics, there is often a question of who is and who isn't Al Shabab, and local rivalries complicate the situation. Do you believe that there should be an independent auditor that can provide an independent oversight review mechanism to look at incidents of civilian casualties and its impacts? Answer. We respectfully defer to the Department of Defense regarding this matter. Question. What role did the Chief of Mission have in approving the May 10 mission in Ma'alinka? Do you believe he had adequate information about what has been approved by the military chain of command and was fully briefed in advance of the operation? Answer. The Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to Somalia was fully consulted on and concurred with regarding the May 10 operation in which U.S. forces accompanied and assisted Somali partner forces. Coordination between the Chief of Mission and U.S. military forces in Somalia is excellent. Question. What role do State Department personnel play in seeking to avoid civilian casualties in U.S. strikes or U.S. ``accompany'' operations? Answer. American values and U.S. legal imperatives guide U.S. forces in the protection of civilians. Protecting civilians is fundamentally consistent with mission accomplishment and the legitimacy of U.S. counterterrorism operations. As such, the U.S. government takes extraordinary measures to minimize harm to civilians. While authorities for U.S. military operations fall under the responsible Combatant Commander or his designee, Chiefs of Mission in countries where U.S. military operations occur are in regular communication with military representatives on a wide variety of issues, including on how significant military operations can best support foreign policy objectives. Question. What role does the Chief of Mission play in approving U.S. forces ``accompanying'' partner forces on operations where they may come in contact with Al Shabaab? Answer. The Chief of Mission's role in DoD operations depends on the specific legal authorities and policies in play. In all cases, under presidential directive, Chiefs of Mission and Geographic Combatant Commanders must keep each other mutually informed and cooperate on all matters of mutual interest. Legislation, presidential directive, or DoD policy may also require Chief of Mission concurrence before an operation can occur. In Somalia, our Chief of Mission is in regular and frequent communication with military representatives, including with respect to all military operations. Question. SOMALIA--AIR STRIKES: Following up on Somalia, just a few years ago, in 2014 and 2015, there were just three U.S. strikes per year in Somalia, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Because these strikes were so limited, our intelligence networks were notionally able put a lot of effort into providing reliable information on high value targets. In 2017, that number was over 30--a ten-fold escalation in strikes (see graphic). It is important to remember that there have been no changes to the authorities granted by Congress for the use of military force in Somalia during this period. There have, however, been changes made by the Executive in its justification for the use of force in Somalia, and decisions to deploy U.S. forces to accompany Somali partners on combat missions and expand the area of ``active hostilities.'' Should Congress have a role in approving significant changes to the basis for the use of lethal force, such as in Somalia, where operations have increasingly expanded since 2015 to support and defend African partner forces? Answer. The Department of State respects Congress' role in authorizing the use of military force and in providing oversight on these issues. The President has directed operations against al-Shabaab and ISIS in Somalia pursuant to the domestic legal authority provided by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The Administration has sufficient legal authority to implement this campaign and is not seeking any new or additional authority to use military force. Question. Are we ``at war'' in countries like Somalia in which the existing or proposed AUMF grants authority for the use of force against associated forces of Al Qaeda and ISIS? Answer. The President has directed operations against al-Shabaab and ISIS in Somalia pursuant to the domestic legal authority provided by the 2001 AUMF. U.S. forces have countered the terrorist threat by conducting a number of airstrikes against al-Shabaab as well as ISIS. U.S. forces also advise, assist, and accompany regional forces during counterterrorism operations, including those from Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Question. Is there a whole-of-government strategy for Somalia that includes adequate emphasis on diplomacy and development? What are our main diplomatic and development goals in Somalia and how do U.S. troops support those goals? Answer. Diplomacy and development are an integral part of the U.S. government's whole-of-government approach in Somalia. Our primary diplomatic and development goals are to assist Somali-led efforts to: (1) build security forces that can combat terrorism and provide stability; (2) advance the federalism and political reconciliation processes, including completing the constitutional review and preparing for one-person, one-vote elections in 2020/21; (3) promote economic growth and job creation; and (4) provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance while building resilience among Somalis to withstand future shocks. U.S. military efforts in Somalia directly support these goals by strengthening security and stability, which are fundamental to opening up space for political and development efforts. Question. NIGER-UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: I am concerned that under the current legal framework for the use of military force against terrorist targets abroad, the executive branch is able to justify military strikes against nearly any armed group operating in the Sahel by asserting that such group is an ``element of'' ISIS or Al Qaeda, even if these groups have primarily local aims and do not present a clear threat to the U.S. homeland. In the past few months, the Administration has reached agreement with the government of Niger to arm the U.S. drones stationed in that country--and in March, DoD reportedly used a Niger-based drone to carry out a strike against a terrorist target in southern Libya. What is your view of the potential for regional blowback, mission creep, or any other negative unintended consequence to emerge from the expanding U.S. military mission-set in the Sahel region? Answer. The State Department, including Chiefs of Mission, and the DoD work closely to anticipate and mitigate risks associated with military activities in the Sahel. We remain committed to minimizing the U.S. military presence in the Sahel while focusing on building security sector capacity among partner governments in Africa and supporting their efforts to counter terrorism and other security threats. We also recognize that our European partners, particularly France, play a lead role in providing donor support for West African security activities. The United States works with partners in Europe and Africa to identify areas where we can provide unique expertise and capabilities. We are focused on building security sector institutional capacity and professionalism, and we intend for our ongoing work with militaries on human rights and accountability to also minimize the risks of negative repercussions. Question. What would be the consequences of any future U.S. unilateral strike in Niger, Mali, or Burkina Faso? Answer. It is impossible to anticipate all the hypothetical situations where military action may be taken. Question. What role is the State Department--including our embassies in the region--playing in shaping or constraining the U.S. military footprint in the Sahel? Answer. The State Department and Department of Defense coordinate closely with each other and participate in the interagency process to determine regional strategies in the Sahel. Such exchanges occur both ad hoc and through more formal mechanisms, including the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, Sahel Maghreb Deputy Assistant Secretaries' Committee, Africa Strategic Dialogue, Africa Strategic Integration Conference, and others. Our ambassadors and country teams in the field communicate daily and share policy guidance with the defense attaches and other military personnel. Question. What is the larger U.S. foreign policy strategy toward the Sahel, to which these military activities are contributing? Answer. Security, development, and political processes are linked and must be part of our efforts to stabilize the Sahel. We strongly support the Group of Five Sahel (G5) as a regional African-led solution for security and development. Our significant and longstanding development assistance through USAID continues to address root causes of conflict. We will continue to coordinate closely with our international partners in considering support to G5 initiatives in non- security sectors. Improved governance--including respect for human rights, anti-corruption initiatives, and accountability for security forces--is an essential part of the solution across the region. We remain strongly engaged in the Mali peace process to promote a sustainable and lasting peace. We also seek to stop the flow of funds to terrorist groups and recover hostages, including U.S. citizen Jeffery Woodke. Question. NIGER-ASSOCIATED FORCES: I would like to better understand how the Administration makes determinations about ``associated forces'' or separate organizations. I am concerned that the executive branch is currently able to justify military strikes against nearly any armed group operating in the Sahel by asserting that such group is an ``element of'' ISIS or Al Qaeda, even if these groups have primarily local aims and do not present a clear threat to the U.S. Homeland. How does the Administration define what constitutes a separate organization, versus an ``element'' of a global organization such as ISIS or Al Qaeda, or a regional organization such as AQIM? Answer. A determination of whether a group is covered by the 2001 AUMF is made at the most senior levels of the U.S. government after a careful evaluation of the intelligence concerning each group's organization, links with al-Qa'ida or the Taliban, and participation in al-Qa'ida's or the Taliban's ongoing hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. The U.S. government's definition of associated forces remains unchanged from the prior administration. To be considered an associated force, an entity must: (1) be an organized, armed group that has entered the fight alongside al-Qa'ida or the Taliban; and (2) be a co- belligerent with al-Qa'ida or the Taliban in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. Thus, a group is not an associated force simply because it aligns with al-Qa'ida or the Taliban or embraces their ideology. Merely engaging in acts of terror or merely sympathizing with al-Qa'ida or the Taliban is not enough to bring a group within the scope of the 2001 AUMF. Question. What precludes the Administration from adding associated forces that may have some vague relationship with a designated group or its existing associated forces without coming back to Congress? Answer. The U.S. government's definition of associated forces remains unchanged from the prior Administration. To be considered an associated force, an entity must: (1) be an organized, armed group that has entered the fight alongside al-Qa'ida or the Taliban; and (2) be a co-belligerent with al-Qa'ida or the Taliban in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. Thus, a group is not an associated force simply because it aligns with al-Qa'ida or the Taliban or embraces their ideology. Merely engaging in acts of terror or merely sympathizing with al-Qa'ida or the Taliban is not enough to bring a group within the scope of the 2001 AUMF. Question. WEST BANK AND GAZA ASSISTANCE: With the ongoing Administration review of Economic Support Funds to the West Bank and Gaza, different humanitarian programs, programs that were explicitly allowed under the Taylor Force Act, are currently suffering from the lack of obligated funds especially in the context of the worsening situation in Gaza. Is the review connected to the release of the Administration's peace plan? Answer. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians remains under review. The Administration routinely conducts reviews of our foreign assistance in order to ensure it is meeting our national security interests, achieving our policy objectives, and providing value to U.S. taxpayers. The Department of State looks forward to briefing Congress on the conclusions of the review. Separately, the Administration continues to work hard on a plan for peace that offers a brighter future to both Israel and the Palestinians. Question. If it is, does this mean if the time is not right political to release the plan that the assistance to the West Bank and Gaza could be held indefinitely? Answer. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians is under review. I will ensure that Congress receives briefings on the conclusions of that review upon completion and that the Department of State obligates funding appropriated by Congress consistent with applicable law. Question. If the review is not connected to the Administration's peace plan, can you commit that the review will be finished in time for Congressional notifications can be made for the remaining of FY17 funding to ensure that humanitarian programs, people-to-people programing and other programs permitted under the Taylor Force Act can be obligated before the end of the fiscal year given the time taken for Congressional oversight of these programs? Answer. The Administration strongly supported the Taylor Force Act, which also enjoyed strong bipartisan support in Congress. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians is under review. I can assure you that Congress receives briefings upon conclusion of the review and that the Department of State will obligate funding appropriated by Congress consistent with applicable law. ______ Statement From Refugees International Refugees International (RI) remains alarmed by the significant budget cuts proposed in the President's Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget, which was released on February 12, 2018. Budgets define priorities and this budget proposal, if approved by Congress, would be devastating to lifesaving humanitarian work across the globe. The FY 2019 budget request calls for major cuts to key humanitarian accounts when compared to the FY 2018 omnibus funding levels. These cuts will significantly undermine the capacity of the United States to save lives and meet pressing humanitarian needs around the world. Further, there is a very real danger that the proposed cuts would amount to an abdication of U.S. global leadership in humanitarian affairs. Specifically, Refugees International is deeply concerned about the proposed reductions in the FY 2019 budget to the following accounts: Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) cut by 17 percent; International Disaster Assistance (IDA) cut by 40 percent; Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) cut by 46 percent; and Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) cut by 13 percent. The FY 2019 budget also calls for the elimination of the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance account (ERMA) and P.L. 480 Title II (Food for Peace) as well as major cuts to global health programs and climate change initiatives. The impact of such dramatic funding cuts would put vulnerable populations at risk. From U.N. peacekeeping mission support in Sub- Saharan Africa to food assistance for communities still reeling from famine-related drought impacts to natural disaster response capacity and disaster risk reduction projects to global health support for women and girls, such cuts would have severe consequences. RI is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people in parts of the world impacted by conflict, persecution and forced displacement. There are currently over 65 million people displaced, the most ever recorded. Protracted crises, such as the horrors of Syria, and new crises, such as the flight of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2017, make the maintaining of robust U.S. assistance essential. Humanitarian and protection needs demand U.S. leadership and engagement. And any effort to downplay the humanitarian imperative of refugee resettlement, a fundamental protection program, is unconscionable. But the ability to assist and protect those in need isn't just about funding. The State Department and USAID's organizational structures, designated responsibilities, stated policy priorities, and capacity is equally important. The ultimate result of a State Department redesign will likely have significant consequences for U.S. assistance and diplomacy. RI convened a group of leading experts and former senior U.S. government officials that published an August 2017 report on U.S. government reorganization. The group recommended that the State Department and USAID should retain essential functions while enhancing ``jointness,'' complementarity and coordination as opposed to consolidation. The report underscored the key role of the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). PRM's unique blend of senior diplomatic engagement and humanitarian assistance has served to elevate the plight of the displaced and directly benefited the lives of countless refugees. The bureau's leadership has also been essential in addressing broader protection challenges and supporting refugee resettlement. Congress absolutely has an important role to play in any redesign effort. The lack of transparency about the State Department's redesign process to policy makers, NGOs, and key partners, as well as limited substantive consultations with stakeholders, raise further questions about the ultimate goals, particularly as key diplomatic posts remain unfilled and troubling staffing gaps continue. Congress must hold the administration accountable for the lack of senior appointments at the State Department. We thank the Congress for continued bipartisan efforts to support lifesaving humanitarian assistance at this critical time of international need and remain grateful that Congress previously rejected similarly proposed cuts in the President's FY 2018 budget. This aid is making a difference on the ground, as RI regularly witnesses during our frequent field assessments. Members should be proud of longstanding U.S. support of humanitarian and development actors who are admirably working in difficult and insecure environments to assist the world's most vulnerable populations. The only response to this irresponsible and dangerous budget proposal is to ensure that significant U.S. support must be and will be maintained and strengthened. ______ Statement From Catholic Relief Services OPED in the HILL Newspaper u.s. aid is critical to survival in gaza: lift the hold on humanitarian funding by sean callahan and bishop gregory j. mansour, opinion contributors-- 05/03/18 11:30 a.m. edt For the past month, the desperation and volatility that characterize activity in the Gaza Strip have been evident in clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces. These clashes have left more than 40 Palestinians dead and thousands injured. For more than a decade, an air, land and sea blockade has choked commerce and trapped roughly 2 million people in the area, which is about half the size of New York City. On most days in Gaza, the electricity lasts four hours or less. Ninety-five percent of the water is contaminated. Without power to operate treatment facilities, people dump raw sewage into the sea on a regular basis, raising the risks of a cholera outbreak. Gaza has an unemployment rate of 42 percent, which is among the highest in the world, and a staggering 60 percent unemployment rate among youths. It is no wonder that 80 percent of the population relies on humanitarian aid for survival. With the blockade still in place, this is not the time to pull back assistance. U.S. funding in Gaza, which has been critical to providing opportunities and hope to those in a desperate situation, is on hold pending a policy review process by the Trump administration. While the United States isn't the only country providing aid to the people of Gaza, it is the largest, and any interruption of U.S. funding is noticed in the daily lives of the most vulnerable Gazan families. We see the good that the U.S. assistance has done for the people of Gaza. With a grant from the U.S. government, Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, runs a program--suspended at the moment--that has helped thousands of Gazans find work. On a recent visit, we met with a man in his 50s who, through the program, gained employment as a cleaner. He had been out of work for more than a decade and was so proud to show us his worker ID badge and excited to come to work each day. One woman used the money she earned during a teaching internship to start her own tutoring business. The mother of two young girls, she hopes the self-confidence she has gained will be passed on to her daughters. These people exemplify so many of the Gazans we've encountered--eager to work, hopeful for a better future, and yearning for a chance to support themselves and their families. If the administration decides to end assistance to Palestinians, the decision will impact not only these employment services but also food distributions, schools and health services. All these things, supported by U.S. aid, will be in jeopardy. On Christmas Day, Pope Francis said that we see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of continuing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. As Christians, we are called to do what we can to end suffering and to preserve the dignity of all people, no matter where they live. For our Palestinian brothers and sisters, that means ensuring they have what they need to survive, and giving them the means to provide for themselves and their families. Policymakers on both sides of the aisle long have recognized that desperate conditions in Gaza are bad for Israeli security, and that American aid plays an important role in stabilizing a tenuous environment. We remain hopeful there will come a time when Gaza no longer needs international aid, but we know that time will not come about until the blockade of Gaza is lifted. Until then, aid is the only way for the people of Gaza to survive, and the United States must continue to do its part in keeping the peace. Sean Callahan is president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the international humanitarian and development agency for the Catholic community in the United States. Bishop Gregory J. Mansour is board chairman for Catholic Relief Services. ------ Letter Submitted by Senator Young to the Appropriations Committee Reiterating Bipartisan Support for the Fiscal Year 2019 International Affairs Budget [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] [all]