CORKER: The Foreign Relations Committee will come to order.
We appreciate everybody being here as the Senate carries out one of its most important responsibility, which is to advice — to give advice and consent to nominees that are put forth by a president. We thank all of you for being here. Obviously, there’s a lot of interest in this hearing. We would ask those who, like us, have the privilege of being in this room, we would ask you to respect democracy, respect the right for us to have a hearing, to control yourselves in an appropriate manner, and I’m sure that is gonna be the case. This is the best of America here.
Serving with outstanding members on this committee. As a matter of fact, because of so much happening in the world today and because of the role that this committee has played over the last several years, demand on this committee has grown and — and with that, I want to welcome new members who I know will play a big role in the future of our country.
Mr. Todd Young, newly elected to the Senate, we welcome you here. This is our first public appearance. We thank you for your interest in our country’s future and for being here. Mr. Rob Portman, who also joined the committee. I think he serves on more committees here than anybody in the Senate, but we thank you for your responsible thinking and leadership. I want to thank Jeff Merkley, who I know cares very, very deeply about these issues, for joining this committee, for your principled efforts in so many regards, and I know they will continue here.
And Cory Booker, new star of the Senate, who I know will play a very vigorous role here and we thank you so much for being here today.
Just to give you a little bit of a sense of what’s gonna happen today, we have four very distinguished people, two of whom are colleagues, who will introduce the nominee and then we will move to opening statements. I will give an opening statement, our distinguished ranking member will give an opening statement and then our nominee, Mr. Rex Tillerson, will give his.
Each person here will have 10 minutes to ask questions, a little bit more than the norm. We’ve coordinated the schedule with the ranking member, but also with Senator Schumer and others, just to ensure that the American people and certainly all of us have the opportunity to ask the kind of questions that people would like to ask.
I would say to members, I know some of us have an art form of being able to ask about 90 questions in time ending about five seconds before the respondent responds. The 10 minutes includes the response and I’m gonna be — in order to be — in order to be respectful of everybody’s time, which is a little bit unusual here, we’re gonna be — we’re gonna hold to that in a very rigid way.
Our plan is that we will go until about one o’clock today if everybody uses their time. We will take a break out of showing mercy to our nominee for about 45 minutes and to many of us up here. And then we’ll come back and resume until such a time as we have the vote-a-rama that — which I think begins around six o’clock this evening.
Again, in order to make sure that all questions are answered, the ranking member and I have agreed that should there be another day necessary, we’ll begin a morning — in the morning at 10 o’clock. Hopefully, with all that will happen today, that will be unnecessary, but our nominee is very aware that that may well occur.
I think all of you know that our business meeting, again, in order to show respect for all of who are here, is moved until tonight when we have the vote-a-rama, at which time will take up the accession — Montenegro accession to NATO and will take up the — the resolution relative to Israel. We’ll do that off the floor this evening.
So, with that…
#AllofUs Stages Sit-In at Chuck Schumer’s Office Calling for New Bold Progressive Leadership
Washington, DC – On the heels of Donald Trump’s presidential election upset, a multiracial group of 25 millennials will conduct a sit-in at Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer’s office in Washington on Monday. Under the name AllofUs the group will refuse to leave Schumer’s office until Schumer and Democratic Party leadership take responsibility for losing the support of millennial and working class voters. The group will demand that Senator Schumer step down as Minority Leader and support Bernie Sanders as the leader of the Democratic opposition.
Schumer, who just announced his support for progressive Democrat Keith Ellison, is still signaling his intention to work with Donald Trump. AllofUs will argue that it’s not enough to take a “wait and see” approach to a man who lost the popular vote, has pledged to violate the Constitution, and rose to power denying the humanity of millions of Americans.
AllofUs will argue that what the Democratic party needs now is not capitulation to a dangerous racist demagogue, but a bold progressive vision to take our country back from the billionaire class and build a future for all of us. New leadership in the Democratic party is urgently needed, especially in the senate, where Democrats’ only hope in the immediate future is to contain the damage of a Trump presidency. As the U.S. Senator with the most campaign contributions from Wall Street, Chuck Schumer has no legitimacy to lead the opposition or assert that vision.
What: 25 millennials sitting in at Schumer’s office, 5 millennial speakers
Who: #AllofUs – a millennial group dedicated to pressuring the Democratic Party to serve the interests of millennials, people of color, and working class people. Including:
- Yong Jung Cho, #AllofUs co-founder, former Campaign Coordinator, 350.org
- Waleed Shahid, #AllofUs co-founder
- Natalie Green, Survivor and human rights activist
- Moumita Ahmed, founder for Millennials for Bernie
- James Hayes, founder Ohio Student Association and Trainer with Ayni Institute
- Nick Martin, Mennonite, former Bernie 2016 field organizer, rural anti-pipeline organizer.
Where: Senator Chuck Schumer’s Office. 322 Hart Senate Office Building
When: Monday, November 14th, at 11AM
Why: Wall Street Democrats have lost their legitimacy to run the party by failing to prevent the rise of Donald Trump. Trump’s false populism that scapegoats people of color and immigrants was only successful because Democrats abandoned their commitment to fighting for working people, and sold out to Wall Street.
Our generation and the American people’s interests were not represented by this party and now once again, our lives are on the line. Democrats must commit on day one to fighting Donald Trump’s agenda of hate every step of the way, and making him a one-term president, and that fight begins with new leadership to take our country back from the billionaires and create an America for #AllofUs.
Various sources have reported (or speculated) on climate advisors to Hillary Clinton campaign and potential picks for a Clinton administration, including Politico, The following advisors have financial ties to the fossil-fuel industry or have publicly stated clear pro-fossil-fuel industry positions.
- Trevor Houser – supports fracking, oil exports. Company Rhodium Group has fossil-fuel industry clients.
- Heather Zichal – on the board of natural-gas fracking company Cheniere
- Carol Browner – on the board of nuclear lobbying group Nuclear Matters; Albright Stonebridge Group has numerous fossil-fuel interests
- Jody Freeman – on the board of ConocoPhillips
- Michael Levi – supportive of Keystone XL, tar sands extraction, oil exports; Council on Foreign Relations funded by oil and gas industry
- Jason Bordoff – Columbia Global Center on Energy funded by oil and gas industry
- John Hickenlooper – petroleum engineer, strongly supporting of fracking
- Tom Vilsack – worked for corporate law and lobbying firm Dorsey & Whitney, with numerous oil and gas clients
- Blanche Lincoln – lobbies for Monsanto, Valero
- Steven Beshear – Governors Council of fossil-funded Bipartisan Policy Center
- Tom Nides – vice chairman of Morgan Stanley, major fossil-industry bank
- Carlos Pascual – led international oil and gas promotion effort at State Department
- Sarah Ladislaw – Senior Director, International Affairs, Statoil 2012
- Gordon Giffin – Keystone XL lobbyist
- Peter Ogden – senior advisor at Rhodium Group
- Ernest Moniz – current Secretary of Energy, produced reports on fracking paid by oil and gas industry
- Ben Kobren
- John Podesta
- Jennifer Granholm
- Kristina Costa
- Daniel Esty
- Susan Tierney
- Debbie Stabenow
- David Hayes
- Jane Lubchenco
- Michael Oppenheimer
- Frances Beinecke
- Kathleen Merrigan
- Michael Mann
- Robert G Stanton
- Lucy Waletzky
- Wendy Abrams
- Chris Rackens
- Arun Majumdar
- Paul Bodnar
Unlike 2012’s shocking climate silence, the 2016 presidential candidates discussed climate change and policy at each of their three debates. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, did so not at the behest of the moderators, but introduced the topic when asked about the economy, foreign policy, and energy policy. Trump staked out a position as a coal-embracing climate denier; Clinton as a natural gas-to-renewables open-market clean-tech investor.
Below are the relevant sections of the debate transcripts.
Clinton notes that Donald Trump promoted the conspiracy theory that China created global warming, which he denies saying. She says that addressing climate change is part of her economic plan. Later, Trump mocks the idea that global warming is a national security threat.
Lester Holt asks about plans for job creation.
CLINTON: [Independent experts] have looked at my plans and they’ve said, OK, if we can do this, and I intend to get it done, we will have 10 million more new jobs, because we will be making investments where we can grow the economy. Take clean energy. Some country is going to be the clean- energy superpower of the 21st century. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it’s real.
TRUMP: I did not. I did not. I do not say that.
CLINTON: I think science is real.
TRUMP: I do not say that.
CLINTON: And I think it’s important that we grip this and deal with it, both at home and abroad. And here’s what we can do. We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That’s a lot of jobs; that’s a lot of new economic activity.
In response to Clinton discussing ISIS, Trump talks about the United States should have seized the oil in Iraq and possibly Libya.
TRUMP: Or, as I’ve been saying for a long time, and I think you’ll agree, because I said it to you once, had we taken the oil — and we should have taken the oil — ISIS would not have been able to form either, because the oil was their primary source of income. And now they have the oil all over the place, including the oil — a lot of the oil in Libya, which was another one of her disasters.
Lester Holt asks about judgment. Clinton criticizes Trump on nuclear proliferation.
TRUMP: The single greatest problem the world has is nuclear armament, nuclear weapons, not global warming, like you think and your — your president thinks.
At the town hall debate, Clinton and Trump are asked by coal-plant worker Ken Bone about energy policy and the environment. Trump criticizes the EPA and promotes coal and natural gas. Clinton touts the increased domestic extraction of oil and natural gas, which she calls a “bridge” to “more renewable fuels.” She goes on to describe climate change as a “serious problem.”
COOPER: We have one more question from Ken Bone about energy policy. Ken?
QUESTION: What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?
COOPER: Mr. Trump, two minutes?
TRUMP: Absolutely. I think it’s such a great question, because energy is under siege by the Obama administration. Under absolutely siege. The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is killing these energy companies. And foreign companies are now coming in buying our — buying so many of our different plants and then re-jiggering the plant so that they can take care of their oil.
We are killing — absolutely killing our energy business in this country. Now, I’m all for alternative forms of energy, including wind, including solar, et cetera. But we need much more than wind and solar.
And you look at our miners. Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business. There is a thing called clean coal. Coal will last for 1,000 years in this country. Now we have natural gas and so many other things because of technology. We have unbelievable — we have found over the last seven years, we have found tremendous wealth right under our feet. So good. Especially when you have $20 trillion in debt.
I will bring our energy companies back. They’ll be able to compete. They’ll make money. They’ll pay off our national debt. They’ll pay off our tremendous budget deficits, which are tremendous. But we are putting our energy companies out of business. We have to bring back our workers.
You take a look at what’s happening to steel and the cost of steel and China dumping vast amounts of steel all over the United States, which essentially is killing our steelworkers and our steel companies. We have to guard our energy companies. We have to make it possible.
The EPA is so restrictive that they are putting our energy companies out of business. And all you have to do is go to a great place like West Virginia or places like Ohio, which is phenomenal, or places like Pennsylvania and you see what they’re doing to the people, miners and others in the energy business. It’s a disgrace.
COOPER: Your time is up. Thank you.
TRUMP: It’s an absolute disgrace.
COOPER: Secretary Clinton, two minutes.
CLINTON: And actually — well, that was very interesting. First of all, China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Donald Trump is buying it to build his buildings, putting steelworkers and American steel plants out of business. That’s something that I fought against as a senator and that I would have a trade prosecutor to make sure that we don’t get taken advantage of by China on steel or anything else.
You know, because it sounds like you’re in the business or you’re aware of people in the business — you know that we are now for the first time ever energy-independent. We are not dependent upon the Middle East. But the Middle East still controls a lot of the prices. So the price of oil has been way down. And that has had a damaging effect on a lot of the oil companies, right? We are, however, producing a lot of natural gas, which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels. And I think that’s an important transition.
We’ve got to remain energy-independent. It gives us much more power and freedom than to be worried about what goes on in the Middle East. We have enough worries over there without having to worry about that.
So I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does include fighting climate change, because I think that is a serious problem. And I support moving toward more clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can, because I think we can be the 21st century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses.
But I also want to be sure that we don’t leave people behind. That’s why I’m the only candidate from the very beginning of this campaign who had a plan to help us revitalize coal country, because those coal miners and their fathers and their grandfathers, they dug that coal out. A lot of them lost their lives. They were injured, but they turned the lights on and they powered their factories. I don’t want to walk away from them. So we’ve got to do something for them.
COOPER: Secretary Clinton…
CLINTON: But the price of coal is down worldwide. So we have to look at this comprehensively.
COOPER: Your time is up.
CLINTON: And that’s exactly what I have proposed. I hope you will go to HillaryClinton.com and look at my entire policy.
Wallace repeats the first debate’s question about job creation, and Clinton gives a similar response. Later, Wallace asks about Clinton’s call for a “hemispheric common market,” which she says refers to her dream of an “energy system that crosses borders.” She does not elaborate on that.
CLINTON: I want us to have the biggest jobs program since World War II, jobs and infrastructure and advanced manufacturing. I think we can compete with high wage countries, and I believe we should. New jobs and clean energy not only to fight climate change, which is a serious problem, but to create new opportunities and new business I want us to do more to help small businesses.
WALLACE: Secretary Clinton, I want to clear up your position on this issue because in a speech you gave to a Brazilian bank for which you were paid $225,000 we’ve learned from the Wikileaks that you said this and I want to quote, “my dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders” —
TRUMP: Thank you.
WALLACE: So that’s the question. Please, quiet, everybody. Is that your dream, open borders?
CLINTON: Well, if you went on to read the rest of the sentence, I was talking about energy. You know, we trade more energy with our neighbors than we trade with the rest of the world combined. And I do want us to have an electric grid, energy system that crosses borders. I think that would be a great benefit to us.
In a far-ranging discussion with actor-activist Leo DiCaprio and climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe, President Barack Obama defended his approach to climate change and expressed concern about the future.
“We’ve got to change our politics. And as Leo said, it’s got to come from the bottom up. Until on a bipartisan basis, politicians feel that their failure to address this will cost them their seats, potentially, or will threaten their careers, then they’re going to continue to operate in ways that I think are really unproductive.”
In the same discussion, Obama repeated his questionable claim that the domestic fracking boom has led to a decrease in greenhouse pollution, asserting “the fact that we’re transitioning from coal to natural gas means less greenhouse gases.”
He also repeatedly characterized climate change as primarily a problem for future generations, saying that “climate change is almost perversely designed to be really hard to solve politically because it is a problem that creeps up on you.” He even repeated the now-debunked canard that there is “no single hurricane or tornado or drought or forest fire that you can directly attribute to climate change.”
Just last month, Obama visited the victims of the catastrophic Baton Rouge floods. Consoling the survivors of climate disasters has been a ritual of his presidency. With a fierce Hurricane Matthew churning towards a Florida landfall, the president will likely have another major opportunity to witness the creeping problem of global warming first hand at least once more.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has joined the growing chorus of opposition to a controversial pipeline threatening the rights of Native Americans in North Dakota. In a campaign email, Gabbard called for supporters to sign a petition in solidarity “against a greedy oil company and an Army Corp of Engineers that have failed to properly follow the law or actually address the important issues of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and neighboring communities.”
Hawaii, like North Dakota, has one of the largest indigenous populations in the United States.
Gabbard was one of the few elected officials to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the presidency, a move she announced in concert with resigning from the top leadership of the Democratic National Committee. Sanders has also come out in opposition to the pipeline, offering a Senate amendment to require environmental statement for the pipeline.
While in Laos, President Barack Obama was caught unprepared by a question on Native Americans’ efforts to stop the construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota. The pipeline, now under construction, is intended to transport fracked North Dakota oil to Iowa so that it can reach Texas refineries for export. The pipeline route crosses the Missouri River upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux water supply, through ancestral lands bordering the reservation.
The final question of a multinational youth town-hall forum came from a Malaysian activist “in solidarity with the indigenous people” of America “fighting to protect their ancestral land against the Dakota Access pipeline.”
Obama responded that one of his priorities is “restoring an honest and generous and respectful relationship with Native American tribes,” and argued that “we have actually restored more rights among Native Americans to their ancestral lands, sacred sites, waters, hunting grounds” during his term than under the Reagan, Clinton and Bush presidencies.
However, he said he’d “have to go back to my staff and find out how are we doing” on this particular violation of Native Americans’ ancestral lands, sacred sites, waters, and hunting grounds.
Iowans will once again engage in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience on Saturday to stop construction of the Dakota Access pipeline “that is using eminent domain for private gain, and threatens our land, water and climate,” a coalition of climate activists has announced. Following a non-violence training in the morning, the civil-disobedience action will commence at noon.
“Standing with farmers, landowners and our tribal allies in North Dakota, more and more Iowans are contacting me to say they’re ready to risk nonviolent direct action to stop this assault on our water, climate and property rights,” said Ed Fallon, director of Bold Iowa, in a press release.
The “Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance,” supported by Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI, CREDO Action and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future, has now been signed by 2,100 citizens, with over 500 pledging to risk arrest in acts of peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction on the pipeline. On Aug. 31, 30 people were arrested in a direct action in Boone County.
Dakota Access has filed suit against Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI, along with Ed Fallon and Adam Mason, seeking an injunction “to silence our First Amendment rights to speech and free assembly with actions to protest the pipeline,” in the words of Fallon. A hearing on those charges is scheduled in federal court on Sept. 29. The 30 citizens who were arrested on Aug. 31 will appear in court in Boone County on Sept. 15.
The nonviolence training will begin at 9:00 am in the Mickle Center, 1620 Pleasant St, Des Moines. At noon, participants will be transported to the pipeline construction site for the action.
You know, we tend to think of climate change as if it’s something that is just happening out there that we don’t have control over. But the fact is that it is man-made.
It is not, “We think it is man-made.”
It is not, “We guess it is man-made.”
Not, “A lot of people are saying it’s man-made.”
It’s not, “I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know.”
You don’t have to be scientist. You have to read or listen to scientists to know that the overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows us that climate change is caused by human activity.
Obama noted that global warming is continuing at a frightening clip, with 2016 on pace to be the hottest year on record.He later repeated one of his administration’s favored canards:
During the first half of this year, carbon pollution hit its lowest level in a quarter of a century.
Obama is referring to the decline in carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity production in the U.S., using “carbon” as a synonym for “carbon dioxide.” However, the decline in CO2 emissions has been matched by a surge in methane emissions, another carbon-based greenhouse gas.
Furthermore, the U.S. has been dramatically increasing its production of oil and natural gas, helping fuel the continued global surge in carbon pollution during Obama’s presidency.
Full video of Obama’s speech:
A few weeks before Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) became the Democratic nominee for vice president on the Hillary Clinton ticket, he joined other senators to discuss the fossil-fuel industry’s “web of denial” preventing action to end their climate pollution. Below is a transcript of his July 12, 2016 speech.
Thank you, Madam President. I join rise to join my colleague to talk about the critical issue of climate change and especially the facts around climate change but also the fact that there are many who would deny the facts. This is a really important issue to the commonwealth of Virginia. Climate change is not a distraction. It’s not a next year or next decade issue. Climate change in Virginia is a today issue.
Earlier today, I was in Norfolk, Virginia, which is in the Hampton Roads area near the Atlantic Ocean. Norfolk and the surrounding communities is the largest concentration of naval power in the world. It’s the center of naval operations. The headquarters of the U.S. Atlantic fleet. And it is already having to spend millions of dollars to elevate the piers where aircraft carriers come and go due to sea level rise. The Hampton Roads area is listed as the second most vulnerable community on the east coast of the United States to rising sea levels after New Orleans.
This is a challenging issue in a lot of ways.
I have friends who live in these communities who bought homes recently but now their homes aren’t marketable. For most Americans, certainly for me, my home is the most valuable asset I own. And if you have that and then you suddenly can’t sell it because climate is changing sea level is rising, flooding is more recurrent, no one will buy your home, it’s a very, very serious issue.
In addition to the effect on individuals and businesses because of sea level rise, the effect on the naval station is significant. Current estimates are that rising sea levels in Norfolk will take the main road entrance into the center of American naval power and have that under water by 2040, three hours a day just because of normal tidal action. In times of storms it would be worse.
So imagine in America that counts on its navy, that counts on that naval presence around the globe having its largest naval base inaccessible because of sea level rise.
We have an interesting community. One of the most unique areas is Tangier Island. It’s been continually inhabited since the 1600’s as a community for men and women. The folks who have traditionally made their living by going out and catching crabs and oysters and fish, and this is a small island with a few acres. It’s one of the only places you can go in the United States where you can hear English spoken as Shakespeare would have spoken it with a language that is an Elizabethan language. The community is isolated in that way. You hear this beautiful English spoken there and the community has many wonderful virtues but the Chesapeake Bay is coming up around this community and eroding it. I received a letter from a middle school student within the last month, a handwritten letter that might have been the most heartfelt piece of communication I’ve received in four-plus years in the senate saying would are you doing about sea level rise, what can you do to help us deal with these issues so that Tangier as an island does not completely disappear.
For these reasons and many others in Virginia we take this very, very seriously and we have to deal with it. I’ll tell you something else about Virginians. Virginians believe in science. The Virginia political figure we most admire was the preeminent scientist of the day, Thomas Jefferson. Virginians overwhelmingly believe in science. 70% of Virginians accept the scientific consensus that human activity is causing climate change and that it is urgent that we do something about it. 70% of Virginians believe in that proposition.