tv Senate Finance Committee Considers Commerce and HHS Nominations CSPAN August 3, 2017 1:31pm-3:00pm EDT
able to be back in a department i am familiar with. watch our interview with eight elaine chao, secretary of transportation friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, c-span radio, and www.c-span.org. the senate finance committee this money held a confirmation hearing for three of the president's nominees. the positions are for undersecretary of commerce for , assistantal trade secretary of health and human services for legislative affairs, and the general counsel at hhs. utah senator orrin hatch chairs the committee. senator hatch: today we will consider the nomination of
governor kaplan to be secretary of trade, the assistant secretary legislation of health and human services, and robert to service undersecretary for health and human services. i would like to extend a warm welcome to each of these nominees and extend congratulations to each of you for your nomination so thank you for your willingness to serve in these important positions. in today's hearing come i want to stress two major things -- integrity and responsiveness. these are both important elements to any position in government, particularly for senate confirmed positions. they are absolutely essential for positions under the review today. the undersecretary of commerce for international trade is responsible for promoting american trade around the globe. and enforcing u.s. trade laws. wouldfirmed, mr. kaplan need to be a strong advocate for american exporters while holding our trading partners accountable for improper trade practices.
there is a good deal of work that needs to be done to improve in anti-dumping and countervailing laws. that mission should not come at the expense of seeking to expand opportunities for u.s. goods and services providers. it will be critical that the department of commerce work with congress and consult closely with members of the committee. frankly, there is room for improvement here. but i am confident mr. kaplan understands the importance of the department responsibility to congress and will work with secretary ross to ensure those responsibility are met. as for the nominee for the department of health and human services, these are very, very important nominees as well. your responsibility's are similarl;y connected to integrity and responsiveness.
mr. bassett has been nominated to serve as assistant secretary with the specific function of performing legislative affairs. this means both the agency as well as congress will rely on you to ensure that we are kept well-informed of the goings-on at hhs. this will be critical over the next few months. health care suffered a setback recently. the recent series of invents intensifies the importance of this position as cooperation between congress and hhs will likely be more essential than ever. the finance committee expect to be in constant contact timely andd need responsive answers to questions and submitted inquiries. we hope mr. bassett will commit today to providing answers. to highlight the position of general counsel at hhs. has been nominated
and he is a considerable amount of experience. the position of general counsel of hhs brings with it challenges that are sure to be new. there are likely to be times when officials in the department and the white house disagree on how to proceed on a specific work of -- course of action. if confirmed, your responsibility will be to ensure that the laws in the books as written are followed and implemented. we have seen some thorny issues as theerce and hhs administration has in some ways gotten off to a rocky start. that's all the more reason for the committee to move as quickly as possible to consider and report these nominations. before i conclude come i want to take a moment to talk about the committee's agenda after the august recess in the next few months thereafter. in the fall, the main priority of the committee will surely be tax reform. i intend to work with my colleagues to draft and record
tax reform legislation through regular order. that will mean that we will have to work very close together to get things done. if that means hearings and a markup in the committee, tax reform will be the major focus, there are other priorities as well. in september, plan to hold a hearing on the chip reauthorization which is a big priority on both sides of the aisle. we have also heard demands for members of the committee for a health care hearing. i intend to do do that as well at some point shortly after the recess. long story short, it's going to be a busy fall for the finance committee but it's always busy so i don't see what has changed. i speak for all the members of the committee when i say that we would not have it any other way. with that command grateful to have my co-leader, senator
wyden. senator wyden: thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you for our work together and the very constructive statement that you made this morning. i am going to talk about health care first and then go to taxes and the nominees if i might. this committee works best of course on a bipartisan basis. and there are certainly going to be some very good opportunities in the months ahead. thatparticularly pleased the chairman with respect to health focused on the children's health program because that's a program that has a time stamp on it. it expires on september 30. it serves more than 8 million kids. these are kids that have fallen between the cracks, kids were not eligible for medicaid but are still coming from families that are on an economic tightrope. mr. chairman, one of the things i enjoy the most about our
working relationship is talking -- about 20 years ago, when u.n. ted kennedy teamed up c to createhip. very often when you visited with chairman hatch in his office, he always said stick with me, kid. i will make you a legislator. that's what i did with kennedy but the fact is, chip was a bipartisan effort by chairman hatch, senator kennedy and they demonstrated against all the odds that bipartisan health care policy is not just possible, it's the right thing to do. let me mention one other matter -- mr. chairman, in addition to in children's health program light of the events of the last few weeks, we know that members on both sides are eager to bring up additional health care ideas
and an additional upcoming hearing and i'm glad you made it clear that that would be on our calendar as well. ash respect to tax reform, we have heard our colleagues say on both sides, the tax system is broken. a significant amount of my time over the last twoyears writing the only actual bipartisan federal comprehensive tax reform plans. it was first with judge greg and most recently with dan coats who sat where senator cassidy is sitting today. i know what this challenge is all about. some people were smart on this subject and they like to say tax reform is hard. and that's why it ought to be handled on a bipartisan basis.
i told the chairman of my concern that the majority leader has dismissed our outreach and said here in the last couple of days that he was going to use the same bipartisan my way or the highway approach on tax reform that did not work out that well on health care. my hope is that that changes. , would just say to colleagues if you go the partisan route on taxes, you are trampling on the history of successful tax reform because the history of successful tax reform is you only get it by working in a bipartisan way. there are too many tough decisions and to many challenges with respect to this tax break if one sidebreak tries to do it by themselves. i think senator hatch is very sincere in his effort wanting to
work with us and i hope some of his history with respect to bipartisanship on this issue finds its way to leader mcconnell's office. today we will talk about three nominations, the first is bob charrow's nomination to serve as general counsel for health and human services which is a tough job under normal circumstances. as i told him in our private meeting, i don't think he has seen tough till he tries to tackle it at this point in time. that's because hhs and the general counsel is with this at ministrations spending a fair amount of time trying to undermine the law. a few examples, the at ministrations made payments to help bring down the cost of health insurance for millions of americans. the president keeps threatening to scoreose payments what i think is a misguided political win.
of us, all ofll us who worked so hard on medicare manage in a role for the private sector in health care, we know that these kinds of statements are like pouring gasoline on the fires of uncertainty in the private health insurance marketplace. see theis that we don't health care marketplace go into a tailspin. we don't see americans getting hit in the pocketbooks with premium hikes on january one but this idea of constantly threatening this roller coaster approach with respect to making payments is causing a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace. additionally, the administration is taking taxpayer dollars that are intended to help individuals and families sign up for health coverage and using those funds to actually stifle enrollment. that means more people are living without access to the care they need.
i recall sitting here during secretary price's nomination hearing and he said " my role will be one of carrying out the law you all in congress passed. it's not the role of the legislature." i have just given to specific examples, the administration has spent a lot of time undermining the law and its certainly a different story than we heard from the secretary. row bottom line, mr, char needs to make sure that the administration excuse the lawton is the highest standard of ethics and cooperates with congressional oversight. he has been told he will get some tough questions today with respect to whether he is prepared for that task. -- mr. matthew bassett, nominated for assistant secretary legislation at the department of health and human services. that the senate moves in a bipartisan respect on issuescare and the many
related under the hhs umbrella and we will hear his views with respect to how he would be the liaison between departments of congress in order to ensure that there are bipartisan efforts in the days ahead and we are inecting his commitment responding to a request in responding to a request and all numbers of the committee from the map -- from democrats and republicans. turning to the trade area, mr. hill kaplan is nominate to serve as the undersecretary international trade, the department of commerce that can affect puts him at the top of the international trade administration. so far in this administrator got a we have heard a lot of tough talk on trade enforcement but there has not been a lot of follow-through. there is a real cost to all of the overhyped rhetoric when you see it is just that, talking, not action. in response to all the tough talk on steel, countries have shipped even more steel to the united states in a rush to get ahead of any hike in tariffs. think about that.
all kinds of tough talk, what has happened? countries shipping even more steel to our country just because they are trying to game the system. present of the steelworkers risley told me that imports have surged 18% since the president launched his section 230 two investigation. meanwhile, the administration appears to be backing off. this episode demonstrates how tough talk without a real strategy hurts our workers. mr. kaplan's background suggests he will be a tough enforcer and that's exactly what we need at the international trade administration. my guess is he will refrain from making promises on trade enforcement unless and until the administration does its homework and second, it actually prepares to follow through. beyond enforcement, he also will have a key role in growing exports. people ask about the expert issue.
committee, it's key that we grow things in america, make things in america, and ship them all over the world. there will be a billion middle-class consumers in asian a few years. we want them buying american products. we look forward to hearing how mr. kaplan will ensure that our workers and manufacturers don't lose out on opportunities to sell to consumers around the world. and that means also the administration backing away from self-defeating budget cuts. morning'sct to this agenda, chairman hatch is absolutely right, this committee will have its hands full. we will be working on key health issues and we talked about the two areas specifically that we will be zeroing in on coming right out of the gate. then we both have talked about tax reform and the chairman knows my desire and the desire of many on our side who want to work in a bipartisan way.
i hope the majority leader will change his mind and make that possible. and finally, mr. chairman, i think i share your interest in getting the kind of nominees we have today confirmed and confirmed quickly so we will work with you in a bipartisan way on that. you,or hatch: thank senator, we are happy to have sen. boozman: we will call on him in a moment. he is a fine senator. a warm like to extend welcome to a three nominees today. i want to thank you all for being here. first we will hear from mr. gil kaplan, a partner in the international trade practice. mr. kaplan has decades of practice and -- in trade law including notably the first successful prosecution of a countervailing duty case against china in 2007. mr. kaplan has extensive expert serving in senior u.s. includingal positions
his deputy assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary for import administration at the department of commerce. he received both his undergraduate and law degrees from harvard university. next will be mr. matthew bassett. fortunately, for mr. bassett, mike telik sen. boozman: will provide his introduction. thank you forn, attending today we will have you proceed with your statement at this point. senator bozeman: thank you for the opportunity to do this. just to take a second to talk a little bit about a good friend, matt bassett and we certainly appreciate is willing to serve along with his family. i think all of the members understand have difficulties jobs are and the time commitment. so we do appreciate again their willingness to go forward with such an important decision and that is the health care policy
expert with a career spanning over 20 years in both the public and private sectors. i first met matt for the beginning of his career in january, 2002 and he was working for congressman pete sessions a health care legislative aide. during my tenure in the house, i was in active participant in the doctors caucus were medical providers in congress were able to utilize their medical expertise in the development of patient centered health care policy. it was my pleasure to continue to work with matt on these issues as we served as deputy chief of staff to represent bernie fletcher. he continued to work to advance policies with the goal of improved quality and delivery of care. matt continued his leadership in health care as the chief of staff to the kentucky cabinet for health and family services where he gained an invaluable experience navigating kentucky's medicaid and insurance markets. he continued this work in the
private sector where he tackled legislative and regulatory routes to improve availability of treatment, services for medicaid participants. his involvement in the private sector alone, his experience in both a federal and state level, are a testimony to his dedication to the advancement of a better standard of health care. matt has the deep breadth of understanding our health care system that is so crucial as we continue to debate health care. given his time serving in the house, he is keenly aware of the importance of the relationship between the legislative and executive branches. i am more than confident he will be responsive to member questions and concerns when confirmed which is so important. he is being nominated to fulfill an important role during an exceptionally critical time. i know that his experience and expertise will provide invaluable insight in meeting
these challenges as we work to strengthen our health care system. as the chairman and ranking member pointed out, provide integrity and responsiveness. i know as a member, that's what i want in a person fulfilling that position and i cannot think of anybody that will do a better job. thank you and i yield the floor. senator hatch: thank you, senator, that's a good introduction. you have to feel pretty good about that, mr. bassett. [laughter] i feel pretty good about it myself. [laughter] taking timee you out of what we know is a busy schedule today to be with us. that means a lot. we will hear from mr. robert b. charrow. prior to his current work, he was a partner atkroll and m ooring. while in private practice, he is
represented numerous clients on matters involving cms, fda, phs, and oig. i don't know how you keep the straight post up y'all's was former public expense is the principal deputy and general counsel at the department of health and human services in the reagan administration, serving from july, 1985-april 1989. he also work with president reagan as the deputy and chief counsel for the president's reelection committee. i really like you. [laughter] i just want you to know. has worked for nearly eight years as an associate professor of law at the university of cincinnati college of law and the howard university school of law. he received his undergraduate degree from harvey mudd college and his law degree from stanford school of law. we are very happy to welcome you here today.
kaplan, you can begin with your opening remarks. mr. kaplan: thank you very much, mr. chairman. i would like to take a second to introduce my wife, betty and, and thank her for everything and to people who have worked with me for over 30 years, lisa harris and bonnie byers and i want to introduce my partner, tom spewack who has helped me through the confirmation process. as to chairman, i welcome all of you here. saytor hatch: i have to you're willing to sacrifice your husband for a number of years come i give you a lot of credit for that. go ahead, i'm sorry. : mr. chairman, ranking up or widen, members of the committee, it is a great honor to be here today as the president's nominee to service under secretary of commerce for international trade.
i first testified before this committee in 1986 when i was the deputy assistant secretary of commerce for import administration and i continue to be deeply impressed by the rigorous and careful attention this committee gives to international trade. in some ways, i feel i have been preparing to hold this position during my entire career. when i was fortunate enough to run import administration in the 1980's under president reagan and commerce secretary malcolm baldridge, we conducted over 500 anti-dumping and countervailing duty cases including cases on agricultural products, steel products, and semiconductors. , now called enforcement and compliance, will be one of my areas of responsibility at the international trade administration if i am confirmed. leaving import administration, i have devoted myself to representing american
companies and workers in a wide range of trade cases and trade policy issues. i filedhairman noted, and prosecute the first successful countervailing duty case ever against china. another area of my responsibility, if i am confirmed, will be developing programs to build up the international competitiveness of the manufacturing base of the within thees industry analysis unit of ita. in that regard, i was a cofounder of the manufacturing policy initiative at indiana university school of public and environmental affairs, the first and only university program a country focusing on what public policy steps should be taken to revitalize u.s. manufacturing. i will also be working extensively to promote and increase american exports and break down trade barriers through the global market and
u.s. and foreign commercial service units of commerce. was at regard, while i commerce, i was one of the key negotiators of the u.s./japan agreement on semiconductors and later come enforce the terms of that agreement. that was one of the most successful agreements ever and opening a foreign market for our exports, particularly a very difficult foreign market to open. in addition, there are several overarching themes i want to focus on if i am confirmed. such as making the whole world open to u.s. digital trade, insuring u.s. intellectual property is protected everywhere in the world, and ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from global trade. we need to do all of this while making sure we do no harm to u.s. consumers and to the many companies, workers, farmers, and ranchers who benefit some much
from trade. in closing, i would like to tell a very brief story about my family. my father and mother arrived in this country in 1946 after surviving the holocaust. they arrived on a boat called the ernie pyle. when they docked in new york, my father had seven dollars in his pocket which he had one playing cards on the boat. i think my parents would be truly amazed if they could be here today for this hearing, amazed at the greatness of this country and at the graciousness of all the people who have worked with me in moving this appointment forward. , mr. chairman, ranking number widen, and numbers of the committee and i would be pleased to answer your questions. i'm sure your parents are watching and are very proud of you. all right, let's go to you, mr. bassett.
bassett: senator, good morning and think if it the opportunity to be here. if i can take one minute to thank senator bozeman for his very generous and kind introduction of me and his many years of friendship. i very much appreciate it. if i could, i would like to take a mentor to take them into introduce and thank my family that is here. my wife stacy, my son matthew -- say hello. my father, david bassett, my have also joined us and i must say hello to my mother who is no doubt one of five people enthusiastically tuning into c-span today to see me. [laughter] chairman hatch, ranking number widen, thank you for inviting me to testify. i'm honored to stand before -- before you as the president's nominee for the system secretary at the department of health and she was -- health and human services. i've enjoyed the privilege of working at care industry for over 20 years. i have seen many challenges to our nation's health care system
firsthand. i have seen these challenges from the patient side, provider and payer side, public and private side, and lastly the state and federal side. i'm of the firm belief that as americans, we are fortunate to live in a country that has the greatest, most innovative health care system in the world. people from all over travel to the united states to seek the latest cutting-edge care and technology that simply do not exist back home. get our health-care system is not without substantial challenges. high-quality, affordable care is at risk for an unacceptable number of americans and their families. addressing these challenges is an acute interest to me and having service chief of staff for the kentucky health and family services in the great commonwealth, i have seen firsthand how policy forms on capitol hill affects the folks back home. at this time, when i served in the position, kentucky was experiencing an opioid scourge, imploding individual and small
group markets and a medicaid program that our states and we could not afford. should i have the honor to be confirmed, i hope to have the opportunity to work with all of you and your staff to perhaps the most significant qualification for which i have been nominated is the fact i have actually served as capitol hill staffer. having worked for two members of the house of representatives, i understand unique role the assistant secretary for legislation has been working with members of congress to make sure that you voices are heard and their needs are addressed in washington, d.c. the office of the assistant secretary is responsible for the development and implementation of the department's legislative agenda. as a liaison between hhs and congress i would not take this responsibility lightly. the information you rely on our critical to fulfill your legislative duties. should i receive the confidence
pledgesenate to serve, i to stay true to the lessons learned and to ensure each and every day asl stands as a resource for congress, reliably and readily, bringing these two great bodies to best serve the needs of the american people. thank you again for the opportunity to appear this morning. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much. >> chairman hatch, ranking member widen, numbers of the committee. it's an honor to appear before you to serve as the general counsel of the department of health and human services. wife, ied by my retired federal employee of nih. i would like to thank this committee for considering my nomination. i that many productive meetings with some of you and your staff already and look forward to discussing hhs with you today. hhs jurisdiction extends from
the bench to the bedside, underwriting basic research that will lead to tomorrow's miracle drugs, new devices, financing health care through various programs including medicare, medicaid, and health insurance program. hhs is a unique blend of science, health care and finance. i was privileged to serve as the deputy general counsel and principle deputy general counsel during president reagan's second term and into the presidency of george h.w. bush. aside on working of president reagan's reelection campaign, i have been a lot professor. my first few months at hhs in 1985 were reawakening. i was lucky. the career attorneys and staff of the office of general counsel were remarkably helpful an extremely competent, also very patient. traits i understand persistent have not been lost in the
passage of time. some of the career attorneys in the office 30 years ago still work there today. 1989, iaving hhs in have been in private practice focusing on health care law, administrative law, and general litigation. and health care are represented academic medical centers, learned societies, hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies, providers and insurers. over three decades of seeing problems in the real world have brought on the failure -- differences between the obligation of government lawyers and those in the private sector. is role of a general counsel not the same as the private attorney for a corporate client. the general counsel's role is to make sure all corners are squared and of the rules and policies issued by the agency are legally proper and consistent with the organic legislation governing the agent. they should be consistent with the administrator procedure act
in the way those rules have been issued. in that regard, the general counsel should act as a neutral arbiter assessing the potential agency action as if he or she were a federal district court judge. the notion a rule "may withstand judicial scrutiny" is not sufficient. the question when reviewing a rule is how it i as an impartial judge assessed that rule in light of all possible challenges. private clients expect their attorneys to develop novel legal arguments. creating new legal theories or applying old ones in new ways is the most enjoyable aspect of my private legal rectus. -- legal practice. that is different from the role of a general council, for illegal creativity takes a backseat to acting as an impartial arbiter. you may ask why would anyone for say creativity? a legitimate question. the legal issues themselves are unique and fascinating.
in government service one is confronting legal issues so different from what is seen in private practice and that more than makes up for any loss of creativity. i am well aware any hhs rules issued over the past generation, especially those in limiting the medicare act, have been ridiculed by federal court as being linguistically incomprehensible. one role of a general council is to have roles that the five contravention do not see the light of day. experiencing private sector client has highlighting the important virtually all actors in the health care system. i hope this practical legal experience will help us reviewing the rules and will testify before congress. it will be the subject of litigation. michael is to ensure the agency's position in any given case is those legally correct and objectively just. the one thing i have learned over the years is that agency
action which may be legally correct when viewed hyper technically but defense unavailable motions of fairness normally does not fare well in the courts. thank you for the opportunity to testify today and i and i'm happy to answer any questions you may have. >> we are happy to have all three of you here. senator grassley has one question you would like to ask i have some -- obligatory questions i will ask all the nominees. first, is there anything you are aware of in your background that might represent a conflict of interest with the duties of the office to which you have been nominated? >> no, mr. chairman. >> no, mr. chairman. >> no, mr. chairman. reason,u know of any personal or otherwise, that would prevent you from forming -- performing honorably?
>> no, mr. chairman. >> no, mr. chairman. >> no, mr. chairman. >> do you agree without reservation to respond to any reasonable summons to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the congress if confirmed? >> yes, i do, mr. chairman. >> i will, mr. chairman. >> i will. >> you can provide a prompt response in writing any questions addressed you buy any senator of this committee? >> yes, mr. chairman. >> i do. >> i do. >> so far the gearing has gone pretty well. [laughter] senator grassley has one question. senator grassley: i have one question for mr. kaplan and webcast a -- question for mr. kaplan, but i have to hurry along. mr. charles, things we discussed my office, i think you get a satisfactory answer but i would like to have something on the
record. let me read a couple of sentences to lead ins. in 1986, i co-authored amendments to the false claims act that empower whistleblowers to help the government identify and prosecute fraud on taxpayers. the false claims act is the most effective anti-front tool we have. since 1986 amendments, the taxpayers have recovered more billion of public money loss to fraud. $33 billion came from the health care sector. you have represented defendants in the false claims act cases. i have no problem with you as a lawyer doing that, so i want to make sure you can be objective about it and you recognize it is a crucial tool to help fight fraud on taxpayers. i know that you know that fraudulent claims for part fundsl -- medical part d are subject to the false claim act.
the you have any bias against the false claims act that would affect your advice to the department of health and human services in cooperation with the inspector general, the department of justice, and on efforts to combat fraud against government health care programs? >> i have also representative a plaintiff in a false claims act case, senator, and i have no bias. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator wyden? i will wait until after you. all.or wyden: thank you i appreciate the way you all have addressed some key issues in your opening statement. it seems to me what you are saying to the senate finance committee today is the affordable care act is the law of the land whether the president likes it or not, and
you are committed to seeing it is carried out. i think that is very constructive. i appreciate it. in generalto say counsel the department of health and human services is not effective for the fainthearted right now. it up to yourin boots and an intensive controversy that affect the lives of millions of americans. for months the president said he hoped the affordable care act would collapse. two weeks ago he said we will let obamacare fail, and then the democrats are going to come to us. a few days ago after the senate voted he took to twitter to say, "as i said from the beginning, let obamacare implode, then deal. watch." that was a word for word quote from the president.
he threatened to withhold billions in cost-sharing assistance to help some of the most vulnerable americans pay their deductibles and are copayments and her out-of-pocket costs. these threats of german of premiums, pushed plans out of the marketplace altogether, and it leads americans -- leads americans with fewer paps to affordable coverage. here is my question and it really bill on what -- builds on what you have said. the affordable care act is the law of the land. it is the administration's job to faithfully execute that law. and it will be your job to be the honest cop on the beat. if the president, the secretary, or anybody else wants to take steps that are in your view inconsistent with either a law,r or the spirit of the
it is your job to tell them so. will you do that? >> yes, i will. wyden: i think the only other question i wanted to ask -- you fundamentally talked yesterday about what you called gray areas. tell me more about that because i think you have addressed my fundamental concern, but tell me more about the gray areas. member of the senate and of the house of representatives were all-knowing, there would be no gray areas. the language has its limitations. >> you are saying that's not the case? [laughter] i'm shocked, like them in casablanca.
>> i'm allowing you to infer it. language has limitations. when you write a statute there will be provisions that will be ambiguous and will have gray areas. my job is to use the rules of statutory interpretation to decide in my best judgment with those provisions mean. i wouldd you yesterday, be guided by the language of the statute first, the legislative history, the report of this committee. four statements to a lesser extent. i would not take into account, as i told you yesterday, those statements. >> let me ask you one question, mr. basset. the president called again for the affordable care act to fail. he has made that statement literally for months. the administration, the department of health and human services constantly trying to sabotage the law.
even of millions of americans get up relying on the law. members of the committee, certainly myself are deeply concerned that the department of health and human services fulfills its obligation to the public by enforcing the affordable care act. and for congress to conduct oversight we have got to be able to rely on the department being transparent and responding to our requests. my question is, will you commit to ensuring the department on your watch is responsive and transparent when members of this committee submit inquiries, particularly those that involve implementing the affordable care act. that is a yes or no answer. mr. basset: yes, i do. >> let me ask it question, mr. kaplan. one of the programs administered by the department of commerce is the privacy shield agreement of
the united states with the eu, t he eaa and switzerland. the menstruation has continued to emphasize their support of the agreement, but there is some concern about the program's durability. how you intend to make sure the whole world is open to the u.s. digital trade, including any views you have on the privacy shield agreement? mr. kaplan: thank you, mr. chairman. i think the privacy shield agreement is very effective and very useful. i have heard of some of the problems expressed on the european side and the court of first instance looking at some of these issues. i will work closely with our legal team and with the eu to make sure we keep that program very strong because i have heard
many good things about it from many companies that use it. in terms of making sure the whole world is open for u.s. digital trade, ita is uniquely positioned to be able to help with that. we have exceptional people in the global market and u.s. and foreign commercial service and industry analysis that know more about digital trade issues than anybody. over and above that, we have nif, part of commerce. i would expect to work with them. we have the bureau of industry and security which does all the export controls. they have tremendous expertise. i think we need to have language and every one of our trade accessnts assuring open for u.s. digital trade products and services. >> strong intellectual property rights are crucial for the
ability of american manufacturers, service providers and innovators to compete overseas. all too often other countries have weak standards for protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights. how would you improve intellectual property rights, protection and enforcement by trading partners? >> we have to be prepared to use all the tools at our disposal. there is some discussion about 301. i think 301 should be dusted off. that has strong language on intellectual property which a thing could be used. i know there are issues regarding imposing tariffss in ks. 31 k's -- 301 i think we need to be prepared to use any negotiating leverage we have to protect intellectual
property, particularly with china where it is such a large issue. i think we are really going to have to ramp up our willingness to enforce every one of our trade laws to make sure this intellectual property problem is sold. sen. hatch: the backlog of medicare appeals is already unacceptably high. this makes it hard for beneficiaries and providers to get the funds back that they deserve. the administration of the appeals process has really -- is really expensive. as the senior population continues to grow, this is likely to get worse. what steps can congress and the administration take together to address the backlog of medicare appeals? mr. basset: as you have indicated, the backlog is far too long. this is a priority for the secretary. you are probably well aware we have litigation that also
strongly encourages us, if not mandates us to decrease that backlog. i would very much look forward to working with you and your staff and all the members in coming up with innovative ways we can shorten those times. i agree it has to be done. how hatch: mr. chairman, can hhs encourage states to ensuringwhile still accountability? an example is the 1332 waivers under the affordable care act, which raise the question of will hhs be able to hold states appropriately accountable if they opt to use these waivers? >> i believe the department will be in a position. senator scott? senator scott: thank you for being here with us.
south carolina has greatly benefited from the resurgence in foreign investment. over 6000 south carolina coming to export goods and services that value over $2.2 trillion. supports one 500,000 jobs in south carolina, from small companies, farms, global giants, bmw, michelin and the like. hours -- we are successful because of our access the places where we have trade agreements, 31 of them around the world. trade is alive and well in south carolina. our auto manufacturers, farmers, tire makers, chemical manufacturers want greater access to the 96% of the consumers that live outside the united states. trade policy unlocks opportunity for american families and gives us the tools necessary to make sure our trade partners play by the same rules. with those thoughts in mind, a few questions for you.
the chinese government cap's market access for american service firms operating in china. we do not do the same to their companies. as congress works in eliminating the u.s.-china trade imbalance in participating in the ced, i think it's important you address both sides of the coin, the manufacturing site and the services. why do you think the chinese institute these caps and what of the arguments for removing them? would you prioritize removing them as what your priorities? >> thank you, senator. i absolutely would prioritize eliminating those caps and making sure the financial service industries are able to access the chinese market fully. inhink they put these caps and limits the financial services because our industry and our services in this area
are so strong that they just think once we got in there we know how to do this so well that they would not be able to be successful. i don't think that is true. i think there is plenty of room. it is a very large market, very large market for life insurance. perhaps the largest in the world. able towe should be have complete access and we should not be subject to any caps or limits. i think you are sort of suggesting maybe we should consider putting caps on some of their services, investments in united states. i think that is very well worth looking into. we have to turn up some of the pressure if you want to solve the problems with china and services and other areas. sen. scott: i certainly that's an issue of reciprocity and fairness, one we have not addressed and needs to be addressed as we have the opportunity to see our services
penetrate into forward areas that will increase tremendous growth for our nation and for the american workers as well. >> i think reciprocity is key. there is always a lot of thinking in the administration, if my understanding of that is taking some action if we can't resolve these through the dialogues and bilateral agreements we already have. sen. scott: thank you. improving trade enforcement has been a priority for me and her this committee for some time. i believe the nafta negotiations present a great opportunity to negotiate agreed-upon practices with our north american trade partners to combat duty evasion and to intrude -- improve trade enforcement. this will be a benefit for many south carolina industries. i see a modernized nafta helping to address these priorities? objectives in the
that were stated by ambassador like kaiser -- there is specific discussion of working with canada and to go to avoid duties tha evasion. it's important because canada and that sicko, we share very -- canada and mexico, we share borders with both of them. what is happened in terms of dumping duties for 10 or 15 years his products have been circumvented through canada and mexico and come in that way. the backdoor. the duty is never paid. we need to make sure we get good dutyments on the issue of evasion through canada and mexico. sen. scott: mr. basset, i like to ask you one question. with the previous administration with very little feedback from the agency's and the departments. you understand and
appreciate it's important for the left hand to know what the right hand is doing and have an open line of communication with the administration. it is very difficult for us to do all we can for our citizens. when you commit to making sure you are as successful as possible, not only to my office but our colleagues left or right? mr. basset: i absolutely do. to your point, i very much understand the question. one thing i have heard to this nomination process is the need for responsiveness. i fully commit to doing that in a bipartisan and bicameral way. sen. scott: thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator casey? senator casey: i want to thank the witnesses for being here and putting yourself forward for service. that include your families as well. we had a very contentious number of months now and health care. beenweek i think there has a very positive development.
we are having a lot of discussions between and among democrats and republicans in the senate. on a way forward on a number of health care issues. it will continue to be a difficult issue, but i think we have made good progress this week. withearings scheduled both chairman hatch spoke to today and the health education labor pensions committee. that is the good news, there is some progress on of these bipartisan discussions. i will turn to some of the bad news now. press reporting about what the administration might do on a range of issues related to the health care system, whether it is cost-sharing reduction payments or others. there is a report the
administration provided a list of regulations that the department of health and human services plans to roll back or repeal in a letter to congressional republicans. i have sent a letter -- two letters since april requesting this particular document from hhs. my staff has had multiple conversations with hhs staff about this, and yet the document has not been produced. there is no legal basis for that. i don't know why the administration or the department would not provide that. my first question is for you, mr. basset. the you agree the administration should provide thorough, complete and timely responses to requests for information from all members of congress, including the minority in the
senate? >> senator, i do. i had the pleasure of meeting with your staff in depth during this process and they raised a number of concerns that you were bringing up today. i appreciate those concerns and will fully cooperate and work with your staff to get accurate and timely responses. i'm sorry that is been your experience. sen. casey: i appreciate that. chairman hatch has made this point a number of times. senator grassley. democrat and republican, i think we have a lot of agreement about producing documents and being responsive. do you believe the administration should provide documents to congress when requested action of legal basis for withholding them, especially when they have been shared with other members of congress and reported on the press?
>> yes. >> yes. sen. casey: banks. -- thanks. kaplan a get to mr. number of questions with regard to access capacity in steel. we are told by the oecd there is more than 700 million metric tons of global access -- excess capacity steel. china cancer the majority of that. last year the g-20 created a new form to address the problem. very little action has been taken on this. the you think -- what you think should be done to address this global access capacity problem with regard to steel? >> i agree with you it is an enormous problem, one of the biggest problems we face is overcapacity in china for industrial products, including
of course steel. all thewe have to use tools we possibly have to resolve this. ishink it is good the oecd having talks about this, but i think we may need to oecd is having talks about we may need to cree yay tiff ca cases -- we can self-initiate. that when i was in the department of commerce. and i use section 301 think it's time to bring that back. we can use wto cases. those take a long time.
obviously we have 232 and that process is ongoing. >> great. thank you very much. > mr. caplin, thank you for your work for me over the years in strengthening trade enforcement. know that you have a long record of fighting for u.s. manufacturers. i look forward to supporting your nomination when it comes up. we've worked to increase for years to increase hasnumber of tools the u.s. to crackdown in currency manipulation. i believe commerce has the it under to address the new trade remedy laws. do you believe it should be as -- when raised by a u.s. petitioner? senator, obviously that's
something i will need to discuss with the secretary. ultimately. in my views, the u.s. law does ling duty cover currency manipulation and is something we should look into doing if i'm confirmed. really important i think to both parties in this -- almost every member of this committee, so thank you. 232, section 232, the president is pretty much led us to believe he's moving on that. he commerce secretary spoke about moving quickly on that as you know the delay has been a problem. in terms of foreign steel interests. not playing on a level playing field. selling more and more steel into this country in anticipation of 232 action. has not happened. will you support a quick quicktion if confirmed, a resolution of the 232 investigation so we can put an uncertainty
>> absolutely. i think that's very important. i'm aware of the problems of coming in, in anticipation case.esult in that i should mention that 232 is actually under another unit in commerce. not ita. it's under the bureau of and security. >> but you know people and you re smart [laughter] >> i will do whatever i can. >> we've got to figure out how to get actions. excess capacity in china not just steel but other commodities too and it's so important that we get action and move past words and ssions and tweets and whatever we're doing or not doing about china. casey, we've talked about this a lot. hank you and i enjoyed our brief conversation prior to the -- to your coming out here. there's an article in the dispatch, the most conservative ohio newspaper in ohio. ohio plan to save
health exchanges. in uld like to enter this the record, mr. chairman, and i will be brief. mr. chairman. the dispatch says nothing is guaranteed until the companies contracts with the federal government attend of secretary is even then coverage certain only through 2018. will you commit to up holding including the aca and its csrs and commit to doing everything you can in your to provide certainty for states like ohio? >> yes, i will. you.kay. thank thank you very much. that matters to so many people in our states. will you commit to objecting to efforts to sabotage the law even if those efforts are made hhs de the bounds of authority? >> as i stated during my believer i'm a firm in applying the law as written and passed by congress and if an inconsistent with the law, i will not approve it. >> thank you. commit to ill you
notifying congress that the administration is attempting to or if the aw administration explicitly moves to explicitly undermine any the law?rovisions of >> people who know me know that i have a big mouth. [laughter] smart as mr. as cap lurks n i've heard too. [laughter]. >> thank you. do you think it's important to functioning export import international ng trade? >> senator, i think it's a very exports in ol nor the united states. secretary ross has said it's an tool box.tool in our the president has said that he it's a good program. it's a program actually that can money for the united states. i share those views > there are those in the cabinet that have said from time
consider it they controversial. t may have some detractors but it is supported by the majority and both parties. draft regulation along with existing chinese law hat would require u.s. cloud providers to transfer properties, surrender brand name. country has these restrictions and i would assume that the united states wants to to verything that we can stop these restrictions. >> absolutely. area for a long
time. i was the first person i think theyried to challenge what call the great fire wall in china stopping internet getting in there by using the gad agreement on made some d we progress at least did raise that discussions in geneva. on cloud computing, this is a it's big problem and getting bigger all the time. i have heard in the press as i'm usgr is have that considering a 301 on some of the technology transfer issues. is an area where we may to take e prepared action against companies from china if they continue to do companies within china. there are opportunities i think certain high-tech companies, you know, from having complete access to the u.s. have to do this to et satisfaction on cloud
computing issues in china. >> what do you think is a better right now?ue >> you know, in the comprehensive dialogue, i think has to be raised. a lot of ere's been talk about services already in and i think this is a -- probably the next first it very o raise strongly in the comprehensive dialogue and as i mentioned the 301, at least there's press reports about it and that might be very helpful too and i think to have some kind of case when you're having these be successful.
as a way to continue the this market of cloud computing is going to play out. i think that would be very, very helpful. it's been successful in helping us focus on clean energy get some mous so maybe there's a possibility to o that but i so appreciate you wanting to pay attention to it. just draw a note -- to on to have more resources . forcement which
okay?t >> well, i can ask a question while -- is -- i know we were hearing which is a very important topic. further ad with any questions. >> if i could. >> and if you finish and he's ot here we'll recess until he gets here. >> thank you. thank you. >> thank you all. >> this is an important question. just filler. general counsel, will you sure action taken by the administration follows the continue to nd and adminster the basic health -- good. thank you. important tool bringing about great success in driving down costs of healthcare have states that implemented it and it's different than the exchanges and it's run and how so it's been very cost effective
aggressively helping their companies increase exports and unfortunately u.s. companies on the same level united rt from the states government and that often firms from competing on a level playing field as i travel the world and talk to our and american chambers of commerce abroad, i hear this almost stant refrain anywhere. now, if we cut 38 foreign officer l service positions and close ten domestic 35 overseas offices, it aems to me that's going to be greater challenge. do you believe this budget pproach is consistent with the goal of reducing the trade deficit? of course i -- wasn't at commerce and am not budget -- as many of
the members have mentioned, 92% of the world's consumers are borders so we have o be able to get our products out there. >> could i say it's fair to say if you're confirmed, you'll be advocate for a robust foreign service?al >> absolutely. absolutely. incredibly important program and i've heard many over the years. >> what do you see as the mission abroad if you're confirmed? to promote and ncrease exports everywhere in the world. that's the main mission and i hink they've helped many, many companies large and small do that. they also do some work promoting
investment back into the united investors, foreign and i think that's very important too. one of the things that's ncredibly important to our country which continues to lead the world is intellectual property concerns. intellectual the property questions are very pharmaceuticals. embassies, foreign and they can push on this very significantly in the countries
located.ey're secondly, as of course you know, patent and trademark office is part of commerce and i intend o work closely with them to develop international strategies and finally, i mentioned this a ittle earlier in the hearing, think it's time maybe to dust off what's called section 301 important trade law with very strong intellectual property language we can d if need be, turn to that to use the make sure approach to our pharmaceutical companies are protected. er -- can you speak to your plan for ensuring members on both sides of the capital get the responses they need to their inquiries? yes. thank you for your question. in my opening remarks and in
several other remarks, i in doing the due diligence through this nomination process that the need was somethingness that came through crystal clear from both sides and i gave this my absolute commitment o work in a bicameral and bipartisan fashion to get you and your staff the information ou need in order to do your jobs. >> senator booker and i have been having issues getting fda about an m the issue i'd appreciate your help should but confirmed and working us just to get an answer. so we'll commend that to your attention upon your confirmation. let me mr. chairman, ask you, we were able to spend some time together and i appreciated your stopping by the office to talk about the role of the general counsel which i think is incredibly important. have had a great debate over the last not just seven years intensively ths about the affordable care act and for those who like it or
law of the land. americans are free to disagree ith the law but they're not free to disobey it. is as general counsel, will you ensure that in by the he actions taken secretary and/or his subordinates in the department services and human will advise them to adminster and fully the affordable care act as it is in law?
how will you ensure clarity for hhs programs in light of the administration's view that we need less regulation? it's a balancing act. you don't want to overregulate provide the to sectors with enough information for them to do their business. of the firm view that regulations that are necessary should be there and they should promull gaited -- we should
look into perhaps repealing it replacing it with guidance that's more flexible. you, mr. chairman. >> i thank my friend from new givingand appreciate him me the chance to return. >> let's turn to trade for a moment. i've been clear that meaningful consultations with the congress and communications with the are essential for all the of the trade ts agenda. the committee has been kept in on several matters including proposals developed by department to resolve the dispute with canada lumber.ft wood in june we noted the committee has to be consulted and briefed step of the way before proposals are made to canada. the two of us sent a letter along with five other members of
he committee to secretary roth and ambassador lightheizer the need for a strong outcome for american mill workers. put this in the context of what we think is real consultation. is not tellingon us five minutes before something is going to happen. proposal is offered or agreement is reached or nature.g of that it is done in a way where this committee both democrats and republicans can actually have a chance to what is being considered and give our comments. hat's what we think real consultation is all about. have ou commit fully to that kind of real briefing, from now on i'm not just talking briefing. i'm talking about a real briefing so there's an pportunity for meaningful consultation between members of the committee and their staff.
in particular on the soft wood lumber case. before our country canada.e proposals to >> senator, i hear you loud and lear on that and i absolutely agree to do that. with all the members of this very much i actually enjoy speaking with members of the finance committee because i and it's so important. date ld mention that the of the lumber final is september 6th so if i'm then, i'll be re more effective in that regard but i absolutely -- >> that is a really clever argument. [laughter] >> for the united states senate finance committee to move quickly. we have had in ingenius arguments over the years. i think yours is as good as i've heard. >> thank you, senator. know, i'vees, as you been very impressed with the quality of your work as we've
in the past. but i'm not going to call this caplin doctrine on consultation or anything like hat but it is different than we've asked the question in the past. lease communicate to the whole trade team that that's how i'm going to ask it in the future, giving uson is not by something five minutes before something is going to happen. >> i understand that. me turn to one other question if i might. a littlears we've been it of an outpost supporting digital trade and digital goods. nd a lot of this of course has shown incredible economic otential and it all happened basically after nafta and a lot of trade architecture that's in and it's vital to export state -- you very
bring substantial ualifications to these positions. it's my intention to work on oth sides to advance the consideration of your nominations. i was going to do that even mr. caplin offered his clever and fresh argument for moved quickly. with regard to written questions on behalf of the chairman i would just like to chairman's per the instruction and i support the committee members submit them by close of business on august 8th and with that, we are adjourned.
this morning tennessee senator bob corker said president trump who d fire staff members are leaking to reporters. here's what he had to say. i had a long conversation with president trump last friday morning. aware of the initial change that was getting ready to take place. encouraged the president and now i encourage that through every kelly to fire single person that's had anything whatsoever to do with back biting, undermining other for their own benefit or
leaking. leaking eople that are information, that are talking to each of you to try to have their implemented because they're getting you to argue on their behalf and we know it's happening. these people should be fired. be out of government. they're disloyal to our that is t. and i hope happen.going to
hoping to get transportation in 2001. that's my background. i was a transportation banker for a number of years for bank america. i had work for transportation companies so my whole background actually in transportation. so it's nice now to be able to return to a field in which i know, worked previously.