Feb 17, 2020
Transcript: Nancy Pelosi Speaks with Congressional Delegation at NATO Headquarters
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spoke with Congressional delegation at NATO headquarters in Belgium on February 17, 2020. Read the full transcript right here on Rev.com.
Speaker 1: (00:00)
So you’ve got to be really old to know what sea rations are, but this was a very, very special event because of the commitment and everybody that was here today, and to our allies, that we’ve got to stick together, and by doing this, this is a big statement, and thank you very much for everything you’ve done. Thank you.
Susan Davis: (00:23)
Hello everyone. I’m Susan Davis. I’m from San Diego, California and I am a proud member of the NATO parliamentary assembly and also a repetatur for the science and technology committee, and I’m very pleased to be here. As politicians, we learn very, very early that 85% of your job as a representative is showing up. Frankly, I think it’s more than that. We have to be there for our constituents. They feel it when you are present. And so in the same way, I think it’s very, very important. We will always be here in force when it comes to NATO. One of the things I wanted to mention very quickly, because we’ve spent a lot of time talking about Afghanistan, from the Munich Conference and here. We’ve spoken with general secretary Stoltenberg about it. We’ve spoken with ambassador Hutchinson as well, and our message is a very strong one.
Susan Davis: (01:26)
We know that women’s rights are enshrined in their constitution, but we’re going to be a little skeptical as things move forward and we await some of the announcements regarding hope for negotiations, hope for a ceasefire. And what’s important to recognize is that we’re not just talking about women’s rights. We know that in the United States as well, just being at the table, why that’s important, is not always the full answer. But it’s having what we call agencies. It’s having influence, it’s having the ability to change, to mold, to be certain that families are protected, that the country can thrive. And that’s one of the things that NATO cares about. We triggered article five. We are together on that, and we appreciate the fact that our NATO colleagues and countries are with us. Thank you.
Jason Crow: (02:30)
Thank you madam speaker. I’m Jason Crow from the state of Colorado, also a member of the Armed Services committee. Before I was a member of Congress, it was the honor of my life to be an army officer in the United States Army. And I served shoulder to shoulder with a lot of our allies and partners, including NATO and Afghanistan and other partners in Iraq as well. And I learned during that period that it wasn’t just important that we do that, but it was absolutely essential, because we could not complete the mission without our partners. We are strong though, not just because of the commitment that we have militarily, but the alliance that has existed for over 70 years. It’s obviously a military alliance at its height, but it’s strong and it has endured through recessions, through wars, through changes in leadership in all of our countries because of shared values. Those values are still as relevant as ever. They are still as important as ever, and that is what will make our alliance endure.
Jason Crow: (03:33)
The challenges we face are actually more complex than we’ve ever faced, from climate change, the great power competition, to terrorism, to cyber warfare, to artificial intelligence. And because of these complex and overlapping challenges, it makes it more essential than it’s ever been that we collaborate, and there’s been some discussion over the last couple of years about debate and friction and the alliance. Now I’m somebody that thinks that when you’re a family, when you have a strong relationship, it is actually a sign of strength to have the confidence to be able to debate and have tough conversations. We will, as a partnership, draw strength from that. We will figure out how to address those challenges because we have the confidence to have those types of discussions. In short, we will either succeed together or we will fail separately, and America is prepared to succeed together.
Nancy Pelosi: (04:35)
Thank you very much Mr. Crow. My colleagues will now be happy to answer any questions you may have, but so that you can address them directly, I want them to do a shout. You heard from Mr. Crow and Mr. Connolly. Just introduce yourself. Go ahead.
Brett Guthrie: (04:49)
Brett Guthrie from Kentucky.
Veronica Escobar: (04:51)
Veronica Escobar from Texas.
Neal Dunn: (04:52)
Neal Dunn, Florida.
Ro Khanna: (04:54)
Ro Khanna, California.
Bill Keating: (04:55)
Bill Keating, Massachusetts.
Steve Lynch: (04:57)
Steve Lynch, Massachusetts.
Brendan Boyle: (04:58)
Brendan Boyle, Pennsylvania.
John Garamendi: (05:00)
John Garamendi, California.
Jim Himes: (05:02)
Jim Himes, Connecticut.
Nancy Pelosi: (05:05)
Speaker 15: (05:06)
First question, [Drew Seigel 00:05:07], Marcus.
Drew Seigel: (05:16)
[inaudible 00:05:16] So, Madam speaker, you’ve just mentioned that the information highway should be de-marketized in the context of the five G discussion. Now, you know that the United States services have been monitoring citizens of Western allies too, not least among them, the German chancellor. And if you do not happen to be a United States citizen, you don’t have a lot of tools to be able to… In other words, you don’t have a democratic say about your data is handled in the United States and you don’t have the tools to counter any steps that you might deem unfair against yourself. So if should a Democrat become president next year, would you say that things like these to be going to change?
Nancy Pelosi: (06:02)
Well, let me just say that… I’m not confirming anything that you’ve said about any of our activities, but I will say that there’s a big distinction about what we do to protect and defend our countries and to use whatever’s available to us to do so. And that is quite different from a country monitoring everything that its citizens do. I do believe that if we were to let, Huawei have the information highway dominance, it would be like putting the state police in the pocket of every person who uses that highway. I want to yield Mr. Himes of Connecticut on the Intelligence committee.
Jim Himes: (06:45)
So thank you for that question. I’d make two observations for you. One is the three of us up here as members and former members of the intelligence committee, we are charged with oversight of the intelligence community. That means we grapple with precisely the questions that you asked. And like Germany, like Australia, like Canada, like Great Britain, we will have an ongoing dialogue, including with our allies, about what we’re comfortable with doing. And you will recall of course, that that president Obama had a conversation with chancellor Merkel when some of the revelations came out.
Jim Himes: (07:20)
So the three people up here are tasked with making sure that whatever our operations are, they are consistent with the interests of our allies. But I want to make a point that I think is equally important, because we’ve gotten similar versions of this question before. We have to resist the temptation to draw an equivalence between the services of the democracies and the services associated with autocratic regimes.
Jim Himes: (07:46)
We are here for one reason, which is that our collective strength backs the values of freedom and liberty. That is why we are here in this building. That is not why the services of either Russia or China, or you can go back in history to the totalitarian and dictatorial regimes. That’s not why they exist, and so we need to resist the temptation even as we have the very important and robust conversation about what the limits are and not just with our allies but with our own citizens. And that is something that we engage in, in a very robust way because that’s our job. We should never fall into the equivalent of saying that this activity is somehow… That the activities of the US sector are somehow consistent with what we know Huawei does.
Speaker 15: (08:34)
Martin Carlson, Associated Press. [crosstalk 00:08:41]
Mark Carlson: (08:41)
Okay. I’ll ask the question without a microphone. Madam speaker this morning you met with the presidents of the European council and the European commission. Can you describe what you learned from what is our current relationship between the European Union and United States government in particular, after the world watching the impeachment process? Can you tell us what you’ve learned from speaking with both presidents of the commission and council today?
Nancy Pelosi: (09:10)
Well, it had nothing to do with impeachment. But that’s something that is at home. But what we did learn was the caliber of the measure of the leadership, the new leadership in the commission and in the council. We’ve had good relationships before and to commend them for that. But we had very hopeful conversation this morning based on shared values. And I know that sounds like an intangible, but it is the basics of our friendship and the security that is required to maintain our shared values and the investments that we need to make and soft power to do so.
Nancy Pelosi: (09:51)
So we had very positive meetings. Again, always using our time well to learn, but also in friendship to be candid about any questions that we may have of each other about how we go forward. I always say, and you probably heard me say, that when I was a student, I heard president Kennedy say, “Ask not what your country can do for you, what you can do for your country”. Everybody knows that, but the next sentence, “The citizens of the world ask not what America can do for you, but what we can do working together for the freedom of mankind,” and I would say from my perspective that it was a very promising meeting of both based on our past history, but our prospects for the future about how we prioritize democracy over autocracy. But I want to yield to any other representatives who might want to speak.
Bill Keating: (10:42)
Yeah, Bill Keating and I’m chair of European subcommittee and foreign affairs. We had a very constructive meeting and I must tell you that it’s not just shared values that we talked about. We talked about common threats and how our security is important together. We talked about Huawei, and five G and that threat. We also talked about economic security and how that is all part of our security. We talked about difficult issues of trade and we came to the understanding together in that discussion. It was reinforced, we had it before. The fact that neither the EU or the United States can be effective alone, not nearly as effective to meet the challenges of China and what they’re doing economically as we can by working together. Together we’re almost half the world’s GDP. We can deal with the threats of China through strength and I think that’s the thing that people have to remember the fact that we need each other. And the US understands that and the EU understands that. And it was so constructive to hear it. It was one of the most hopeful discussions we had since we’ve been here.
Nancy Pelosi: (11:47)
I might also say that the overarching issue I mentioned earlier climate with something that Congresswoman Escobar led us into the discussion with the president of the commission. Veronica, did you want to speak to that?
Veronica Escobar: (12:01)
Thank you Madam speaker. And just to point out something for all of you, representative Crow, who you just heard a little bit ago and myself, are two members of the freshman class, newly elected last year. And we stand together with our colleagues, Republican and Democrat, some who’ve as Mr. Cook mentioned, have lived through much of the promise and the commitment to NATO. Which we as brand new elected, maybe not so brand new, but recently elected one year in members of Congress embrace and celebrate and are delighted to continue to participate in.
Veronica Escobar: (12:45)
But one of the things that the speaker, as she mentioned in her remarks, we face an existential threat of the climate crisis. And as that climate crisis continues to ravage the earth, we are going to face security issues that deal with famine, food insecurity, economic insecurity and probably increased migration throughout the globe.
Veronica Escobar: (13:10)
And how we solve that together, not just the climate crisis itself, but the consequences of it. We are stronger when we collaborate on those solutions. We are stronger when we face those challenges as opportunities together. And we are stronger when we recognize the realities of what we face immediately and with the urgency that they deserve. And that the climate crisis is something that each day in the news we see more and more terrifying information.
Veronica Escobar: (13:42)
And so the urgency that we have, and again, the opportunity that comes with that, was something that we discussed. And I feel very hopeful as well about those shared interests and that shared commitment and the steps we need to take together going forward. Thank you.
Nancy Pelosi: (13:59)
And in our meetings with the president of the commission, the president of the council and the secretary general the climate crisis was a national security challenge. Any other questions?
Speaker 15: (14:12)
Wall Street Journal, Daniel Michaels.
Daniel Michaels: (14:15)
Yeah. You mentioned trade, and that clearly has been a bone of contention between the two sides and even touched on security because security was a justification for the president’s tariffs. Where did you think the situation on trade stands and is there, in Congress, is there a feeling that Europe needs to do more, or is the feeling that things are in the right direction? Thank you.
Nancy Pelosi: (14:42)
Before I take your question and share it with my colleagues. I did want to call Mr. Dunn, who is also a veteran who has served our country so well for any comments he may have on everything else that he has heard here.
Neal Dunn: (14:56)
Thank you Madam speaker. As the speaker mentioned I was an Army physician for a long time. It actually has assisted me in my congressional career. We recently had the coronavirus breakout and in my former life I worked in the Army Research Institute of infectious diseases up at Fort Dietrich. So it’s very helpful to be able to call up my old pals and ask them some questions about that. And so I’ve enjoyed my time up here. I also want to say there’s a complete 100% commitment on the part of America to remaining in NATO and making sure it remains strong. And I think that is, as the speakers has said, a very bipartisan attitude. Thank you.
Nancy Pelosi: (15:36)
And his twin brother served in trade.
Neal Dunn: (15:40)
Wow, you know a lot.
Nancy Pelosi: (15:44)
I thought you were going to share any information your twin brother gave you about trade. Any of my colleagues want to address the trade issue? On the Ways and Means committee, Brendan Boyle.
Brendan Boyle: (15:53)
Yeah. Brendan Boyle, Pennsylvania, and proud member of the NATO parliamentary assembly as well as a member of the House Ways and Means committee, which has jurisdiction over trade. And so while our negotiations with Canada and Mexico for the replacement of NAFTA and USMCA took a lot of attention last year as well as the ongoing bi-laterals with China. I hope and I think many of us in the Ways and Means committee on a bipartisan basis, are hopeful we will get back to what was a big discussion in terms of T tip at the tail end of 2015 and 2016, and then got a dis-railed.
Brendan Boyle: (16:28)
So you saw through the USMCA process, a real bi-partisan achievement of many of us on this stage. I’m pretty hopeful that we could have a strong US, EU, comprehensive trade deal. Even with the UK extricating itself from the European Union. The European Union still represents a large percentage of world GDP, a market of almost 500 million people. And obviously a natural partner for the US in terms of shared values. So I am optimistic, and I think that I’m reflecting the view of a bipartisan group of us in Ways and Means.
Nancy Pelosi: (17:10)
Anyone else on that subject? I do and have, for a long time thought that if the United States and the EU collaborated together on the issue of the exploitation of our markets by China, that we would be a bigger force to change that as we go forward. Because these trade deficits are harmful to our countries and this, EU, and it shouldn’t have to be that way. So rather than short of contending with let’s join together the synergy of these two big markets together as bigger than the sum of its parts.
Speaker 15: (17:55)
One last question Jonathan Sterns. [crosstalk 00:17:56]
Johnathan Stern: (18:01)
I’m Jonathan Sterns from Bloomberg. Mrs. Speaker, could you please tell us after your meetings today in downtown Brussels at the commission and the council, are there differences fundamentally in your view of the threats posed by Huawei, and Chinese technology, and the views of the Europeans? Or is there much more common ground that then headlines might suggest? Thank you.
Nancy Pelosi: (18:26)
Anyone else who wants to weigh in, but I’ll begin by saying that as you probably know, the EU has established some criteria that they have agreed to that whatever direction a country may want to take, it has to have those certain, I don’t have the word is protection, but those standards set there so that they’re not going down the autocratic path but a democratic path.
Nancy Pelosi: (18:51)
Now that’s a consensus in the EU. Countries individually, will do what they do. And as you know, there’s some differences, of opinion. And we want to point out that while some people say, “Well it’s cheaper to do Huawei.” Well, yeah because it’s a People’s Liberation Army developed initiative using reversed engineering from American… Western technology. So of course it’s going to be cheaper to put on the market and if it’s cheaper to get the market share, and then they bring in their autocracy of lack of privacy and other entities.
Nancy Pelosi: (19:31)
So, again, because of price, people are saying, “Well, I can afford it better.” That shouldn’t be the reason to take it. Because what you might gain in price, you lose in values. In addition to that, there’s some economic threats by the Chinese to companies. If you don’t take Huawei as your country, we won’t be doing these deals. Well, that’s totally unacceptable. And again, I would hope that there would be the maturity of these countries to understand that for the benefit of a few corporations, you cannot sell the privacy of the people of your country down the river. As I said before, it’s like having state police, right? The Chinese state police right in your pocket. Anybody else Mr. Garamendi? [crosstalk 00:20:20] Mr. Guthrie.
Brett Guthrie: (20:19)
Can I go first? I’m Brett Guthrie, Kentucky. I’m on our energy and commerce committee and deal with this. And there’s a couple of things. One with the state subsidies that Huawei’s gotten, it’s put… We had businesses that have gone out of business, so the other options are out. We’re going to lose options if we don’t take action. Not because they’re competing on the world market in a free enterprise way, but because of the state subsidy, that’s important.
Brett Guthrie: (20:43)
The other thing is with Huawei, it’s not just the backdoor that you’re afraid of that the Chinese government can access, is the fact that it’s not that secure at all. It’s not a very secure site or very secure system, so that other people can access it too. So it’s not just we’re fearing… Which we should fear, but it’s not the only fear that the Chinese government is going to gain access to us by implementing these systems, or to Europe or anyone. Is the fact that anybody that knows how to get into these networks, it’s not just a backdoor for China, I guess you should say, it’s a backdoor for a lot of people to enter into.
Brett Guthrie: (21:17)
And I think as we’re discussing, I’m on the NATO parliamentary assembly side of this delegation, so we’ve got the next couple of days. And plan to discuss with our colleagues to come up with some of the answers you’re talking about and make sure that we have dialogues with each other about why this is important to us as a country and hopefully important to our NATO partners as well.
Nancy Pelosi: (21:38)
And I might say that what we’ve talked about is not an Americanization of this, it’s about internationalization of it. What we can do working together to have a system that exploits the opportunities of technology while honoring our values. Mr. Ro Khanna is from Silicon Valley and may have something to say… You’re okay? Mr. Garamendi?
John Garamendi: (21:44)
Thank you Madam speaker. I want to thank you for taking this issue very, very strongly. On the House Armed Services committee this issue is of paramount importance to us. And I would suspect that we will see in this year’s national defense authorization act, a very strong, very bipartisan effort to address the Huawei issue. And more importantly, how we can build an alternative, and international alternative, to Huawei. One that we can count on to carry out all of the goals that the speaker has so clearly laid out.
John Garamendi: (22:41)
This is a fundamental national security issue for America and I would dare say, for any other country, particularly the European countries. There are many different aspects of the Huawei system that ought to give great concern to all of us. And so be aware we’re going to move on this, it’ll be part of the law that we’ll propose, out of the House of Representatives. Whether it becomes law or not, we shall see, but let us just be very much aware this is where we’re headed.
Nancy Pelosi: (23:13)
Thank you. [inaudible 00:23:13] Again, some countries have gone down a path… Again, we hope that without even just naming Huawei, any entity that would be exploitive of individual rights and privacy of people backdoor or whatever way, is something that we have to avoid. At the moment this is the threat so some people say, “Well, talk about it, but don’t use their name.” Well, we have used their name in our legislation. And we are concerned about them or anyone else who decides to go down this path.
Nancy Pelosi: (23:51)
We see a brilliant relationship with the European Union, of course, a strategic one for our security in NATO, our values in both. We think trade is very important. We did have some longer discussions with Mr. Hogan about trade and how we can work together as we go forward and in fairness, but what contributes to the economic growth of all of our countries. Creating good paying jobs in a way that is respectful of the environment as we go forward.
Nancy Pelosi: (24:25)
So thank you all very much for coming. I thank my colleagues for being part of all of this. And wish our North Atlantic inter-parliamentary assembly members under Mr. Connolly’s leadership, but in a bipartisan way, much success in their deliberations that they go forward. Thank you all very much.