tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 12, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
leave it to india to describe what steps it will take. we are moving forward but to implement a national sanctions and to evaluate how we can take additional national measures that puts pressure on the run and government to come forward ranianthe iran in -- in government. >> we continue to see that as i ran the thames to perfect the technology -- as iran attempts to perfect the technology. it is narrowed. we have definite concerns if this trajectory continues, that iran will approach that moment,
the tipping point, where it has a military capability. we are doing everything to deter that moment from occurring. that is why we need a national resolve. all countries have an obligation to do everything they can to convince iran to move in a different direction. >> india and pakistan are moving ahead with [unintelligible] are you talking to both countries on this issue? [unintelligible] >> i will take that question as to whether we have concerns about that. >> [inaudible] were you pleased he made this public statement which is reported as a monthly hardest
comments of a russian official about iran's potential nuclear capabilities? does it suggest the russians are growing closer to your perspective on iran? >> i would go back to the meeting at the president obama and president medvedev had last fall where their comments were similar. russia meets at -- reached consensus in both supporting and passing the recent sanctions. i don't think there has been a great deal of daylight between the russian position -- they have converged in the past several months.
we have the same concern this program poses to the region. russia has a special concern because it is adjacent to that neighborhood. this is indicative of the cooperation and shared perspective the u.s. and russia has reached based on dialogue the presidents have had, defense officials have had. >> there has been many reports on the reach of sanctions -- breach of sanctions. what are you doing to [inaudible]
>> with the recent security council of resolution, now comes the important step of implementing it. every country has a responsibility to abide by its international obligations. we have had a specific conversation with iraq over the past couple of weeks, but that is something -- i will check to see if that was on his list of topics. >> they are in violation of these sections. >> i will check to see if this was an issue that was raised in the last couple of days. >> [inaudible]
[unintelligible] >> no, the elections have taken place. these were decisions for the japanese people to make. we will work closely with the japanese government on issues of mutual concern. >> no concerns whatsoever? [unintelligible] >> i will defer to japanese political commentators to describe the applications. we will work closely with the japanese government. >> on north korea. there will be a meeting between u.s. forces and north korea. what would this be about? >> i will defer to dod and the un command in terms of whether
the meeting will take place tomorrow. this is a forum through which the military can talk about violations of the armistice. the sinking of the ship was a violation of the existing armistice, but i will defer to dod. but it was something that was proposed to north korea and they initially rejected it. as to whether the meeting will take place as early as tomorrow, i will defer dod. >> there is a report that [unintelligible] >> i don't know anything beyond
what mark talked about. >> senators have asked secretary clinton to take up with the brits very urgently the case of [unintelligible] who appears to have more than the three months to live that he was reported to have had when he was released by the scottish authorities. do you know if the secretary has received this letter--- received this letter? good turns out he was paid by the libyans to do this. >> i will check to see if we receive the letter. we appreciate these senators encouraging us to focus on this issue. we have not changed our view.
we think the decision to release him last summer was a mistake. we thought he should continue to -- in jail for his crime. that continues to be our view. i will check to see if we have the letter. we will reiterate that position to scottish authorities. >> when was the last time it came up with british officials next -- officials? >> we made our views very well known to british officials. there was an expectation from last august that he had only a few months to live. we have been on watch since that
time. we have been alert for indications that doctors brenda gnosis -- that doctors' prognosis was going to come to pass. every day that he lives is an affront to the families of those who lost their lives in pan am 03. >> every day that he lives? >> every day he lives as a free man is an affront to the families and victims of pan am. >> there has been a change in government in britain. has it been raised with a new government? >> not to my knowledge. there was an expectation that he was near death. >> do you share the concerns
about the libyan involvement? >> i will check to see whether we have that letter. >> [inaudible] [unintelligible] [unintelligible] >> id does not change our concern about the electoral process. this is a flawed electorial process. we respect decisions that former members have made, but we do not have any expectation that what proceeds in burma will be anything that this -- resembles a legitimate result. >> [inaudible]
>> not at all. we will continue to engage the burmese government because it is in our interest to do so. we will continue during those discussions if and when they occur to make clear that burma house much more that it needs to go to engage with dialogue with key groups and open up its political process to meaningful participation. that will continue to be our message whenever we meet with officials. >> can you point to any instance in which sense you began this dialogue and at a higher level where the government has moved in your direction in any manner
whatsoever? the ones that come to mind our democracy and assuaging your concerns about nuclear cooperation with north korea. have they done anything to address these concerns? >> not on the democracy front. their steps have been inadequate. we continue to have concerns about their relationship with north korea. that is something we watch carefully. >> can i follow up on that? do you have any benchmarks for this engagement at which point you say engagement is not working? obviously, you want to give it a chance, but at what point do you said this is not working? we are rewarding de -- rewarding -- >> there is a presumption that
engagement is reward. engagement is the most effective means to an end. we have years and decades of experience that tells us isolation has not worked either. we are involved in direct discussions with the burmese officials. i cannot concur -- predict when the next round will occur, but their response on the democracy front has been disappointing. we will continue to not reward them, but to make sure that they have a clarity that if they envision a different kind of relationship with the u.s.,
those processes have to change. >> what if they don't envision this? >> we will reach that conclusion at that point. >> are you getting closer to appointing a special envoy to,? >> i don't know where we are in the process. >> there are reports of saying they would like to direct talks starting by august 1. can you say anything about that time line? >> you need decisions by the israeli government and the palestinian authority to enter into an -- enter into negotiations. we have not put a particular date and said it has to occur by the state. george mitchell will be in the
region this week to continue his regular conversations with officials. we will continue to evaluate based on their responses how close we are. >> [inaudible] >> we want to see negotiations began as close as possible. we would be very encouraged by august 1, but that is not a particular deadline. we want to get them into direct negotiations as quickly as possible. if it doesn't happen until september, the key is until way a direct negotiations there is little prospect of reaching a just settlement for everyone. >> [unintelligible] >> the proximity talks are serving their purpose, but we
recognize we are not at a point where both have agreed to direct negotiations. >> i thought that was the purpose. >> we are working on substantive issues. george will sit down with both leaders and say how is the weather? he is going through substantive issues to see if we can establish the foundation necessary so the israelis and palestinians can get to yes. we think there is value in getting these discussions that senator mitchell has had, supported by conversations the secretary has had five leaders on both sides. >> [inaudible]
on the 10th anniversary of the failed effort of camp david to broker an israeli-palestinian peace agreement. that speech was canceled this morning. did the administration request that he not make that speech? >> i have no knowledge of this. >> [inaudible] >> i think it will be in the region in a couple of days. i don't think the specifics are 100% set. >> do you feel these are progressing? are you still where you were six months ago? >> this is never a static process.
you are always moving in one direction or the other. we think the talks have value. they are helping to clarify issues both sides will need to address when t direct negotiations do occur. we see value and importance. we are addressing the substance and we hope we can get the two sides to appoint where they can begin direct negotiations. >> china has called for [unintelligible] north korea said it will make efforts for reopening the talks. [unintelligible] >> there are specific things north korea has to do before we can envision a return to six party talks. most importantly, having
constructive relations with its neighbors, avoiding provocative actions we saw with the sinking of the ship, that would be a good place to start. >> [inaudible] >> we could turn that around. -- ou'd sink a ship >> i did not ask about that. they just sank a ship, so why would you talk to them at all? >> i am not saying we are. there are things that north korea has to do if it in visions coming back to negotiations. >> like what? >> ceasing provocative behavior and, in gauging constructively -- engaging constructively with
its neighbors. north korea has the opportunity to have dialogue with south korea on security issues. but the disregard for the interests of south korea is a case in point. other countries have their own set of issues. it is one thing for north korea to say it is willing to come back to the process. it is another thing for north korea to come back toa in theol. asiancom sit and have it -- comeback to negotiations. there are things north korea can do to demonstrate -- to back up
this public indication. there is more they have to do it. >> the only specific thing he mentioned was economic talks. >> if north korea wants to engage in the process there are specific commitments in the joint statement from 2005. it can take steps to restore confidence that it is willing to seriously consider denuclearization. there is no indication north korea is preparing to do that. they are not prepared to show a willingness to fulfill its existing commitments. you have to ask the question of
what are we going to talk about. north korea has a history. >> you never said this was a precondition to get back to the street -- get back to the talks. that is why you have not even talking. there has never been steps they had to take. >> you are misreading what had -- what we have been saying. we are not -- to quote secretary gates, we will not buy a horse more than once. if north korea wants to engage seriously in the process there are very specific actions north
korea has to take before we would consider a resumption of the six party process. as we have said many times, avoiding further provocative actions, setting up a more stable environment in the region, but also showing that they are serious about fulfilling their commitments under previous agreements. those are the kinds of things we want to see before we will agree to a restoration of the process. >> does the u.s. recognized the validity of these passports? i am sure the team is trying to get to [unintelligible]
>> the lacrosse team that is trying to get to britain, we are trying to help them. given the more stringent standards we have applied to travel, for one to travel to and returned from a other country -- we are standing by to help the team get its passport on an expedited basis. >> they don't consider themselves to be citizens. you would seem to be violating them by not allowing them to travel, particularly if they meet the standard to be accepted. there were negotiations with the previous administration. >> what you're talking about is
whether other countries will accept this. >> they said they were only looking for assurances from the u.s. government that these people will be allowed back into the country. >> we stand by ready to help. >> they do not want that privilege. this as asee violation of treaty is that go back to the 1600's? >> i am not willing to go through this little process. >> but they are. >> i will take to it -- take the question as to whether we have a video helping them -- whether we have a view. >> that is not the right way to
look at it. they would argue this is a violation of the sovereignty and the agreement you have been in existence for hundreds of years. can you take the question on the legality of this? >> you are suggesting they are claiming it is a challenge to their sovereignty to help them get u.s. passports. they don't want u.s. passports. >> since they last traveled on their own passports the requirements in terms of the kinds of documents necessary to facilitate travel outside the hemisphere has changed. we are trying to help them get the appropriate travel documents so they can travel to this tournament. >> you said the appropriate
travel document is a u.s. passport. it is not an enhanced version. >> you are talking about -- bid is not about a u.s. passport. you can have a passport from any passport. does this passport properly provide identification and to meet the security standards that have been raised around the world since 2001. any travel document that meets the standard can be accepted as nations as demonstrating the person traveling is who he says he is. i cannot speak for these passports. >> if this building told them it
was not acceptable they cannot get it into the country -- >> that conversation involves dhs. we are prepared to help them get access to a document. >> not a u.s. passport? >> i understand the question. >> efforts to encourage lending to small businesses. daniel is our guest. former virginia congressman tom davis discusses the political landscape, they knew arizona law and its impact on the republican
party. they look at the future of the u.s. postal service with the chairman of the postal regulatory commission. "washington journal" every morning here on c-span. a panel of political analysts say republicans will take control of the house in the midyear alexians. you can hear their reasons -- mid-year elections. choctaw, michael and -- chuck todd takes part in this event. this is about an hour. >> as well as the national charmer hot line -- national journal. we are here to talk about the
midterm alexians. another in a tumultuous series -- midterm elections. we've brought together a terrific panel. we will talk among ourselves for 30 minutes exploring this election. we'll open it up to you for 15 minutes. then we will come back for a final thought. let me introduce the panel. on my far side is chuck todd. he holds many titles. he is the former editor of the hot line. he is a chief white house correspondent for nbc. and editor of one magazine. on the other side is mcikey
edwards. feel free to applaud. -- mickey edwards. he is a lecturer at princeton university. to his left, geographically, -- >> it is going to be a tough audience. >> michael is another triple threat. resident fellow at the american enterprise institute and analyst at fox news. principal author of -- directly to my right is a democratic member of california since 1992.
>> i need this. >> one of the leading figures among house democrats on issues of intelligence and national security. we don't have the empty chair where michael steele was scheduled to be a until he canceled yesterday. we will try to soldier on without him. overviewrt with the question that everybody is wondering at this point. what are the prospects today that republicans will capture the house or the senate or both?
>> when you look at a few important numbers -- the more people are telling us today than a month ago that the direction of the country is on the wrong track. the president's job rating has been going down. if you look at his job rating in the 50 house seats democrats have won, these are not solid democratic seats. his job rating there is about where george bush's was in 2006. these are not a lot of minorities or hispanics. take away his popularity with those groups and he is sitting in the high 30's. combine those numbers and you look at clinton in 1994.
all of the ingredients are there for a big wave. the white house is expecting it. all republicans need are another 8-10. that is where things are now. the game for the white house is saving the senate. the senate is stable for them because you could argue republicans have not nominated the best candidates. they either are no longer republicans or they did not get through the primary. right now democrats will argue they have not engaged in the campaign yet. right now that is where in it is. this feels like its is building.
the white house is expecting it. they will be shocked if they hold the house. if you look at the president's numbers and you look at the direction of the country and the unemployment rate. it is all there. will democrats be shocked if they hold the house? >> they are expecting to hold the house. i am not an expert, but i lived this. i just want an intense primary -- i won an intense primary. all lot of the people are saying incumbents are losing. ones that have lost have lost in primaries. in primaries, some outsiders are knocking off long-term people. that may be misunderstood as
anti-democratic. . there is a lot of anchor there. but not only directed at democrats. the average loss in non presidential years is 25 seats. that is realistic. it will depend on what the economy is like in the fall. every day is about seven years. between now and november is 300 years. we don't know what the economy will look like. if they expect it is getting better i think democratic loss will be contained. i don't think we know that. i also think even though health care is on popular when it passed, once some of the
benefits of health care kick in people will reconsider it. finally, you have to beat somebody with somebody. a lot of the republican candidates to have won primaries are pretty extreme. that will make it easier for democratic incumbents to survive. >> michael, would you address the broader question? how does it look for control? >> if the vote were only on democrats i think republicans would take control of the house. the republican party has shown a wonderful ability to shoot itself on the foot. they are in the process of offending a lot of hispanics in areas where they have a lot of
hispanic voters. i agree completely with jane. one of the things that has happened -- republicans have managed to take their strongest candidates and shove them off the stage. shirley chris is an independent. one person in kentucky is gone. rand paul is a republican candidate. i don't think republicans can take the senate. we will probably take the house, but we have plenty of time to screw it up. >> who will be in control in january? >> i would bet on republicans to win a majority of the house. democrats will have more than 50 senators.
>> they have control of the 59 senators. >> we have had two big developments in public opinion. the obama white house believes that economic distress would make americans more supportive of big government programs. they thought health care would be popular. it turns out they were wrong. i think they misread the history of the 1930's. it is a $3.50 on amazon. i think they misread that. i think there has been a rush into political activity of
uninvolved people in opposition to these programs which was started with the bush administration. symbolized by the tea party movement. this gives a lot of enthusiasm and problems to the republican side. grayson would have one without much incident. rand paul is a problematic candidate who may lose in a state where john mccain got 59%. nevada could be another example. it reminds me of the peace movement where you had in colorado democratic liberals challenging old-time democrats. they beat another in the
district that included this area. there will be some results. the benefit for the republicans is more energy but some of setting negatives. >> the question was about whether republicans will take control. i hearken back to 1980. it does not have to be a majority of republicans. the combination of republicans and the blue dog democrats gave him an effective majority. >> i am interested in your thoughts. are the democrats in this situation because of circumstances, the economy, or
are they in this position because of the reaction to the policies they have pursued? are they more the victims of difficult times. >> going back to 1980, ronald reagan misread the 1980 election. one of the things the obama administration has done is to read the last election which was a repudiation of the bush administration and questions about john mccain's capacity. and read that to mean we want to move more to the left. i think that was misreading. they might have been able to handle it in a better way. >> did democrats mystery the
public's tolerance for an expanding role in regulating the economy? >> change is hard. i don't think any of the things we have been able to pass by one vote or a so has been perfect. but in this legislative environment, perfection is not an option. i don't remember that. i don't think this is an ideological election unless you think -- i don't. 95% of people have wanted to reform our health-care system for years. after the financial catastrophe, most people think we need to
make change. , don't know they want this they think getting through congress, but most people think we need changes in energy regulation. if anyone has not paid attention to the gulf, everybody thinks we would have to regulate well safety. i don't think the things we have produced have been perfect. not all democrats support the things that have been on the floor. hell no is the republican ideology for this election. if the economy is improving by november, but since i don't think we have a problem i think voters will come back. the key swing has to be independence.
obama got elected by independents and new voters. i don't think they are voting yet. the independents have swung a republican. how the economy is doing in the fall well a fact them. >> -- will affect them. >> how do you separate the democratic difficulty? to what extent do they have a performance problem where voters don't see results from the big changes? >> i think this is -- when you don't have control of your situation you are lashing out at those who you think control it. you have a lot of people who feel unsure of their own status. whole issue of health care has never been about medical care.
it was about fear of losing their health care. that has always been something that both parties have not dealt with more directly. i think this is an anxiety issue, lack of control. it is amazing how pessimistic people are about the state of america. one of the reasons why obama one is this issue of american exceptional some -- exceptional ism. there is a fear we are losing to china, so they were looking for someone more optimistic who could win wars. there were looking for the optimistic boyd. he was the hope.
now those folks still have this same fear. there are folks in the white house to get it. they rationalize the scott brown victory and say he won for the same reasons we won. people are upset and feel like change has not come. that was part rassles station on their part. -- part of rationalization on their part. you are the historian. when is the last time we had three straight change elections? it is almost unprecedented. >> a change in different directions. this is another vote for barack obama. >> they did not say that.
>> they were saying is delusional. karl rove expected republicans to hold majorities in the congress in 2006 and that was delusional. this reminds me of that. the rejection of bush and the republicans was mostly a reduction on confidence -- rejection on confidence, but rahm emanuel's house candidates were winning. they were winning it on the problem with charles taylor and the house republican leadership was grumbling. i do think this is a rejection of this administration's program on a the analogy. there is some danger of competence rejection in the gulf oil spill.
it is not as high as with bush. obama coski job rating is still at 46% national level -- obama's job rating. the 1982went lower in cycle, but there is the point made earlier come up look where the house districts are. they have 89 districts that are leaning to one party or another. 14 of those -- if you disaggregate them by black populations, not many have more than 14% black population. another 13 have about average black populations. 62 are in districts with a lone black population. in most of those districts his
job rating is 40 positive, not hugely does times come up but not terrific. -- not usually disastrous. >> we are moving toward a more diverse society. one-quarter of congressional districts in the 1990's -- at least 30% of the population is non-white. today, it is half. it was 13% minority in 1994 to 26% in 2008. look at obama's approval, there are tremendous differentials. in the mid 30's among white voters without a college education. around 45 with white voters with
a college education. when you look at those pieces of the contrast in the way he is being received and the demography of the districts, where is the point of maximum boehner ability? -- maximum of vulnerability? >> you will hear this about the white vote and the job rating among white voters. this is simply that when you look at the president's job rating among white voters now and the president bush's rating , obama is performing five points higher today. that is why we are putting us out because we go to these congressional districts. >> white voters are reacting
more to the role of government. >> the district's to look out for -- we have watched this geographically move. the first place obama lost was in the south. that happened last summer. if you want to look at moments in time, think of the town hall demopolis. and -- think of the town hall debacles. where we have seen the latest drop is along the mississippi river in the midwest. it is those districts, mich., ill., -- michigan, illinois. in it seemed like anything that touched ill. saved his behind.
that is the area -- illinois. will be the last ones to go. >> i want to interject the election who was a longtime staffer to jack murtha who died. he won an election against the ofs in this blue-collar -- against the odds against a guy who did not get the local issues. it was a referendum on a guy who understood local issues. we probably disagree on every social issue. >> but he is also critical of nancy pelosi. >> i did not hear what he said. he supports the democratic leadership, but the fact that he
won that election was a bellwether about how democrats can hold these seats. >> i don't agree. in that particular race, what was missed was the fact that the democrat who won was a republican in his ideology. rahm emanuel was able to do a good job of recruiting more conservative democrats to run, but the recruiting process is over. that will be tough. >> a lot of democrats who are conservative -- >> let's not ignore special elections. republicans were winning them in 1994. in may it was a house special, the democratic candidate pat morphed into bill clinton's. surely.
-- got morphed into bill clinton's vision. if -- there were a lot of other intellectuals -- and tangibles democrats have taken advantage of. if republicans don't win the house, it will be on mechanics. >> political malpractice. >> new york 23, that they pick candidates who were members of the new york assembly. probably the most rotten legislative body, --\ >> you are looking at
presidential approval in the mid 40's, all the classic ingredients for an uprising election. what is the strongest argument democrats can make to try to take some of the edge off of this? >> it is the economy, stupid. if our stimulus package is continuing to build jobs, i am disappointing. but the numbers are going up now. if in this jobless recovery people realize jobs are growing, we have retained a number of the government jobs which do make a difference and people appreciate. if there are results there, if the fact you can keep your kid on your health care policy until
age 26, become clear to people -- that is a difference. the indicators are positive except for jobs. if this economy does turn around that is how we hold it. >> the white house hope for the message was going to be some version of things are still tough, we have been marching through a dark valley, but we are moving in the right direction. do you want to go back? republicans are offering a return to the policies that produced a disaster in 2008. to what extent do you think it can be effective if people are still dissatisfied with the economic performance? >> it was the best strategy they
could pursue. the numbers have not cooperated. most of the jobs being saved -- the government jobs, but there has not been any movement in the private sector. you don't want to go back because there were a lot of bad things about the bush administration. but the fact is that we are most likely to go into the november elections with the of economy with nobody feeling like it has turned around. we have increased the national debt to do this. i think democrats will shoot themselves in the flood. >> the hope of the president is to make elections a choice. to what extent have they been able to do that, as opposed to
their own performance? uc democrats trying to focus on things like jonbenet boehner's comment. do you want to put these folks in charge? can that be effective in this climate? >> you see a negative campaign tactics and do you want to go back to the dark ages under bush backs negative campaigning -- under bush backs but -- under bush? there may be republican candidates that give them an opening to make a plausible case. >> chuck robb did win reelection against oliver north. >> but you have those problems. what i think we are seeing from the american people is a sense that government is too bloated
you're seeing some of that with chris christy and bob mcdonnell. the republican program -- you have to cut government spending. it cannot elect them for that reason. -- you cannot elect them for that reason. i do not think that is a winning argument. i say that more of an artistic field. >> let's talk about the composition of the electric. obama has a distinctive coalition. his strong demographic was young people, minority voters, college-educated voters, and particularly women. if you look at the last two presidential elections and the following midterm, you see a
shy decline. you see a sharp decline in votes cast by young people. they're putting a lot of money into trying to change that basic pattern. what kind of odds do you give them a producing an electorate that is less tilted towards old and white than previous midterm elections? >> that is why the president will be in places like he is tomorrow, kansas city. it is why he will be in nevada. i think he will try -- they can do this in senate races. you can boost up the african- american vote. you can do that in ohio. you can do it and illinois. do it with hispanics in nevada. it is the statewide efforts that they can use this. we go back to the battle for the house and how it is being conducted. i think that is going to be the difficulty. there is always been one group of voters that he struggled
with, including in the primaries, including the general, though they eventually came over because mccain lost to them on competency. older voters and seniors. they have been the first -- they were the first age group that started abandoning him. the given the benefit of the doubt, then started abandoning him. part of it had to do with health care. white seniors, we know they vote. seniors wrote. they will show up. >> seniors have been, on average, 15% of the vote in presidential years, and 19% in nonresidential. >> if you look at the virginia and new jersey governor races, presumably the democrats knew they wanted to bring at young voters. they did not have this concerted effort. the absolute number of young people voting from 2008 until
2009 was down 67% in new jersey and down 75% in virginia. the absolute number of seniors voting was down about 30%. the white house and strategists want to make a difference. >> let's talk about this from another angle. in all likelihood, if history is a guide, the electorate in the midterm will be older and somewhat wider than a presidential year, especially in 2012. -- whiter than a presidential year, especially in 2012. 35% of the country is non-white. republicans do very well -- could do very well in 2010 with the less-college-educated electorate. they could take the wrong lessons about what it will take to succeed with a very different electorate in 2012. >> republicans are good at taking wrong lessons.
i want to make a couple points. to pick up a little bit and say something about the democrats, chuck mentioned missouri. missouri is a very critical stage. president is going to missouri. the news stories are about whether robin carnahan will show up pitches been inclined to stay as far as she can from president obama -- will show up. she has been inclined to stay as far she can from president obama. she is a terrific candidate. going back to look at the pattern of minority voters and others over the years, there is a limited use. the obama collection was unique. obama turned out to independent s, african-american voters, young voters -- all in very unusual numbers. we're not seeing any indication that they are ready to turn out again. >> can we get a quick lesson on that?
in that run off for the u.s. senate in georgia, which most of us ignored, it happened in september. georgia has a stupid rule. here you have a giant african- american turnout. georgia -- without sarah palin on the ticket, obama carries georgia. it would have been close. there is an argument to be made that palin got the evangelicals out. the democratic senate -- barack obama's name was not on the candid -- was not on the ballot. saxby chambliss was. i think it was a 20-point blowout because the african- americans did not come out. >> we're going to go to the audience for questions.
there are a couple of issues. will the minorities turnout in midterm elections? or in a non-obama election? the minority share of the vote is not -- has not shot up. it has been growing steadily. >> the black vote went up. even though they are demographically not a large share of the population. >> the overall increase in the minority share of the vote has been happening before obama. we could have an electorate in 2012 that is up to 20% or 29% non-white. he could get less than 40% of the white vote and win. that is very different than the electoral calculus in 2010. what does that mean? are you ok? >> it is she okay? >> heels.
it is supposed to be aspen casual. no heels. >> i think she is ok. >> if i were a republican, i would be worried. one of the reasons that michael steele has been in trouble is that he recognizes -- she had been pushing the republican party to be more than a regional party and to be more than a white party. he gets a lot of pushback. whether it is mike or somebody else, it is his idea -- you need to broaden the base, geographically and demographically. our republicans could do well in the future. i will not -- i am not sure it will prevail. people are quite content to win with the base that they had. did not want to offend the base, but they might offend the rest of the country. >> i want to add one thing. that is crossover voting in the general election. i am proud of the fact that a
lot of the republicans supporting in my congressional district in los angeles. i could not have one in the 1990's when it was designed as a lean republican seat if i had not had strong republican support, which i have worked to keep. i know that a partisan -- i know that "bi-partisan" is completely out of favor. we got some awards from the panetta institute in california in 2008 for being bipartisan. the trophy was a giant bowl, but it should have been a glass dinosaur. [laughter] whatever happened to buy partisanship? that's certainly impacts elections, including the presidential. we know that they voted for obama because they did not want to vote for bush. i think that is going to get harder as the party's become more polarized. it is certainly something i look
at. i think that is true a lot of house candidates. when you think of the blue dog districts, a lot of them are popular with some republican voters or they never would have 1. >> to what extent with a bad election -- what would a bad election for democrats in 2010 say about the opportunities for republicans in 2012? >> based on my interpretation, we have an in ideological opposition to the policies of this administration. you guys have responsibility to some greater electric -- electorates. you have a responsibility to govern in a responsible way, in a way that addresses these problems. can i just add one thing? i think it is a mistake -- one
can overdo different when it -- conflating different racial minorities. it leads one to think that all of the minorities will vote 90% democrat. my own view on black voters is that -- it may be that the 2012 election is a big democratic black voter election. that happened when we elected the first catholic president. no democrat, even lyndon johnson, got as high as percentage of catholics as john f. kennedy did. that quickly slid below 60%. at some point, black voters may make decisions based on other issues and it will be less 90% /10%. hispanics are different along crosscurrents. asians -- new jersey -- edison
township, about 100,000 people, not a trivial jurisdiction, which has the highest population of people going in india -- the once solidly for gov. christie -- and they went solidly for gov. christie. maybe that is just a one-off result. i think it is interesting. i am concerned about that -- i would be concerned about that if i was a democratic leader, and i would be interested in learning more if i was a republican. >> there were about 62% and 67% democrat hispanics. there was a sharp fall-off in hispanics and asians. >> bush carried the hispanics in florida. i'm not talking just about hispanics. the republican party -- part of it in 2006 was thacident -- you are talking about south-
asians. they leaned toward republican for a long time. republican small business owners. you would think of them going back -- entrepreneurs. the defense of the rebellion -- the republican party said, we do not want you as a member of our club. obama -- southeast asians believe that obama has an asian background, too. he does. he lived in indonesia. during the primary, that was a bigger deal than people realize, at least organizationally. >> let's bring in some audience questions. there you go. >> my question has two parts. i am curious how you think about the potential positive by product of the congress going republican for barack obama in
2012. americans are looking to restore balance. losing congress might actually benefit the white house. there may be thinking about that in terms of how they actually get involved. the second question is relative to the national tied it that you talked about. i think jane brought this up. can t republican candidates really make those national issues salient at the local levels? it is not enough to simply say health care is an issue. it has to be an issue in the districts in which their congressman is relevant. in massachusetts, for instance, while health care was a huge issue for the 41st vote -- electing scott brown -- it is not necessarily in issue at the local level, from a congress' perspective. i am curious about how successful the republican challengers might be in some of those contested seats.
>> i just want to say that in a non presidential year is much harder to nationalize an election. let's go back mark credits -- critz. he knew what his voters were lit -- he knew what his voters were looking for. i think that democrats can package the health care reform, which is still unpopular, in micra terms, as the individual pieces begin to be extremely popular. including with seniors to democrat he be better with republican opposition to play off -- including the senators -- including with singers. >> could he be better with republican opposition to play off of? >> one thing that obama ran on and tried to make a big thing about was change. i will make different things happen. if republicans control the
house, he cannot do that. they will say, this is our chance to win the presidency. i think obama will have a very hard time living in the agenda. our the white hous -- >> you have some veterans of the white house from clinton 1994, particularly the chief of staff. he is reminded folks in the white house of one thing that changes when party's takeover, particularly in the house -- the issue a subpoena power. -- of subpoena power. there is a gentleman by the name of darrell issa who husband bulldog -- whenever you want to call him. -- who has been a bulldog. whatever you want to call him. he will make their life miserable over and over again in the same way that henry waxman made the bush administration's last two years very miserable.
they are not looking at that. that said, they are preparing for it. keep an eye out on with a name as next budget director. they realize that this may be the single most important thing in the next six months. this person will be the center -- will be involved in the center of the issue in the first six months, the issue of the deficit. this budget director cannot be somebody who cannot speak in front of people. they need somebody who was a political veteran. they need somebody who can handle the job of crunching numbers, but also understand the politics of working with the other side. that is why they have not replaced him yet. they have not found the right person. keep an eye on that. they are preparing for this moment. >> the 1995 and 1996 congress had some positive policy result they had a political fight, but
they held the center roughly equal for about a year, which was an important factor in the eventual balancing the budget in clinton terms. that was depicted as a political the fed -- defeat. republicans held a majority in 1996, nonetheless. we have had other bipartisan legislation in the second clinton term and a first bush term. >> do not think the deficit is only a republican issue. democrats are interested. a bipartisan commission could come up with good stuff. erskine bowles, a democrat, is very active in that year he was a former chief of staff to bill clinton. he sounds like the kind of guy who might do this. watch for that to work in obama's favor. >> question over there? >> i want to add a dimension to this discussion. if, in the short term, there is a major international crisis or
national security threat, then the president shows strong leadership, or if the president green lights a drone attacks which get osama bin laden, is there anything on the international scene that could significantly changed the trajectory of the november election? >> security is my focus. i think that obama has been more aggressive than george w. bush was.
i hope he can keep the country save as bush was able to do for many years. >> more questions. here is the microphone. quick questions a quick answers. been one of the major issues that has not been addressed is the media's influence and how it drives whether the democrats or republicans get into the house and senate. i think it was jerry clear in the 2008 election that obama was
elected not only by the people, but by the media. you had three liberal outlets -- >> what is a question? >> how does the media affect this race? >> we have a liberal monopoly on media. we have had that for a long time. >> i am sorry. this is the single most over inflated issue. [cross-talk] >> if i am not allowed to make the point -- [cross-talk] if you do not agree with me, i am not allowed to talk. >> oh, lord.
>> we have a diverse media. we once had universal media. everyone went to the same will be, listen to the same program, watched the same program. there were -- they were widely excess will. ronald reagan, franklin roosevelt -- they drew on the mores of universal media. now we have diverse media. we had major media that basically hired 90% democrats and said that it made no difference to their coverage. but even in that world you describe -- >> when the media was heavily republican the media is not overwhelmingly powerful. people can see through it. we have many options. >> would you except or reject the proposition that the media was a significant factor in barack obama winning? >> ihink it was a minor factor. there were several covers that
were not barack obama during the course of the campaign. >> they were usually sarah palin. >> second row. >> you need the microphone. >> you need the microphone. pass it down like it is beer at a baseball game. >> there we go. >> you briefly touched on this. can you talk about the sarah palin factor in the midterm election. she screwed up the new york state election. is there something -- will she have an influence? >> i wanted her to endorse jane harman in the primary. fortunately, she did not. >> i think ashura palin is a shiny, metal object for the media. i see that with people that i work with. oh my god -- who cares?
i do not think she has -- in a primary, she could have some influence. i do not think he will see her in swing districts. she is a very polarizing figure in the same way tha. i do not think there is a pale and factor. i want to make one pull about the media. -- i do not think there is a sarah palin factor. i want to make 1 point about the media. the members of the congress over respond to the rhetoric, whether it is on a cable channel -- >> it is ultimately reaching a relatively small audience. let's take a back up here. we only have a couple of minutes. give me one-word answers.
>> we are politicians. >> chalk. if republicans take over the house or senate or both, would you expect to see more conciliation and triangulation from obama or more confrontation? >> confrontation. he is not a conciliator. >> conciliation. he will get a lot of push back from pelosi and waksman. >> confrontation. >> congress will be more confrontational, but i think that obama will try triangulation. it will not happen. >> that was the next question. you get your answer. if the republicans take over the house, what will their posture be toward obama? will they make deals and big issues or draw sharp lines on the stand? >> i did not think they have developed where they are going. there'll be sharp lines on the sand on budget.
>> our prescription for whenever the problem is is the discussion. >> the issue of the deficit. it is going to be the dominant theme. the private sector is worried. make a political point. he will try to raise taxes. they will see if they can get republicans -- >> last question. what will be the biggest surprise on election night? individual or macro? >> it is more likely that republicans win both the house and senate or carry neither. the idea of the split -- historically, most of the time it goes in one direction. it is more likely that one party either holds both orr wins both, rather than a split decision. >> i think republicans can win more seats than most people think.
>> in both chambers? >> both. >> we will stay up late to see if the septuagenarians will prevail. >> i think it depends on the economy. i think, if the budget commission does a good job, that commission report will be the blueprint for the first six months of next year. that could be very exciting. could be gained changer, like the 9/11 commission report was. >> you have been any formative -- an informative, occasionally feisty, and for testing -- interesting panel. enjoy the rest of the institute's festival. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> tuesday on "washington
journal," encouragement to lend to small businesses with daniel indiviglio. former congressman tom davis will discuss the 2010 political landscape, the new immigration law in arizona, and its impact on the republican party. later, a look at the future of the u.s. postal service with ruth goldway. "washington journal" is every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> this week on "the communicators," we discussed on line safety and -- discuss online safety. at is tonight on c-span2. >> the senate judiciary committee returns this week to vote on the nomination of elena kagan as the newest supreme court justice. what coverage here and c-span.
learn more about the nation's highest court in c-span's latest book -- "the supreme court -- candid conversations with all of the justices active and retired." it provides unique insight about the court. it is available in hardcover and as an e-book. >> in 2009, president obama created a commission to provide advice on biological issues. they looked into the science and underlying ethics of synthetic biology. next, a meeting where members heard from scholars and government scientists and an fbi agent who investigated a potential buyer terrorism incident. this is 90 minutes. >> we now move to our final panel of today, which will focus on current federal oversight and regulatory activities regarding
synthetic biology and potential actions the government could take in response to recent developments. this is, again, the beginning of an overview. we'll have time for the bird dives into this. -- deeper dives into this. we have to digest more of a science and ethics. -- the science and ethics and social responsibility issues. this will begin to give us a sense of where our presenters the federal oversight as it is now. stateget a window in the of federal regularization -- federal regulation and oversight. we will have some question time. in her position as acting
associate director of nih office of science policy, dr. amy patterson advises the director and the 27 institute and center directors, with the primary responsibility of providing leadership in the analysis and development of science policy and a wide array of issues related to the national biomedical research enterprise. she is deeply involved with the work of the secretary's advisory committee on genetics, health, and society, recombinant dna advisory committee, and the national science advisory board for bio-security. welcome, dr. patterson. >> cross is very much. morning, commissioners. -- thank you very much. thank you. good morning, commissioners. i would like to start off by spending a few moments on how science and public policy have
devolved over the last four decades. i would like to discuss how that framework may be relevant to synthetic biology, touch upon some of the challenges the technology presents for oversight, and conclude with parting thoughts about the commission. before we turn back the hand of time, the timeline is in no way meant to be comprehensive. it is meant to illustrate a few of the key scientific and policy highlights relevant to the oversight of synthetic biology research. with the advent of recombinant dna technology in 1970, we move beyond simply being able to identify the structure and sequence of genetic information and into manipulating that structure. the technology give as tools for understanding the genetic underpinnings of life. it also gave us new avenues for understanding new applications. technology also prompted
considerable concern among the scientific community in general public about unintended consequences, including both short-term and long-term potential effects on health and the environment. the new technology also raised profound questions that will resonate today about the boundaries between species, questions about the appropriateness of humankind manipulating the genetic code. during this time, the national dialogue grew about the appropriate role of the public, society, and this was it -- and the legislature. several bills were introduced in congress. if the past, they would have placed statutory complaints -- constraint on this technology. this proved unnecessary as the scientific community stepped up to the plate, recognizing the uncertainty, the risk, and the depth of public concern. scientists called for a more --
called for more true of future research, pending the development of an appropriate oversight framework. scientific leaders began the work of articulating some of the principles and practices that might govern the future of this research. out of the societal debate emerged a recognition of the inherent promise of this technology, the importance of an ongoing public dialogue, the delaware and the public understanding, and the importance of public input on the future and application of this technology, and the importance of careful risk assessment and oversight. thus the foundation was laid for the oversight framework that would continue to evolve. we will touch briefly on some of those key points over the coming decades. a national advisory body was formed. the nih was a prominent adviser committee -- was the prominent
advisory committee. it articulated the overarching principles and practices that should ensure the safe and ethical content of the research. it was meant to discuss biological containment of recombinant agent. those have been updated many times since then. a decision was made to publish these as guidelines, rather than regulations, so that they could be more readily updated as events is along. the guidelines are condition of federal funding. the 1980's of the advent of technologies and automated dna synthesis and sequencing. dna could easily be manipulated. they wanted to apply this to the treatment of human desires --
and disease. the study concluded that the benefits of recombinant technology were not -- warranted scientific exploration, but also that there was an ongoing need for thoughtful, 4-thinking deliberation about the potential ethical and societal allegations of recombinant technology and how it might evolve in the future. in recognition of the need to invent ethics in day-to-day to know what research, as the human genome project got under way, a program was established to address that at the go, legal, and social issues to the research. -- to address the ethical, legal, and social issues in the research. in the first application of recombinant dna in humans, the neh -- nih guidelines when under specific -- went under the civic provisions and put in place a
very strict review -- went under specific revisions and put in place a very strict review. there was a policy about the regulation of biotechnology products. i mention this because, among a number of things that the talks about, it articulates -- that it talks about, it articulates the notion that these products should be regulated according to their intrinsic characteristics as teachers, not according to their method of production. that is just a thought to keep in mind. in the 1990's, there were growing tensions about the ready access to dangerous pathogens that could be used as agents of by terrorism. the federal government promulgated new statutes and regulations governing the transfers of specific agents and toxins. they created regulation to cover naturally-occurring and
recumbent pathogens. the past decade has seen several notable advances in our understanding of human genome and our ability, as you heard yesterday, to design and synthesize nucleic acid and express them in biological systems. these experiments represent continuing research and engineering. they enable important advances in drug development. also raise profound questions. we have advanced in the shadow of 9/11. the dissemination of the spores through the u.s. postal system -- concerns crescendoed about the potential for deliberate misuse of bio-technology in ways that could harm human health and other aspects of national security. these concerns prompted a national policy dialogue and the establishment of the national
science advisory board for by a security -- or by a 0-security. -- for bio security. they have implemented a code of conduct for scientists and specific strategies to try to minimize the bio-security risk of select agents. i want to highlight that the scientific community has stepped up to the plate again on a number of occasions during the past year. one example here is about -- they have convened in a series of ongoing meetings to discuss, not only the advancement and the technology, but also be important societal issues raised by this technology. to the present day, we have been improving and altering the structure of dna and other biological components using recombinant dna techniques, some business
techniques, and other technologies. we continue with incremental steps forward, covered through the process of oversight evolution that encompasses a synthetic biology. i want to touch upon some of the principles and attributes of the oversight system. the oversight system reflects a fundamental premise that, while it offers many major benefits to society, the potential risk must be assessed and addressed. oversight needs to be predicated on assessment and risk. the framework is designed to evolve to reflect advances in science and our understanding of risk. it is also designed to reflect input from the public as it develops. the oversight from work is primarily aimed at addressing four categories of risk. accidental exposure which could adversely affect allow workers. the general public.
by a security results from the deliberateness use of technology to cause harm. the next few slides i outlined how these major categories of risk are addressed in the current oversight framework for biotechnology research. it is not synthetic to -- is applicable to synthetic biology as a subset. we cannot argue these item by item. i know you are relieved. say the risks are addressed by a variety of federal policies and regulations -- safety risks are
addressed by a variety of federal policies and regulations. security risks are addressed in statutes and regulations that are fundamentally aimed at preventing a loss, that, and his use of dangerous pathogens -- a loss, theft, and misuse of dangerous pathogens which would endanger national security. the risk to society is coming to some extent, addressed by some of these very same policies and requirements. the nih guidelines prohibit the use of gene transfer for chairman line -- for germline modification. it also prohibits the use of
biological weapons for masters section. i want to talk about cultural responsibility. the oversight framework and colleges that irresponsible college -- the conduct of science -- the oversight framework acknowledges that the responsible conduct of science is important and can help cultivate a culture of responsibility. at the end of the day, it must be nurtured at a local level. oversight also relies on an assessment of risk and threat. that assessment is predicated on an understanding of the biological threat that can be opposed to the agent and the environment. the biggest oversight is its capacity to create novel entities that have less and less similarity to what we know and, therefore, are difficult to assess in terms of risk that they may present to our
environment or societal norms. with synthetic biology, the capacity grew -- to create organisms is limitless, until we are faced with the increasing levels of uncertainty. another challenge for oversight of synthetic biology is the increasing ease with which one can order sequences or parts, customize sequences, and readily purchase the agents and automated equipment. the demographics of the practitioners of some of the biology are changing around the world, now including people from multiple scientific disciplines but high school students as well. some the biology is democratized. it is a globalized and commercialized industry. all of these features present
progress and open access. they offer the prospect of hope for new therapeutics and other beneficial products. they also present major challenges for oversight. we need to expand our capacity for risk assessment and management in the context of increasing and characterized biological properties and in the context of a widely-available technology. toward this end, the u.s. government is continuing to further refine the oversight framework. we're busily at work. we have much to do. i would say that we're all still on the slippery slope with a learning curve. the nih guidelines are currently under revision to more explicitly address the safety oversight of basic and clinical research with synthetic nucleic acids, putting in place and oversight framework at local and federal levels for the review of these experiments. u.s. government is developing
government guidelines for dna and strategies on how to work with it. the policy on dual usage research is well underway. it is based on the recommendations of the national science advisory board and will be applicable to certain types of synthetic biology experiments. the u.s. government recently passed the national science advisory board outreach strategies to practitioners, including increased international engagement. three more. the u.s. government is actively exploring ways in which the oversight system could be enhanced to more reliably predict biologic function of a novel agent and a death by
associated risk. -- and identify associated risk. these rules undergo periodic revisions. they were recently revised to reflect scientific advances, including those in scientific pilot -- in synthetic biology. our president issued an executive order aimed at striking a critical balance between bio security and legitimate research on select agents. the current oversight framework has evolved extensively over the past four decades. the field of synthetic biology, like natural biotechnology, continues to present major challenges to oversight. oversight can never simply be business as usual. progress is predicated on public trust. the trust is earned through a process of open, transparent dialogue, that encompasses frank
deliberation about uncertainty, unintended consequences, and societal norms. it can provide valuable expertise and a prominent forum for catalyzing and enhanced public awareness and dialogue about future uses and applications of this technology and what it may mean for society. the future evolution of the oversight framework must be informed by such a dialogue. thomas jefferson once remarked that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. this concept is certainly relevant today. i posit that the price of scientific freedom is eternal belligerent -- vigilance and responsibility. >> thank you very much. our next speaker is michael rodemeyer, a lawyer who was the last 30 years working in the field of science technology and environmental policy. he teaches science and technology policy at the university of virginia's
department of science, technology, in society. in 2009, he wrote a note study of the regulation of synthetic biology for the woodrow wilson center for scholars. he has also worked in the federal government as assistant director for environment in the office of science and technology policy, and as chief democratic counsel for the u.s. congress house committee on science and technology. welcome. >> thank you very much. i am privileged to be here this morning to talk about the current biotechnology regulatory system and how it would apply to the likely first-generation of synthetic biology products. my comments today are taken largely from the work that i did for the woodrow wilson center, which were based on work that i did at the pew initiative on food and biotechnology in the last decade. in general, since it is
difficult for a general -- for a lawyer to say anything in 15 minutes, let me put my of frontg fothoughts pre-existing laws and regulations that cover these products are likely to apply to the first products of synthetic biology. since the first generation of synthetic biology products are expected to be relatively simple and not very different from the kind of genetically- engineered counterparts with which agencies have familiarity, they're unlikely to raise, in the short term, any novel risk assessment for risk management issues. as a technology that continues to develop, and as organisms become more complex, more novel, more artificial, the challenge will be to be able to assess the risk of those organisms in advance. that is especially concerning for organisms intended for use in the internment. faced with that kind of uncertainty, regulatory agencies will be in a difficult position of making decisions that
balance uncertainty, benefit, and potential harm. it is noted in our discussion that there is a deja vu quality to much of the conversation that we have had. much of this debate about safety took place in the 1970's and the 1980's, following development of the recumbent dna technology. while there are differences between synthetic biology tools and recombinant dna technology, the point that want to make is that the kind of risks that regulators are concerned about -- they are roughly the same. i'm not talking about security issues, but safety. just to review those quickly. we're talking quickly about bio- safety concerns in the laboratory of an accidental release of a toxic organism that could in fact workers or community. we're talk about environmental concerns in the event of an accidental release and intentional releases for use in
the environment. we're talking about concerns about the final product. if we're going to use synthetic microbes to manufacture chemicals and drugs in food, how do we know those final product are going to be safe? in this presentation, i will talk about the existing system of biotechnology regulation that deals primarily with these biosafety risks. as dr. patterson has indicated, the national institutes of health played a critical role in regulating biosafety conduct in research laboratories. this is not an issue that is unique to engineered organisms. we need to deal with biosafety practices in dealing with a whole range of infectious and potentially dangerous organisms. engineered organisms pose a particular -- pose particular issues, including how do you determine, in advance, the potential risk of the organism, in order to know what level of
by a city needs to be in place? for recumbent dna technology -- what level of biosafety may still be in place? for recombinant dna technology, it determines its function based on natural knowledge. synthetic biology is more complicated it could be -- a more complicated. it could be taken from several organisms. it could be operating in unexpected ways. engineered microbe could show emergence behavior's. while it is unlikely they could have riskier characteristics that might be protected -- predicted. for the last 30 years, the nih guidelines have guided researchers in making determinations about risk characterization's and by a safety practices. the nih is moving ahead to amend
its regulations to cover synthetic biology research. the challenge particularly as the technology develops will be to develop guidelines that are sufficiently cautionary, without imposing unnecessarily expensive and cumbersome content requirements that might hinder research report ultimately, this is a point that dr. patterson made. whether the guidelines were or not, it will depend on the biosafety commissions that have the responsibility for implementing them. we also need to understand whether the research not covered by new hampshire guidelines -- by nih guidelines is a significant problem in this area or not. in the 1980's, as the first products of genetic engineering began to move out of the laboratories and into commercial production, the administration was faced with the question of how we regulate. nih does not have the tools to
do enforcement or regulation for commercial practices. the office of science and technology policy led an interagency process to develop a coordinated framework for the regulation of biotechnology. those policies are still in place today. they have guided the development of biotechnology regulation. there are three basic findings from that group that are relevant to our decisions today. one is that, as dr. patterson said, the decision that the process about technology itself was not inherently risky. it is no different in its risk characteristics than conventional breeding. therefore, regulation should be based on the characteristics of the final product, not the process by which it was made. the third point was that the existing laws could be used by u.s. regulatory agencies to regulate any anticipated risk
for the kinds of products that were expected from biotech -- from biotechnology. how well has this regulatory system been put in place? the way that it has evolved -- there are two points at one to make. the united states -- and this is not a model that has been filed around the world -- has adopted a technology-neutral approach. drugs are regulated by the fda, regardless of how they are made. pesticides are regulated by the epa. been others are reviewed by the department of agriculture. despite the general principle, the regulatory agencies have engaged in a fair amount of legal sleight of hand to suit the biotechnology products and existing regulatory schemes. these laws were written before
by technology came along. it is not surprising that agencies have had to adapt and are still adapting 30 years later. the epa had figure out how to regulate a corn plant as a pesticide. the fda had to figure out how to regulate the genetically- engineered salmon. the usda had to figure out how to regulate an herbicide- resistant variety of soybean. while some of these creative legal interpretations could be subject to legal challenge, the government's authority to regulate biotechnology companies under existing law has not been challenged today. the reason is largely because by technology companies have every reason to cooperate with agencies, rather than to confront them. it is important to note that one of the consequences of this technology-neutral approach is that biotechnology products receive widely different levels
of scrutiny, depending on the product. under u.s. law, some products are reviewed as inherently risky and therefore are required to go through a mandatory pre- market approval process. agencies must find that the products are safe to be used before they can be marketed. examples include animal-human drugs, pesticides, and food additives. most products that are introduced into the marketplace get little or no marketplace review. they have to be legally responsible for safety. if you want to produce a dietary supplement using synthetic biology, you get the same regulation that others in the supplementary diet products have, which is to say very little. different products will be different levels of scrutiny. it may not come as a surprise that there is still a difference of opinion as to the adequacy of
the u.s. regulatory system for current biotechnology products. a number of groups believe that the system is not rigorous enough, while others believe that biotechnology products are overregulated, keeping beneficial products off the market. this is not a regulatory system that you would designed from scratch if you had a blank slate. my opinion is that the system as worked reasonably well -- has worked reasonably well. valuable products have been introduced without evidence of public harm or environmental problem. one could argue that we have just been lucky or that we have not looked hard now for evidence of problems. there is some force to those arguments. on the whole, the system seems to be working. as a practical matter, the united states is unlikely to change its position -- the policy positions which have been in place for 30 years. how would this framework apply to synthetic microbes used to
reduce products like drugs and biofuels? the initial question is whether the law gives the agency the authority to cover these kinds of products. agencies have already had to stretch their legal authority to recombinant dna products. it is likely that the epa and usda will need on the whole, there will be a will to provide new authority. it is the only to review the efficacy of drugs, but the review of the process. i think the real issue is, the more important question is whether the agencies have the resources and tools they need to assess the risks of the new technology and to manage the risks as well.
as the technology develops, it will be difficult to assess the impact of these organisms. risk assessment is critical to regulatory agencies because it determines the level of containment, control, or monitoring that will be required. i want to mention that i think it may be particularly difficult for epa, under the toxic substances control act -- there has been a number of articles written. there are some laws pending in congress because it is largely a hybrid statute, which would make it difficult or dangerous to
make errors assessment. since risk assessment is likely to become more difficult, it is more important to have the effect of controls for preventing the spread of synthetic microbes, particularly in the environment. in fact, such controls will probably be necessary in order to do any kind of field test for us to be able to understand the actual function of these microbes in the environment. our experience to date has not been encouraged. -- encouraging. we know that it is difficult to keep biologically active materials segregated in the environment. we have had instances where technologies have been found in the feed supply and has been widespread gene flow in the crops. but it is critical that such tools be developed publicly and attested publicly insured what
date in order to avoid some of the controversies that have -- developed publicly and tested publicly and used widely in order to avoid some of the controversies that have attended this. it is clearly not the case the people doing work in their backyards or their garages will likely know that they have to have a permit to do their research. i do not have a satisfactory model yet to do this. in conclusion, i would like to make the following recommendations to the commission. one is that the federal government needs to conduct a full and transparent review of the current regulatory system to ensure that agencies have sufficient authority, tools, and resources to assess and manage the risk of likely future
products of synthetic biology. the reason to d.o.a. grant and the institute which i will be working with, hopefully will provide a process for beginning that assessment. federal research funding agencies should fund robust programs of risk assessment methodology and risk research on synthetic microorganisms so that regulatory agencies can have independent bases for making risk assessment and regulatory decisions. assess biological controls. all of us live risk research keeps pace with development of the technology itself -- and less risk research keeps pace development of the technology itself, there's the potential to over-regulate.
finally, i would recommend that the federal government needs to meet with state college, including state and local governments and -- to meet with stakeholders, including state and local governments and looking to the research of synthetic biology. they offer promised for promising biology to address some of our most pressing environmental and health needs. having an effective regulatory regime in place when the commercial products move into the pipeline, it is important that they keep ahead of the technology and the risks. >> thank you. that is something that we will definitely take to heart. our last speaker of the day is a supervisory special agent in the fbi's weapons of mass destruction directorate
bioterrorism prevention plan. he uses programs and activities to coronate and improve the fbi entered agency efforts to respond -- in their agency -- interagency efforts to respond. your background could not be more relevant to us. welcome, special agent. >> i want to think of the commission for asking the fbi to testify today. let me go ahead and start on building on dr. patterson's talk.
reportsve come up with goo on dual-use issues the oakridge component of all of it all. -- the outreach component of it all. i have included some of the highlights which include reenforcing norms for safe and responsible conduct, assessing risk, and taking reasonable steps to reduce exploitation and internationally engagement. to provide you a bit of background, the weapons of mass destruction director was found in 2006. we are celebrating our fourth year. the fbi is not a regulatory body, but law-enforcement agency.
however, in light of 9/11 and the anthrax threats, we have taken a proactive stance. through the consolidation of the different wmd units, we now have three items that i have listed here. i have listed some of our goals. most of them are operational. i want to highlight the third bullet. the challenges are how d u engage -- are held do you engage the community. we're dealing with different communities, from macadamia to
amateur biologists. they have very different cultures. -- from academia to amateur biologists. they have very different cultures. while the fbi's responsibility is maintaining homeland security, we understand that any type of security program has to assure that there is not a negative impact that impedes research in all of these different fronts. that, in itself, would represent a national security risk. there's the risk that you're now andding viable researcher some of the entrepreneurial efforts going on as well. so it is striking that balance. there was a reported 2000 sex
of -- there was a report in 2006 that instigated best practices that looked at how do screen your customers and make sure that that risk is addressed. the fbi took the recommendation and ran with them and conducted outreach to these companies. although they do their due diligence, if they come up with their red flag, what did they do? by conducting our outreach, fbi engaged our wmd core leaders. these are special agents that are dedicated to wmd matters. there are 76 field offices across the u.s.. the companies now know that, if they come across that "hit,"
they can contact their federal partners and the local agent so that we can do a proper assessment of the issue. the industry is very happy that that question has been solved. recently, a draft of the screening framework to guide for synthetic dna providers was released in november. it came out of the hhs office. it highlights customer screening recommendations, sigurd screening recommendations, and government notification recommendations. it gives the provider some recourse as to not only what to look out for, but who they can contact, such as the fbi or if their export considerations. these are all listed in the guidance. this is all voluntary as well, too.
the fbi also hosted its first synthetic biology conference in san francisco. we did this in partnership with the department of health and human services, the american association for the events of signs. we brought together representatives from academia, industry, and live by a to come together to not only talk about the state of the arts, but by having a large law enforcement presence there, i can weed mitigate risks without impacting efforts on all fronts. it was overwhelmingly well received. the spi gained a better understanding of what the different communities represent -- the fbi gave a better understanding with the different communities represented. on the international level, they
instituted best practices. they held a workshop to look customer screening matters, too, and to look at a code of conduct to codify the best practices. the fbi, the un biological weapons convention, and the state department were all in attendance. how can we assist in translating this notification process that the fbi had to an international level? we've looked at the end -- competition hosted by mit it this last year -- we looked at an undergraduate competition hosted by mit this last year.
it is fun. it is all about synthetic biology and it is amazing what the teenagers can do in three months. they come to mit and the end of this summer and showcase their summer project. the fbi was there at the last one. because of the international component -- >> did they know you were there? >> the first question was why was the fbi here? we invited the u.s. state department and the un biological weapons division. we hosted a workshop and managed an outreach booth. in this instance, it was outraged, not oversight. it was a blue jeans and not men in black. [laughter] the committee held its first
conference at ucla. they talked about their state of the art, where they stood at looking at citizens alliance, and the expansion of the community potentially. to their credit, they invited the fbi to come and give a presentation on responsible research and to promote career opportunities as well. recently, the un into regional -- the unicree had unexercised paralleling what the commission is doing here. they brought together experts from across europe from academia, industry, policy makers, and the fbi to look at what is said of the art, looking at future biology security
implications, and hopefully come to some possible policy recommendations. the timeline of the report is due out by this coming september. that may be something that the commission might want to consider. recently, the fbi co-host of with the massachusetts society for medical research their first security conference. the significance of this is that this was a conference that had attendees from academia. they have representatives from institutional review boards and animal care and use committees. these are the gatekeepers. they make sure that the nih guidelines are followed and instituted. at this conference, with all of the federal partners listed there, we were able to bring
down to the academic level what we mean by biosecurity from the federal perspective, from a law enforcement and security perspective. by working together with the research community, can we look into the way ford for biosecurity. -- the way for four biosecurity? -- the way forward for biosecurity? it was really great. there are these terminologies, dual use, concerns of handling these materials, security and exploitation. all of the fbi activities are looking at fostering a culture
of responsibility. it is in power in the community members themselves to look at what do we mean by biosecurity? it is to help themselves identify what some of the wrists and arms could potentially be and working to get -- some of the risks and harms could potentially be and working together. i would like to highlight one professor from virginia technica. he received an invitation for the fbi synthetic biology conference. his initial reaction was, "i do not work in a laboratory. why should i bother?" but his next reaction was, "the fbi is inviting me. perhaps i should go." on his own, at virginia tech, he invited the fbi to come down and
give a biosecurity workshop, not just for that department, but to the entire campus and four other universities in the area and brought together undergraduates all the way up to faculty members and administrators, including the vice-president of research and the vice-president of compliance. it was a great success. at the end of the day, i will never forget this. but there was a student who is going to be a sophomore. at the end of the message, she raised her hand and said, "by a understand. what can i do." -- "i understand. what can i do?" a good thing in the next generation of biotechnology researchers -- equipping the
next generation of biotech researchers and having them become mentors and advisers to help with the concerns that arise. what is the role of the fbi and all this? there are certain identified and yet to be identified threats in the community. the fbi, addressing the threat, that is our job in gauging the scientific community, our responsibility is to engage -- that is our job. in gauging the scientific committee, it is our responsibility. it is to help them understand that these threats are out there and within the community, potentially. but it does not stop there. it is a two-way street.
there is communication back to the fbi. it is not just notification, like a 911 call. but it is to help us. synthetic biology is screening for it into the future, not just from an fbi side, but from a policy side. it will be difficult to keep up with said of the art. we relied on the scientific us.munity to update in sum, mitigating the risks, it is conducting outreach and building partnerships, not oversight. the end result will be effective policy. the fbi and our partners in against all this can engage bodies like yourselves to make
the policy recommendations. but more importantly, too, getting engagement from the community to advise bodies such as yourself will ensure that the policies that come out are commensurate and make sense. i think the commission for your time. >> thank you for a very engaging presentation. it brings up a vivid image in my mind of agents in jeans. [laughter] it is really quite something. i am going to ask our vice chair to ask the first question. >> wonderful presentations, all of you. thank you very much. dr. patterson, i understand this notion of facing regulatory
activity of product. i am comforted to know that, in the near term, we are in pretty good shape. but i found it striking that the distinguishing element of synthetic biology is that so much of it is information. it is in encoded sequences, not product. do we imagine that in another dimension that is needed is something that will address not just products and performance, but also the early stage information and its exchange?
>> in terms of where the regulatory agencies come into play, again, it is a reactive system. essentially, the agency's way for industry to develop a particular product and then they need to move forward to get the appropriate regulatory approval. so agencies are not generally in the position of going out and trying to get -- even though there is an effort to keep track of what is going on so they can anticipate what will happen, less there is some legal requirement to come to that agency for some sort of regulatory review, the fact that there may be previous work being done is not something that is likely to engage the regulatory agency. that would fall anywhere in the realm of the nih responsibility. certainly, that has been an issue with the security side as
well. >> i would like to have a couple of comments. first of all, the genetic sequences are overseen. the me give you a few examples. on the biosafety side, genetic sequences are looked at for their capacity to replicate or encode. but the sequences themselves, the constructs themselves, there is an oversight framework for how their use, handled, and distributed. on the biosecurity side, the rules have a genetic element section to them. the regulatory oversight of genetic sequences is there. but the threshold for it is what can that genetic sequencing code? can it in code when of the passages we are looking at? the dangerousncode
pathogens that we are concerned about? >> you were very clear and opening your presentation in that we have a set of regulations in place and practices. but even if you're standing on the right track, even if your on the right track, if you're just standing there, you'll get run over. we need to think about where we have to move. where the gaps? can you say a little bit about where? i know that you cannot be comprehensive, but say a little bit about where you think the gaps are now? >> many of the speakers yesterday and today have touched on the major issue. that is this notion of
uncertainty. as the constructs become more and more novel, we are able to extrapolate from what we know, similarities end known agents. i think the question becomes is the construct or new entity being pathogenic or innocent? how do you treat it in that concert. when you do not have the data? -- in that construct period when you do not have the data? this is one of the challenges. >> co want to follow up on that question. the case has been made that so that biology is part of the continuum of what has been
happening with genetic engineering for the past 35 years. we also talked about how the nih promulgated guidelines for using recall nate -- using a cognitive dna. one of the questions i have for you is the you feel that, based on all the things we are hearing, we have inadequate infrastructure to examine the issues facing synthetic biology and be able to promulgate the appropriate guidelines or use regulation? or do you need a new infrastructure that needs to be billed to deal with any special issues -- needed to be built to
deal with any special issues related to synthetic biology? >> i do not think it is politically realistic to talk about a new system for regulation. this is the system we have. the question is how do we improve the system to make sure that it addresses the risks we may face? i think there are any number of relatively small things that can be done, including agencies writing regulation so that information is obtained and for encouraging the industry to make that available. i'm hesitant to say that the system is adequate and that i
have real concerns about the resources and tools that agencies have. is not enough that they have to deal with the fires that have to put out today. but i think the system is flexible enough and adaptable enough to be able to learn and change as knowledge bros. i think that is the lesson -- as knowledge grows. i think that is the lesson. i would not throw up the baby with the bathwater, but i think there are things that need to be improved for the capacity of the system. >> i would agree with michael has said. if we were to take a blank slate and not designed and oversight system, in my view, the three attributes would be the ability to foster the beneficial
applications of technology while minimizing any risks in managing those risks and there would be a role in society for input into that infrastructure and hopefully public awareness and understanding and the system could devolvevolve. the government does not necessarily good that developing public awareness. by and large, those three attributes are present in the current system. but it needs to evolve. the most important thing it needs are the tools for proprietress assessment. another question to ask is the possibility across all sectors, is it widely available?
another consideration is the question of what position does the u.s. takes compared to other countries will on these issues? >> thank you very much. nelson. >> it seems to me that you describe a very similar context, that we have been dealing with something that has been the evolving for the last four years. you described in your -- the last 40 years. you described in your presentation that the fbi is who
you dial 9114. it is being proactive in improving its ability in the field. i am wondering if the existing and regulatory or oversight bodies simply need to add this rather than creating a new framework, adding this mission to the existing federal system so that there can be a very quick learning curve and their ability to make the quickest impact in a field that is the evolving quickly?
so that is the question. do we add to the mission or create a new framework? >> i think that it is evidenced by the fact that the fbi is far more a law enforcement agency and do investigations that are largely reactive. we have now become proactive in w. de matters in general. it is possible. i cannot comment from a regulatory standpoint. but from the fbi standpoint, the mission has changed. it has adapted. >> first of all, i would add the
caveat that this should not make as complacent. we think a lot about these issues and we are very much trying to grapple with them. but i think that complacency or turning a blind eye would be a mistake. all that said, i do think that synthetic biology is within the mission of biomedical research. we have tried to bring together the national sciences advisory board for a joint meeting that examines the state of the signs from the top down and the bottom-up approach as and look at the current issues and what is on the horizon and would hire
those that we cannot see. we are actively trying to engage an international dialogue. we have conducted a number of what dinars -- a number of webinars. >> is that ben webster's dictionary now? >> yes. -- is the on webster's on-line dictionary now? >> yes. we have and that is coming up that will be based in europe in the fall. we have another one later on in china. to trying to underscore that we're trying to address the issues, we are very much within
the many offices and agencies. >> assuming that proactive government and law enforcement oversight is appropriate, i want to us differently version of the question that you might get sometimes as an unfriendly question. what concerns were pushed back or resistance might you expect to have you gotten from the idea of government oversight in this area from researchers? i mean concerned about academic freedom or industrial business secrets for concern -- or
concerns of civil liberties. sort of pushed back have you gone nor do anticipate from researchers around issues of academic freedom and property and so forth? >> outreach activities have been relatively new. there has been some initial push back. when we come with -- i address this in one of the very first slides. how do engage the different communities? how do we approach an industry representative? it would not be the way that we would approach the by a community. but the message is still the same. there are some inherent risks and potential threats.
by working together, can we manage and mitigate those risks. what is the flip side? if there is an accident or unintentional release the event, from the law enforcement side, there is already the given a what will happen. but given academia, -- one of our engagements, we provide a table top activity of unintentional released. so we have a law enforcement representative and a representative of academia. academia now understands the role of law enforcement, what our responsibilities are. when they come to that understanding, it makes the
message that much more understandable. but it does not stop there. for instance, if it is an accidental release, from the law enforcement side, from a criminal standpoint, we are done. we're finished if it is an accident. but we gained in the appreciation that that is just the beginning of your university. -- if you are a university. both from the international aspect of it and from an accidental, off by gaining an understanding of the different communities, i think that is extremely vital. once there is a gained understanding, there is less pushed back. >> so proactive education?
>> yes. >> whether you all can do that before a crisis happens is very good. christine. >> thank you. one of the things that amy said was that an ideal situation is a system that is evolvable. i know we work hard to make things respond, but the federal government is not known for speed and changing or reacting or responding in this field. this technology is moving pretty fast. maybe it is not as fast as some people would like to think.
but it is moving fast. speed is an important thing to talk about. is there anything we can talk about in terms of how the federal government might address this issue of having to evolve faster than it normally does, given its current structure? there is the issue of coverage. who do we reach out to? i am happy to hear the outreach levels. but what else do we -- does the government do to reach constituents that it normally does not? >> i think that imbedding law and regulation it is the principal.
setting forth the specific procedure and practices in guidance, you have the standard. the way it is achieved can be more rapidly evolves and tweaked as data comes in. how do we go about ensuring that the goal embodied in the statute or regulation is achieved? we need oversight tools that can change in that fashion and still uphold the principle. and rules that speak to knowing what you possess, knowing what to transfer, and registering it. the voluntary guidance to
providers, how do they go about knowing what they have made? that is embedded in guidance rather than inventing it in regulation. that would be my -- rather than its in regulation. that would be my point. >> i am not concerned with the nih people who have a fair number of scrutiny, but industrial uses and the amateur uses, do you think it would be valuable or not valuable to have some kind of licensing of either product or steps along the way, particularly against bioterrorism issues? >> through our engagement with the community, they are taking
that into serious consideration some of the things that they have considered is model rocketry. there are products that are just over the counter and you can take it. and then there is the more -- the example they used is that last year, an amateur rocket enthusiast build a one-fifth scale of saturn 5 rocket and tried to launch it. it had to get all the permits and licenses required. there likening the potential security framework around it. they and newsstand what the impact could potentially be -- and they understand what the impact could potentially be if something goes wrong.
they are also aware of the perception of the community and the potential perception of the community. i think that is where it is extremely important that we engage the different communities. it is not going to be a one size fits all. it may work for industry, but not for the amateur community. unless we engage, we will not work.if it will actually >> this is a testament to everything you have told us and we will engage you more. i'm going to go to members of the public for questions. go ahead. we will take a few. we should take a few because of this is our last session it is
not -- our last session. it is our last session for this meeting. but it is not our last session. >> i am with friends of the earth. moving forward with these new synthetic organisms, where does the burden of proof lie? that is for trying to analyze risk? is the burden of proof on those that are doing their research to prove that it is safe or do we let them go forth and then react if something bad happens? >> thank you. >> i am concerned that the words regulation and licensing have been used very casually in the last two days. i would observe also that the
press coverage is leaning very heavily on regulation. the reason i am concerned is that no one has really talked about the cost of regulation. it is assumed that regulation and licensing equal safety. but safety can be reduced with regulatory enforcement. this issue has two sides. we do not want to make things worse. the final comment that would have is that the national strategy for countering bioterrorism, the first sentence of the second paragraph of that article is "grosz biology -- "garage biology is good." [laughter]
>> thank you. >> miami lawyer and a scientist. up -- i am a lawyer and a scientist. one of the gaps that comes to mind is that oversight mechanisms apply to those with government contracts. the public scenario should probably be addressed in one way or the other. state and local governments may fill in regulating at that level, but it may be a point that would begin to address. speed is certainly relevant question when you have technology emerging as quickly as this one. if i had the opportunity to ask
the agencies and departments to look at this, i would ask them to inventory of what existing regulations they have that apply. then there is guidance on how synthetic biology applies. i would suggest that those are two things that would be a really good step forward, ss what -- assess what regulations exist and send a letter of guidance. the tension we have explored is that between the need for regulatory oversight against the need to optimize research and development without unnecessary
impediments and factors include the ethical and values constraints. i think that this is not a luxury. it is a necessity. there is a role for the government and it is doing exactly what it should be here today. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. i am a journalist who has written on genetic research. all the presentations were very in my name. i have a question and suggestion for federal review. -- all the presentations were very interesting. i have a question and suggestion for federal review.
there are international agreements that the united states is not party to. >> good. thank you very much. where does the burden of proof lie? do we take the cost of regulation into account? how do we factory in the international community? michael, why do not begin? >> the burden of proof is set out by the various laws that apply to specific products. for example, if you are a drug manufacturer, the burden of proof to prove safety is on you. an agency will deny the product until you can prove that the product is safe. but with other products, the burden is on the government to
prove the risk and justify regulation or some kind of enforcement action. >> but is an open question. >> yes. >> what would apply than? good. >> may add a brief comment? >> sure. >> when it comes to oversight efforts in research, assuming that there is a regulatory standard door policy in place, then the burden of proof is on the researcher. they can support moving forward. >> that is an important point. thank you. >> when regulations are
promulgated, there is an economic analysis that is done for them and with them, the burden of regulation is assessed and made available to the public. one can always cruel if they are accurate. do -- always quibble over whether they are accurate. i would offer that there is also a cost of not regulating. so both need to be considered. >> from the commission's perspective, we will not assume that regulation is justified or not justified regardless of the cost. to was, of that is -- to us,
that is an open question. i just want to put us on record that this is something we would definitely consider the cost factor as it -- these are really important questions. we are not going to do the deep dives today, but the question about the international community and how does that get coordinated, michael. >> there are two aspects. biosecurity issues are critical. but on the regulatory side, this has been a real challenge. we have had a global controversy about genetically modified crops and foods. other regulatory systems around the world are processed-base regulatory systems.
we have asynchronous regulatory approval. it is difficult when you're dealing with a commodity like corn. becomes he difficult to manage. we are engaged on a number of international levels. it is a complicated answer. i think there is no clearer response, no clear one place where you can bring all of those issues together. >> thank you. >> i will comment that the fbi does have international engagement, such as through interpol. i mentioned earlier. i would also bring to the commission's attention that the u.s. state department also has by a-engagementl paiut
policy -- a bio-engagement policy. >> thank you. i want to say a simple observation. the number and diversity of the members of the public that have turned out is truly hurting for anyone, like myself, who believes in education, first and foremost, and is at the heart of the issues we face in our democracy it. secondly, it is a testament to how many members of the public stayed until we are adjourned. i will just say a few words and then ask jim if you want to say a few years. first, i want to remind everyone that we have issued a call on commentary -- call for
commentary and any individual who would like to offer comments on the subject is encouraged to do so. i promise you that we will read them. our website is www.bioethics.gov. the e-mail address i can give @bioethics.gov.o i want to thank you all for coming. our next meeting will be september 13 and 14th at the university of pennsylvania in philadelphia. it is open and free. our meeting after that is in atlanta at emory. with that, i will turn it over to jim. >> you have covered everything. let me just give my thank you to
everyone, this special thank you to the commissioners and our members throughout this session. it has been fabulous. we have learned a great deal. thank you to the public for their contributions. there is no convenient way to thank yourself, so i will do it for you. >> i would like you to thank your sells for two days of the liberal consideration. it will serve as well. thank you. [applause] n thank you r three presenters who did a marvelous job. -- and thank our three presenters who did a marvelous job. [applause] [applause]