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mitchmartinson's MyC-SPAN

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    U.S. Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region

    Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified at a hearing on U.S. foreign policy toward Asia. He responded to questions on China’s aggression in the South China Sea, sanctions against North Korea, and human rights issues in Vietnam and Burma (Myanmar).

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    Illegal Immigration, Crime, and Deportation Policy

    Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Sarah Saldana, relatives of crime victims, and local law enforcement officials testified at a hearing on crimes committed by people living in the U.S. illegally. Director SaldaƱa testified about the agency’s deportation practices and why those convicted of violent offenses were released back into the U.S. rather than deported to their country of origin.

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    ISIS Sale of Antiquities

    The Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on how ISIS* is profiting from its theft and looting of antiquities, artifacts, and other cultural materials. The hearing also explored the terrorist group’s destruction of cultural symbols it finds inconsistent with its ideology. Witnesses included the director of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, whose mission is to protect international cultural property during periods of armed conflict, and the author of the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History that was adapted into a motion picture. 

    * The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAISH/DAESH in Arabic is a militant group that has called itself the Islamic State.

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    Afghanistan Weapons Program

    Defense Department officials testified at a hearing on weapons contracts in Afghanistan. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), outlined several issues with the department’s Task Force for Business and Stability Operations program, which is aimed at spurring economic development in Afghanistan. Mr. Sopko said the nearly $1 billion program shows lmany inefficiencies and lacks a management and accountability system.

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    Government Waste and Inefficiency

    Federal officials, including Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, testified at a House hearing on the Government Accountability Office’s 2016 Duplication Report, which examines government inefficiency. The 2016 report identified 12 new areas of duplication, overlap or fragmentation in federal programs and activities and provided 59 new opportunities for cost savings.

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    F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program

    The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces held a hearing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. The program’s executive officer, Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, was among the witnesses. General Bogdan said although the program has had challenges, it is heading in the right direction by reducing costs over tim, and increasing production speed. Michael Sullivan, director of Acquisition and Sourcing Management at the Governmental Accountability Office, also testified, saying the program still presents some affordability challenges.

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    International Financial System

    Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the international financial system. When asked about the terrorist attacks that took place in Brussels, Belgium, earlier that morning, Secretary Lew said Treasury Department analysts were working to find financial leads in the attacks.