Grassley Opening Statement Regarding Burma Sanctions Renewal and Nominations
The human rights record in Burma is extremely poor. There is a pattern of government policies
that suppress liberties. The abuses have been extensive, and the trend continues to worsen.
There are reportedly over 2,100 political prisoners in jail. The leader of the opposition has spent
13 out the past 20 years under house arrest.
In December 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution expressing its
grave concern over human rights violations in Burma.
Burma poses serious risks to peace and security in the region. This is not the time to reward the
bad actions of the illegitimate Burmese government.
We should send a strong signal to the military government that its ongoing behavior is
unacceptable. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of continuing the trade sanctions against
Burma for another year.
During this meeting the Committee will also consider favorably reporting the nominations of
seven individuals to the full Senate for consideration. I intend to support all seven today in
However, my support for the final confirmation of Mr. Madison, nominated to be general
counsel of the Treasury Department, will ultimately rest on his continued responsiveness, and the
responsiveness of the department, to my questions.
I take my oversight responsibilities very seriously, and right now I am very concerned that the
Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program is not getting the cooperation
Congress entitled him to from the Treasury Department and that his recommendations are not
being seriously considered.
Just two days ago, Mr. Barofsky testified before the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform, that “Although Treasury has taken some steps towards improving
transparency in TARP programs, it has repeatedly failed to adopt recommendations that
SIGTARP believes are essential to providing basic transparency and fulfill Treasury’s stated
commitment to implement TARP "with the highest degree of accountability and
This is not acceptable and I intend to keep pursuing this issue, along with questions regarding
$2.4 million in bonuses to AIG executives that are still at issue at the Department, and any bonus
payments that may be paid out in the future.
Additionally, I note that Ms. Carmen Nazario, the President’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary
for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, is on the agenda today.
I will support Ms. Nazario’s nomination moving forward. I still have an outstanding issue
regarding the release of key data on state’s TANF participation rates that need to be resolved.
This issue will need to be resolved prior to her confirmation by the full Senate.
I’m not picking on the Treasury Department or HHS specifically here, but all government
agencies, and especially agencies that have presidential nominees that come through this
committee, need to know that I have always placed great importance in Congressional oversight.
That is going to continue.
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