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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Pace Testifies Before Appropriations Committee

Aired September 25, 2003 - 14:24   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, in between those lop-sided votes on the do-not-call list, Congress today has been focusing quite a bit of attention on Iraq. Let's go now to a committee hearing under way, the Senate Appropriations Committee. And they're hearing testimony from the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace. Let's listen in for a moment.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. ROBERT BENNETT (R), UTAH: ... I believe in most instances for political purposes.

I want to thank you and Senator Byrd for the history you have established in this committee of maintaining a sense of bipartisanship even in the face of disagreement. And I appreciate the tone that has been set again here this afternoon that, in spite of fact that some harsh words have been spoken, the committee is returning to its long- term tradition of amnity (ph) among members even as we have a very vigorous disagreement on policy.

And I want to thank you and Senator Byrd. This is rooted in your deep personal friendship. And the friendship that you, Mr. Chairman, have had with and Senator Inouye on the Defense Committee has set the example for all of us. We all know that however much you disagree and however often you vote against each other, in the confines of this committee, you maintain that friendship and that sense of cordiality.

And I appreciate the fact that we're getting back towards that, at least so far in this committee today. And I hope and you Senator Byrd will continue to set example for all of us. Even as you disagree you make it clear to all us that we are a committee, and we should stand together to do our committee's work. Thank you.

SEN. TED STEVENS (R-AK), CHMN., APPROPRIATIONS CMTE.: Thank you very much, Senator.

Dr. Zicon (ph), do you have an opening statement or comment about the Afghanistan situation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I certainly do, Senator, Mr. Chairman, if I may. I have a brief statement, if I could read it out, please?

Thank you very much. And, Mr. Chairman, Senator Byrd, members of the committee, first of all, I want to thank the committee for all the support you've provided for Afghanistan over the past two years, both in terms of funding and in the special authorities we've requested. I want briefly to address three matters today. First, the progress we've made so far. Second, the steps we need to take to accelerate our progress. And third, our new request for funds and authorities.

As Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz has said, the United States remains strongly committed to success in Afghanistan and to establishing there a moderate and democratic political order that is fully representative of the Afghan people. Afghanistan has suffered a great deal over the last quarter century and it's come a long way since the fall of Taliban regime in 2001.

The United States shares and supports President Karzai's and the Afghan people hopes for a peaceful democratic and prosperous country that can serve as a partner in the region as a model for other Muslim states.

Over the past two years, we've provided slightly over $2 billion in assistance...

O'BRIEN: Just a flavor of the hearings underway on Capitol Hill. We wanted to let you know we're watching them as they go on and as news is made. And it does happen every now and again. We'll bring it to you.

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