Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA), today announced that he plans to hold additional hearings in the fall to continue educating members and the public on the importance of the Law of the Sea Treaty for the U.S. economy and national security.
"The Foreign Relations Committee has held a series of educational hearings about the Law of the Sea Treaty this year. It's an important effort and thus far it's been illustrative about the unprecedented and some would argue unlikely support for the Treaty from a powerful cadre of American business and national security interests. Colleagues both Republican and Democratic, the business community, and the military have encouraged the committee to continue this effort, and I think it's more important than ever that it continue, particularly given the dramatic turn-over in the Senate since the treaty was last considered at the behest of the Bush Administration.
"I've always believed that this treaty is just waiting for its moment. That moment will never ripen and it will never come if we don't continue the process of asking and answering every question in a substantive and comprehensive way. We've already heard from the current Secretaries of State and Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We've held a "24" star hearing with military leaders across the spectrum who spoke out forcefully in favor of passage. We've read the words of every living Republican Secretary of State about the importance of getting this done. We've heard impassioned testimony from the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association for Manufacturing, the American Petroleum Institute, and the CEO of Verizon who spoke for the entire telecommunications industry about the job creation and business benefits of the treaty. But we're far from done. I intend to hold additional hearings in the fall to continue answering any and all questions about every aspect of the treaty.
"This treaty has long been under discussion, but never at such a high level as we've managed in this year's hearings. It's become particularly clear that times have changed since it was first negotiated. There are more economic opportunities and more security interests at stake under the treaty.
"I believe with absolute certainty that we have much to gain and nothing to lose through ratification, and I am convinced that, if we can get past the politics of this toxic moment, we can get there on the merits. I will work to see that we do. One thing I know well is that if we don't try and if we are cowed into submission by the specter of this political season, we'll never get anywhere on any issue, and so I'm determined to keep the process moving forward and to give proponents an opportunity to make their case and fight for a fair debate. To do anything else would be to shrink from the duty we all share in this institution and particularly on this committee to find the facts, not the politics, and act accordingly."