Matt Salmon

Matt Salmon


Rep. Salmon Introduces Bill to Ban North Korea from Financial Messaging


Washington, D.C. — Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today released the following statement upon introduction of H.R. 6281, a bill to prevent specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), and to prevent direct or indirect access to such messaging services.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is a despotic fiefdom that prioritizes investments in weapons of mass destruction over the wellbeing of the citizens unfortunate enough to live within its borders.  Sadly, no amount of international chiding will impact their ability to continue this quest for a nuclear weapon.

“What we can do is deny them access to services designed to quickly and easily transfer money worldwide.  Without access to these services, we can force the North Koreans to purchase supplies and receive support in the way typically favored by state sponsors of terrorism: shipments of anonymous, small denomination bills.”

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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Reps. Salmon and Sinema Ask President Obama to Rethink Phoenix VA Appointment


Washington, D.C. — Reps. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09) today led a letter to President Obama, calling for a reassessment of Ms. RimaAnn Nelson’s appointment as Director of the Phoenix VA.

“When I first heard of the VA’s latest appointment in Phoenix, I immediately felt it must be some sort of a cruel joke.  After working with the Phoenix veteran community for years, I know they deserve better,” said Congressman Salmon. “I’m glad to be joined by Congresswoman Sinema in writing this letter to the President in the hopes that we can secure for Arizona’s veterans the care they deserve and not import the problems faced by other VA hospitals.”

“Veterans in Phoenix deserve the best possible director to lead and fix the Phoenix VA Medical Center,” said Congresswoman Sinema. “Congressman Salmon and I sent this letter because, despite recent progress, too many Arizona veterans have lost faith in the Phoenix VA. The new director must take immediate steps to rebuild trust with the veterans community. Our veterans deserve answers, and we’ll keep fighting until we get them.”

Click here to view the full letter and all signatories.

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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Letter to President Obama Regarding Phoenix VA Director Appointment


Click here to download the full letter and view all signatories.

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

It has recently come to our attention that Ms. RimaAnn Nelson, current director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Manila, Philippines, has been named as the new director of the Phoenix VA Medical Center.

This week, various media outlets reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs made the appointment, despite Ms. Nelson’s questionable record. According to the VA, Ms. Nelson served as the Acting Director of the John Cochran VA Medical Center (VAMC) in St. Louis, Missouri when a whistleblower exposed the unsanitary treatment of reusable dental equipment that potentially infected over 1,800 veterans with HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

The VA Office of Inspector General Office of Healthcare Inspections conducted an investigation of the Cochran VAMC at the time, and reported that its staff had never been trained to sterilize reusable equipment. Furthermore, Cochran VAMC leadership did not “assure that corrective actions were consistently implemented in response to [Veterans Health Administration] guidance and the Infectious Disease Program Office (IDPO) report” (VAOIG-10-03346-112).

Under Ms. Nelson’s tenure, the hospital closed twice for unsafe and unsanitary conditions and was ranked last in the country for patient satisfaction out of 126 VA medical centers.

A few short weeks ago, on September 1, 2016, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson met with the Arizona delegation at the Phoenix VA Medical Center. He assured us in no uncertain terms that finding the best possible candidate to replace Ms. Deborah Amdur as permanent director of the Phoenix VA was his highest priority. To think that Ms. Nelson, with her less-than-impressive past, is the best possible candidate to provide crucial leadership for the facility equated to “ground zero” of the VA scandal is unequivocally offensive to us and each of the veterans we represent. Additionally, if this is what a “high priority” looks like to the VA, there is absolutely no doubt why such problems exist in the system.

To say that the Department of Veterans Affairs has had a rough past couple of years would be an understatement. We know that you are intimately familiar with the failings of the VA healthcare system, particularly in Arizona. We therefore appeal to you with the strongest sentiment to delay this appointment until the events and Ms. Nelson’s actions in St. Louis can be fully explained to and evaluated by the veterans’ community in Arizona. We ask you to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to delay Ms. Nelson’s appointment to ensure that the new Phoenix VA director’s tenure begins on sound footing based on confidence and trust.  It is imperative that the VA use the utmost scrutiny in appointing a supremely qualified director to the Phoenix VA. Our veterans have suffered enough. Correcting the substantial issues at the Phoenix VA Medical Center must be a national priority.

Thank you for your attention to this request.


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Rep. Matt Salmon Comments on Veto Override


Washington, D.C. — Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today released the following statement after the House confirmed the Senate’s veto override of S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act.

“The President’s veto was surprising since it prioritized foreign interests over American citizens, but today Congress showed that it answers first to the American people.  I’m proud that members on both sides of the aisle joined together and put American interests ahead of party politics for this historic vote.

“The September 11th attacks were heinous, but adding insult to injury was a law barring American citizens from seeking compensation simply because some of those who assisted the perpetrators were connected with a foreign government.  Today’s bill rightly remedies that and gives these families access to their own courts for their own protection.”

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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Rep. Matt Salmon Mourns the Passing of Shimon Peres


Washington, D.C. — Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) today released the following statement on word of the passing of Israeli statesman, Shimon Peres.

“As a trailblazer of peace in the Middle East, Shimon Peres will be deeply missed.  He left his mark on one of our strongest allies through his tireless dedication to the dream of peace. With this dedication, he forged the first agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, ensuring safety and security for people on both sides of the conflict.

“His commitment to ending the scourge of violence is a vision today’s conflicted world would do well to embrace. May we recommit ourselves to the cause of peace and work toward peaceful coexistence with all people.”

Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. He is also a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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Opening Statement - The U.S.– Republic of Korea–Japan Trilateral Relationship: Promoting Mutual Interests in Asia


Chairman Salmon’s Opening Statement
As Prepared for Delivery

Committee on Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
“The U.S.– Republic of Korea–Japan Trilateral Relationship: Promoting Mutual Interests in Asia”
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 | 2:00 pm

When officials say that the United States is a Pacific power, they’re not just making an empty talking point. Our country has deep and enduring interests in the Asia-Pacific—from business and trade deals with the world’s fastest-growing economies to serious national security threats from both rogue states and great powers alike. To conduct these important affairs, we’ve created a hub-and-spoke system of like-minded allies and partners throughout the region, a bloc of friends who can mutually reinforce each other’s best interests. The Republic of Korea and Japan are perhaps the United States’ most constant and important partners within this system. Economically developed and militarily capable, these two nations share our democratic values and national security interests, which drive strong bilateral relationships.  Going forward, I believe these shared positions will ensure that these alliances coalesce into a comprehensive trilateral relationship.

As we all know, earlier this month, North Korea launched multiple missiles toward Japan, and detonated its largest nuclear device to date.  Our current sanctions-based approach to deterrence has had little-to-no effect on North Korea’s nuclear program, and we need to work closely with our allies to meet this challenge. Following North Korea’s most recent provocations Secretary Kerry met with his counterparts, Foreign Minister Kishida (key SHEE dah) of Japan and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (yoon PYUNG say) of Korea. Deputy Secretary Blinken has made great strides in promoting and facilitating a greater trilateral relationship as well.  The increasing security threat posed by North Korea’s rogue regime underscored yet again this trilateral relationship’s importance. As U.S. foreign policy is subjected to the transitional period of elections and a change of administration over the coming months, it is imperative that the value of this trilateral cooperation is not neglected, and that the positive trend of closer cooperation continues. 

Korea and Japan have long endured legacy issues that have created domestic friction that hindered their relationship and limits their own bilateral cooperation. But over the last year, the world has witnessed Prime Minister Abe and President Park leading their countries in historic steps towards a closer and more productive relationship.  I commend each of them for their courage to take those important strides, resulting in positive influence on the strategic outlook of the region and demonstrating even more promise for the future. The past year has seen improved military diplomacy and intercommunications, including a new hotline between defense ministers, and the first trilateral missile defense exercise with the U.S., and I hope there is more to come.

In late May, President Obama travelled to Hiroshima, where he met with survivors of the atomic explosion and made nuclear policy recommendations for the future. This summer, the Japanese First Lady Akie Abe visited Pearl Harbor, and paid her respects to those who died in the surprise attack that pulled our nation into war with Japan. This type of diplomacy, quietly working to heal old wounds without getting hung up on explicit apologies, is commendable, and can serve as a model to our close allies, The Republic of Korea and Japan

Today’s Asia poses innumerable challenges to those who believe in personal liberties, free markets, democratic governance, and peaceful dispute resolution. We face nuclear belligerence, territorial aggression, and serious competition from an ideology that supposes a less free society and economy brings greater success. In each of these realms, our national interests are aligned with those of the Republic of Korea and Japan, not through any coercion or persuasion, but because we fundamentally agree.

By encouraging these two allies to cooperate more closely in the context of our trilateral relationship, we will be able to address mutual challenges in a more united and robust manner. To this end, I hope that we will continue to see closer cooperation between the Republic of Korea and Japan, including meaningful dialogue between national leaders and increasing military exercises.  I also strongly encourage our allies to implement the terms of the agreement on comfort women quickly and to the satisfaction of both sides.  And finally, I hope that all parties involved work to promote better relations among Japan and Korea’s populations at large. We are grateful that Assistant Secretary Russel joins us today, and I look forward to hearing his expertise firsthand and his suggestions on strengthening this critical trilateral relationship.

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FORBES: One Week Until Kratom Components Are Banned In The U.S.


Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two substances made naturally by kratom, a widely used medicinal plant, will be placed on Schedule I of the U.S. Controlled Substances Act, effective September 30, 2016. The announcement was published in the Federal Register by the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration on August 31.

In DEA vernacular, the federal Schedule I designation is defined for drugs with 1) no currently accepted medical use, 2) a high potential for abuse and 3) a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. The U.S. Attorney General has delegated such scheduling authority to the head administrator of the DEA.

Does kratom have legitimate medical uses?

But since the announcement, a vocal community of kratom users have objected to the scheduling’s de facto criminalization of the plant, citing the plant’s value in self-medication for chronic pain, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and recovery from opioid or alcohol dependence.

Since I first wrote about the kratom ruling, I’ve received over 200 emails, Twitter and Facebook direct messages and phone calls from kratom users who fear the loss of an herbal remedy that has provided them with substantial benefit, in many cases better than with prescription drugs and with fewer side effects. A petition calling on the White House to intervene in the proposed ban has attracted over 134,000 signatures. Advocates also marched on the White House on September 13.

However, regulatory authorities do not consider self-medication to be evidence of medical use. In response to the DEA administrator query to the Department of Health and Human Services as to known medical use of kratom, the DHHS assistant secretary responded that “there are currently no investigational new drug applications or approved new drug applications for mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine,” and that “the HHS has no objection to the temporary placement of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine into schedule I of the CSA.”

But as an herbal dietary supplement, few incentives exist for a kratom manufacturer to sponsor an investigational new drug application for a substance that, until the end of this month, could be sold by anyone with access to raw plant material.

Kratom user experiences like those I’ve received were not represented in the DEA’s notice of intent. Forbes contributor David DiSalvo reported on Monday:

Two congressmen have penned a “dear colleague letter” asking that the DEA ”delay a final decision on the placement of kratom as a schedule I [and] provide ample time for public comment on this significant decision,” which the agency has so far declined to do. Congressmen Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) drafted the letter that will be circulated to every member of Congress. The kratom community is now reaching out to their representatives to sign onto the Pocan-Salmon letter.

The DEA has not yet discussed how the temporary scheduling will be enforced and what the penalties will be for the sale or possession of the plant material. Federal penalties for trafficking of controlled substances are often based on the amounts of the substance and its chemical form.

A brief history of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine

In subsequent posts, I’m going to take apart the pharmacology of mitragynine and its relatives, based on twopeer-reviewed publications that I’ve reported on previously for C&EN, short for Chemical & Engineering News, the official weekly magazine of the American Chemical Society. (I’m pleased to say the C&EN also published the latest of my articles in Spanish.)

As an introduction, the two plant chemicals are called alkaloids, a broad term for nitrogen-containing compounds like caffeine from coffee. Mitragynine is the predominant alkaloid, 7-hydroxy is present in lower amounts, or not at all. More than 20 such alkaloids have been isolated from kratom.

These two kratom alkaloids derive their names from the scientific designation for the tree Mitragyna speciosa (Korth.). (That classification is attributed to a botanist with the Dutch East Indies Service, Pieter Willem Korthals, who first described the plant in 1839, recording that the stigmas of its flowers resembled a bishop’s mitre. It’s common for early taxonomical names to include an abbreviation for the identifying botanist.)

In the first sentence of their notice of intent, the DEA describes these two kratom chemicals, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, as opioids–a broad scientific term that now carries the visceral, colloquial baggage of strong prescription opioid pain relievers like morphine and fentanyl. That baggage comes in the form of a far-reaching “opioid epidemic” characterized by 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription opioids in the U.S. in 2014, with another 10,574 overdose deaths involving the illicit morphine relative heroin.

Does the epidemiology support such an association of kratom with strong opioids?

The American Kratom Association estimates there are three to five million people using kratom in the U.S. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited a total of 660 poison control calls for kratom side effects between 2010 and 2015. The DEA cited 15 reports of fatalities where kratom constituents were present; 14 of these cases involved the presence of other, potentially lethal drugs. Another nine deaths in Sweden involved a kratom product that contained a relative of the prescription opioid pain reliever tramadol.

Forbes contributor Jacob Sullum, also a senior editor at Reason magazine, wrote a scorching rebuke of the DEA’s citation of kratom’s risks that, in his view, “provides an illuminating window on the prohibitionist mindset, which dresses pharmacological phobias in the garb of science.”

One caveat is that kratom use and side effects are not as systematically monitored as those for prescription or illicit opioids. So it’s possible that kratom may pose some dangers that are not captured by these data.

Potential for kratom adulteration

Another reasonable concern is that, as an herbal supplement, kratom can be contain variable amounts of the active constituents or be accidentally or intentionally adulterated with other chemicals. Herbal products imported from India will sometimes contain toxic amounts of heavy metals; weight loss supplements or “men’s health” products loosely advertised for erectile dysfunction will often contain actual prescription drugs or their relatives. But kratom advocates contend that these issues are a result of the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act and the lack of strong enforcement by FDA of their guidance on Good Manufacturing Practices for supplements.

Eric Boodman at STAT News wrote earlier this month about how the kratom users’ community internally polices kratom suppliers. Therein, an FDA spokesperson admitted that the agency has very little power over any herbal supplement other than issuing import bans and seizing products for which drug claims are made.

Risk perspective

As for the 660 poison control center calls reported by CDC scientists, the magnitude of the public health risks depends on ones viewpoint. Forbes contributor and emergency physician Robert Glatter, MD, wrote that parents, teachers, teens and physicians should know about these risks. But the CDC report also deserves perspective: laundry detergents pods, albeit used by more people than kratom, were responsible for 7,887 child poisonings in the first eight months of 2016 alone.

I solicited the perspective of a forensic toxicologist who is well-published on illicit drugs in recent overdoses and poisonings, from highly potent relatives of fentanyl to the dozens of chemicals showing up in K2 and Spice products.

While not authorized to speak on behalf of their organization, the scientist told me, “Of all things to be worried about at this time, I’m not sure kratom should even make the top 10.”


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Opening Statement - Diplomacy and Security in the South China Sea: After the Tribunal


Chairman Salmon’s Opening Statement
As Prepared for Delivery

Committee on Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
“Diplomacy and Security in the South China Sea: After the Tribunal”
Thursday, September 22, 2016 | 2:00 pm

The South China Sea is one of the toughest and most persistent problems in this Subcommittee’s jurisdiction. These maritime and territorial disputes are universally recognized as a long term security challenge and potential short term flashpoint. Conflicting claims to the strategic waterways which connect maritime Asia endanger trade, transportation, commerce, and energy flows, creating the risk of conflict.  China has taken the riskiest and most dangerous actions of any party to the disputes, seizing territory far from its shores, fielding huge fleets of coast guard and fishing vessels to bolster its claims, and constructing military outposts throughout contested zones to consolidate its strategic position.  Despite the dire and worsening situation, recent developments have given the South China Sea an unfulfilled potential for positive progress.

This summer, an arbitral tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea issued an eagerly-anticipated ruling in a case between China and the Philippines, bringing legal certainty to the obvious truth that China’s claims in the South China Sea are illegitimate. Though the international community cheered the ruling, its influence is still uncertain. Since the tribunal announced its ruling, the uncertain status quo has persisted in the South China Sea, and there have been signals that China plans to take its construction efforts to the Scarborough Shoal, a sensitive area just off Philippine shores, which would be a serious escalation.

At the same time, China has moved aggressively to generate diplomatic cover for its legally untenable and unjustifiable claims. Throughout the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China has used surrogates to disrupt and block consensus, successfully preventing unified statements on the issue at recent regional summits. There are also obvious signs of intense efforts to win more Southeast Asian support for China’s position. For example, Thailand recently stated its support for China’s so-called efforts to maintain peace in the South China Sea, though Thailand is not a claimant to that dispute and has traditionally remained neutral on the issue.

Conduct from the Philippines during this period has been more and more disappointing. The Philippines’ victory before the international tribunal was a shining example of the peaceful resolution of a dispute between two states, based on legal principle as opposed to force. It demonstrated the value of the system of international law that states have used cooperatively to avoid major conflict for decades. Despite this victory, the Philippines has not leveraged the ruling in its dealings with China. The cool response was at first lauded as savvy diplomacy, but since then things have become decidedly worse.

The new President, Rodrigo Duterte, has called into question the Philippines’ dedication to the rule of law, creating a domestic crisis of widespread extrajudicial killing. He has engaged in childish name-calling towards President Obama and our Ambassador to the Philippines. He has announced his intention to end longstanding and successful counterterror cooperation in Mindanao, raised the possibility of increasing arms acquisitions from China and Russia, and spoken of ending joint maritime patrols with the U.S. Navy.

At the same time, the importance of the Philippines’ legal victory has been downplayed or avoided altogether. President Duterte has affirmatively avoided the topic in his discussions with Chinese interlocutors, and he deliberately declined to raise the issue in a recent high-profile speech, throwing away his prepared remarks on the ruling at the last minute.

To be sure, many ASEAN states have good reason to evaluate critically their capacity and will to resist China’s influence on this issue. In virtually every case, modest defense capabilities and close economic ties mean that China is an undeniably important partner for each ASEAN country. By playing their cards close to their chest, or signaling potential compromise with China, Southeast Asian nations seem to be navigating the post-ruling uncertainties of the South China Sea extremely cautiously, feeling out bilateral options, and seeking the most advantageous near-term result, at the cost of a collective response that might better suit each of their needs.

As in many other realms, responsibility falls to the United States in the South China Sea; not just to advance our allies’ and partners’ interests, but to protect our own. Every nation has a stake in the rule of law, the protection of territorial integrity, and in peaceful dispute resolution. In Southeast Asia, where a vacuum of strategic military strength is being filled by China’s rising forces, these interests are in jeopardy. It falls to us to backstop our partners with our own strength and integrity, and to remind those nations faltering under China’s self-serving diplomatic assault what is at stake.

With our expert panel today, we will review the developments in the South China Sea disputes following the arbitral ruling, with an eye towards formulating policy options to protect the freedom of navigation, the rule of law, and peaceful dispute resolution. We’ll also be looking to strengthen, rather than weaken, our relationships in the region in response to this challenge, and I look forward to the witnesses’ recommendations for that as well. 

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HOUSINGWIRE: CFPB consumer complaint database about to hit 1 million complaints


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s much-maligned consumer complaint database is about to reach 1 million total complaints, CFPB Director Richard Cordray said Tuesday.

Cordray revealed the approaching milestone during his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee over the CFPB’s role in the $185 million fine levied against Wells Fargo for opening up 2 million fake accounts.

Cordray discussed the complaint database briefly during an exchange with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, stating that database should field its millionth complaint later this week.

The consumer complaint database has long been a target of the financial services industry.

When the CFPB began publishing consumers’ complaints against financial services companies several years ago, many of the companies featured in the database, as well asother industry observers, took issue with the fact that the complaints were, in many cases, unverified and unproven.

But that didn’t stop the CFPB from accepting the complaints.

And as it turns out, the complaint database proved helpful in levying the fine against Wells Fargo, as James Clark, the chief deputy of the Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, testified that his office used the CFPB’s complaint database in its investigation into Wells Fargo.

That investigation led to the $100 million fine from the CFPB, a $50 million fine by theOffice of the Comptroller of the Currency, and a $35 million fine by the city and county of Los Angeles.

The CFPB’s complaint database may have proved useful in the Wells Fargo case, but the database itself is under scrutiny from Congress, as a bill, entitled the CFPB Data Accountability Act, was introduced into the House of Representatives in June by Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Arizona.

The bill would require the CFPB to “verify and put into context” the consumer complaints it receives and presents to the public.

“By verifying these complaints with evidence of actual wrongdoing, Americans will have a greater understanding of various financial products and be better informed of any violations committed by these institutions,” Salmon's office stated.

Specifically, per the legislation text, Salmon’s bill would require the CFPB to “verify any consumer complaint information…where the complaint alleges a violation of a law, regulation, or contractual agreement between a consumer and a covered person who offered or provided the consumer financial product or service to the consumer.”

Salmon’s bill is still awaiting review by the House Financial Services Committee. If it passes out of committee, it would proceed to the full House for review.


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Opening Statement - North Korea’s Perpetual Provocations: Another Dangerous, Escalatory Nuclear Test


Chairman Salmon’s Opening Statement
As Prepared for Delivery

Committee on Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
North Korea’s Perpetual Provocations: Another Dangerous, Escalatory Nuclear Test
Wednesday, September 14, 2016 | 3:00 pm

Last Friday, North Korea conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test to date.  This latest provocation coming just weeks after they fired off three additional missiles during the G20 summit in China.  While U.S. and United Nations sanctions have undoubtedly hurt the North Korean economy, Kim Jong Un continues to willingly and belligerently defy U.N. Security Council Resolutions as well as international norms.  Clearly, he is not fazed by the Administration’s so-called plan of “strategic patience” and so continues with his child-like behavior that endangers much of the world.  The House Committee on Foreign Affairs, under the leadership of Chairman Royce, has taken the lead to address this intransigence.  While we have already taken bold steps in increasing sanctions, clearly more must be done.  We are here today to identify and work toward proactive policy solutions that will put an end to the provocations of this rogue regime.  Enough is enough

As good as the additional sanctions have been, without China’s enforcement it will never be enough.  I would like to hear from our panel on how best to engage China on this issue.  As we know, China prefers the status quo in North Korea rather than risk a flood of North Korean refugees and a shared border with the Korea-U.S. alliance.  Some experts even worry that China may use its enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolutions and diplomatic assistance as a wedge, forcing South Korea to choose between China and the United States as its main partner on the peninsula.  The international community at large is alarmed at China’s indifference to date over North Korean provocations, especially with nuclear detonations so near its own border.  Even North Korea’s willingness to embarrass China by upstaging the G20 ceremonies with a nuclear test has not yet led to real action by China.

The Administration has appeared to make some progress on our trilateral engagement with Korea and Japan – our two closest allies in East Asia.  The House recently passed my legislation to encourage further dialogue and cooperation between our nations, with particular emphasis towards the North Korean threat.  I will be very interested to hear from our panel on the potential for further cooperation with South Korea and Japan and how we might best work together to address North Korea’s dangerous behavior.

The United States recently convened its annual joint military exercises with South Korea.  The U.S. flew two bombers over South Korea to provide some reassurance to our friends in Seoul, but I am not so sure these messages resonate with Pyongyang.  We all know that there are few options to instill real change from within North Korea, but waiting it out will not solve anything; we need a proactive approach. 

Most agree that getting information to the people of North Korea – unfiltered by the regime – would greatly benefit the people of North Korea and aid efforts to diminish the stranglehold Kim has over the nation.  I have legislation that passed through this Subcommittee that would provide an overdue update and enhancement of these efforts.  Boosting the information flow into North Korea would cripple Kim Jong Un where he is most vulnerable: reality.

Again, sanctions efforts have been a huge focus in Congress, but due to China’s lack of resolve, they seem to have had little practical effect. I would like to determine what we can do to take it to the next level; what other chokepoints can we squeeze to shut off funding for North Korea’s nuclear ambitions?  Cutting off access to financial messaging systems such as SWIFT was a successful strategy to induce compliance with Iran, and we should pursue the same strategy towards North Korea.  The rogue regime should not have access to the international financial system.  As if its other activities weren’t reason enough to cut off its financial messaging access, North Korea has been identified as the likely culprit of a serious hack on SWIFT earlier this year, in which the culprits stole $81 million from Bangladesh’s Central Bank.  For that reason, I am working on legislation to end North Korea’s access to interbank financial transfers to prevent further abuses and reduce funding to North Korea’s nuclear program.

Time and again, North Korea has proven that so long as it is able, it will continue to work to advance its nuclear program – for both internal domestic strength, as well as international bargaining power.  While the United States has shown a willingness to negotiate with North Korea when it takes even modest steps toward denuclearization, North Korea has shown no interest in maintaining international norms.  This cycle cannot continue, and we cannot “strategically wait” with a potential catastrophe looming.  I look forward to a frank discussion with our witnesses on what to do next with this rogue regime.

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Rep. Salmon Floor Speech Honoring Laura Knaperek

2016-03-17 13:03:40

Rep. Salmon interview with KTAR News

2016-01-13 22:18:55

Rep. Salmon interview with Mike Broomhead

2016-01-13 21:48:59

Interview with Mike Broomhead 1/7/16

2016-01-08 20:46:34

5th Anniversary of Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords Shooting

2016-01-08 20:16:01

Rep. Salmon joins the Sean Hannity Show

2015-12-10 15:23:53

Interview with Mike Broomhead 12/09/2015

2015-12-09 21:28:04

Rep. Salmon talks with Mike Broomhead about the recent Speaker of the House election

2015-10-30 20:50:36

Interview with Mike Broomhead 10.22.15

2015-10-22 18:59:01

Interview with Mike Broomhead 10.09.15

2015-10-15 14:45:58

Rep. Salmon Joins Sean Hannity to Discuss Illegal Alien Criminals Released into Arizona

2015-08-21 13:17:16

Rep. Salmon on Cavuto Coast to Coast Discussing DHS' Release of Three Illegal Alien Criminals

2015-08-21 01:23:03

Rep. Matt Salmon Questions Secs. Kerry, Lew, and Moniz About the President's Bad Deal with Iran

2015-07-30 19:43:24

Rep. Salmon Speaks Out Against Sanctuary Cities on the House Floor

2015-07-27 15:28:01

Rep. Salmon Joins the Wilcow Majority to talk about #KatesLaw and #GrantsLaw

2015-07-22 20:22:23

Rep. Salmon Joins CNN Newsroom to Discuss the President's Iran Deal

2015-07-16 15:18:04

Rep. Salmon Joins the O'Reilly Factor to Discuss Grant's Law and Kate's Law

2015-07-09 15:48:30

Rep. Salmon Joins Lou Dobbs Tonight to Discuss Grant's Law

2015-07-07 22:14:11

Matt Salmon Joins 12 News to Talk about the Fallen Heroes Assistance Act

2015-07-07 16:34:30

Fox 10 Covers Rep. Salmon's Introduction of Grant's Law

2015-07-02 22:15:07

Contact Information

2349 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2635
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Matt Salmon was elected to the United States Congress on November 6, 2012 to represent the people of Arizona’s 5th Congressional District. Matt was appointed by his peers to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He also serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

Matt attended public school in Mesa, Arizona and graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and an MPA from Brigham Young University.

After completing his education, Matt spent thirteen years in the telecommunications industry in Arizona. In his early career, Matt learned invaluable lessons regarding the effect of government regulation on private enterprise. With the ever increasing expansion of government and burdensome tax rates on American citizens and small businesses, Matt was called to begin a life of public service.

In 1990, Matt was elected to the Arizona State Senate, where he served from 1991 until 1995. During this time, he served as Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the Rules Committee.

In 1994, Matt was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served three terms. As the only Member of Congress fluent in Mandarin, along with his position on the International Relations Committee, Matt led multiple U.S. delegations to China, one of which secured the release of political prisoner Song Yongyi. During his service, Matt was named a “Watchdog of the Treasury” for six consecutive years and earned the “Taxpayer Hero” award from Citizens Against Government Waste. In 2000, Matt remained faithful to a self-imposed term limit pledge and retired his seat.

After the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act and the expansion of government regulation during an economic crisis, Matt again answered the call to serve. In 2012, Arizona reelected him to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Matt wants to ensure the voices of all Arizonans are heard and looks forward to advancing pro-business policies, cutting government waste and balancing the federal budget once again.

Matt has spent the last 34 years happily married to his best friend, Nancy. They are the proud parents of four children and the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.

Serving With

Martha McSally


Paul Gosar


David Schweikert


Trent Franks


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