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Last Updated:6/19/02
Speech by Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida), May 23, 2002

Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment of the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), my colleague on the Committee on Rules and good friend, as well as the amendment of the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton), my mentor and good friend on military matters.

I do not think anyone is insincere in this House of Representatives about wanting to be involved in doing what is right to protect our country and to maintain the President's vision with reference to the war on terrorism.

[Time: 18:30]
All of us are for the same set of circumstances. But my colleagues on the Republican side do not want spending in certain areas in America.

I harken back one night to one of the finest speeches ever made in the House of Representatives by John Kasich in a run-up to a budget. When John finished, I walked up to him and complimented him. I said to him, you know, John, the difference between you and I, and we were only going to spend $1 trillion or $3 trillion at that time, the difference is he wants to spend the money on what he wants to spend it on, and I want to spend it on what I want to spend it on.

I do not think anything has changed very much on that, from that time or any other time. They have the power to do Plan Colombia, but they do not want to spend; they want to cut programs in this country that I consider to be critical.

Some Members do not even have a clue about what is going on in Colombia. Certainly, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) does, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt) does, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Ballenger) does, and the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) does, but most of the Members in this House, half of them cannot even point out where Colombia is.

Yet, we are going to stand up here and go forward and get ourselves involved in something that could help lead this country to the black oblivion of ignominious defeat. We never won a war on terrorism or on counternarcotics. We have spent countless dollars in South America and elsewhere around the world that did not bring us to fruition with reference to our wishes.

While we are here doing this debate this evening, the Middle East is raging; India and Pakistan are poised to go to war with each other; Indonesia and Malaysia, and I harken to tell my friends that if Indonesia implodes, we will have eight Afghanistans on our hands; famine and war is all over Africa.

I have been in this body when nobody cared about genocide occurring on the African continent, and yet we come here prepared to involve American troops in our hemisphere, knowing full well that it may lead to further difficulties.

Mr. Chairman, I have been sitting in my office or here on the floor listening to this debate all day. Frankly, I am astonished by the rhetoric and blatant hypocrisy that have come out of the mouths of some of our colleagues here.

As a Democrat, all Democrats over here have been called unpatriotic, undemocratic, irresponsible, and un-American. I heard all of that from the other side. To my friends on the other side of the aisle, all of us and I certainly take offense to those unpatriotic, undemocratic, irresponsible, and un-American comments. Nobody in this House has any lock on patriotism. There are 535 patriots and 5 persons from other areas in this country of ours that serve this country in the best manner that they can. We disserve ourselves when we allude to others being unpatriotic.

I sat in the Committee on Rules Tuesday night and listened to Republicans' plans to increase the debt limit. I think that there should be some measure of increase.

At the time, I figured that the majority just did not get it. Today, I am certain that the majority not only does not get it, but they cannot sell it. They did not sell it to their own members, and they are certainly not going to be able to sell it to the American people.

So the Republican leadership has done what it does best: Rule with an iron fist. Never mind about who did it before them, they are doing it now. The leadership attached controversial and extraneous provisions to a widely supported bipartisan bill, and when the Republican leadership realized they did not have the necessary votes, it reminded its caucus that the bill is blanketed under the highly political title of a wartime emergency supplemental. I guess, Mr. Chairman, old habits are just too hard to break.

Like Americans all over this Nation and Members in this House, I strongly support the expenditure of supplemental funds.

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