This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

Home
|
Analyses
|
Aid
|
|
|
News
|
|
|
|
Last Updated:6/19/02
Speech by Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin), May 23, 2002

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

Very interesting. I cannot believe what I just heard the gentleman from Florida say. He said we ought to support the bipartisan compromise that has just been worked out in the committee on this product. That is what we have been saying for the last 2 days with respect to the entire bill.

What we have said on the bill is we had a bipartisan bill as it came out of the committee. It has been hijacked by the Republican leadership. If you want to continue bipartisan cooperation, which we ought to have, if this is indeed a war supplemental, then drop the partisan agenda that has been imposed by the Republican leadership of this House and stick to the bipartisan compromise. That is what we have been saying.

We have been ignored all day long until now. Suddenly it meets someone's convenience to utter those same words. Stick to the bipartisan compromise.

Well, I am going to do that. I happen to think that our policy in Colombia is futile. I have been following developments in Colombian society for almost 40 years. I do not for the slightest moment think that they have the capacity either economically or politically or socially to do what is necessary to help themselves against the FARC and the other terrorist organizations in that country, and I do not believe in getting involved in futile exercises. That is why I think the whole policy is stupid and doomed.

Frankly, if I had my way I would flip it. This language that is in the bill

[Page: H3004]
does not particularly bother me because the language says if you are already going after FARC and the ELN and the paramilitary groups on the drug front, also go after them on the terrorism and kidnapping front. I do not have a special problem with that. In fact, I wish it were the other way around.
I would be a whole lot more comfortable seeing them focus on terrorism than on drugs because on drugs we are only fighting half a battle. We are sending our troops down to Colombia to advise them how to fight a war on drugs when we are not fighting that same war at home. We have tried consistently, consistently, at home to say that if you are going to invest $500 million or $1 billion in Colombia to fight drugs, do the same thing at home to build enough drug treatment slots so that we take care of the demand here. That is the way to fight drugs, but we have not been able to get the majority party to support that.

There is one difference between me and the leadership of your party. I am going to stick to the bipartisan deals that I sign on to. They have not. They sucker us on each bill. They say put together a bipartisan compromise, work together, and we do, and then they decide to impose a partisan agenda. So I do not have any faith in this policy, but we worked in good faith with the gentleman from Arizona and others to work out language on this bill as part of a bipartisan compromise that would prevent the administration from providing all of the waivers that are in existing law that are protections against excess involvement, and while I am not satisfied with that and I do not think in the end it will work, because I believe on whole I am a person of integrity, I am going to stick to the deal that we made even though I do not think that it will work, and I hope that we can in the Senate work out a different arrangement.

So I am going to take the advice of the gentleman from Florida. I believe on the big questions, as well as the little ones, we should stick to the bipartisan compromise. God, I wish your leadership agreed.

As of June 19, 2002, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20020523)

Google
Search WWW Search ciponline.org

Asia
|
Colombia
|
|
Financial Flows
|
National Security
|

Center for International Policy
1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 232-3317 / fax (202) 232-3440
cip@ciponline.org