by Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-North Carolina), April 3, 2003
Mr. BALLENGER. Mr.
Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment offered by the gentleman
from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern) that would cut $34 million in Colombian
assistance provided by the Defense Department and $27 million earmarked
for the Andean Counterdrug Initiative to be added to the Office of Domestic
Mr. Chairman, it
really makes no sense at this time to direct additional funds to the Office
of Domestic Preparedness when $331 million remains unspent from a previous
allocation of $494 million.
of Colombia is showing real leadership in the face of drug-financed terrorism.
His life is always in danger. Our drug czar, John Walters, recently testified
before my subcommittee about Colombia's record progress in eliminating
illegal drugs. The governor of a leading drug-producing area in Colombia,
Putamayo, was in my office just this week telling me of additional successful
efforts in his Putamayo district. In fact, drug production in Putamayo
has already been reduced from 66 million hectares to 13 million hectares.
That is a reduction of 80 percent over 2 years.
Cutting aid to Colombia
would also remove search and rescue funding, even as we work to return
three Americans who are being held by the FARC.
Mr. Chairman, the
drug war continues. Our homeland security compels every effort to fight
the drug scourge that continues to kill our children, up to 30,000 a year.
Compare that to Iraq. We have an ally in Colombia who is fighting this
war for us. Let us not reduce our efforts when we are finally winning.
I urge a ``no''
vote on the McGovern amendment.
As of April 18, 2003,
this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r108:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20030403)