by Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin), March 29, 2000
MOAKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin
(Mr. Obey), the ranking member of the Committee on Appropriations.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank
the gentleman for yielding me the time.
Mr. Speaker, let me say I
am going to vote against this rule for a number of reasons. First of all,
if we look at spending issues, we will see that the bill as reported is
$4 billion above the amount requested by the President. Before it is finished,
this bill will have added to it an additional $4 billion not requested
by the President.
It is clear that only 1 week
after this House passed a budget resolution promising to live within spending
ceilings that the $4 billion that will be added under the rule today is
simply an attempt to get around those budget ceilings so that there will
be $4 billion more room in the defense appropriation for Members' projects.
A very interesting exercise in fiscal discipline, it lasted one week.
Secondly, we are now being
asked to enter into a huge new long-term commitment to underwrite a war
in Colombia. We have been told it will last at least 5 years, and I suspect
it will last probably 10.
For 35 years, the date of
August 7, 1964, has lived in infamy in history because that was the day
that Congress roared through the Gulf at Tonkin resolution on this very
same floor with 40 minutes of debate.
Today, we are going to be
given only 20 minutes to discuss the advisability of entering into this
long 5- to 10-year commitment to underwrite this war in Colombia. That
means that those of us who think this is not a good idea will have exactly
10 minutes to make our case. That is amazing.
Thirdly, despite the fact
that the Rand Corporation has done a study financed in part by the U.S.
Army which says that a dollar spent on reducing demand for drugs here
at home is 23 times more effective than a dollar spent in reducing drug
use through interdiction and supply reduction abroad, this rule denies
us the opportunity to even vote on the Pelosi amendment, which would allow
us to provide more funding to deal with the drug problem here at home
by expanding drug treatment programs. That is, in my view, ill-advised.
There is also no provision
allowed under which we could even put on the floor the President's request
for debt relief for countries such as Bolivia and Honduras.
Lastly, I would say that there
were over a dozen Democrats who asked to be allowed to offer amendments
to this proposition. Only two were given the opportunity to offer those
amendments. We have 10 amendments that are going to be offered by majority
party Members and two others that are bipartisan, with lead sponsors being
the majority party.
In other words, the majority
party first crafted the initial bill to its liking. Now they insist on
being able to offer over 80 percent of the amendments that are going to
be offered on the floor on this day. And then they wonder why there is
not more support on this side of the aisle. I think those numbers speak
This bill is a mistake. I
will vote against the rule. I will vote against the bill. If we are going
to get involved in a long-term war commitment in this hemisphere, we owe
it to our constituents to spend more than 10 minutes discussing the consequences.
As of March 30, 2000, this
document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-91: