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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-California), March 29, 2000
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Lewis), the distinguished subcommittee chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.

Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank very much the gentleman from Florida for yielding me this time. The rule includes an amendment that will allow as we have heard for additional $4 billion to be added to the defense accounts. It touches on many of the vital needs that we have in terms of our shortfall for our military. I will have an opportunity to discuss that later. I will not later be talking about the Colombia piece, and I would like to take just a moment to address that. I would like my colleagues to know that this brings back amazing memories. For the first time I ever focused upon my chairman the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Young) who today was presenting the difficulty of our schedules and our ranking member the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), it was at a time that we were discussing Central America and Latin America.

In those days, the debate flowed around El Salvador and Nicaragua, Guatemala, indeed the voices that swirl around the ranking member today were very similar in those days. They were opposed to America's involvement in Central America. Today, we see that region thriving in democracy. Indeed today Colombia is asking us for our assistance with a very, very significant drug problem. Indeed, America cannot solve Colombia's entire problem; but they have asked for our help. It would be a grave error for us to make the same mistake that those same voices would have suggested we make in El Salvador in the country of Colombia. I urge us to pass the rule and indeed to support this bill in its final form.

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. LEWIS of California. I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.

Mr. OBEY. I would suggest the gentleman go back and recheck my record. I did not oppose our efforts in Salvador. I opposed certain efforts that did not provide for the support of legitimate democratic forces, but I also supported funding for Salvador.

Mr. LEWIS of California. Taking back my time, there is little doubt that the voices were almost identical to those that flow today regarding this issue. There is little question, they did not want us involved in El Salvador or Nicaragua, and there is democracy there today because of America's involvement in part. Colombia has a major problem. They are asking for our assistance. I would suggest that we provide them with a small amount of assistance.

As of March 30, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-104:

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