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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin), March 29, 2000
[Page: H1493]
Mr. MOAKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), the ranking member of the Committee on Appropriations.

Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, if Members want to know why the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur) is unhappy, just recognize this: The majority runs this institution. The majority wrote this bill. They used the Budget Act then to fence out amendments.

Out of the 14 amendments being allowed under this bill, two are being offered by Democrats, ten by Republicans, and two have a bipartisan tone. That in my view is not a balanced approach.

I would also urge Members to recognize that we should not spend a lousy 10 minutes debating whether we are going to be at war in Colombia for the next 5 years. I would remind Members of what James Hoagland, the distinguished columnist, asked; that now, in the rush into this quagmire, what is happening:

`What happens when it becomes clear that the considered judgment of U.S. Air Force officers that the Colombia military will not be able to maintain the Black Hawks under the condition in which they will be flying is shown to be correct? Will the United States replace the helicopters that crash or are shot down, at $13 million a copy? Will large numbers of U.S. advisers be provided to maintain the helicopter force?

`Clinton, of course, will not be around to provide answers. The helicopters will not arrive until 6 months after he leaves office. His successor will inherit an open-ended military obligation that can be trimmed back or abandoned only at domestic political cost.'

It says, `. . . House Republicans have championed supersized aid to Colombia, with an eye to blasting Clinton and Gore if it is not passed. They are the true catalysts for this foreign policy fiasco. They blithely ignore the fact that American demand is at the root of the drug problem more than Columbian supply. They voted down efforts by Representative Nancy Pelosi to add funds for drug treatment at home in the catch-all bill that provides aid to Colombia. They sliced out of that same bill $211 million in debt relief for the world's poorest countries. They will shoot away the problems of the Third World.

`That has been tried elsewhere, with similar fuzzy and contradictory thinking in Washington at the take-off. I can only wonder: Where is the Vietnam Syndrome when we need it?'

Mr. Speaker, I urge a `no' vote on this rule.

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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