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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Alabama), March 29, 2000
(Mr. CALLAHAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. CALLAHAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

Just recently, Mr. Chairman, we heard our colleague from Wisconsin talking about the message that the President of the United States brought to this House of Representatives requesting that we bust the budget. I might remind the gentleman that the President was not for the balanced budget anyway, so we are not surprised he is sending us this message asking us to bust the budget.

What we did in this process, with respect to that area of jurisdiction that we on the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs have, is reduce the President's request for foreign aid by $37 million. Simply put, the President of the United States, the man that the people of this country has placed in charge of our national security, has hired one of the most professional people in this country with respect to the ability to do something about the drug problem we have, Mr. McCaffery. And Mr. McCaffery and the President of the United States have come to us and said, give us the money to implement this policy. Who are we to second-guess the Commander-in-Chief and Mr. McCaffery, the drug czar?

I am sorry that the minority Members do not have the confidence in the President of the United States to make a decision that is a responsible decision, but we must be responsible Members of the House of Representatives. The President has come to us, the Commander-in-Chief, and he tells us we have a very, very serious problem with drugs. And the President is absolutely right. He says we have a problem in Kosovo, and he is absolutely right. The President and I disagree on what the problem is in Kosovo, but, nevertheless, we have reduced his request for assistance to Kosovo for reconstruction. There is nothing in here to that effect.

So the bottom line is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Services and the drug czar have come to us and said, after due diligent research, they have decided that this is the number one way that we can fight drug use here in the United States. I know that there appears to be an extreme lack of confidence in the ability of the President of the United States to make these decisions; but, nevertheless, he is the President of the United States and this Congress must decide whether or not we want to fight drugs based upon the suggested remedy that the President of the United States has sent to us or whether we want to play rhetoric and play demagoguery and delay this and let this drug situation develop even further.

In addition to the President's request for Colombia, we found glaring holes in it in the committee process. For example, we found that there was not a sufficient amount of money for the surrounding countries of Colombia, and we increased the President's request. We did not decrease his drug effort request; we increased it to provide for the surrounding countries of Colombia to have an ability to also fight the drug situation.

So here we are, a body that is destined to make a decision today based upon the request of the President of the United States.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill. I commend Chairman Young for his leadership on this measure, especially his efforts to support our Armed Forces who are under so much strain in the face of repeated deployments overseas.

For Foreign Operations, this Emergency Supplemental includes a total of $1 billion and 241.7 million including $1 billion and 99 million for programs to fight America's international War on Drugs and $142.7 million for Kosovo and Southeast Europe. We did not provide an additional $210 million for debt relief at this time, but this is a subject we hope to be able to address when the proper conditions have been agreed to by the Secretary of the Treasury. In all, the Appropriations Committee recommendation reduces president's request for foreign aid by more than $37 million.

Let me highlight the small but significant changes to the President's request made by the Committee. First, the Committee recommendation does not simply shift drug production and trafficking away from Colombia, and into other countries in the region, we have increased the President's request for Colombia's neighbors, including: $57 million for Bolivia; $42 million for Peru; $20 million for Ecuador; and $18 million for Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

Second, this bill will strengthen Human Rights and Judicial Reform in Colombia. The Appropriations Committee has recommended $98.5 million--$5 million more that the President's request--for human rights and judicial programs. As Chairman of the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, I expect these funds are to be subject to the existing `Leahy Law' which restricts U.S. assistance for foreign security forces involved in gross human rights abuses. In addition, the Committee adopted 2 important amendments offered by Mr. Farr that strengthen the human rights requirements of this assistance.

Mr. Chairman, for Kosovo and Southeastern Europe, the President has requested $250.9 million in emergency funds. This bill provides $142.7 million.

Congress made clear last year that the U.S. should not play a major role in rebuilding Kosovo. From FY 2000 funds previously appropriated, more than $150 million is already available. Therefore, except for the Administration's request for $12.4 million for American officers in the international police force, the Committee does not recommend additional funding for Kosovo. The exception for the police force is due to an urgent need. Ethnic violence continues, and this violence endangers civilians and U.S. troops. Police, not the U.S. military, should maintain public security.

This bill fully funds the President's request for $34 million in assistance for Montenegro, $35.7 million in assistance for Croatia, and $13.7 million in assistance for democratic opposition in Serbia. Also, this bill fully funds the President's request for a modest investment of $33.9 million to improve the military readiness of our allies in southeast Europe. The region remains volatile, and NATO needs to be in a position to operate cooperatively with these nations in case of another crisis.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, this bill ensures continued Congressional oversight of these appropriations. None of the `Plan Colombia' funds can be spent until the Secretary of State notifies Congress regarding the exact uses of the funds. Further, all of the protections included in General Provisions from the Fiscal Year 2000 Foreign Operations bill apply to these funds, also.

Mr. Chairman, the Foreign Operations spending in this bill is truly Emergency spending that benefits Americans. I know that many Members are uncomfortable supporting Supplemental funds for foreign aid. But every penny of foreign aid in this bill is designed to benefit Americans. This assistance will help stop illegal narcotics from entering the United States and it will help American soldiers complete their work in Kosovo more rapidly. I urge Members to vote `aye'.

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