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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Arkansas), March 29, 2000
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I am delighted to participate in this debate. I think it is a good one because it focuses our energies and our Nation's energies on a very important subject which is what we need to do to save the lives of young people, to save our communities from this scourge of drugs.

Now, I just want to remind my colleagues on this side of the aisle that this supplemental appropriation bill started with this President. President Clinton submitted a request to this Congress, and in that request he asked for $1.2 billion in counternarcotics funding. It is on an emergency basis. So this is not something that was just created by this side of the aisle saying that we need to do this. It was this administration, it was this President that said there is an extraordinary emergency in Colombia that affects the national security interests of this Nation, and this Congress needs to address it.

So this is not something that is just being pulled out of thin air. It is this administration who has also supported demand reduction, that has supported more treatment. Certainly, this administration illustrates that one can ask for and support treatment facilities and demand reduction, but at the same time recognize the need and the impact that the drugs coming in from Colombia has on this Nation.

Mr. Chairman, I would just remind my colleagues of that particular point.

Now, I would also refer back to balancing the need as we have to approach the drug war. If my colleagues will look at this chart that I have that talks about the demand reduction money that is being spent as well as comparing it with what we are spending on interdiction, it goes back to 1987 with the demand reduction in red. And each year since 1987, the red line goes up, which is the money that is being spent for demand reduction. Demand reduction is that which is for drug education and treatment programs, substance abuse programs. That has increased 63 percent since 1985. Yet, if my colleagues will look at the interdiction funding, it is the green that goes up at a very, very slow rate. What is remarkable about this that really is not shown on this chart, but that in-between 1987 and 1994 it went up, the interdiction spending, and then it actually went down and it went down in 1992 when we diverted some resources over to the Gulf War.

So the point of this is that since 1992 our demand reduction expenditures have continued to go up. Yet even though we are spending more and more money on demand reduction, in 1992 the teenage use and experimentation with illegal drugs went up.

Mr. Chairman, I think the point of the story is that history tells us that we cannot win this war; we cannot win the lives of our teenagers simply by putting money in demand reduction. It takes that balanced approach. I come back to my original point, which is that it was this administration that initiated, that joined this battle to aid Colombia in fighting the war on drugs. They asked for over $1 billion. It was General McCaffrey that last year initiated this. In every war, we have to have somebody who starts pointing and assigning the troops and where we need to go and where we need to spend our money. That is the responsibility of General McCaffrey. He recommended last year, after a trip to Colombia, that we invest $1 billion.

Now, what we have done in this Congress is say that it is not just Colombia, but we also have to have Ecuador and Peru and Bolivia be involved, so we have targeted some money to there as well. But the counternarcotics initiative started with this administration, supported by this Congress, supported by the Speaker, as he testified to.

So this debate today is what we can do in terms of aiding Colombia to fight our war against drugs, to save our children's lives. Yes, we need demand reduction; yes, we need treatment facilities; yes, we need to do more in those areas. But this debate is about what we need to do this day in the battle that Colombia faces that impacts our Nation.


[Page: H1533]
Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. HUTCHINSON. I yield to the gentleman from California.

Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate my colleague yielding because he makes a very, very important set of points. I would only point out and add to what he has said, the Pelosi amendment addresses really none of these things. The amendment specifically cuts out funding, the bulk of which would take out the ability to train the Colombian troops that we are dealing with in the first place.

But the gentleman's original point was the real point, and that is that the Pelosi amendment in this debate would express concern about what we are doing on the demand side and suggests that we are not doing anything. But indeed, there is a comprehensive effort in any number of other committees where it is appropriate to deal with that side of the question. Indeed, if the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) would present an amendment sometime that actually put money into education, for example, I would be glad to help her.

But the gentleman is making the point very well, and I appreciate his yielding.

Mr. HUTCHINSON. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman's comments.

As of March 30, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:H29MR0-173:

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