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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California), March 29, 2000
Ms. LEE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

(Ms. LEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Ms. LEE. Mr. Chairman, I stand in opposition to the $1.7 billion military package for Colombia, and in strong support of the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), and thank her for giving us the opportunity to engage in this debate.

This military package will spell disaster for peace and human rights in Colombia, and will doing nothing for reducing drug use in our country. What is missing from this shortsighted, expensive approach are the resources for a more comprehensive Federal drug prevention and treatment policy here in our own country.

How much are we willing to invest in mentoring programs, after-school programs, job training, and drug treatment? This is how we reduce drug use, as the Rand Corporation study cited by the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) indicates. Why are we not pushing for an emergency bill to address the drug emergency that is right here in our own country?

Drugs are destroying our communities. For example, in California, as a result of the horrendous three strikes law, nearly 40 percent of California's prison population are African-American men who have been incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses.

In the African-American community, one out of every three African-American young men in their twenties are either in prison, on probation, or on parole due to nonviolent drug offenses. The majority of these young men would not be in jail had there been treatment on demand, job training, and a job.

Drugs are having a devastating impact on our Nation, especially in the African-American community. Providing $1.7 billion in military assistance to Colombia does not begin to provides us with the funding to wage a real war on drugs. Now is the time to consider a comprehensive Federal drug prevention and treatment policy here at home.

We should stop misleading the American public by arguing that sending military hardware and helicopters to Colombia will reduce drug use in America. It will not. This is outrageous, to perpetuate that notion on our people, on our constituents, and on the country.

This military package also ignores the human rights crisis in Colombia, nor does it deal with the extreme poverty in Colombia. Guns and helicopters will not solve the problems of hunger in Colombia, nor will it help our young people in America break the cycle of drug addiction.

We need to go back to the drawing board, support the Pelosi amendment, and just say no to this counterproductive military package.

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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