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Last Updated:3/31/00
Speech by Rep. Melvin Watt (D-North Carolina), March 29, 2000
[Page: H1536]
Mr. WATT of North Carolina. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Pelosi amendment and in opposition to the underlying provisions in the bill dealing with funding of the military in Colombia to address a serious problem that cannot be really addressed by the military.

Let me start by stipulating that we have a serious drug problem in this country. I do not think anybody would debate that issue. Part of the reason we have a serious drug problem in the country is that we do not have any kind of rational plan to deal with drug prevention or drug treatment or the consequences of drug use.

Instead of coming up with a plan, we come up with reactionary approaches. We come up with emergency responses. And there is no ongoing plan to deal with this. And that is exactly what we are doing again in this emergency appropriation bill. Instead of coming up with a plan, as the Pelosi amendment has suggested that we need to do, we are funding this on an emergency basis.

Let me be clear that I do not support having the United States military involved in our drug prevention efforts. And we have had a debate many times on this floor, and we have had a policy of not having the United States military involved in drug prevention in this country.

So why in God's name would we, not supporting our own military being involved in drug prevention in our own country, allocate $1.7 billion to a corrupt military in Colombia to deal with drug interdiction? A military that is part and parcel of the drug problem itself because they have been involved with drug dealing and selling and shipment over and over again in addition to being involved with some of the worst human rights abuses that have taken place in that country.

Why would we as part of a plan, other than as a reactionary approach, where we are just going to throw money after something and send in the military so we can go home and tell folks we have done something? Why would we give money to a corrupt military in another country to do a job that we would not even have the military do in our own country?

This is symptomatic of our approach to issues that are difficult issues. We put some money out there. We say we are sending in the military to solve a problem that is not a military problem, and then we go home and tell our constituents, well, we have done something to solve this problem.

This is exactly the approach we should not be pursuing, and I hope my colleagues will support the Pelosi amendment and reject the underlying provisions in this bill, and support the Ramstad and Campbell amendment that strikes out all of this provision, because it has no place in our policy, no place in a plan, a rational plan to deal with drug abuse in this country.

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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