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Last Updated:6/25/00
Speech by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), June 22, 2000
Mr. LEAHY. The Senator does make a good point about the point of order. We should either be consistent on these points of order or not have them, one or the other.

The Senator is correct that when a similar motion was made from the Republican side of the aisle yesterday, Senators on this side of the aisle who wanted to make a point of order refrained because there have been a number of amendments accepted on this bill by both Republicans and Democrats that were subject to the point of order of which the Senator from California speaks. We all refrained from making them.

The Senator from California raises a legitimate point that now, at the end of the bill, on her amendment, which is no more subject to a point of order than those other amendments where a point of order was waived, suddenly she faces the only point of order in this whole bill. I can understand her concern, and I share her concern.

Mrs. BOXER. I thank my friend. I believe it is not fair play, and if there is one thing I expect in the Senate--and I think we all stand for it--it is fair play. We voted huge amounts of money into this region of the world. We have horrible problems there. We have a few disagreements here, but I had hoped we could agree that the Secretary of Defense is correct when he puts limits on the use of DOD personnel.

I am very saddened by this. I do not want to keep repeating it, but it is sad. The people in this country are going to be upset about it. The people in this country, when we get involved in a foreign place, want to know that we in the Senate put restrictions on the use of our personnel.

We have had a lot of experience in this. We have had a lot of tears over this. Yet yesterday we had an amendment from Senator Sessions that was clearly legislation on an appropriations bill, which I believe gets us deeper involved because it says we should support the military and the political policies of the Government of Colombia, and no one raised a point of order. But a simple amendment supporting the Secretary of Defense, and where are we? We get a point of order.

I am not going to play that game. I am not going to get caught in a procedural vote. I will just let it go, but I want to make it clear that we have a lot of options later when this bill comes back. If there are going to be things in this bill that violate our parliamentary procedures, some of us are going to get tough on it. It is not right.

This is a sad day, frankly, for this Senate. It is also a sad day for our men and women in uniform that we cannot vote on a simple sense of the Senate supporting our own Secretary of Defense on his views as to how we can, in fact, make sure our people over there are as safe as they can be.

I thank the Chair. I have no need to retain any further time. We will await the decision of the Senator from Alaska.

As of June 25, 2000, this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r106:S22JN0-125:
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