by Rep. Jack Kingston
July 24, 2001
Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. However, I do want to
commend the author for her sincerity and the work that she has done on the
I oppose this for
a number of reasons. First of all, let me reiterate what the gentleman
from North Carolina (Mr. BALLENGER) just said, that we have over $1 billion
in various appropriation efforts to combat AIDS. This bill alone, as the
gentleman from Arizona (Mr. KOLBE) has said, we have a $474 million earmark,
and then another $80 million that was in the supplemental budget, and
we just increased this $18 million with the Visclosky amendment.
Now, compare that
over $500 million, just on this bill, Mr. Chairman, to last year's $315
and the year before about $220 million. Clearly, this foreign operations
committee is moving at a very aggressive pace to try to help this situation
worldwide, but also in coordination with 12 other appropriation committees
in their efforts.
This committee is
also funding or encouraging the funding of such products as the Morehouse
School of Medicine is doing in Atlanta, and other nonprofit organizations
and research institutes. So we are clearly committed to fighting the AIDS
I want to also talk
about where this money is coming from, because the author of this amendment
is taking money out of some very, very vital programs, the foreign military
financing assistance programs. Let me just read the names of some of the
recipients of this valuable money: Albania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta,
Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. These are all emerging democracies in
How can we, at this
critical point in their most recent history, turn our backs on them? Why
would we cut this money to what are emerging as not just great democracies
but also free people and allies for the United States of America? That
is what is going on in the Balkans. That is where this money is coming
Now, let us look
at the Western Hemisphere. This cuts money from people in Argentina, Belize,
El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica. Certainly, right now, with all the trouble
Jamaica is having, it is not time to pull the rug out from under their
So I would say, as
well intended as this amendment is, it is financed through the wrong mechanisms.
And, Mr. Chairman, if that is not bad enough, I want to talk about the
Andean initiative and a lot of the criticism of that. And I share the
criticism when we rush out on a defense contractor buyer spree, buying
helicopters and creating a cottage industry for people who deal in quasi-
military equipment, but there are some other programs in there that are
and witness monitoring that NGOs are doing for some of these countries.
Now, I had a constituent several years ago who was jailed in Ecuador.
And under the Ecuadoran system of government, an individual has to prove
that they are innocent. The state does not have to prove that they are
guilty. It is completely different than America. People are put in jail,
and they have to build their own case. The government does not even have
to tell the person jailed what they are charged for.
One of the great
disservices we could inadvertently do for our constituents in America
is to put them at further risk when they go to some of these countries
in South America. They do need judicial reform, and this money cuts that
very needed judicial reform.
So for these reasons
I oppose this amendment. Again, I appreciate the sincerity of the authors
and the supporters of it, by I think we need to look again at where they
are taking the money and the track record of this committee, what it has
done, and what its commitment remains to be on HIV.
As of October 5, 2001,
this document was also available online at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/B?r107:@FIELD(FLD003+h)+@FIELD(DDATE+20010724)