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Last Updated:10/25/01
Speech by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), October 24, 2001
Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I understand the concerns of the Senator from Florida, who has spent an enormous amount of time in this area, and the Senator from Connecticut. I am sorry the Senator from Connecticut would not stay to hear these comments. But we have included $718 million for the Andean Regional Initiative. That is for Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador--$2 billion in just over a year. We have not ignored this part of the world.

As the Senator from Connecticut says, it may not be on the front page. The Ebola plague is not on the front page. But we have inadequate amounts of money in here to help protect us against such a health disaster.

Can you imagine? Nobody would be wanting to cut money for that if the Ebola plague were in the headlines. But this amendment would result in a cut of some of that money.

We have money in here to help put Americans back to work at a time when tens of thousands are being laid off daily. It may not be the big headline. But this amendment would in effect cut efforts to put these people back to work.

What the Peace Corps has accomplished over the years is not in the headlines. But this money would cut some of the increase in funds we put in for the Peace Corps.

There are a lot of things that are not in the headlines. Helping to stop the spread of AIDS may not be in the daily headlines. But this would cut money for that.

This is not about whether you are for or against the Andean Initiative. We put nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in here following well over $1 billion in just the past year. It is not without funding.

His amendment allow cuts to be made in everything from the Middle East, refugee aid, basic education, biological, nuclear, and chemical weapons non-proliferation programs, anti-terrorism programs, and money to clear landmines. We need to strike a balance, which is what this bill does.

What is the time?

The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. CARNAHAN). The Senator has 1 minute remaining.

Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, how much time remains for my colleague from Florida?

The PRESIDING OFFICER. Eleven seconds.

Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, Senator McConnell and I have gone through this bill and we have tried to set priorities. We have put considerable amounts of money in this bill for counterdrug programs. The House has even more. In conference, as a practical matter, the money for the Andean Initiative is likely to go up some amount.

But let us not cut money for bioterrorism, money to stop plagues from reaching the United States, money to aid refugees from Afghanistan or Africa, money to support the countries which the President has promised to help with our campaign against Osama bin Laden--let's not cut those funds--and the Peace Corps and the Exim Bank and everything else, to add even more funds for counterdrug programs when they have not spent what they already have.

Madam President, I yield back whatever time I have left.

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