This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:3/31/00
The Full House of Representatives

How they Voted

The bill that includes the Colombia aid package -- H.R. 3908, the 2000 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act -- was considered on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 29 and 30. The bill passed by a vote of 263 in favor to 146 opposed. [How they voted] Its Colombia provisions were approved with only minor changes, though amendments seeking to delay or cut military aid garnered many more votes than expected.

H.R. 3908 would appropriate $1.701 billion for counternarcotics activities, including $1.07 billion for Colombia, $4.956 billion for peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and related matters, and $2.243 billion for Hurricane Floyd and other disaster assistance, plus several smaller non-emergency items that must be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget.

(For links to the text and analyses of the bill, visit The U.S. Aid Proposal on this website.)

Debate on the rule

Debate on military aid to Colombia lasted for several hours on March 29. It surfaced at the very beginning, during the debate on the "rule" -- the standard for the types of amendments that could be introduced -- which was established the night before bythe Rules Committee. The committee determined that only amendments seeking to cut money from the bill could be debated, with the exception of fourteen amendments for which the committee had granted waivers.

  • Rep. Porter Goss (R-Naples, Florida) spoke in favor of the Colombia military aid in his initial presentation of the rule. [Statement]
  • Rep. John Joseph Moakley (D-Boston, Massachusetts), following Goss, spoke in opposition to the Colombia military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. David Obey (D-Wausau, Wisconsin), following Moakley, added criticism of the Colombia military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. William Delahunt (D-Quincy, Massachusetts) disputed Moakley's earlier comparison of Colombia and El Salvador. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Worcester, Massachusetts), following Delahunt, argued against the Colombia military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands, California), following McGovern, argued for the Colombia military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Detroit, Michigan) argued against the Colombia military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Gulfport, Mississippi) expressed concern about possible future U.S. military involvement in Colombia. [Statement]
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco, California) criticized the proposed Colombia military aid, calling instead for greater funding of domestic drug treatment. Pelosi had sought to introduce an amendment adding $1.3 billion in funding for drug treatment, but was blocked by the Rules Committee. [Statement]
  • Rep. Obey criticized the proposed military aid for a second time. [Statement]
  • Rep. Moakley criticized the proposed military aid for a second time. [Statement]
  • Rep. Goss defended the proposed military aid for a second time. [Statement]

General debate

The House voted to uphold the rule, and general debate on the bill began.

  • Rep. Obey criticized the proposed military aid for a third time. [Statement]
  • Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Mobile, Alabama) defended the military aid to Colombia in the bill. [Statement]
  • Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Kokomo, Indiana) spoke in favor of the military aid to Colombia. [Statement]
  • Rep. Obey, following Buyer, spoke for a fourth time against the military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Ron Paul (R-Victoria, Texas), following Obey, spoke against the military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Greg Ganske (R-Des Moines, Iowa) included criticism of the Colombia military aid in his remarks. [Statement]
  • Rep. Pelosi, following Ganske, spoke for a second time against the Colombia military aid in the bill. [Statement]
  • Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-Middletown, New York) spoke in defense of the military aid package. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jose Serrano (D-Bronx, New York), following Gilman, spoke in opposition to the military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Decatur, Georgia) added to the criticism of the military assistance. [Statement]
  • Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison, Wisconsin), following Mckinney, added more criticism of the Colombia package. [Statement]
  • Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-St. Petersburg, Florida) spoke in defense of the Colombia military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland, Oregon) included concerns about the Colombia aid in his remarks. [Statement]
  • Delegate Robert Underwood (D-Guam) voiced criticism of the Colombia military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside, New York), following Underwood, gave his "reluctant support" to the military aid, claiming that it is "the best of the options available." [Statement]
  • Rep. Bruce Vento (D-St. Paul, Minnesota), following Ackerman, offered criticism of the military aid. [Statement]
  • Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-Hickory, North Carolina), following Vento, supported the aid package. [Statement]

The Obey amendment to postpone military aid to Colombia

Rep. David Obey (D-Wausau, Wisconsin) offered an amendment that would have cut the military portion of the "push into southern Colombia" foreseen in the bill, delaying it until July 15-31, when Congress would have had to vote on it separately. [Text in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format] Twenty minutes of debate were allowed.

  • Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Blue Springs, Missouri) spoke in favor of Obey's amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Mobile, Alabama), following Obey, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R-Middletown, New York), following Callahan, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-Jacksonville, Florida), following Gilman, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Obey, following Fowler, spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • House Speaker Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Batavia, Illinois), following Obey, spoke in opposition. [Statement]

The measure failed by a vote of 186 in favor to 239 against. [How they voted]

The Pelosi amendment: forcing a long debate on Colombia and drug policy

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco, California) introduced an amendment cutting the $51 million portion of the package's "push into southern Colombia" that would come through the Defense budget. The amendment was essentially a protest -- the day before, the Rules Committee had denied Pelosi the opportunity to introduce an amendment that would have added $1.3 billion in funding for drug treatment programs.

By introducing a "cutting" amendment -- which met the Rules Committee's definition of the type of amendment that could be introduced -- Pelosi took advantage of the lack of a time limit for debate. Twenty-two members of Congress came to the floor to give five-minute speeches in support of the Pelosi amendment, using the opportunity to voice opposition to new military aid for Colombia and to call for greater emphasis on domestic drug treatment.

Thanks to Pelosi's parliamentary maneuver, the debate on this amendment lasted for about four hours.

  • Rep. Pelosi spoke in favor of her amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands, California), following Pelosi, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. David Obey (D-Wausau, Wisconsin), following Lewis, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Sonny Callahan (D-Mobile, Alabama), following Obey, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Nita Lowey (D-White Plains, New York), following Callahan, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), following Lowey, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Detroit, Michigan), following Shaw, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Escondido, California), following Kilpatrick, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Delegate Carlos Romero-Barcelo (D-Puerto Rico) followed Cunningham but spoke in opposition to an unrelated amendment scheduled to be introduced later in the day.
  • Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Orlando, Florida), following Romero-Barcelo, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Honolulu, Hawaii), following McCollum, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indianapolis, Indiana), following Mink, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
    Burton submitted for the record a letter in support of the measure from Rep. Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo, California) [Letter]
  • Rep. George Miller (D-Concord, California), following Burton, spoke in favor of the Pelosi amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Mark Souder (R-Fort Wayne, Indiana), following Miller, spoke against the amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Worcester, Massachusetts), following Souder, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Fayetteville, Arkansas), following McGovern, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), following Hutchinson, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Tim Roemer (D-South Bend, Indiana), following Fattah, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Evanston, Illinois), following Roemer, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland, California), following Schakowsky, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles, California), following Lee, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. John Tierney (D-Peabody, Massachusetts), following Waters, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Melvin Watt (D-Charlotte, North Carolina), following Tierney, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Robert Scott (D-Newport News, Virginia), following Watt, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Delegate Donna Christensen (D-U.S. Virgin Islands), following Scott, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-San Antonio, Texas), following Christensen, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Rob Portman (R-Cincinnati, Ohio), following Rodriguez, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. John Olver (D-Holyoke, Massachusetts), following Portman, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Santa Rosa, California), following Olver, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Chicago, Illinois), following Woolsey, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Pelosi, following Jackson, spoke for a second time on behalf of her amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-St. Petersburg, Florida), an opponent, asked that the debate end soon.
  • Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Torrance, California), following Young, spoke in favor. [Statement]

The Pelosi amendment ultimately failed by a voice vote.

The Sawyer amendment to increase aid to the displaced

Rep. Thomas Sawyer (D-Akron, Ohio) proposed an amendment that would earmark a minimum of $50 million of the anti-drug aid package to assist internally displaced persons in Colombia. [Text in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format]

  • Rep. Sawyer spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Sam Farr (D-Salinas, California), following Sawyer, spoke in favor. [Statement]

No member of Congress rose to speak in opposition. The Sawyer amendment passed by a voice vote.

The Taylor "troop cap" amendment: first attempt

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Gulfport, Mississippi) proposed an amendment that would place a "cap" of 300 on the number of U.S. military personnel that could be present in Colombia at any given time. [Text of amendment]

  • Rep. Taylor spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]

The amendment -- which sought to change the bill's provisions, not merely adjust funding levels -- was ruled out of order.

The Gilman/Goss/Delahunt/Farr human rights condition amendment

Reps. Porter Goss (R-Naples, Florida), Benjamin Gilman (R-Middletown, New York), William Delahunt (D-Quincy, Massachusetts) and Sam Farr (D-Salinas, California) introduced an amendment that would have conditioned military assistance to Colombia on the following:

  1. Agreement by the government of Colombia to a strategy to completely eliminate illicit drug cultivation by 2005;
  2. Colombia's armed forces having the authority to dismiss persons for gross violations of human rights;
  3. Colombia's armed forces cooperating with civilian authorities in the investigation and prosecution in civilian courts of gross human rights abuses by armed forces personnel; and
  4. Colombia's armed forces developing a Judge Advocate General corps.

    The amendment would have given the President power to waive the certification, essentially making it optional. [Text in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format]

  • Rep. Gilman spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. David Obey (D-Wausau, Wisconsin), following Gilman, opposed the amendment, criticizing the waiver it includes [Statement]
  • Rep. Farr, following Obey, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Goss, following Farr, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Worcester, Massachusetts), following Goss, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Delahunt, following McGovern, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Obey, following Delahunt, spoke in opposition for a second time. [Statement]
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), following Obey, spoke in opposition. [Statement]

The amendment passed by a vote of 380 in favor to 39 against. [How they voted]

The Ramstad amendment to cut all counter-drug funding

Reps. Jim Ramstad (R-Bloomington, Minnesota) and Tom Campbell (R-Campbell, California) introduced a bill that would have eliminated the entire $1.7 billion counternarcotics section of the bill, including all aid to Colombia and its neigbors, whether military or economic. [Text in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format]

  • Rep. Ramstad spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-St. Petersburg, Florida), following Ramstad, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep Ramstad, following Young, responded briefly to Young. [Statement]
  • Rep. Campbell, following Ramstad, spoke in favor of the amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Kokomo, Indiana), following Campbell, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Mark Sanford (R-Charleston, South Carolina), following Buyer, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. David Obey (D-Wausau, Wisconsin), following Sanford, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Ramstad, following Obey, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands, California), following Ramstad, spoke in opposition. [Statement]

The amendment failed by a vote of 159 in favor to 262 against. [How they voted]

The Farr amendment to fund UNDCP: ruled out of order

Rep. Sam Farr (D-Salinas, California) introduced an amendment that would have added funding for United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) alternative development programs in Colombia and elsewhere in the Andes. [Text of amendment]

  • Rep. Farr spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Mobile, Alabama), following Farr, spoke in opposition. [Statement]

The amendment -- which sought to change the bill's provisions, not merely adjust funding levels -- was ruled out of order.

The Paul amendment making several cuts

On March 30, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Victoria, Texas) offered an amendment that would have cut back several provisions, including most of the Colombia military aid.

  • Rep. Paul spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-St. Petersburg, Florida), following Paul, spoke in opposition. [Statement]
  • Rep. Paul, following Young, spoke again in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Blue Springs, Missouri), following Paul, spoke in opposition. [No mention of Colombia.]
  • Rep. Mark Green (R-Green Bay, Wisconsin), following Skelton, spoke in opposition. [Statement]

The amendment failed by a vote of 45 in favor and 367 against.

The Taylor "troop cap" amendment: second attempt

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Gulfport, Mississippi) re-introduced his amendment to place a "cap" of 300 on the number of U.S. military personnel that could be present in Colombia at any given time. This time, instead of changing the law -- which placed the amendment out of order the day before -- Taylor's amendment dictated that none of the funds in the bill could be used to keep more than 300 troops in Colombia at any given time. [Text of amendment]

  • Rep. Taylor spoke in favor of his amendment. [Statement]
  • Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Blue Springs, Missouri), following Taylor, spoke in favor. [Statement]
  • Rep. Herbert Bateman (R-Newport News, Virginia), following Skelton, did not oppose the measure but questioned the figure of 300 troops. [Statement]
  • Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Honolulu, Hawaii), following Bateman, spoke in favor. [Statement]

The amendment passed by a voice vote.

Final debate

After all amendments were considered, there was a period of general debate before the final vote on the supplemental appropriations bill.

  • Rep. Mark Udall (D-Westminster, Colorado) included criticism of military aid to Colombia in his remarks. [Statement]
  • Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights, New York), following Udall, added criticism of the Colombia aid package. [Statement]
  • Rep. Gary Condit (D-Merced, California) spoke in opposition to the bill's approach to Colombia. [Statement]

After a motion to recommit the bill to committee failed, the supplemental appropriations bill went up for a vote. It passed by a vote of 263 in favor to 146 against. [How they voted]

Key members in the House debate

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