« ÎnapoiContinuă »
MARKUP OF THE AMERICAN OVERSEAS
INTERESTS ACT-H.R. 1561
MONDAY, MAY 8, 1995
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL
OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:10 a.m. in_room 2255, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Christopher Smith (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. SMITH. The subcommittee will come to order.
Ladies and gentlemen, the committee meets today to consider the bill H.R. 1561. The Chair wishes to make an opening statement, and I will do so at this time.
I am very pleased to convene this meeting for the purpose of marking up the first Foreign Relations Authorization Act to be produced by the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights.
Today's action is but a step in what promises to be a very arduous and a very difficult process, especially for those of us like myself who are very much in favor of important foreign aid to our friends around the world.
I believe that this product reflects some important qualities of this new subcommittee. This document is not only about international operations, it is also about human rights. Every structural and fiscal decision has been taken with an eye toward preserving core humanitarian programs, saving lives and promoting the just interests of the American people.
In these difficult times, no area of government is immune from close scrutiny and from the need to cut spending that is not absolutely essential. This bill authorizes $12 billion over 2 years, but it also cuts $721 million, or about 12 percent, over the same period from fiscal year 1995 levels.
I am particularly proud that we were able to hold harmless a small number of programs including refugees, security at our embassies overseas, democracy initiatives and freedom broadcasting. We also provided vital funds for peacekeeping, arms control, cultural exchanges and scholarships, as well as for the basic structure through which the U.S. foreign policy is conducted.
I am pleased that UNICEF actually gets a modest increase to $206 million over 2 years, provided that it remains faithful to its mission of protecting and helping children. I am also pleased that the bill includes a $15 million earmark for each year for the War
Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and $30 million to allow us to end the so-called comprehensive plan of action for Southeast Asian refugees with honor rather than dishonor. These programs will serve the just interests of the United States and the freedom-loving people everywhere.
I also would remind my colleagues that we have had as part of our preparation for the beginning of this process five hearings. On Tuesday, February 7, we heard from the Honorable Richard Moose, the Under Secretary for Management for the U.S. Department of State.
On February 8, we heard from Madeleine Albright, our Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Doug Bennet, the Assistant Secretary for International Organizations Affairs at the Department of State for International Organizations, Conferences and Committees.
On February 22, we heard from Ambassador Brunson McKinley, who spoke to us about the situation regarding refugees.
On Thursday, February 23, we heard from John Holum, the Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, to describe the administration's budget as it relates to ACDA.
And on March 1, we heard from Joseph Duffey, the Director of the U.S. Information Agency, and Carl Gershman, the President for the National Endowment for Democracy, to talk about those important programs.
At this point I would like to yield to my good friend, but first just let me say also parenthetically that the leadership of the House had asked us to begin markup last Monday. I asked that that be postponed for a week. My feeling was that coming off of the recess, that members might not have enough time to look at the hearing records of those five hearings that I just described and other proposals and would not have time to prepare amendments. And again, this is only the first step in what promises to be a very, very long process.
I understand in my consultations with the majority leader that his job is not unlike that of an air traffic controller. He has got many bills that have to fit into a glide slope that eventually gets on the floor at a certain time, or our committee runs the risk, both subcommittee and full committee, of becoming irrelevant, and of this committee essentially punting, and the appropriators taking on the necessary job and task of writing foreign aid.
So I think it is important that we move quickly. I am not happy with the schedule. I can say that up front. I wish we had more time. We just don't have it. But I did get an extra week as a result of my request, and I am very grateful to the leadership for that. I would like to yield to my good friend, Mr. Lantos, for any opening statement he might have.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I need not tell you the degree of friendship and affection I have for you as a colleague and as an individual, and I trust that my comments will not be misunderstood.
I find the procedure preposterous and unacceptable, and I will not participate in this markup. I am sick and tired of functioning in a deliberative legislative body as if we had lubrication jobs to finish before the midnight closing at the gas station.
Today the House is not in session. None of my colleagues on the Democratic side are here. I came in as a personal courtesy to you because of our long-standing friendship and I believe mutual respect.
We did not receive the final version of this proposal until late Friday evening. I had other commitments over the weekend, and I believe that the scope, nature, extent of the proposed revisions in our international policymaking and the agencies that carried out do not lend themselves to haphazard, slipshod, quickie solutions.
We really have two options. The Republicans on the subcommittee may proceed to markup by themselves, which is fine, although a quorum is not present, and I make a point of order at the conclusion of my remarks that a quorum is not present, or we can reschedule this meeting to give the Democratic Members a tiny fraction of the courtesy and decency we have shown our Republican colleagues throughout the years in evolving a bipartisan foreign policy.
This is no way to run a railroad. I don't think Dick Armey is running an air traffic control center; I think he is fortunate for this term to be majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. He needs to show the degree of courtesy that every member here deserves and the subject matter merits.
So we have really one of two options. You may choose to go ahead on your own without Democratic participation, in which case we shall raise all of the objections, propose our amendments, make our points in full committee, or if it is your pleasure, and I am happy to accommodate you either way, we may reschedule this session for tomorrow afternoon, giving the Democratic Members, most of whom, as I understand it, are still out of town, at least a few hours' opportunity to review this very complex piece of legislation.
I had a lengthy discussion with the Secretary of State yesterday afternoon who shares my concern that this is a serious matter, which cannot be handled in this preposterous fashion.
This is not surgery that needs to be performed by noon today. Mr. Helms, Mr. Gilman and others are proposing dramatic changes in the way the United States of America conducts its foreign affairs. For the life of me, I can't see any rational human being feeling that we are under the gun to act, with my colleagues never having seen this legislation, with my never having seen this legislation.
My friendship and affection for you is undiminished, but I find the procedure preposterous, unacceptable, and I will have no part of it, and I make a point of order that a quorum is not present. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Lantos, for your statement, and I certainly have some empathy for what you are saying, because I too feel like we are under the gun. But as I said in my opening, there has been several months of deliberations on this, the hearings have been held, and again, this is just a first step. There will be several areas where various parts of this legislation will be considered, and at that point amendments will obviously be offered, and then it continues right on to the floor and to conference committee. So this is not the end of the game.
I would like to direct the staff to take measures to secure a quorum, and the subcommittee will be in recess for 15 minutes. [Recess.]
Mr. SMITH. The subcommittee will reconvene, having secured a quorum.
Just let me say again with regret, I am very sorry that Mr. Lantos and other Democrats have not been here. We did give notice on Tuesday and Wednesday that this markup would occur, and again, it was postponed a full week to enable members to take the time to get here and to look over proposals in the legislation that was pending before them.
Now, let me just
Mr. KING. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SMITH. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York. Mr. KING. I move that the chairman be authorized to declare a recess as appropriate.
Mr. SMITH. The question is on a motion from the gentleman from New York.
All those in favor say aye.
All those opposed.
The ayes have it.
The subcommittee will now proceed to the consideration of the bill with the Chair's amendment in the nature of a substitute, and without objection, the first reading of the bill will be dispensed with.
[The bill, H.R. 1561, appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Without objection, the amendment in the nature of a substitute will be considered as read.
[The amendment offered by Mr. Smith appears in the appendix.] Mr. SMITH. The Chair now recognizes himself for a brief statement on the amendment in the nature of a substitute.
Just let me say that as I said in my opening statement, that this amendment in the nature of a substitute represents an important step forward in the process by which we move forward toward integrating foreign policy concerns, human rights concerns and our responsibility to the American taxpayer.
Having said that, this amendment is respectfully submitted to all of the members of the subcommittee and then hopefully to the full committee, and I know there will be several changes and amendments offered as we go through this process.
Although the amendment in the nature of a substitute is open to amendment at any point, for the sake of convenience I would ask for unanimous consent that it be considered for amendment title by title.
Without objection, the amendment in the nature of the substitute will be considered title by title. And as I said, the Staff Director will designate the first title, which is Title XXI.
Mr. REES. Authorization of appropriations for Department of State, and certain international affairs functions and activities.
Mr. SMITH. Are there any amendments to Title XXI? The Chair recognizes Mr. Royce.
Mr. ROYCE. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I have got-I think the members here have a suggested amendment, add the following new paragraph at the end of section 2104.