« ÎnapoiContinuați »
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You just asked a question. Doesn't that set off alarm bells in your own mind as to whether or not this Administration is using the leverage we have for something that was so important to our own national security?
Mr. ROTHMAN. With due respect, let me reclaim my time and let me respond to the gentleman's inquiry.
No, it does not. I don't see a logical connection between the fact that the people of a nation wish America's military presence and the necessity or worthwhileness of America committing its troops to that nation.
As my colleague, Congressman Ackerman, indicated, which I think is pretty obvious to everyone, there are many, many nations around the world that one can imagine where there are civil wars or there is strife on virtually every continent where the people of those nations would want America's military presence there to protect them. It certainly is understandable. That doesn't tell us that it is in America's foreign policy interests or necessity for us to commit those forces there, especially when my colleagues in the Congress are constantly crying that we are overextended around the world.
I may very well support the deployment of troops or military presence in Panama. I am ready to do so. All I need is some evidence or some documentation or some testimony before this Committee, not another committee, so that I can make a judgment. One would have to ask how any Member of this Committee, other than those with some unknown abilities to gain this kind of information
Chairman GILMAN. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. ROTHMAN [continuing). How any Member of this Committee could vote to deploy United States military forces without having heard testimony about the necessity or good sense of it. Could you imagine if your constituents found out you voted to deploy U.S. troops in another country and you didn't take any testimony on it?
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROTHMAN. If I may just finish, Mr. Chairman. I would be in favor of this once the evidence is before us.
Chairman GILMAN. The time of the gentleman has expired. Mr. Tancredo.
Mr. TANCREDO. Mr. Chairman, I yield my time to the gentleman from California, Mr. Rohrabacher.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Perhaps we should take advantage of the fact that we are all together here to talk about why Panama is important. First of all, Panama is where the two continents come together. It is also where the two oceans come together. It is one of the most strategic points in the entire world. Let us start with that.
Mr. ROTHMAN. Will the gentleman yield?
Reclaiming my time, I voted against Kosovo. Yes, sending our troops to the Balkans didn't make any sense to me when, espe
cially, a large number of people in the Balkans didn't want us to send our troops there, as compared to the overwhelming number of people of Panama, a country which is probably of the most strategic importance of any country in the world to the security of the United States.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Will the gentleman yield?
It is a choke point. There are indications that after American troops left from there protecting-by the way, I forgot to mention where you have this choke point, there is a canal across there. And a large amount of trade that comes from our country and to our country goes through the canal. Also, in case of a national emergency, we would have to send troops to the canal that could save American lives.
Mr. ROTHMAN. If the gentleman will yield, does the gentleman want us to send troops to Mexico and Canada also?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I would send troops to Panama before I would send troops to Mexico. Because the Panamanian people, by 80 percent, feel that we have been a positive force.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Chairman, I have a point of order.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Chairman, I wonder if it would be possible by unanimous consent to postpone the Panama discussion to the end of our dealing with all the many other bits of legislation we have to deal with? I have great respect for my good friend from California and my friend from New Jersey, but I think it is important we get our job done. If they would allow us to move on to the other items and put the Panama issue on hold until we finish all other items. I make such a unanimous consent request.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Lantos, after the gentleman finishes his remarks, you can make that formal request.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Let me just say, again, we have gone through the importance of Panama being there in the middle of two continents and two oceans and there is a canal there. Also, since the Americans have left, there has been an infestation of Panama which was noticeable to all those Panamanian people—it is why they want us thereof gangsters, criminals, terrorists, drug dealers; and the fact that the Chinese Communists now have targeted their country hasn't escaped their attention as well. It may have escaped the attention of the State Department, it may well have, but it didn't escape the attention of those Panamanians. They have already gone through great hardship, where America has had to fight their way into their country.
The fact is, we have played a very positive role in Panama. Panama is vitally important to the strategic interests of the United States. The Chinese Communists, an organization—a financial organization headed by Li Ka-Shing, who is in the inner circle of the Communist Chinese leadership, now has control of both ends of the Panama Canal, received that control in a corrupt bidding process that our Administration let go through without any complaints at These things indicate that we have a big problem down there. We should pay attention to that country. If we don't, we are doing so at our own peril.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the gentleman from California, if I may, that if the Russians commissioned a poll in the United States and found that 80 percent of the people were in favor of ratifying the nonproliferation treaty, how much effect do you think that would have on the U.S. Senate or the Administration?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I would be happy to answer that.
There is no correlation between numerous polls conducted, not just by Gallup poll but by many organizations, demonstrating that the people of Panama overwhelmingly would like to have a U.S. presence in their country. And it is in our national security
Mr. ACKERMAN. That wasn't my question. The question is, does a government give up its sovereign right to negotiate because some other sovereign government commissioned a poll in their country? Would that affect us? I tend to think that we would not turn on our foreign policy because somebody commissioned a poll here.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Reclaiming the time, I will just end, no one is suggesting, especially this Congressman or Mr. Gilman, that anything be done that would in any way override or step on the sovereignty rights of Panama.
With that, I yield back my time.
Mr. Lantos has a proposal to put before the Committee. Mr. Lantos, state your proposal.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent that my colleague Mr. Delahunt be given 1 minute, because he has been waiting to make a point.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection. One minute will be granted.
Mr. DELAHUNT. I will just take a minute.
This new concept of poll diplomacy-I guess, in the poll, did it indicate how many troops, was it company size, battalions or divisions that the Panamanian people wanted
Mr. ROHRABACHER. The many polls that have been taken indicate they want a significant American presence.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Could you give me some numbers?
Mr. DELAHUNT. It is either wink or poll diplomacy. That would be an interesting hearing. What are we talking about in terms of numbers, according to either yourself or according to this poll?
Mr. ROHRABACHER. That is not determined, obviously.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that we postpone the Panama discussion until after all other items we have under consideration.
Mr. BURTON. Reserving the right to object.
Chairman GILMAN. Reservation of objection by Mr. Burton. Mr. Burton will set forth his objection.
Mr. BURTON. Let me just say that a number of us—and I have the highest regard for Mr. Lantos. We have become pretty good friends over the past 6 months to a year. I have high regard for him. But a lot of us have other things we need to go to. My concern is that this is an issue that many of us feel very strongly about, and if we postpone it until the end of the hearing we may be detained in another meeting and not able to vote on this issue. With great reluctance, Mr. Lantos, because of that, I will object.
Mr. LANTOS, I will then call for-
Without objection, the previous question is ordered. The gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Bereuter, is recognized to offer a motion.
Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Chairman, I move that the Committee report the bill to the House with a recommendation that the bill be passed.
Chairman GILMAN. The question is on the motion of the gentleman from Nebraska. Those in favor of the motion, signify in the usual manner. Those opposed, say no.
The ayes have it. A quorum being present, the motion is agreed to. Without objection, the Chair or his designee is authorized to make motions under rule XXII with respect to a conference on this bill or a counterpart from the Senate. Without objection, the chief of staff is authorized to make technical, conforming and grammatical changes to the text of the bill. H.R. 4697—INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION AND GOOD
GOVERNANCE ACT OF 2000 We will go on to the next measure, H.R. 4697, the International Anti-Corruption and Good Governance Act. We will now consider H.R. 4697, to help promote good governance. The Chair lays the bill before the Committee.
Ms. BLOOMER. H.R. 4697, a bill to amend the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to ensure that United States assistance programs promote good governance by assisting other countries to combat corruption throughout society and to promote transparency and increased accountability for all levels of government and throughout the private sector.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, the first reading of the bill is dispensed with. The clerk will read the bill for amendment.
Ms. BLOOMER. Be it enacted by the Senate and [The bill appears in the appendix.]
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, the bill is considered as having been read and is open to amendment at any point.
I now recognize our distinguished Ranking Member, the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Gejdenson, to introduce the bill.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your courtesy.
I just want to say that as we look at our very important aid program, we look at our very important trade relations with other countries, what is clear is many opportunities for American industry and opportunities for developing countries have been thwarted by massive corruption. We now see a democratic government in Nigeria trying to make up for decades of plundering of their society.
According to officials at the U.S. Commerce Department, in the past 5 years, U.S. firms may have lost as much as $25 billion in foreign contracts because of bribes. What is clear is, as we have led the world in democracy, democratic institutions and free markets, we can lead the world as well in developing a transparent and honest system of commerce and government.
What I can tell you is, for a long time, we didn't have support from our European allies. But yet alas even they, our major economic competitors in the G-7, now recognize that corruption is a problem, that providing bribes in contracts and allowing companies to deduct those bribes in the normal course of business is a mistake.
My intent is to help develop a direction for aid and other programs to deal with these issues. I apologize to those in key positions that will have to develop the reports, but I think à comprehensive look to those countries, the 10 or 15 countries where the problems are most persistent, is important.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill. At the appropriate moment I will have an amendment inspired by Mr. Kolbe from Arizona and supported by Ms. Ros-Lehtinen.
Chairman ĠILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson.
Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN. Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman. The global trading system is under siege by corruption, bribery, and fraud. Practices whose corrosive effects undermine the rule of law and obstruct the full evolution of democracy and free market principles. They further erode economic development as foreign investments are squandered or consolidated in the hands of a few through cronyism. The multiple instruments of corruption present in many emerging markets cost American companies millions of dollars each year in lost sales and impede their ability to compete freely and fairly.
One of the most effective means of preventing the spread of this disease is to begin to eradicate it, and that is through the requirements and guidelines provided for in this bill, H.R. 4697. This legislation promotes U.S. foreign policy priorities of nurturing democracy, fostering economic growth, and expanding commercial opportunities. It enables the U.S. Congress to respond to the threats posed by corruption by linking U.S. development assistance to progress achieved by recipient countries in promoting good governance, combating corruption, as well as improving transparency and accountability in the public and private sector. It authorizes the President to establish programs focused on these goals, which include support for an independent media, to promote free and fair elections, support for establishing audit offices and inspector generals, as well as promoting judicial reform and a legal framework to promote ethical business practices and many others.
This is an important issue; and as the Chair of the Subcommittee on International Economic Policy and Trade, I have been working in a bipartisan manner to bring the issue of corruption to the forefront and to help move legislation which addresses this serious problem. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this measure and of a re