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Treasury And General Government Appropriations Act, 2000

Pursuant to House Resolution 246 and rule XVIII, the Chair declares the House in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill, H.R. 2490.

Accordingly, the House resolved itself into the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union for the consideration of the bill (H.R. 2490) making appropriations for the Treasury Department, the United States Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and certain Independent Agencies, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes, with Mr. LaHood in the chair.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the bill is considered as having been read the first time.

Under the rule, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) and the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) each will control 30 minutes.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe).

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to be on the floor this afternoon to present to my colleagues H.R. 2490, the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2000.

As this bill has been reported by the full committee, it provides $13.5 billion in discretionary budget authority for the agencies that come under the jurisdiction of this subcommittee. The level of funding is the same, I want to repeat that, this is the same level of funding as the amount appropriated in FY 1999.

The bill presented here today is strong on law enforcement, tough on drugs, supportive of efforts to restructure and reform the way IRS does business, and increases Federal resources to enforce our current gun laws.

All of this is accomplished in a fiscally responsible manner. That has been a tall order for our subcommittee to fill. With the help of my colleagues on the subcommittee and the committee, we have accomplished what I think is a very daunting task.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their help on this bill, all the Members, particularly my ranking member the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) and his staff, Scott Nance and Pat Scheulter, who have done an outstanding job to help us get to where we are today.

I might add, I think this bill comes to the floor in a very bipartisan fashion. We have differences, as the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) will explain, but we come to the floor in a very bipartisan fashion because we have worked well together on this. I salute my colleague the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), the ranking member, for the work that he has done and his assistance in getting us to this point.

I believe that, in its current form, this is an excellent bill and, remarkably, it is a clean bill. There are not controversial legislative riders on this bill. Believe it or not, this bill is an appropriations bill, pure and simple. It is my hope that it will remain that way not only on the floor here today but also as we move through conference with the Senate.

My colleagues know that the allocation required us to make some tough choices to put this bill together. This allocation is based on budget caps, which, may I remind everybody, both parties in both chambers and the President of the United States support.

In order to keep pace with inflation, the subcommittee needed nearly $600 million in new money. But clearly the allocation we received did not give us that. So in order to support the base operations of the agencies which we fund, we were required to look elsewhere for our savings.

We found these savings. We found these savings by postponing construction of new courthouses, by extending the time that was needed to complete some of our projects.

However, let me make it clear that the funding levels that are contained in this bill will adversely affect no programs. In fact, we were able to increase critical efforts to keep guns out of the hands of children, to make sure that the IRS treats taxpayers fairly.

In addition, I want to remind my colleagues that this bill supports approximately 30 percent of all the Federal law enforcement operations, the personnel that are in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, those in the Customs Service, the Secret Service, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In total, the bill before us provides $4.4 billion for these efforts, the same as the President's request, and about $185 million above the current year. We target all of these resources to supporting efforts that enforce and implement laws currently on our books, laws that seek to prevent guns from getting in the hands of criminals and youths, laws that seek to prevent illegal drugs from coming across our borders, and laws that seek to protect our Nation's leaders and the financial systems of this country.

I know that many Members in this body feel that the Federal Government is too big, that it is bloated and it is inefficient. I, for one, agree completely that we need to be able to transfer more power and more money out of Washington and back to our States and our local communities. But we should not do this in a haphazard and irresponsible fashion.

I cannot support amendments which make additional funding reductions to this bill. We are already $840 million below what the status quo would be with inflation alone. Further reductions would allow our infrastructure to deteriorate. It would cause us to delay the IRS reforms that we all voted for so willingly last year. It would rob our law enforcement agencies of the resources they desperately need. It would negatively impact our ability to protect our borders.

I have had the privilege of chairing this subcommittee for 3 years. I believe that we have applied a fiscally conservative philosophy to this bill, one which I certainly share. I think we have steadily chipped away at inefficiencies that we find in Government, at least in the agencies that are included within the jurisdiction of this bill.

The bill that is before us today continues to do this, but I think it does so in a responsible and a well thought out way. We have spent the past 6 months carefully scrubbing the appropriations requests we received from the administration, from OMB, and from each of these agencies that come under our jurisdiction.

The funding levels that are recommended in this bill reflect what I believe is the best judgment of the Subcommittee and the Full Committee on Appropriations, their judgment about the funding levels that are necessary to sustain the operations of agencies that are under our jurisdiction.

So I urge, no, in fact I would implore my colleagues not to make other radical cuts to the beneficial programs that this bill supports.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would urge my colleagues to withhold amendments that would ultimately jeopardize our sending this bill to the President in a timely manner. Let us get on with the business of appropriating. Let us get on with moving this bill forward.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I want to begin by complimenting once again the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman Kolbe) for the excellent job he and his staff have done with the bill this year. I thank them for their diligent work on this bill and for their spirit of bipartisan cooperation.

Within the 302(b) allocation level that had been provided for this subcommittee, $13.6 billion in discretionary budget authority, the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman Kolbe) produced a very good bill that he presented to the subcommittee.

Even though we were not able to fund courthouse construction within the constraints of this allocation, which I think is a significant and important shortcoming of this bill, this bill deserved bipartisan support as it came out of subcommittee. And indeed it came out of subcommittee, I would remind my colleagues, unanimously.

This bill, as the chairman has said, funds the Department of the Treasury at $12.19 billion, $18.6 million below the request of the President. Included within this amount is $3.433 billion for the Treasury. Five important law enforcement agencies, as the chairman has pointed out, over 40 percent of law enforcement in the Federal Government falls within this bill.

This bill also funds antidrug activities, including $46.9 million for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This important office has the lead role in coordinating all of this Government's efforts in the war against drugs. Within this money, $192 million is for the very successful high intensity drug trafficking areas; $19.5 million is for ONDCP's national youth and antidrug media campaign; and $30 million is for the third year of the very popular and widely supported Drug-Free Communities Act.

Mr. Chairman, I remain disappointed that this bill contains almost no construction funds. We have the responsibility in this appropriations bill to fund most of the construction of Federal buildings for the entire Government. But this year there is no attempt to fund any of the Federal courthouses on the Judiciary's 5-year plan.

Let me make it clear to the Members. The chairman, with the committee's support, last year funded courthouses but not those that were requested by Members but those that were agreed to by the Judiciary as the most critically needed in this Nation to assure the timely administration of justice.

This bill eliminates requested construction funds furthermore of $32 million to buy five border stations. They are needed, as the chairman knows. $4.3 million is eliminated for the project to replace the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City, badly in need of replacement. $55.9 million was deleted from the President's budget to fund the long overdue consolidation of the FDA, and $15 million for a secure location for the currently vulnerable ATF Headquarters building.

Very frankly, Mr. Chairman, these deletions are very unfortunate and, in my opinion, penny wise and pound foolish.

I understand, however, why this bill does not include funding for these important construction projects. It is because this is the third year of the Balanced Budget Agreement and the very stringent budget caps have not been raised.

The 302(b) allocation is only 1.8 percent over the 1999 level. I want to repeat that, Mr. Chairman, for Members of the House and, very frankly, for all those listening. This bill represents only a 1.8-percent increase over last year's funding. That is for all salary increases and expenses of utilities and other related expenses that are required both of families and of the Government. This is clearly not enough to cover basic pay and inflationary increases.

So, in fact, we have an effective cut. So by eliminating requested construction projects and not adding back courthouse construction, which this committee did in the 1999 budget, the chairman has managed to almost fully fund the remainder of the requested amount in this bill.

In summary, Mr. Chairman, I believe the chairman did an outstanding job within an allocation that was simply too low because it was based on unrealistic budget caps.

Mr. Chairman, I very sincerely regret that the bill before this House today is a bill I cannot support. Why? I have said that the bill that came out of subcommittee was unanimously supported, strongly supported by me, again, realizing that it was deficient in the areas that I have talked about but realizing, as well, that the chairman and the committee had done the best it could given the fiscal constraints with which it was confronted.

However, not because the Committee on Appropriations thought it fiscally appropriate to do so, not because the Committee on Appropriations believed that there was waste within any of the numbers provided in the subcommittee's reported bill, not because the majority of the Committee on Appropriations members felt that we ought to cut this bill, but because, very frankly, Mr. Chairman, a relatively small group in this House has decided that we are going to make cuts notwithstanding the needs of this Nation.

The unilateral actions of the House majority leadership in cutting the funding of this bill by $240 million below the 302(b) allocation has hindered this bill.

Let me make an aside, Mr. Chairman. The 302(b) allocation comes about as a result of the budget resolution passed by this House and the Senate. Let me repeat that. The 302(b) allocation that this bill was reported on out of the subcommittee was consistent with the allocations made pursuant to the budget passed by this House and the United States Senate. It was not overbudget. It was not over the 302(b) allocation.

I believe that the almost quarter of a billion dollar cut in this bill has rendered it unsupportable. This reduction passed the Committee on Appropriations on a straight party-line vote, 33-26.

Mr. Chairman, you chaired a retreat. It was a retreat on civility. It was a retreat with the objective of trying to bring us together and make us a more unified, cooperative body, looking at things that were in the best interest of this Nation, not what was in the best interest of party. Very frankly, the subcommittee did this. Very frankly, the Committee on Appropriations would have supported that. But there continues to be a group who does not want to work in a bipartisan fashion, who does not want to bring us together but wants to drive us apart, who wants to, in my opinion, for either political or philosophical reasons, create differences where they ought not to be.

I regret that I rise in opposition to the bill as it stands now. We were told that this reduction is necessary to relieve pressure on other appropriations bills that follow. However, this $240 million will not begin to solve the more than $30 billion shortfall in the 302(b) allocation of other appropriations bills.

What really is happening here is that the leadership is undercutting the committee process to satisfy a few of the members of their conference. This is the fourth appropriations bill to be cut based not on the judgment of the Committee on Appropriations but on the judgment of the leadership.

The worst part of this reduction is the damage it does to core government functions. Funding for the IRS is reduced by $135 million. The General Services Administration repairs and alterations is reduced by $100 million, and the Treasury Department's efforts to automate human resources management are cut by $5 million. These cuts are troubling and extremely ill-advised.

After scores of hearings, days and days of deliberation, the subcommittee made a judgment that the appropriate numbers were $135 million more in IRS, $100 million more in GSA and $5 million more in the human resources management of the Treasury Department.

Mr. Chairman, I know that you voted for the legislation that resulted from the ``Vision for a New IRS.'' Very frankly, Mr. Chairman, you will remember, perhaps, that I was one of four people when the IRS reform bill was considered on the floor to vote ``no.'' Mr. Chairman, I do not expect you to remember what I had to say, as compelling as it was, in the debate that day, but I got up on the floor and I said, ``I am voting no, and very frankly, if you're going to be for IRS reform, you've got to be for IRS reform at appropriations time and at tax-writing time.'' What I meant by that is that we needed to give it the appropriate resources.

The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Portman) of this body and Bob Kerrey of the other body were critically important in passing this legislation. In the report that they issued, they said this:

``The Commission recommends that Congress provide the IRS certainty in its operational budget in the near future. We recommend that the IRS budget for tax law enforcement and processing, assistance, and management be maintained at current levels of funding for the next 3 years.''

Why did they say that? They said it because if we are going to have reform in IRS, we need to fund the resources to provide the taxpayer services that that bill contemplated. In the cuts that confront us today, we are not doing that.

Last year, the House voted overwhelmingly for that reform bill. That act followed recommendations of the commission that studied the IRS which stated concerning budgets that, and I quote, the IRS should receive stable funding for the 3 years. Furthermore, they said a stable budget will allow the IRS leadership to plan and implement operations which will improve taxpayer service and compliance.

Mr. Chairman, in a recent letter, IRS Commissioner Rossotti stated the following concerning the fiscal year 2000 requested level:

``This level is the absolute bare minimum necessary to meet the congressional demand to reform IRS.''

Mr. Chairman, as you may know, Mr. Rossotti is a Republican. I do not mean he is a partisan. He is a registered Republican and he is a businessman who ran an 8,000-person firm in the private sector, had offices worldwide, and was asked by Secretary Rubin to come in to manage this department. He is not a tax lawyer as most of his predecessors were, he is a manager, a business manager, asked to make this agency run efficiently, effectively and cognizant of the needs of its customers, the taxpayers of this country. He is doing so.

He says further, ``Without these funds, the reform effort mandated by the restructuring act will be in jeopardy and could in fact fail.''

It is not enough to pass legislation which says we are going to reform the IRS. It is, as this report indicated, necessary to fund it at stable levels. We have not done so.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Coyne) and in doing so I would like to observe that he is one of the senior members, as the chairman knows, of the Committee on Ways and Means but more importantly for the purposes of this bill was a member of the IRS reform task force and was intimately involved in the recommendations that that task force made.

(Mr. COYNE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. William J. Coyne

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Mr. Chairman, I rise today to object to the cut which the Committee on Appropriations has made in funding for the Internal Revenue Service.

While it may be politically popular to cut funding for the IRS, the consequences of this action would be profoundly counterproductive and irresponsible. Do we really want to delay IRS reform or implementation of the new taxpayer protections that were enacted just last year? I do not think so. But that is the effect of this misguided cut that we are contemplating here today.

Do we really want to deny the IRS the resources it needs to modernize its equipment and prepare for the year 2000 bug that we hear so much about? I really do not think so, but this is what might happen if we deny the IRS the resources it needs to make the Y2K conversion in a timely fashion.

Mr. Chairman, this feel-good IRS cut may not feel so good next year. I urge Members to vote against this inadequate bill and send it back to the Committee on Appropriations to be fixed.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today to object to the last-minute $135 million cut which the Appropriations Committee has made in funding for the Internal Revenue Service.

While it may be a politically popular move for some to cut funding for the IRS next year, the consequences of this action would be profoundly counterproductive, unwise, and irresponsible. My Republican colleagues know this and are trying to figure out, behind the scenes, how to undo the damage this bill would do to millions of taxpayers.

Why was the IRS originally given a slight increase in funding for the next year? $75 million dollars was to be used for implementing the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, which was passed by the Congress less than a year ago. The remaining $50 million was to be used for modernizing IRS equipment and completing the agency's Y2K conversion.

The IRS reform bill that Congress passed last year was intended to make the IRS more taxpayer-friendly, allow the IRS to hire experts and top managers, reorganize the agency, and provide taxpayers with more than 70 new taxpayers rights in dealing with the agency.

The IRS is currently in the midst of its hiring and reorganization efforts. A significant number of the taxpayer rights provisions have not yet been fully implemented. For example, IRS action to provide innocent spouse relief, allow taxpayers installment agreements, and process claims for abatement of penalty and interest all require employee training, new forms and guidance, and IRS employee interaction with taxpayers. Do we really want to delay IRS action on these statutory mandates--and on implementation of these taxpayer protections? I don't think so, but that is the effect that this misguided cut would have.

Similarly, do we really want to deny the IRS the resources it needs to modernize its equipment and prepare for the year 2000 bug? Are taxpayers really better off if an IRS computer malfunctions? Do we want to risk the possibility that millions of Americans would have to spend hours or days straightening out their tax records? I really don't think so, but that is what might happen if we deny the IRS the resources it needs to make the Y2K conversion in a timely fashion.

IRS Commissioner Rossotti stated the urgency of the situation quite clearly in a letter to Representative Steny Hoyer, Ranking Member of the Treasury-Postal Appropriations Subcommittee, earlier this month. Commissioner Rossotti wrote, ``I want to reemphasize how critical this [IRS] budget is to the success of the restructuring and reform act of 1998, passed almost unanimously a year ago. This landmark, bipartisan legislation established 71 new taxpayer rights provisions and mandated an entirely new direction for the IRS. Implementing these provisions is a huge job that requires a great deal of additional staff time and technology change . . . the Administration's IRS budget request for FY 2000 is essentially level with last year's. This level is the absolute bare minimum necessary to meet the congressional demand to reform the IRS. Without these funds, the reform effort mandated by the restructuring act will be in jeopardy, and could, in fact, fail due to financial constraints.''

Treasury Secretary Summers added that implementing the improvements of the 1998 IRS reform act ``. . . is of the highest priority in the department. The budget follows through on commitments made to the American people to reform the IRS and give the taxpayers the service they deserve and expect. We are at an important crossroad on implementation and we must ensure that the IRS is provided adequate funding to see these changes through to completion . . . I urge the Congress . . . to ensure that the final appropriation reflects the same commitment to supporting IRS reform that has been shown in the past.''

Mr. Chairman, this feel-good IRS cut may not feel so good next year. I urge Members with any sense of responsibility for IRS reform to vote against this inadequate bill and send it back to the Appropriations Committee to be fixed. The Treasury-Postal Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as the President, recommended $8.2 billion for the IRS next year with good reason.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to yield 4 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Portman) who has been so instrumental in helping bring about the IRS reforms and restructuring and is the individual who has worked very hard on this and understands what this restructuring is all about.

Sen. Rob Portman

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman very much for yielding me this time. I want to start by commending the gentleman from Maryland and the gentleman from Arizona for putting together a very good bill. Overall, this is legislation that will help move our country forward in a number of ways.

I want to mention particularly the antidrug efforts. The funding of the Antidrug Media Campaign and the Drug Free Communities Act are both measures that I think will make a tremendous difference in terms of our fight against substance abuse by reducing demand in our communities.

I do, though, need to speak briefly about the IRS provisions in the legislation. It was just about a year ago when we passed what was historic IRS restructuring and reform legislation, the most dramatic reform in fact of the IRS in over 45 years. The Clinton administration initially opposed the effort but ultimately they, too, agreed that IRS reform was overdue and ultimately the legislation passed with overwhelming support in both the House and the Senate. Now with this 1-year anniversary coming up just a week from today, it is time for us as a Congress to put our money where our mouth is.

The measure before us today, as Members probably know, cuts about $135 million of funding for the IRS. The funding level proposed in the bill, I think, will jeopardize the implementation of the very law we passed with so much bipartisan support and fanfare just last year. It sounds good on the surface to cut the IRS but it actually hurts taxpayer service.

Let us take a look at how it would affect taxpayers. First, it jeopardizes the implementation of the very important customer service improvements which are mandated by the legislation we passed last year, including a dramatic taxpayer-friendly reorganization of the whole IRS that will improve customer service for every taxpayer, including the very popular telefile program that lets taxpayers file their tax returns much more easily through the telephone.

Second, it will endanger the needed computer modernization effort. Every Member of this House has heard horror stories, I know I have, from our constituents who have received erroneous computer notices where the left hand of the IRS does not know what the right hand is doing. I have been very critical of the IRS as have other Members. The effort here was to come up with computer modernization efforts and resources that would help us to deal with these problems. We need to invest in improved IRS technology if we are serious about protecting our constituents from the kind of computer problems we have all seen.

We also need to expand access to taxpayer-friendly electronic filing. Right now there is a 22 percent error rate on paper filing, compared to less than a 1 percent error rate on electronic filing. That is why in the legislation we passed, again just last year, we mandated that the IRS work hard on electronic filing and in fact we set a goal of 80 percent electronic filing for the IRS by 2007. That is going to be difficult to meet unless they have the resources to do it. Again, it is taxpayer-friendly.

On a similar note, finally, the funding cut will jeopardize, I think, the IRS's abilities to complete its Y2K preparations for this year. While the thought of IRS computers crashing may bring glee to the hearts of many, think about the consequences. Think about no refund checks. Think about erroneous IRS notices sent to innocent taxpayers who think they have paid their taxes in a timely way and in an appropriate way. Think about the unnecessary audits that might result. This is no way to bring our tax system, Mr. Chairman, into the 21st century.

I am a strong believer in fiscal discipline. I am proud to cast my vote for fiscal responsibility even when it is not popular because I think holding the line on Federal spending for the sake of our children and grandchildren is the right thing to do. But here, with regard to the IRS, I think we need to follow up with our efforts from last year. We are making good progress in reforming the IRS. Commissioner Rossotti, I believe, is doing a superb job, but we need to give him the tools to get that job done.

Mr. Chairman, I would conclude by again congratulating the gentleman from Arizona on the overall legislation. This bill is a very strong bill and I would hope with the IRS that in conference we can restore some of these reductions.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Before the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Portman) leaves the floor, I want to again make the comment that he has done some extraordinary work, positive work, helpful work on this entire issue. He is of course from the authorizing committee, the Committee on Ways and Means, a senior member of the Committee on Ways and Means. I appreciate his remarks. Because this is not a partisan issue. The service of our taxpayers is not a partisan issue.

The IRS reform effort, which as I pointed out I voted against the first time because I had concerns about it and, as I said, we needed to do it at budget time and we needed to do it at tax-writing time or no matter how good our people were, they could not implement it. He has reiterated and made more strongly, I think, that point, but the purpose of my rising is to thank him for the leadership that he has exercised on this issue and his continuing shepherding of this effort so that it can be successful. I thank him for his efforts.

Mr. Chairman, let me now reiterate the concerns that we have on this IRS cut. As I mentioned, Mr. Rossotti was hired in an unusual way. That is to say he was hired as a manager, not as a tax policymaker, to make this system run well. He has sent a letter today, and I would like to read excerpts of that. I quoted a previous letter, but he says this in a letter to me and to the chairman on July 15:

A funding reduction of $135 million would severely restrict, if not completely impair, IRS' ability to deliver on restructuring and reform act mandated by Congress in 1998.

Went on to say that it would undermine customer service.

Says further that it would undermine the funding of efforts to implement congressionally mandated reform requirements.

Also says that it will jeopardize the congressionally mandated goal of 80 percent electronic filing.

And the last two points he makes is that this cut would impair the creation of operating units to help specialized groups of taxpayers, including small business and ordinary wage earners.

Lastly, he says this cut would delay implementation of important taxpayer rights initiatives, the point being again that if we ask the IRS to accomplish these objectives it is incumbent upon us to fund their ability to do so. I regret that that has not happened and, as I say, as a result, as strongly as I support the product from the subcommittee, I will not be able to support final passage of this particular bill.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella), who has not only a lot of Federal employees in her district but has done yeoman's work on issues dealing with Federal employees.

Rep. Constance A. Morella

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding this time to me, and I rise in support of this legislation.

I want to very deeply thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) for his leadership and his very hard work on this very important bill. I also want to extend accolades to my partner from Maryland who is the ranking member, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer); and since thanks are so important I want to thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. Forbes) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier) for ensuring that this legislation contains two particular provisions that are of great importance to Federal employees and their families, many of whom, as I mentioned, I have the honor of representing.

The legislation incorporates the provisions of my bill, H.R. 206, the Federal Employee Child Care Affordability Act. This important and yet simple legislation would allow Federal agencies to use funds from their salary and expense accounts to help low income Federal employees pay for child care. This legislation gives Federal agencies the same flexibility as that enjoyed by the Department of Defense to tailor their child care programs to meet the particular needs of their employees.

So by empowering agencies to work as partners with employees to meet their child care needs, which are ever so important, Congress truly will be encouraging family friendly Federal workplaces and indeed higher productivity.

I am also encouraged that this legislation codifies the victory that we won during the debate 1 year ago today on the Fiscal Year 1999 Treasury, Postal, and General Appropriations Act which provided for contraceptive coverage in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Contraceptives help couples plan wanted pregnancies and reduce the need for abortions.

During that debate, I spoke in favor of the amendment that was offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) to improve Federal employees' insurance coverage of basic health care for women and their families. The amendment of the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) required all but five religious-based plans participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan to cover all five methods of prescription contraceptives: The pill, diaphragm, IUDs, Norplant and Depo-Provera. This bill before us today ensures that we will continue treating prescription contraceptives the same as all other covered drugs in order to achieve parity between the benefits that are offered to male participants in the FEHBP plans and to those that are offered to Federal participants.

And this bill before us, it may not be perfect because it continues the ban on abortion coverage under the FEHBP program. Therefore, I am going to support an amendment that will be offered later by the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) that is gender equitable, to allow any health insurance plan participating in FEHPB to offer coverage for abortions just as two-thirds of the fee for service plans do and 70 percent of HMOs currently provide in the private sector. Again, that is equity.

Despite this concern, I do believe that this legislation before us today is very important. I believe that it reflects a sensible compromise among multiple interests; and, once again, I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) for his yeomanship on this particular bill and thank the ranking member for his work on this bill.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentlewoman yield?

Rep. Constance A. Morella

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I want to commend the gentlewoman for her statement, which was excellent. She is a pleasure to work with on issues relating not only to our region but particularly to Federal employees. She is always a very strong advocate of our Federal employees and treating them with fairness.

I also want to commend her. She did not mention it, but I wanted to call attention to it earlier; I do not think the gentlewoman was on the floor. I regretted the fact that we deleted the $55 million for the FDA facility which is to be located in Montgomery County. The gentlewoman has been a leader on this effort, and I know that she will work with me, with the chairman, that it is in the Senate bill, and I am hopeful that the chairman and the committee will in conference include that language, and the gentlewoman may want to comment on that.

Rep. Constance A. Morella

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) for his laudatory comments. I do want to thank the gentleman from Arizona for his comments, and it is true. I know he has been an advocate for Federal employees.

And the gentleman and I and others date way back when it came to consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration, which is located in probably 24 diverse spots, some of our laboratories that really are in terrible need of repair, dilapidated, and yet state-of-the-art work is required of them in what they do. And so I recognize the fact that it is not in this House bill, but it is in the Senate bill, and that is what conferences are for. And so I will join my colleagues in hoping that the conferees will see fit to get the construction moving in the White Oak area, and I thank you for your comments on that.

Again, I thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe), and I am going to be voting for this bill.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Hoeffel), who I understand wants to enter into a colloquy with the chairman and myself.

Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland for yielding this time to me, and I thank the ranking member for leadership on this bill and his assistance to me.

Mr. Speaker, will the chairman of the committee yield for a colloquy?

I rise today on an issue of great importance to my district, which is a lack of information regarding antique firearms' use in crime. I first became aware of this problem after a 48-hour hostage standoff in Norristown, Pennsylvania, which is part of my district.

Mr. Chairman, I am seeking to require the Department of the Treasury to collect statistics and conduct a study on the use of antique firearms in crime and to report its findings to the Congress within 180 days. Very few or no statistics exist on the use of antique firearms in crime, and no Federal agency is responsible for tracking those statistics. This study would begin to fill the information void left by this lack of jurisdiction. I wonder if the gentleman could accommodate my concern.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel

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I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for raising this issue. I would certainly be happy to work with the gentleman to accommodate his concerns by working with him regarding a study of this matter and language to be incorporated in the conference report for H.R. 2490, and I hope that might satisfy the gentleman's concerns.

Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel

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Yes, it certainly will, Mr. Chairman. I thank you very much for your leadership on this and your cooperation and that of your staff, and this will certainly help to address a problem of great concern in my district.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, let me just add to the response of the Chairman, I think the gentleman from Pennsylvania has raised an issue where there is a void of information on the use of relic guns and commission of crime. I think a study would be very useful. I am pleased that the chairman will work with the gentleman from Pennsylvania and myself in including such language in the conference report, and I look forward to that occurring.

Mr. Chairman, I do not believe that we have any further speakers on my side. I understand a member is coming, a member of the subcommittee who would like to speak, so while she is on her way let me make a comment, Mr. Chairman.

The C-SPAN, of course, covers these proceedings, and they see the Members, and the Members work hard. My experience as a legislator over many years has been that the overwhelming 98 percent of the legislators are extraordinarily conscientious and hard-working, but none of us could do our job effectively without some extraordinarily able and committed staff. The chairman in his opening remarks mentioned the staff, and I would like to again thank them for their efforts.

The chief clerk of our committee, Michele Mrdeza, works extraordinarily hard, is very knowledgeable about the bill's provisions and works extraordinarily hard during the course of the year to oversee the implementation of the provisions in our bill. She is assisted very ably by Bob Schmidt, by Jeff Ashford, by Tammy Hughes, by a very close friend of mine, Clif Morehead, and by Kevin Messner.

On our side of the aisle: Pat Schlueter, who works extraordinarily hard as well; and Scott Nance, a member of my staff as Kevin is a member of Mr. Kolbe's staff; and I want to thank them for their efforts. We could not do this job effectively without their help and without their caring and without the very long hours that they put in day after day, night after night, to make sure this bill comes to the floor in a credible fashion.

Mr. Chairman, let me make perhaps a few other comments while we are waiting. The legislation before us does, in fact, provide for Treasury law enforcement, critically important, important with respect to Customs, to make sure that what is coming into our country comes in properly, that the proper duties are paid, that the items that are excluded from importation do not come in and that smuggling does not occur. They obviously work hand in hand with others, with INS, with DEA, with Water Patrol in carrying out the efforts to make sure that our borders are secure.

In addition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms headed by John Magaw is an extraordinary agency which has, as I have said in times past, dealt with some of the most dangerous and demented criminals in America, those who want to use weapons of, if not mass destruction, wide destruction such as the bombing of the Oklahoma office building that killed so many of our Federal workers and public citizens. It is appropriate that we fund ATF at levels that gives them the opportunity to do the job that we have given them.

And then I would, before yielding to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Roybal-Allard), mention the Secret Service, one of the premier law enforcement agencies in our Nation. Most of us view the Secret Service as a protective agency. They do that function. They protect our President, they protect our Vice President, their families, and they protect, of course, visitors to our shore, foreign leaders.

But they also carry out very, very critically important law enforcement responsibilities, not the least of which is the protection of our currency. The American dollar, as we know, Mr. Chairman, is the standard throughout the world for value and for monetary systems. If it were not for the Secret Service and their protection of the integrity of that currency, the international monetary situation would not be nearly as good as it is.

Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to yield such time as she may consume to my good friend, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Roybal-Allard), one of the leaders on our subcommittee, and, I might say, for those of us who have been here for some time, the distinguished daughter of a distinguished member, Ed Roybal, who chaired this subcommittee and who, through the years, taught me the ropes.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in reluctant opposition to H.R. 2490, the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government appropriations bill for fiscal year 2000.

This is my first year as a member of the Committee on Appropriations, and as a member of the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government, I had high hopes of supporting this bill throughout the legislative process. The bill reported out of our subcommittee was a sound one, unanimously supported by the subcommittee members. It maintained current services for the important agencies within the jurisdiction of the bill.

Unfortunately, during consideration by the full Committee on Appropriations, nearly $240 million was cut from the bill at the direction of the Republican leadership. Responding to a small minority of the Republican party which sought to control the budget process this year, this cut was passed by the Committee on Appropriations on a party line vote. This cut would prevent us from going forward with reforms of the Internal Revenue Service passed just last year.

By cutting $100 million from GSA's repair account, we adopt a policy that will only end up costing the American taxpayer much more in the long run for increased repair costs made necessary by deferred maintenance. This reduction in GSA's budget is in addition to the fact that no funding is provided in the bill this year for new courthouse planning and construction.

This lack of funding affects my district very directly because the proposed new Federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles is first on the priority list. In fact, the Los Angeles courthouse was officially out of space in 1995, and the current facility has life-threatening security deficiencies, according to the U.S. Marshall's Service.

Finally, I was also extremely disappointed that the full committee voted to strike a provision that the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf) and I included at subcommittee giving the Office of National Drug Control Policy the authority to address underage drinking in their youth antidrug media campaign.

Research has shown that alcohol is an important gateway drug leading to the use of other illegal drugs. Young people who drink are 22 times more likely to smoke marijuana and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than those who do not drink.

Conducting an antidrug media campaign that does not address the linkage seriously hampers its overall effectiveness, and I will continue to work with the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman Kolbe) and others to include this important message in our antidrug strategy.

In short, this was originally a good bill, but pressure from the Republican right wing has turned it into a bad bill. I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill, to send the message that we need to fund our agencies adequately.

I sincerely hope that we will come to our senses later in the legislative process and make this bill the bipartisan product that it once was and still can become.

Rep. David E. Price

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Mr. Chairman, I have no further requests for time, and I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, let me just say once again that I think this is a good bill. I hope it will be supported by Members. I would join with the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) in my thanks to the staff on both sides of the aisle who have done such a good job to get us to this point. They are the unsung heroes of this legislation. I thank them, those that are around me and those on the other side, for the fine job they have done.

Sen. John Thune

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Mr. Chairman, I rise today to address concerns I have with H.R. 2490, the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2000.

While I appreciate the hard work of my colleagues on this bill, I object to the process that allows for a pay raise without a vote of the members. The term cost-of-living adjustment may sound more appealing than the term pay raise. Despite the difference of means, the end is the same. And I object to the end at issue here, which is an increase in congressional pay. I am disappointed that the only opportunity I have to oppose the cost-of-living adjustment is on a procedural vote.

South Dakota farmers and ranchers are experiencing historically low commodity prices. Social Security recipients are being asked to live with a 2.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment, but Members of Congress are prepared to accept a 3.4 percent, $4,600 pay raise.

Three years ago, I took a pledge not to accept any pay raise Congress may vote for itself. I took that pledge because I believed Members of Congress were not under-compensated for the work they were doing. I believed then and I believe now that a pay raise for Congress is inappropriate. I therefore will continue to contribute any raise I receive as a Member of this body to a non-profit organization. Any adjustments in congressional pay should be based upon merit, reflecting the demands of the job as well as contemporary economic conditions.

Traditionally, this bill has been the vehicle for addressing the automatic cost-of-living adjustment for Members. Although I will support the Committee's efforts to craft a sound bill, I am disappointed the process used today prevented a vote on whether to bring this bill to the floor for consideration in its current form. To me, it would have been wholly appropriate to have included a provision denying Members of Congress an automatic pay increase. For these reasons, I voice my disappointment and vote against the previous question on the rule.

Rep. Rick Hill

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the COLA increase for Members of Congress permitted by the FY 00 Treasury Postal Appropriations bill. On September 30, 1997, I voted against a similar bill which contained a $3,100 annual pay raise for Members of Congress.

At that time, I believed that is was wrong for me to accept a pay raise until the Congress balanced the federal budget. Two years later even though we have now balanced the budget, I still do not believe that Members of Congress should have an automatic pay raise. I think that we should have an up or down vote on all pay changes.

Leadership of both parties have sought to avoid such an up or down vote. Since I have been blocked from such a vote, I voted against the motion for the previous question to permit a rule to be offered allowing such an up and down vote.

Because that motion passed, I then voted against the rule on a voice vote because it did not permit such an up or down vote. Failure to allow an up or down vote on this issue only serves to increase cynicism towards the political process and confirms the feelings of many voters that their representatives are out of touch. This process needs to be reformed. Members of Congress should be on record with the citizens of their districts as to whether they believe an increase to our salary is justified.

Sen. Jerry Moran

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this procedural motion which precludes consideration of a cost of living increase for Members of Congress. Failure to allow an up or down vote on this issue only serves to increase cynicism towards the political process and confirms the feelings of many voters that their representatives are out of touch. This process needs to be reformed. Members of Congress should be on record with the citizens of their districts as to whether they believe an increase in their salary is justified. Given the opportunity, I would vote ``no.''

I believe that fiscal discipline must start with elected officials. At a time when farmers and ranchers are struggling, our domestic oil and gas industry is collapsing and rural hospitals and other health care providers are curtailing services, there is no place for a Congressional cost of living increase, especially one born in a cloud of secrecy.

Rep. Robin C. Hayes

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the pending motion and hope that my colleagues will join me voting down the previous question.

It is my understanding that under current law a Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) is enacted annually. Mr. Chairman, unfortunately, the rule crafted for the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill does not allow for members to vote up or down on this automatic COLA. This concerns me--I had hoped for an opportunity to vote against any sort of congressional pay raise for members of Congress. Consequently, Mr. Speaker, I can't support this rule and will vote against this motion.

Over the Independence Day recess, I visited farmers and manufacturers across the 8th District of North Carolina. These are hard-working, decent people, Mr. Chairman. They expect a fair day's wage for a fair day's work. During my stops, I was troubled by numerous stories of fleeting jobs and falling wages.

While our nation's economy continues to grow, many rural Americans are struggling in their local economies. In the 8th District alone, double-digit unemployment is common. In our smaller, more remote communities economic development is virtually stagnant. Mr. Chairman, with so many of my constituents and rural Americans across the country struggling to make ends meet, it seems to me inappropriate to support a congressional pay raise. I urge my colleagues to join me in voting against this motion.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in reluctant opposition to H.R. 2490, the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2000.

This is my first year as a member of the Appropriations Committee, and as a member of the Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Subcommittee, and I have enjoyed working with Chairman Jim Kolbe, Ranking Democrat Steny Hoyer and other members of the subcommittee. Chairman Kolbe put together a solid schedule of budget hearings, including a special hearing on ONDCP's anti-drug media campaign and a special hearing on integrity issues affecting the Customs Service. I also accompanied Chairman Kolbe on two ``field trips'' to see facilities the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at work, and I came away with a much fuller understanding of the vital work these agencies perform on a day-to-day basis.

I had high hopes of supporting this bill throughout the legislative process. Certainly, the bill reported out of our subcommittee had much to commend it, including several provisions added at my request. It was a sound, bi-partisan bill, unanimously supported by all members of the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government Subcommittee. Chairman Kolbe and Ranking Democrat Hoyer had worked in a bipartisan fashion to craft a bill that stayed within a tight 302(b) allocation of $13,562,000,000, while essentially maintaining current services for the important agencies and functions within the jurisdiction of the bill. These vital agencies include the Internal Revenue Service, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Customs Service, as well as the Executive Office of the President and numerous executive agencies.

I would specifically like to thank the Chairman for including report language addressing a serious issue regarding the Customs Service. During a special committee hearing, I raised questions about a portion of a report that had been prepared by the Treasury Department regarding the integrity of the Customs Service. I was particularly concerned about a portion of the report which said:

Most serious, however, is the belief that inspectors who are hired locally, particularly along the Southwest border and assigned to the local ports of entry, could be at greater risk of being compromised by family members and friends who may exploit their relationships to facilitate criminal activities. Although they could not offer any solid evidence, Senior Customs officials expressed a real apprehension over the possibility that individuals were attempting to infiltrate Customs by seeking jobs as inspectors for the sole purpose of engaging in corrupt and criminal behavior.

At my request, the Committee included language taking strong exception to any implication that individuals of Hispanic background are particularly susceptible to corruption and laying out the Committee's expectation that the Customs Service should address unsubstantiated bias by senior Customs officials as it implements its anti-corruption strategy.

Additionally, I am grateful that the bill includes report language directing the General Services Administration to provide necessary funding for the renovation of a federal building located in my district in Downtown Los Angeles in its fiscal year 2001 budget submission. this project is absolutely critical for the safety of the 2,000 workers and 4,000 to 5,000 public visitors who occupy this building on an given day. The building, which currently houses branches of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies, was originally built in 1963, and is in grave need of safety enhancements such as a building-wide fire alarm system, seismic strengthening, safety upgrades to the elevators and stairwells, as well as modifications to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

So I believe the bill had considerable merit as reported by the subcommittee, and that Chairman Kolbe and Ranking Democrat Hoyer had crafted the best bill possible under tight budget constraints.

Unfortunately, during consideration by the Full Appropriations Committee, nearly $240 million was cut from the bill at the direction of the Republican leadership. Responding to a small minority of the Republication party who have sought to control the budget process this year, this cut was passed by the Appropriations Committee on a straight party-line vote, 33 to 26. While we were told that this reduction is necessary to relieve pressure on other appropriation bills, $240 million is merely a drop in the bucket of what is actually needed to make our other appropriation bills passable. However, $240 million is a very severe cut to our bill, which was already stretched to the limit.

A significant amount of this cut--$135 million--would come from the Internal Revenue Service. Just last year Congress passed the IRS Reform and Restructuring Act, which required the IRS to reorganize, and make significant changes to protect taxpayer rights and improve services. The cut of $135 million will completely jeopardize IRS's ability to follow through on these important reforms.

This cut also includes a $50 million reduction in IRS's funding for its Year 2000 conversion. If the IRS fails to complete its Y2K conversion on time, they will be unable to process returns and provide tax refunds to our nation's taxpayers during the 2000 tax season.

Another $100 million has been cut from the General Services Administration's Repair and Alterations account with the Federal Buildings Fund. This reduction will severely impair GSA's ability to provide adequate physical security and make the many needed repairs at over 8,400 federal buildings throughout the country. I think we all recognize this as penny-wise and pound-foolish policy. Reducing funding now for GSA's Repairs and Alterations will only end up costing the American taxpayer much more in the long run for increased repair costs made necessary by deferred maintenance.

This reduction in GSA's budget is in addition to the fact that no funding is provided in the bill this year for new courthouse planning and construction. The lack of funding for the courthouse construction program is particularly distressing given the fact that other federal law enforcement spending has increased significantly over recent years, putting significant stress on the courts. With no funding for modern court facilities, the ability for the Justice Department and our federal judges to deal efficiently with their caseloads is made increasingly difficult. In addition, according the GSA, delaying funding of new courthouse projects increases costs by an average of 3 to 4% annually--meaning that the federal government will have to pay significantly more for the same projects in years to come.

I am personally very concerned about this lack of funding, as the proposed new federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, located in my district, is the first on a priority list agreed to by GSA and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts for FY 2000. A new courthouse is desperately needed because the existing facility, built over 60 years ago, lacks the necessary courtroom space to accommodate its rapidly increasing workload. In fact, the Los Angeles courthouse was officially ``out of space'' in 1995. This lack of space has created delays, inefficiencies, and a huge backlog of cases. Accordingly to the Judicial Conference of the U.S., the current facility has ``critical security concerns,'' including ``life-threatening'' security deficiencies, which have been documented by the U.S. Marshalls Service. For example, prisoners facing trial must be transported to various courtrooms from secure detention facilities at remote locations. This process is expensive and difficult for the U.S. Marshalls Service, and it is potentially threatening to visitors in crowded corridors, including, in some cases, witnesses at the same trials. The U.S. Attorneys office must also cope with assembling the elements of a successful prosecution with staff and resources scattered at locations throughout the Los Angeles area.

I believe these cuts adopted by the full Appropriations Committee place in jeopardy the ability of the important agencies within our bill to fulfill their vital missions. For that reason, I must reluctantly oppose the bill in its present form.

Finally, I was also extremely disappointed that the full committee voted to strike a provision that Congressman Frank Wolf and I had included at subcommittee giving the Office of National Drug Control Policy the authority to address underage drinking in their youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. This provision was critical because, according to General McCaffrey, the Director of ONDCP, he lacks the legal authority to address alcohol in the media campaign. Even more important is that research has shown that alcohol is an important ``gateway drug,'' leading to the use of other, illegal drugs. In fact, General McCaffrey has stated that alcohol ``is the biggest drug abuse problem for our adolescents and it is linked to the use of other illegal drugs.'' For example, more than 67% of kids who start drinking before age 15 end us using illicit drugs. Additionally, ONDCP's own data shows that young people who drink are 22 times more likely to smoke marijuana and 50 times more likely to use cocaine than those who don't drink.

Conducting an anti-drug media campaign that does not address this linkage seriously hampers the effectiveness of the $1 billion, taxpayer funded effort. Until we incorporate this message into our anti-drug campaign, parents and children will be deprived of the basic fact that underage drinking, while dangerous in and of itself, may also lead kids to a lifetime of illicit drug dependence.

In short, this was originally a good bill. But pressure from the Republican right wing has turned it into a bad bill. The IRS and our important law enforcement agencies like the Secret Service and the BATF are on the brink of being unable to fulfill the responsibilities we have given them. Further, we have adopted a penny-wise, pound-foolish policy for the General Services Administration, both in terms of vital new construction as well as on-going maintenance and repairs for the huge inventory of federal buildings where our constituents do their business every day.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill to send the message that we need to fund our agencies adequately, and I sincerely hope that we will come to our senses later in the legislative process and make this bill the bi-partisan product that it once was and still can become.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in reluctant opposition to the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill.

I agree with what many of my colleagues have said about the cuts in this bill, and for that reason I cannot support it.

Still, it is difficult for me to oppose this bill because it was essentially a good bill before it reached the full committee. And as a strong advocate for cleaner elections and vigorous enforcement of election laws, I am particularly pleased by the provisions in this bill dealing with the Federal Election Commission.

The Federal Election Commission, in the words of a former Member of this body, is the ``one agency that Congress loves to hate.''

For too long, Congress has failed to give the FEC the resources and tools it needs to do its job.

So, I am very pleased that the committee has elected this year to fund the FEC at a level that is nearly equal to the agency's budget request. For the first time in years, the committee has decided to give the FEC the money it needs to enforce the law.

But not only does this bill fully fund the FEC, it also contains several provisions that will help the agency operate more efficiently.

This bill will mandate electronic filing by campaign committees that reach a certain threshold set by the agency. In addition, it creates a system of ``administrative fines''--much like traffic tickets, which will let the agency deal with minor violations of the law in an expeditious manner. Finally, it will permit campaign committees to file with the FEC on an election-cycle basis, as opposed to the current system which requires calendar-year reporting.

These are all common-sense, bipartisan reforms that will give the FEC more time to investigate serious violations of the law. All of these reforms were recommended by an audit conducted by the independent firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers and are supported by the FEC itself.

Mr. Speaker, a strong FEC is critical to the integrity of our electoral process. Our election laws are meaningless if we are not willing to give the FEC the tools and the resources it needs to enforce them.

While I continue to believe that we must do more to clean up our elections--and I call on the leadership to bring campaign finance reform legislation to the floor as soon as possible--I do applaud the committee for taking this one small step that will enable the FEC to operate more efficiently.

I thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) and the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) for their leadership on this issue.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the rule, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the 5-minute rule.

During consideration of the bill for amendment, the chair will accord priority in recognition to a Member offering an amendment that he has printed in the designated place in the Congressional Record. Those amendments will be considered as read.

The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole may postpone a request for a recorded vote on any amendment, may reduce to a minimum of 5 minutes the time for voting on any postponed question immediately following another vote, provided the time for voting on the first question shall be a minimum of 15 minutes.

The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the following sums are appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the Treasury Department, the United States Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and certain Independent Agencies, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes, namely:

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Ms. Velazquez: Page 3, line 9, insert before the period at the end the following:

Ms. VELAZQUEZ (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the Record.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from New York?

There was no objection.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Chairman, the Velazquez-Bachus amendment designates $3 million within the funds appropriated for the Treasury Department for fiscal year 2000 to provide grants to State and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute money laundering and related financial crimes.

I would like the record to reflect also that the most influential Members of the House with respect to anti-money laundering policies support this amendment, including the gentleman from Iowa (Chairman Leach), the ranking member, the gentleman from New York (Mr. LaFalce), the gentlewoman from New Jersey (Mrs. Roukema), and my cosponsor, the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus).

This grant program is authorized by legislation that I sponsored in the 105th Congress, the Money Laundering and Financial Strategy Act of 1998. I am offering this amendment for the same reason the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus) and I have worked for years to get a money laundering strategy bill through Congress, because money laundering is one of the most destructive criminal elements that face our country.

About 5 years ago I began working with law enforcement officials in my district to address the growing problem of money laundering in the neighborhoods I represent and throughout New York City. These neighborhoods are home to many hard-working low-income families. The tragedy is that they are also home to hundreds of money wire services that transfer up to $1.3 billion in illegal drug proceeds to South America.

The success of drug dealers, arms dealers, and organized crime organizations is based upon their ability to launder money. Through money laundering, drug dealers transform the monetary receipts derived from criminal activity into funds with a seemingly legal source.

For a moment, just consider the sheer size and changing nature of money laundering enterprises. In just the United States alone, estimates of the amount of drug profits moving through the financial system have been as high as $100 billion. It is staggering. Now consider the burden of local law enforcement officials. They need our help. In fact, since the passage of the Money Laundering and Financial Strategy Act, my office has received calls from local and State law enforcement officials from across the country asking how they can apply for these grants.

Let me be clear, this is not funding for another government program. This amendment provides money directly to the States and local law enforcement agencies that are waging the war on crime. There is a lot of talk in this Congress about giving the States and local governments more control and about giving Federal money back to the communities, but now Congress has failed to appropriate a mere $3 million for grants to assist our State and local officials to fight money laundering. How do we expect our local police departments and prosecutors to fight crime networks that have access to more money than some States when we cannot make a $3 million commitment?

Money laundering has devastating consequences for our communities because it provides the fuel for drug dealers, terrorists, arms dealers, and other criminals to operate and expand their operations. The dealers that sell drugs on our streets and in our schools rely on money laundering to disguise their illegal profits and continue their operations.

Dirty money can take many routes, some complex, some simple, but all increasingly inventive, the ultimate goal being to hide its source. The money can move through banks, check cashers, money transmitters, businesses, and even be sent overseas to become clean, laundered money.

The tools of the money launderer can range from complicated financial transactions carried out through webs of wire transfers and networks of shell companies to old-fashioned currency smuggling, and so the tools of law enforcement to combat money laundering must be at least as sophisticated, if not more so.

Anti-money laundering legislation and funding for programs to combat money laundering are vital law enforcement weapons in the war on drugs. That is why we must begin to fund these grants and allow the States and local law enforcement officials to begin to even the playing field in their battle against drug dealers.

I urge the passage of the Velasquez-Bachus amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition not because I disagree with what the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez) is trying to do. I rise in opposition not because I do not agree with the merits of the program that she discussed.

As she has told us, this is a program that I think has a lot of merit, and this program had very strong bipartisan support when we passed the Money Laundering and Financial Crimes Strategy Act of 1998, because it did permit the Treasury Department, in consultation with Justice, to develop a grant program for State and local agencies to go after money laundering activities, which we know is a very serious problem, and is really at the root, the heart of the problem with our drug trafficking. If we cannot get at the money, we cannot really stop the drug trafficking.

The Federal government alone cannot do this, it takes State and local agencies to do it, so the intent was very, very good. The problem that we have is a very simple one of budgetary constraints that are faced by this committee. Because it was a new program, we did not provide funds for this.

I just would want to mention to the committee that we have made a very substantial cut in this particular line of Treasury, more than, I think, I would like to see. The request was for $53.5 million. We initially at the subcommittee level provided $35.9 million. We have taken another $4.5 million out of there in the full committee. That reduction was part of what we did in order to bring us down to the level necessary to meet the 1999 appropriated levels.

The concern that I would have about designating $3 million out of what has been a shrinking pot here, or a shrinking piece of the pie, for the Justice Department for these operations is that we are going to cut deeply, I fear, into some of the other programs that are covered by this, which of course includes the modernization, the human resources reengineering project which is going on Treasury-wide to try to bring about a new personnel system within the department. They are continuing their Y2K conversion, their productivity enhancements, all the things we have directed them to do.

I fear that if we designate this amount of money, we are going to be cutting someplace else. It does mean a cut from someplace else because we have not changed the total amount available to the Department.

So I understand what the gentlewoman is trying to do. It is a program that I have a lot of interest in, and I think many of us sympathize with this. But I just believe that under the circumstances, it would be inappropriate for us to try to earmark this amount in this relatively small departmental appropriation. For that reason, I would oppose it.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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I yield to the gentlewoman from New York.

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez

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Mr. Chairman, I would like to say to the gentleman that the Treasury Department has informed us that they would be able to find the $3 million within the existing levels for these $3 million grants.

I just would like to add that appropriation bills are about priorities. If fighting money laundering in this Nation is not a priority, then we should get our priorities in line.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I appreciate the gentlewoman's comments. I would still argue that as we start to earmark particular amounts of departmental monies, it is going to make it that much more difficult for them to meet their other requirements and that is the only reason I oppose the amendment.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, last Congress the House authorized the Money Laundering Financial Crimes Strategy Act of 1998, of which the gentlewoman from New York, Ms. Velazquez, was a cosponsor, along with the distinguished gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), who will also be speaking. I do not know whether the gentlewoman from New Jersey (Mrs. Roukema) was a cosponsor as well. Apparently.

I understand what the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) is saying, but I am rising in support of this amendment. This bill created a national strategy to fight money laundering at the local level and attack drug trafficking at its source. Let me say to the gentlewoman from New York so she understands, the gentleman from Arizona has been an extraordinarily strong supporter of the financial crimes enforcement unit that is in this bill, FinCEN, that the gentlewoman is probably familiar with. So the gentleman has been very concerned about money laundering. I know the gentleman has a concern also about the levels in the bill. He and I at least momentarily disagree, and I think we can do this at this point in time.

The bill on the floor does not include funding for these grants, and I think that is an oversight on our part. I think we should have included the money, and that is why I am supporting this amendment. Money to fund the grants was included by the President in this budget and in the Treasury Department's budget proposal, but the committee chose not to fund it.

To remedy this, the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez), the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), the gentlewoman from New Jersey (Mrs. Roukema) and others have offered this amendment to earmark $3 million to the general fund of the Treasury Department to finance it.

Mr. Chairman, I have not been in touch with the Treasury Department, but the gentlewoman from New York has, and indicates that it is in their budget. They believe they can afford it and can support it in the context of their bill.

In my opinion, Mr. Chairman, we need to give local law enforcement the tools to fight these crimes which are the basis of the drug problem in our communities making money and then converting that money so that it can be used legally. The funding in the amendment would give local agency the tools to fight the root of the drug problem. It would target high-intensity drug trafficking areas.

Because of that, and because I think it is so critically important, and because I know the gentleman from New York (Mr. LaFalce), the ranking member of the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, and the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Leach), the chairman of the Committee on Banking and Financial Services have been strong supporters of this legislation.

And I believe that we have such a broad base of support for this legislation, I would hope that the chairman of the subcommittee would see his way clear to letting this be adopted and then seeing how we can work between now and conference.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment and urge my colleagues to adopt it.

Rep. Spencer Bachus

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, when we talk about drug trafficking, I think some of us think of it as a one-way street. We think of the drugs coming in. Drug trafficking is a two-way street. The drugs come in and the money goes out. We seize, by some estimates, as much as 30 percent of the drugs entering our country. We seize less than one-fourth of 1 percent of the money that leaves the country.

Now, we can continue to put young men in jail, catching them pushing drugs on the street; and we can continue to fill up our prisons, but we have to start doing some new things. The legislation that the gentlewoman from New York steered through this House and through the Senate was considered ground breaking at the time, and that is what the New York Police Department described it as.

Mr. Speaker, we authorize $3 million, and I would say that we cannot afford not to spend this money. Where we get it, that is a decision of the appropriators. But I can tell my colleagues that we had numerous hearings on this legislation. It is good legislation. I think it is foolhardy for us to take so much time, so much consideration, have law enforcement agents from all over this Nation testify in five different hearings, carefully construct legislation that this Congress felt very good about and which passed I think without a dissenting vote, and then not to fund it. It makes absolutely no sense.

We are talking about a threat to every one of our communities, and we are talking about addressing the flip side of this threat, the money laundering side, which has not been seriously looked at or combatted. And we now have an opportunity, through the expenditure of just a small amount of money, to move in that direction.

I want to say that I do not think we have a choice here. I do not think this is a situation where we do not have the money. I will leave my colleagues with this: a drug dealer last year was convicted of pushing drugs and the testimony revealed that he made $3 million in less than a month pushing drugs in one of our large cities. One drug dealer in one city made $3 million pushing drugs and we are talking about $3 million.

Rep. Joseph Crowley

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the Velazquez-Bachus amendment which would earmark $3 million of appropriated fiscal year 2000 Treasury Department funds to provide grants to States and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute money laundering related to financial crimes.

Mr. Chairman, money laundering activities allow drug traffickers, arms smugglers, tax cheats, and many other criminals to fund and profit from their illicit activities. In my congressional district in Queens in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights, the seriousness of the drug money laundering problem is highlighted by the widespread use of money remitters and their agents by organized narcotics traffickers to send the proceeds of drug sales back to drug source countries.

Mr. Chairman, the grant program funded by this amendment is part of an overall strategy to help provide local law enforcement officials greater access to Federal law enforcement resources in their ongoing battle against money laundering activity, and so I strongly urge all of my colleagues to support the Velazquez-Bachus amendment.

Mr. Chairman, let me just add that I know that the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez) has been working on this issue for a number of years, at least 7 years here in the House. And we are not talking about a great deal of money in the overall picture of the budget, but an amount of money that can go a long way to helping us curtail the drug importation and exploitation of many people in my district.

Rep. Marge Roukema

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I speak in strong support of this amendment. It is very simple. If we want to fight drugs, we have got to vote for this amendment because money laundering equals the drug trade. And as has been already stated, this is a high priority by anybody's standards.

Certainly, I want to join my colleague on the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus) as he congratulated the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez) for the good work that she has done on money laundering. Her bill, just to remind or refresh the memories of our colleagues, the Money Laundering and Financial Strategy Act, was passed last year and it was signed into law in October of 1998, and it was passed easily with strong support. But we cannot have that bill on the ledger here without financing it and implementing it, and that is what we are saying here.

The gentlewoman from New York talked about the administration and its responsibility to formulate a comprehensive anti-money laundering strategy and, by the way, we must also stress for all our colleagues this is not a Federal program. This is to give money to local law enforcement. It is putting money back at the local level where we can do the best possible in those high-risk areas to combat that money laundering. The need is very great, and it is pressing and it is growing.

Mr. Chairman, I want to refresh the memory of both my colleagues on the Committee on Banking and Financial Services as well as others about the hearings that were held in my committee, the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, on this subject of money laundering.

The amount of money being laundered in the United States is estimated, conservatively, I might say, to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Law enforcement, that is, U.S. Attorneys, Customs and even Treasury, told us at these hearings that the lifeline of the drug trade is money laundering. The lifeline of drugs is money laundering.

In addition, we were also told that approximately $30 billion in cash is being smuggled out of the U.S. on an annual basis. And it is obviously no small problem. It is growing and it is huge.

One thing is very clear from the subcommittee hearings. If the drug lords, and I want to stress this, it is very clear for anybody that is knowledgeable on this subject, if the drug lords cannot launder the proceeds from the drug sales, they are out of business. Law enforcement has made this point time and again.

Now, this amendment earmarks $3 million of Treasury Department's funds for local law enforcement to fight that money laundering. I want to stress with reference to some statement by the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman Kolbe) and his observation about the Treasury's lack of action, I also am not satisfied with the Treasury Department in the money laundering field. They are very late in issuing the national anti-money laundering strategy required by the Velazquez bill of last year. Their report was due, or strategy was due, in February of this year.

But Treasury is also late in finalizing the money services business regulations and we were promised, both in writing as well as at the hearings, a written response by June 1 to give us some idea as to when Treasury would be acting on these statutory requirements. But I want the gentleman from Arizona to know as chairman of the subcommittee that nothing yet has been received, despite repeated promises.

This amendment will make it clear to Treasury that Congress is serious about money laundering, and it will help us focus the Treasury Department on this important issue.

Mr. Chairman, I urge a strong vote for this amendment.

Rep. John J. LaFalce

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, there are several different types of crime, but the vast, vast preponderance of crime involves money. Money.

If we go to law enforcement officials, whether Federal, State, local, and ask them what is the best way to detect crime, they would say ``follow the money.'' Follow the money. That is what we want to do. And that was the reason that the Congress in October of 1998 passed the Money Laundering and Financial Strategies Act of 1998, so that the Federal law enforcement officials, the State law enforcement officials, the local law enforcement officials could also do together jointly what they thought would be most effective: follow the money.

The difficulty is, to follow the money, we need a little bit of money. The difficulty is, in order to have a cooperative strategy involving the Federal, State, and local governments, as is called for by a section of the October, 1998, act, that section of the October, 1998, act must be funded.

The amendment of the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez) simply says, amongst the monies that already have been determined should be appropriated by the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government for the Treasury Department, of that amount $3 million should be designated for what local law enforcement officials think is the most important act that can be done to detect crimes involving money, that is, follow the money.

Vote for the Velazquez amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez).

The amendment was agreed to.

Rep. Michael P. Forbes

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

(Mr. FORBES asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Michael P. Forbes

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Mr. Chairman, I rise as a member of the Subcommittee on Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government in strong support of the measure that we are now debating.

This is a responsible bill that maintains fiscal discipline, fully funds all programs and activities under its jurisdiction at current year levels while targeting resources to critical activities. This bill is a very, very important measure that continues to fund important government operations.

I want to commend the chairman and the ranking member for the efforts in which they have put this measure together. We all understand that this is done under the auspices of retaining the tight fiscal caps. Difficult decisions have been made in putting this bill together.

I want to compliment both the majority and the minority staff for the quality of this measure. It does move the process forward, and I rise in strong support.

Mr. Chairman, I rise as a Member of the Subcommittee in strong support the FY 2000 Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations Bill.

This is a responsible bill that maintains fiscal discipline, fully funds all programs and activities under its jurisdiction at current year levels while targeting resources to critical activities, such as enforcing our gun and tobacco laws, combating illegal drugs, ensuring that the Customs Services' trade automation system, a system vital to maintaining the flow of goods into and out of the United States remains functional and providing vital funds necessary to continue the implementation of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act.

For example, we provide:

$12.6 million (over last year) to enforce Brady Law violations to keep convicted felons from obtaining guns; investigate illegal firearms dealers; and join forces with state and local law enforcement and prosecutors to fully investigate and prosecute offenders. Total funding is $12.6 million, the same as the President's request.

$11.2 million (over last year) to expand the Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative to 10 cities (total of 37), including rapid gun tracing analysis for state and local law enforcement and 60 new ATF agents to work in task force operations with local law enforcement illegal firearm successful investigations. Total funding is $45.2 million, the same as the President's request.

$5.2 million (over last year) to implement tobacco tax compliance provisions of the 1997 budget agreement. The same as the President's request.

$10 million (over last year) for the Drug Free Communities Act. Total funding is $30 million, $8 million over the President's request.

$10 million (over last year) for ONDCP's media campaign to reduce and prevent drug use among youth. Total funding is $195 million the same as the President's request.

$108 million (over last year) to continue implementation of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act.

$200 million for the final phase of ensuring IRS information systems are Y2K compliant.

In addition, this bill reinforces Congress' strong commitment to our nation's children by ensuring that low-income Federal employees have the resources they need to obtain safe and affordable child care.

I want to thank the Chairman and the Ranking Member for their efforts in this regard.

Mr. Chairman this is a good bill, even if it is not a perfect bill, but it is a bill that has been crafted in a bipartisan and thoughtful fashion.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

For necessary expenses of the Office of Inspector General in carrying out the provisions of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended; not to exceed $2,000,000 for official travel expenses, including hire of passenger motor vehicles; and not to exceed $100,000 for unforeseen emergencies of a confidential nature, to be allocated and expended under the direction of the Inspector General of the Treasury,

Rep. James H. Maloney

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) and I have prepared an amendment to provide information to poor and elderly Americans who rely on kerosene fuel to heat their homes.

Specifically, the amendment that we would have offered would transfer money from the Treasury's general operating funds to the Internal Revenue Service's Processing, Assistance, and Management funds so that the IRS may conduct a study of the fuel.

A study is needed because the effects of dyed kerosene, particularly for individuals who heat their homes with unvented heaters, are as yet undetermined; and under the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act, Congress is pressing home heating customers to use red-dyed kerosene fuel to heat their homes.

The 1997 tax bill established a 24 cents per gallon tax on kerosene fuel to deter fraud. Some customers, however, do not use red-dyed fuels to heat their homes because they are unsure of its safety or because area manufacturers have not yet made red-dyed fuel available to them.

Unfortunately, the two alternatives in the 1997 bill that Congress made available to those who use red-dyed fuel are not feasible for many low income and elderly people because, under the 1997 tax bill, individuals unable to buy red-dyed fuel can only purchase clear kerosene tax free by purchasing at a blocked pump or by applying for a refund through their annual tax return.

Low income and elderly Americans do not have the means to transport the kerosene from blocked pumps to their homes and, based on their income level, do not file tax returns. As a result, they must have the fuel delivered to their homes, and they end up paying the 24 cents per gallon tax.

While this situation is an unintended consequence of the bill, the individuals who are shouldering this tax burden are among our country's most vulnerable populations, and they are paying a tax that they were never meant to pay.

Congress should not push poor and elderly Americans to use dyed kerosene fuel to heat their homes when Congress has not taken the opportunity itself to ensure its safety.

Through conversations on both sides of the aisle, we understand that we will seek to address this problem through the conference committee, and we look to seeing that there is the funding necessary for a study to determine the safety of the burning of the undyed fuel, as I had indicated.

Rep. John M. Spratt

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. James H. Maloney

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I certainly yield to the gentleman from South Carolina.

Rep. John M. Spratt

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Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend the gentleman from Connecticut for taking this initiative and also to say that this is an important problem for some people that have no other alternative but to use kerosene.

There was no intention to impose a 24 cents tax on them. We gave them an out, namely, to use red-dyed kerosene. But even the oil refineries do not want to market that kind of kerosene yet, because they are not sure of the consequences of using it.

I have had people call me and report to me problems where they have used red-dyed kerosenes, odors that come from the heaters. There is smoke. There is a ceramic residue. The wicks clog up. We are just waiting on a disaster to happen here.

Before Congress imposes this requirement on people, we ought to know what we are talking about, and that is all that we are asking for, a study by the IRS.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman from Connecticut yield?

Rep. James H. Maloney

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I certainly yield to the gentleman from Arizona.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I appreciate what both the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Maloney) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) said, and I think they have highlighted an important problem. I want to assure them that I will work with them in the conference committee to try to craft the right language that can get this study done that I think does need to be done.

Rep. John M. Spratt

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Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman from Connecticut will yield, I thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) very much for his cooperation.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Maloney) will yield, I want to thank the gentleman from Connecticut and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) for raising this issue.

As someone who has been involved in this, I have a lot of marinas in my district on the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River and Patuxent River. We have the fuel, commercial and recreational fuel, and that of course is colored as well. Not, obviously, the same issue but a similar one that I have been involved in. I think that the gentlemen's initiatives on this are very well taken. I look forward to working with my colleagues to see if we can get this problem resolved. I thank the gentlemen for their efforts.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

For the repair, alteration, and improvement of the Treasury Building and Annex, $23,000,000, to remain available until expended.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the bill through page 34, line 6 be considered as read, printed in the Record, and open to amendment at any point.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Arizona?

There was no objection.

The text of the remainder of the bill through page 34, line 6 is as follows:

For necessary expenses of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, as a bureau of the Department of the Treasury, including materials and support costs of Federal law enforcement basic training; purchase (not to exceed 52 for police-type use, without regard to the general purchase price limitation) and hire of passenger motor vehicles; for expenses for student athletic and related activities; uniforms without regard to the general purchase price limitation for the current fiscal year; the conducting of and participating in firearms matches and presentation of awards; for public awareness and enhancing community support of law enforcement training; not to exceed $9,500 for official reception and representation expenses; room and board for student interns; and services as authorized by 5 U.S.C. 3109, $82,827,000, of which up to $16,511,000 for materials and support costs of Federal law enforcement basic training shall remain available until September 30, 2002: Provided, That the Center is authorized to accept and use gifts of property, both real and personal, and to accept services, for authorized purposes, including funding of a gift of intrinsic value which shall be awarded annually by the Director of the Center to the outstanding student who graduated from a basic training program at the Center during the previous fiscal year, which shall be funded only by gifts received through the Center's gift authority: Provided further, That notwithstanding any other provision of law, students attending training at any Federal Law Enforcement Training Center site shall reside in on-Center or Center-provided housing, insofar as available and in accordance with Center policy: Provided further, That funds appropriated in this account shall be available, at the discretion of the Director, for the following: training United States Postal Service law enforcement personnel and Postal police officers; State and local government law enforcement training on a space-available basis; training of foreign law enforcement officials on a space-available basis with reimbursement of actual costs to this appropriation, except that reimbursement may be waived by the Secretary for law enforcement training activities in foreign countries undertaken pursuant to section 801 of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Public Law 104-32; training of private sector security officials on a space- available basis with reimbursement of actual costs to this appropriation; and travel expenses of non-Federal personnel to attend course development meetings and training sponsored by the Center: Provided further, That the Center is authorized to obligate funds in anticipation of reimbursements from agencies receiving training sponsored by the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, except that total obligations at the end of the fiscal year shall not exceed total budgetary resources available at the end of the fiscal year: Provided further, That the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is authorized to provide training for the Gang Resistance Education and Training program to Federal and non-Federal personnel at any facility in partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms: Provided further, That the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center is authorized to provide short-term medical services for students undergoing training at the Center.

operation, maintenance and procurement, air and marine interdiction

For expenses, not otherwise provided for, necessary for the operation and maintenance of marine vessels, aircraft, and other related equipment of the Air and Marine Programs; including operational training and mission-related travel, and rental payments for facilities occupied by the air or marine interdiction and demand reduction programs, the operations of which include the following: the interdiction of narcotics and other goods; the provision of support to Customs and other Federal, State, and local agencies in the enforcement or administration of laws enforced by the Customs Service; and, at the discretion of the Commissioner of Customs, the provision of assistance to Federal, State, and local agencies in other law enforcement and emergency humanitarian efforts, $109,413,000, which shall remain available until expended: Provided, That no aircraft or other related equipment, with the exception of aircraft that is one of a kind and has been identified as excess to Customs requirements and aircraft that has been damaged beyond repair, shall be transferred to any other Federal agency, department, or office outside of the Department of the Treasury, during fiscal year 2000 without the prior approval of the Committees on Appropriations.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there any amendment to that portion of the bill?

The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

For payment to the Postal Service Fund for revenue forgone on free and reduced rate mail, pursuant to subsections (c) and (d) of section 2401 of title 39, United States Code, $93,436,000, of which $64,436,000 shall not be available for obligation until October 1, 2000: Provided, That mail for overseas voting and mail for the blind shall continue to be free: Provided further, That 6-day delivery and rural delivery of mail shall continue at not less than the 1983 level: Provided further, That none of the funds made available to the Postal Service by this Act shall be used to implement any rule, regulation, or policy of charging any officer or employee of any State or local child support enforcement agency, or any individual participating in a State or local program of child support enforcement, a fee for information requested or provided concerning an address of a postal customer: Provided further, That none of the funds provided in this Act shall be used to consolidate or close small rural and other small post offices in fiscal year

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the bill through page 63, line 13 be considered as read, printed in the RECORD, and open to amendment at any point.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Arizona?

There was no objection.

The text of the remainder of the bill through page 63, line 13 is as follows:

For necessary expenses of the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled established by the Act of June 23, 1971, Public Law 92-28, $2,674,000.

government payment for annuitants, employees health benefits

For payment of Government contributions with respect to retired employees, as authorized by chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, and the Retired Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (74 Stat. 849), as amended, such sums as may be necessary. government payment for annuitants, employee life insurance For payment of Government contributions with respect to employees retiring after December 31, 1989, as required by chapter 87 of title 5, United States Code, such sums as may be necessary.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there amendments to that portion of the bill?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman will state his parliamentary inquiry.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, we have an amendment that will be offered and then withdrawn to title I. Now I know we are past title I.

The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Barcia) ask unanimous consent to return to an earlier title to offer his amendment?

Without objection, the gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I reserve the right to object.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield to me under his reservation?

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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I yield under my reservation to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Barcia) has great concern about a case I have been working with him on. I apologize. He wanted to offer the amendment, and I suggested that he offer it and then withdraw it, which he has agreed to. But he wants to raise the issue. It deals with a Customs matter in which his constituents, he believes, were mistreated. He simply wants to make that point. I have assured him that we will then work on the issue.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Continuing under my reservation, Mr. Chairman, I would just note that the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Barcia), if he intends just to discuss this, can just strike the last word and discuss the issue. My concern is, about doing this, is if somebody else comes back and says they want to come back.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I think the chairman raises a good point. I ask the gentleman from Michigan to withdraw his unanimous consent and move to strike the last word so we can discuss the matter.

Rep. James A. Barcia

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

The gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) was to be here on the floor also, because he actually represents the individuals involved and was to have spoken with the chairman, I believe, at this point. I believe he is probably en route to the floor.

I have an amendment which the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) was going to co-author which would increase the amount of appropriations for salaries and payroll by $150,000 to include in this appropriation bill the ability of the U.S. Customs Service to settle an egregious action which was taken by a customs official in the Chicago office at O'Hare Airport. I believe it was the constituent of the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Bishop) as well as the constituent of the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) who traveled to Africa, paid the government in Africa of Cameroon some $116,000 in trophy fees for hides and horns and other animals that were taken and harvested there.

When the Customs official ordered this cargo destroyed, she was out of line because it was the official jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department.

And so these two individuals are going to have a very difficult time. Even if they spent the same amount of money, they could not be guaranteed to harvest those animals, and certainly the costs that are involved in their trip as well are tremendous. The fact is everything was legal. They had their sitings permits; all of the paperwork was in order and in the crates of the cargo. This individual just went out and ordered these two crates to be destroyed, and they were subsequently placed in a landfill.

Several Members of Congress contacted Customs and indicated that the cargo would still be good; that they were, in fact, preserved before shipment from Africa to the United States and before they were placed in a landfill. And we had instructed that Customs official to get a shovel and go out and attempt to relocate those two crates. It was very valuable cargo.

We have very difficult regulations with the Customs Service. In the case of negligence of an employee, the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to reimburse up to an amount of $1,000 per individual per claim. And since the value of the cargo is $116,000, involving two individuals, it would be almost impossible to recover those costs without congressional action.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. James A. Barcia

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I want to commend the gentleman. The gentleman came up to me on the floor about 2 months ago, I believe, and brought this matter to my attention, and I shared his anger and outrage at the apparent treatment that has occurred here. When I say apparent, it is simply that I have not personally verified all the facts, but the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Barcia) and the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) are both men of great integrity.

I know the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) is also very concerned about this, as is the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Bishop) is also very concerned about this.

I personally have been pursuing this with Customs and with Mr. Kelly. I know that Mr. Kelly, the commissioner of Customs, is very concerned about this matter and shares the outrage of the gentleman from Michigan and the gentleman from Georgia about what apparently has occurred. They are in the process of trying to come to grips with this.

Unfortunately, the timing is not as good as it should have been; better to have met last week than next week, but my staff is pursuing a meeting, as the gentleman knows, and I hope the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Chambliss) knows, because we have been in touch with his staff, a meeting next week, with Customs and with the four gentlemen who have been so involved in this, along with myself, and hopefully either the chairman or a member of the chairman's staff so that we can continue to pursue this and get to the bottom of it.

The gentleman from Michigan and the gentleman from Georgia, the two gentlemen from Georgia, I suppose, and the gentleman from South Carolina are absolutely correct if individuals were treated in the manner that we believe they were. It was outrageous, unacceptable, and the citizens involved deserve compensation for their loss.

Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Michigan wanted to offer an amendment which set a specific dollar value for the loss.

The CHAIRMAN. Time of the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Barcia) has expired.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Sen. Saxby Chambliss

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.

The gentleman from Michigan had an amendment to set a specific amount of damages for the two parties that were most directly affected here. I indicated to him that I would not be able to support that at this time, simply because I do not know what the amount of damages are. Quite obviously, on the floor it is difficult to assess the amount of damages of a claim, and there are thousands of claims, of course, against the government; and if we did that on a regular basis, it would be chaotic. That does not, however, diminish in any way the absolute justice in the amendment.

I am going to be working very, very hard to try to get to the bottom of this. And I say to my friends from Michigan and Georgia that their prosecution of this matter is obviously very vigorous, very focused, but very appropriate; and I look forward to working very closely with them so we can come to the bottom of this. And whatever we assess as the damages, we will work with them towards making sure that their constituents and people with whom they are involved are made whole to the extent they can be.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I just want to say that I associate myself with all of the remarks of both my friend from Maryland and my friend from Michigan. This was a very egregious and intentional and, frankly, malicious act, I think, on the part of this particular employee of the Customs Service.

And I want to also say very publicly that were it not for the intervention of our friend, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), in this, I am not sure we would even be at the point we are today, where they have recognized the issue and recognized the problem. And I thank him for his diligent efforts on behalf of our folks back home in this regard.

We will continue to pursue this with the gentleman at this meeting next week. I hope we are able to come to some satisfactory resolution of it. Because if we are not, then I think we will be back here in this same venue the next time we are able to, to ensure that our folks are well compensated and well taken care of for a malicious intentional act on the part of this employee.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

Sec. 501. No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall remain available for obligation beyond the current fiscal year unless expressly so provided herein. Sec. 502. The expenditure of any appropriation under this Act for any consulting service through procurement contract, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 3109, shall be limited to those contracts where such expenditures are a matter of public record and available for public inspection, except where otherwise provided under existing law, or under existing Executive order issued pursuant to existing law. Sec. 503. None of the funds made available by this Act shall be available for any activity or for paying the salary of any Government employee where funding an activity or paying a salary to a Government employee would result in a decision, determination, rule, regulation, or policy that would prohibit the enforcement of section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930. Sec. 504. None of the funds made available by this Act shall be available in fiscal year 2000 for the purpose of transferring control over the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center located at Glynco, Georgia, and Artesia, New Mexico, out of the Department of the Treasury. Sec. 505. No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall be available to pay the salary for any person filling a position, other than a temporary position, formerly held by an employee who has left to enter the Armed Forces of the United States and has satisfactorily completed his period of active military or naval service, and has within 90 days after his release from such service or from hospitalization continuing after discharge for a period of not more than 1 year, made application for restoration to his former position and has been certified by the Office of Personnel Management as still qualified to perform the duties of his former position and has not been restored thereto. Sec. 506. No funds appropriated pursuant to this Act may be expended by an entity unless the entity agrees that in expending the assistance the entity will comply with sections 2 through 4 of the Buy American Act (41 U.S.C. 10a-10c). Sec. 507. (a) Purchase of American-Made Equipment and Products.--In the case of any equipment or products that may be authorized to be purchased with financial assistance provided under this Act, it is the sense of the Congress that entities receiving such assistance should, in expending the assistance, purchase only American-made equipment and products. (b) Notice to Recipients of Assistance.--In providing financial assistance under this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury shall provide to each recipient of the assistance a notice describing the statement made in subsection (a) by the Congress. Sec. 508. If it has been finally determined by a court or Federal agency that any person intentionally affixed a label bearing a ``Made in America'' inscription, or any inscription with the same meaning, to any product sold in or shipped to the United States that is not made in the United States, such person shall be ineligible to receive any contract or subcontract made with funds provided pursuant to this Act, pursuant to the debarment, suspension, and ineligibility procedures described in sections 9.400 through 9.409 of title 48, Code of Federal Regulations. Sec. 509. No funds appropriated by this Act shall be available to pay for an abortion, or the administrative expenses in connection with any health plan under the Federal employees health benefit program which provides any benefits or coverage for abortions.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Ms. DeLAURO: Strike section 509.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment on behalf of myself and several of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. It is a bipartisan measure which would strike the provision in this bill which prevents health plans which participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program from providing coverage for abortion services. On a more basic level, this amendment would restore fairness to the women serving in the Federal Government.

As we all know, this bill provides funding for the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the network of health insurance plans for Federal employees, dedicated people who serve the public around the Nation, in Maryland and in Virginia, and our staffs right here in the House. They depend on the FEHBP for their medical care. That includes 1.2 million women of reproductive age.

Until November 1995, Federal employees could choose a health care plan which covered the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion, just like every other employee in this Nation. Now our Federal employees no longer have that right. They are unable to choose a health care plan which includes coverage of this legal, and I repeat, this legal medical procedure.

I would remind my colleagues that the right to choose has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It is protected by the United States Constitution. It is only July, but already we have been to the floor far too many times fighting to protect women's health against the personal agendas of some of our colleagues.

To my colleagues who oppose this amendment, let me stress that I respect their beliefs, but it is unfair to foist those beliefs on others who may not share the same views and who are paying for the health care plans of their choice.

Restricting access to abortion is dangerous to women's health. According to the American Medical Association, funding restrictions like the ones in this bill makes it more likely that a woman will continue a potentially life-threatening pregnancy to term or undergo abortion procedures that would endanger their health. Coverage of abortion services in Federal health plans does not mean that the government or the taxpayer is subsidizing abortion. I would bet that we will hear that argument repeated over and over again today.

When an individual agrees to work for the government, he or she receives a salary and a benefit package. The health benefit, like the salary, belongs to the employee and not the government; and employees are free to use both as they see fit. The government contributes to premiums of Federal employees, and the employees purchase private health insurance and pay the rest of the premium. Each employee has the power to choose a health plan that best fits his or her needs. If employees do not want to choose a plan with abortion coverage, they do not have to. The choice is available.

Approximately one-third of private fee-for-service plans and 30 percent of HMOs do not provide for abortion coverage, but Federal employees are left with no choice and no option if tragedy strikes.

Let me read to my colleagues a short excerpt from a letter from one family affected by this restriction. It is a woman from Alabama, and she says, ``My doctor told me that my twins, which were boys, suffered from Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Both babies shared the same blood vessels. Because of this, the baby on top was giving his blood and water to the baby on the bottom. The smaller twin was about one month smaller in size than the larger twin. The doctor said the larger twin was growing too fast. After consulting with the doctor, my husband and I decided that the best thing to do would be to end the pregnancy. It was the hardest decision of my life.''

This family thought that in fact that they were covered by their insurance. This was right after the Congress made their decision to restrict this kind of coverage. What happened to this family is unbelievable. They had to file for bankruptcy. And I will quote the last line of the letter from this woman. ``Families like ours should not have to go bankrupt in order to receive appropriate medical care.''

I offer this amendment on behalf of my colleagues, as I said. But let me just say that when an individual does work for the government, they ought to be allowed to take their salary and their benefit package and have the choice of what kind of coverage meets their family needs. We must allow them to have the choice in that decision. It is unfair to ask people to spend the kinds of hours that they do day in and day out, who want to be loyal public servants, and to deny them what, in fact, they are willing to pay for and what they are paying for.

By singling out abortion for exclusion from health plans that cover other reproductive health care, it is dangerous and it is desperately unfair to these employees. I urge my colleagues to give our public servants the right to choose the health care that is best for them. I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment and, in doing so, I want to make it clear that my position is not because of where I come from on this issue. As I think many of the Members know, I have regarded myself as pro-choice, in that I believe a woman should have the right not only to choose, but certainly in the case of coverage by a Federal health benefit should have the right to have this kind of coverage.

However, having said that, I rise in opposition to this because I believe that it goes to the very heart of this bill and the balance that I think is in this bill. If this were a freestanding bill, I would be joining with the gentlewoman from Connecticut. But it is not; it is on this piece of legislation, which has been historically a magnet for a lot of the abortion issues that we have discussed in this body.

The bill that we have before us today is balanced, balanced in the sense that it reflects exactly what this body and the Congress and the President of the United States signed into law last year. That is, it continues a prohibition which has existed since 1995 in the Congress against Federal health benefit funds being used to pay for an abortion.

On the other hand, it also includes a provision that was adopted last year which we have come to know as the Lowey amendment, which provides for contraceptive coverage for women who are covered under the Federal Health Benefits Plan. So there is a certain symmetry to this. We do not fund an abortion procedure, but we do say that we will fund contraceptive coverage.

In any event, it is my view that this battle, having been fought very hard in the House and the Senate last year and with the administration, that we ought to accept the bill that we have already adopted. We should leave these two provisions, both of them, in the bill. We should leave this section 509; and later, when we get to the section dealing with contraceptive coverage, we should leave that in the bill.

I hope my colleagues, regardless of where they come down on this issue, would vote as I intend to do, which is to vote to retain both of these provisions.

Mr. Chairman, legislating is the art of the possible. Legislating on appropriations bills particularly is the art of the possible. There are balances, there are compromises that have to be made. There are trade-offs which have to be made. We have to get a bill that can pass not only the House, that can pass the Senate, that can get through a conference committee, be passed again by the House and the Senate and be accepted by the President of the United States.

I believe that these provisions, both of which did that last year, got through the House, got through the Senate, were adopted in the conference, and were signed into law by the President. We should retain these provisions in the legislation.

I hope my colleagues would reject this amendment to strike section

Mr. Chairman, may I ask unanimous consent that all debate on this amendment and all amendments thereto close in 45 minutes and the time to be equally divided between the two sides?

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Arizona?

There was no objection.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I guess that gives us 22\1/2\ minutes apiece; am I correct?

The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.

The Chair will assume that the time will be controlled by the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) and the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe).

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2\1/4\ minutes to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer).

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, this is not a new issue for anybody on this floor. I join in supporting and, as a matter of fact, I cosponsored the amendment of the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro). I would just take a brief time to reiterate why.

Some very close friends of mine have a view different than mine, and I respect their view and I hope they respect mine, with respect to the termination of a pregnancy, for important reasons.

It is my view, however, Mr. Chairman, that this issue does not deal with that directly; and the reason is this: It is my belief that a Federal employee covered by the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan has, as a part of their compensation package, three things.

They, first of all, have their salary, the money they are paid directly. No one would get up on this floor, it seems to me, and say that we ought to take a portion of that salary and ensure that they do not spend it for x, y, or z. Surely those who say that they want to have tax cuts because they want to leave more money in the pockets of those Americans so that they can choose how to spend their money would not support that effort.

Secondly, a Federal employee has their retirement benefit. Obviously, that is a valuable part of their compensation package. It will in retirement provide them with the, in effect, income in retirement that they earned during their working years.

Thirdly, they have the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan. We should not tell them how to spend that portion of their compensation. We ought to allow them the option to purchase such policy as they choose because it is part of their compensation and is their money, not ours. We made a deal with them. We said, if they work for us, this is what we will pay them. They ought to have the option to spend it as they see fit.

I support the amendment of the gentlewoman.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Weldon).

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in very strong opposition to this radical amendment. As all of my colleagues know, the provision that the gentlewoman seeks to strike has been included in this legislation for years and, as we all know, this is a highly controversial issue. The debate we are engaging in is not one involving the legality of abortion. It is about using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions.

While the availability of abortion on demand is a very controversial issue in the United States, with many Americans feeling very strongly that it should not be allowed and some feeling very strongly that it should be allowed, the issue that the gentlewoman brings up this afternoon is indeed not very controversial, with the vast majority of Americans feeling very strongly that taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund abortions in the United States of America.

Now, some people may try to claim that this is just another medical procedure. And we all know seriously, Mr. Chairman, that this is not just another simple medical procedure. It is a very unique medical procedure where one of the participants in the procedure ends up dead.

The Supreme Court itself, the Supreme Court that created legalized abortion in the United States, has actually ruled on this issue. In upholding the Hyde amendment, which prohibits abortion funding in programs funded by the Labor HHS bill, the Court said: ``Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.''

Now, I, as a medical doctor, would argue that the unborn baby in the womb is not a potential life. It meets all of the medical criteria of a life, the criteria that I used to use as a practicing physician to determine whether somebody is alive or dead: a beating heart, active brain waves. Indeed, with modern ultrasound technology today, as early as 8, 9, 10 weeks we can see them moving around their arms.

Clearly a very controversial issue, and the gentlewoman brings this up now. I believe very strongly that our colleagues should reject this amendment. We should not allow taxpayer dollars to be used for this purpose.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. David J. Weldon

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I understand the position of the gentleman. I ask this legitimately because the gentleman heard my argument.

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I have to apologize to the gentleman. I was preparing my remarks, and I did not listen to his argument.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman would continue to yield, what I essentially said was that the money spent on the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan, in other words, the gentleman is saying Federal tax dollars, the money we spend toward the retirement program and the salary, are all a part of the compensation package of the employee.

Now, the salary is paid directly. I put it in my pocket. No one could refer to that as Federal tax dollars that were given to me and put in my pocket. But surely my point would be, my colleague would not tell me or anybody else tell me that I can only spend that money in this way or that way. In fact, a woman could spend her part of her salary to accomplish a legal objective with which my colleague would disagree, I understand.

My question to my colleague is, how do we differentiate that part of the compensation package, albeit it is paid directly to the insurance company, because it is put all together?

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I appreciate the argument of the gentleman; and it is a legitimate part to bring forward in the debate.

We in the Congress established the compensation package, and I think there is clearly a difference between the two. While I do not think American taxpayers could in any way object to how they use the money that is in their pocket, many American taxpayers I believe would object very, very strongly to this benefit being included. And that is the essence of my argument.

This is a very, very controversial issue. It divides the Nation, as we all know. I feel that it is best for this particular piece of legislation that we reject the amendment and we stay with the language that exists, though I appreciate the argument of the gentleman and though I respectfully disagree.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from Michigan (Ms. Kilpatrick).

(Ms. KILPATRICK asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, as a woman that God has created, and many of us around this world, many of us feel very passionately that we have the right to choose, to choose with our God and our husband or significant other whether we will, in fact, bear children and whether we will, in fact, bring that pregnancy to term.

I rise today in support of the DeLauro amendment, and I am proud to be a cosponsor of that amendment.

1.2 million Federal employees, women of reproductive age, do have the will but not the right to use their health plan for the health benefit that they would choose if they wanted to have an abortion. 1.2 million women, many of whom work in this House of Representatives, cannot choose a health plan and use an abortion coverage.

As was mentioned by our ranking member, when we hire an employee, as employees all over the country know, they have a choice as to which plan they want to pick and which services they want to use in their health care plan.

What we are saying in this amendment is give the women of the Federal Government who work all over this country, some 1.2 million of them, that same opportunity.

Every employee in this country has a right to choose the health care plan with the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion, except Federal employees. I find that inherently wrong, as a woman, as a mother, as one who God has made to be able to reproduce.

It is unfortunate this amendment has to come before this House. This bears repeating. It is a medical procedure that is legal, an abortion.

I know, in my history as a 20-year public employee, we are not going to change people's opinion one way or the other on abortion. It is a very private, personal decision that each individual must make.

But the amendment is a good one. Let us not deny the 1.2 million Federal employees all over this country and, yes, who work for this Congress the opportunity to pick the health coverage that they want.

Mr. Chairman, let us support the DeLauro amendment. Let us support the 1.2 million women who serve our country across this country.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will advise all Members that the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) is controlling time on her side and the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) is controlling time on his side.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella).

Rep. Constance A. Morella

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the introducer of the amendment that I strongly support for yielding the time to me and for introducing it.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment would simply prevent discrimination against Federal employees in their health care coverage.

It was 4 years ago when Congress voted to deny Federal employees abortion coverage that was already provided to most of the country's workforce through their private health insurance plans. Incidentally, before that it was provided in the Federal employee plans. This decision was discriminatory and it was another example of Congress chipping away at the benefits of Federal employees and their right to choose an insurance plan that best meets their health care needs.

The coverage of abortion services in Federal health plans would not mean that abortions would be subsidized by the Federal Government as has been mentioned. The government simply contributes to the premiums of Federal employees in order to allow them to purchase health insurance. This contribution is part of the employee benefit package, just as an employee's salary or retirement benefits.

Currently, let us remember that approximately two-thirds of private fee-for-service health insurance plans and 70 percent of HMOs provide abortion coverage. When this ban was reinstated 4 years ago, 178 FEHBP plans, that means Federal Employee Health Benefit Plans, out of 345 offered abortion coverage. Women had the choice. They had the choice to decide whether to participate in a plan with or without the coverage. Thus, an employee could choose a plan with abortion coverage or not.

Congress denied Federal employees their access to abortion coverage, thereby discriminating against them and treating them differently than the vast majority of private sector employees. I frankly think it is insulting to Federal employees that they are being told that part of their own compensation package is not under their control.

Mr. Chairman, approximately 1.2 million women of reproductive age rely on FEHBP for their health coverage, 1.2 million women without access to abortion coverage. Without access, their constitutionally protected right to choose is effectively denied.

So I indeed urge my colleagues to support the DeLauro amendment and ensure that Federal employees are once again provided their legal right to choose.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts).

Rep. Joe Pitts

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the DeLauro amendment. This amendment has been offered, and defeated, for the last 4 years. But our pro-choice colleagues are at it again, trying to force taxpayers to fund abortion.

According to a New York Times/CBS poll, and I quote, ``Only 23 percent of those polled said the national health care plan should cover abortions, while 72 percent said that those costs should be paid for directly by the women who have them.''

When an ABC News/Washington Post poll asked Americans if they agree or disagree with this statement, ``The Federal Government should pay for an abortion for any woman who wants it and cannot afford to pay,'' 69 percent disagreed.

The Center for Gender Equality has reported that 53 percent of women favor banning abortion except for rape, incest and life of the mother exceptions. The pro-life language in the bill that the gentlewoman from Connecticut seeks to gut includes these exceptions. Obviously, if 53 percent of women favor banning abortion aside from these exceptions, then they would not want their tax dollars paying for abortion-on-demand as this amendment intends.

In a Gallup poll from May of this year, 71 percent of Americans supported some or total restrictions on abortion. Do these citizens want their hard-earned tax dollars to pay for abortion for any reason, as the DeLauro amendment calls for?

Mr. Chairman, I ask, should taxpayers, our constituents, be forced to underwrite the cost of abortions for Federal employees? I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the DeLauro amendment.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 10 seconds. Taxpayers are not paying for these abortions. Federal employees who are female contract with the Federal Government. They get a salary and a benefit package. They then should have the opportunity to choose a health care package which ought to include abortion services.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey).

(Mrs. LOWEY asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I rise to support my colleague's motion, because I believe that the approximately 1.2 million women of reproductive age who rely on FEHBP for their medical care should have the option of choosing a health plan which includes coverage for abortion. My colleagues are not surprised to hear me say this, because it is well-known that I am pro-choice. In fact, some of them may be tired of seeing me stand to speak about the right to choose and in fact I must tell them, I share that weariness. Many of us are tired of constantly battling over these issues. But I do so because I do believe that it is America's families, husbands and wives, moms and dads, who should be making decisions about abortion, not those of us who serve in the Congress. I have fought my entire tenure in Congress to allow women their right to choose, without fear, without shame.

I also believe that our approach should be not to make abortion less accessible or more difficult but less necessary. If we agree, pro-choice, pro-life, that our goal should be less abortion, then our focus must be on what we can do to further that goal.

We should increase access to contraception as we have done in this bill, and I thank the gentleman from Arizona for his important work in including that provision in this bill. If we want to make abortion less necessary, we have to send a clear signal. Americans want us to work together toward a solution, not beat each other to death about abortion.

So I believe that making abortion inaccessible is not the answer. Contraceptive methods may fail, pregnancies may go unexpectedly and tragically wrong. No matter how good the contraceptive technology and how much education we do, some women will just need abortions. And abortion must remain safe and legal. I oppose my colleagues excluding abortion, among the most common surgeries for women, from health care coverage. And I support allowing Federal employees to have the option of abortion coverage in their health plans.

Mr. Chairman, I join my colleagues in supporting the DeLauro motion to strike.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 15 seconds. In terms of polling data, 54 percent of respondents in a recent poll opposed proposals that would prevent health plans from providing coverage of abortion services for Federal employees. So there appears to be a difference in numbers that are out there. But that is not the issue. Polling data is not the issue.

Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Maloney).

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me this time and for her leadership on this issue and so many others.

I rise in strong support of the DeLauro-Morella amendment. I would like very much to be associated with the comments of my colleague on the other side of the aisle, the gentlewoman from Maryland, when she spoke of the discrimination against female Federal employees because of the action of this Congress which the DeLauro amendment would address.

I would like to put this vote in perspective. It is the 122nd vote on choice since the beginning of the 104th Congress. This Congress has acted again and again to eliminate a woman's right to choose, procedure by procedure, restriction by restriction.

Mr. Chairman, it was only 3 short years ago that I received a notice in the mail that my health insurance coverage, by law, would no longer cover abortion. It was one small notice in the mail but one giant step backward for a woman's right to choose.

A Federal employee no longer gets a choice. Federal employees cannot purchase, with their own money, insurance coverage for abortion services. This amendment would not require coverage for abortion, it would simply allow an insurance company to cover abortion.

This amendment also does not require a Federal employee to choose a health plan which offers abortion coverage because a Federal employee may choose a plan that does not cover abortion.

This amendment is about making a choice and letting the marketplace work without interference from the Federal Government. I urge a ``yes'' vote on the DeLauro amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 8 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith).

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I thank my good friend for yielding me this time.

First, Mr. Chairman, let me point out again, as was noted by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Weldon), that the parameters of the compensation package, including the health package, are established not by the collective bargaining procedure, not by the Office of Personnel Management but by the Congress. That goes for the entire spectrum of benefits, whether it be the money, the health benefits, the retirement package--so we are right and this is the proper place to deal with this issue and to come to a conclusion on it.

I do rise in very strong opposition to the DeLauro amendment. This is not the first time we have dealt with this. For the last four appropriations bills that have been signed into law, this language has been rejected and the underlying pro-life language which proscribes funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or life of the mother has been put into law. This was also in effect from 1984 through 1993, and hopefully in fiscal year 2000 it will be again.

Let me remind Members, as well, that 72 percent of the money that is used towards the purchase of the health plan comes from the taxpayer, not from the premium payer. The remainder comes, about a quarter of it, from the premium payer, but almost three-fourths of the money is a direct subsidy from the United States taxpayer. This amendment would strike the Hyde amendment of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Again, I hope that Members will vote against it.

Mr. Chairman, let me also point out, it is bad enough from our perspective on the pro-life side that abortion on demand is the Supreme Court-imposed policy of our land. It was not voted into policy by the Congress, nor by the States. It was imposed upon us--forced on America--by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973. But we do not have to pay for it. That is the issue squarely before this body today.

Many of us have profound, conscientious objections to abortion. We believe it is killing. We believe it is the taking of an innocent and defenseless human life. We believe abortion exploits women, and hurts them both emotionally and physically. The pro-life language in this bill ensures that all of us who believe that abortion is killing and dangerous to women will not be complicit, will not be party to the taking of that innocent, unborn child's life.

Let me remind Members as well that more and more people in America, and the polls clearly reflect this, are coming to the inescapable conclusion that abortion methods are acts of violence against children, against little kids. Abortion, rather than the language in the bill, abortion itself is discriminatory against children who cannot defend themselves, boys and girls of all races who cannot say, ``Hey, wait, what about me?'' I think at a time when we know more about the unborn child's life in fetology, at a time when we have a window to the womb with ultrasound and can watch with incredible clarity an unborn child moving, sucking his or her thumb at the very earliest stages, to turn around and say that we can poke holes in that child and stab that child and kill that child, I think, is unspeakable.

I have spent my 19 years in Congress working on human rights issues. I believe this is the most egregious human rights abuse on the planet, because it is so often disguised and masqueraded as somehow being a right is abortion. It is indeed violence against babies.

I would just ask Members, remember what abortion methods are actually done. As soon as we get into the rhetoric of choice and all of the numbing rhetoric that makes us look askance rather than at the reality of abortion, then we are able to put it out of mind, put it under the table and fail to realize that dismemberment and chemical poisonings are terrible things. And that is what abortion is.

Look at dismemberment abortions--commonplace all over America. A loop-shaped knife is hooked up to a hose, into a suction device that is 20 to 30 times more powerful than the average vacuum cleaner, and then that child's body is literally hacked to death. That is violence, I say to my colleagues.

One of the Members on the pro-abortion side just threw her arm as if to say I should go jump in a lake. But this is the reality whether you like it or not.

I have viewed the ``Silent Scream'' produced by Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist, who wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, ``I've come to the agonizing conclusion that I have presided over 60,000 deaths,'' and then he quit doing abortions. This is a man who founded NARAL, a group that is backing the DeLauro amendment. He gave up doing abortions and now supports life. One of the things that made him give it up was that he saw that abortion in America and healing are schizophrenic. In some operating rooms physicians desperately try to save unborn children, in other operating rooms they hack off their limbs and decapitate babies.

He produced a video called The Silent Scream and another video that followed it in which he used real-life ultrasound. He used the ultrasound and chronicled an abortionist hacking that baby to death. And, as my colleagues know, I have been in the movement, the pro-life movement, for 25 years. Until I saw that, it did not even hit me as to how hideous this process, this violence against children, really is.

So dismemberment is not a pretty thing--it doesn't get any uglier--and to pay for it on demand because the child is, quote, unwanted, and then reduced to an object that can be thrown away and be treated as junk, is inhumane.

Then look at the saline abortions. High concentrated saltwater is injected into the baby's amniotic sac. The baby swallows that water and dies a slow, excruciatingly painful, death. It takes 2 hours for the baby to die from the caustic effects of saline abortions. It is legal; it is being done. If the DeLauro amendment passes, my colleagues and I in this Chamber will have to pay for it, and that is outrageous.

And then partial-birth abortions. In recent years, finally, Members have begun to see the reality of abortion when we talked about partial-birth abortion where the baby is more than half born, legs outside the mother's womb, literally in view, plain view, and then the brain is punctured with scissors, and the brains are literally sucked out.

That is the reality. We can talk all about choice and use all the sophistry from here to kingdom come, but the reality of what the abortionist does when he plies his or her craft is the killing of innocent human life. That is violence against children. That is a human rights abuse. Someday, I do not know when, someday I believe there will be an overwhelming consensus that we should not have been doing that for so long.

We have 40 million kids in this country who have died from abortions since 1973. That is more than the combined populations of many of our States who have been killed by dismemberment, chemical poisoning or some other hideous means. To tell us we have to fund it goes beyond the pale.

I urge a strong no vote on the DeLauro amendment.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Moran).

Rep. James P. Moran

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in favor of the DeLauro amendment and against the provision in this bill that denies women who are Federal employees a constitutional right that other citizens of this country currently enjoy.

Now I would say to my friend who had 8 minutes of graphic testimony to share with us that partial-birth abortions are banned. I even voted to ban such partial-birth abortions.

So that is not the reality, and neither is it the reality that Federal funds are being used for abortion services. If in fact they were, then the Hyde amendment of 1974 would apply, and we would not have this amendment on the floor.

The only reason we have this amendment on the floor is because these are not Federal funds. This is the compensation that Federal employees receive for work that they provide to the citizens of this country. They receive compensation the same way that every other working family does, salary, health benefits, retirement; and with virtually every other working situation, every other employer, there is some subsidy of that health benefit. But this is their income, and my colleague has no more right to restrict what they can do with their private income than he does to restrict what other families receiving income from the private sector are able to do.

Now let me also share with my colleagues some reality, what this really means, and I will get a little graphic, too, although not nearly as graphic as my friend from New Jersey has gotten.

I received a letter from a constituent from northern Virginia who happened to be a Federal employee. She writes:

I was 20 weeks pregnant when I got the bad news. My baby had Trisomy 18, a fatal genetic defect that causes the heart and lungs to fail after birth. There is no possibility that a baby can survive after birth. My doctor strongly recommended that I terminate the pregnancy. He was astounded to learn that the insurance company was not the problem because our insurance covered abortion services for situations like this. The problem was the United States Government and specifically the United States Congress. My husband and I were faced with a terrible decision, go to term with a baby that could not possibly live or spend a year's worth of our savings to terminate the pregnancy. I could not face the thought of spending another 5 months pregnant knowing my baby would not live.

Imagine having to explain, Mr. Chairman, this is reality, having to explain to everyone who asked, which people do, that we have not chosen a name or made any preparations because the baby is not going to live. This law amounts to discrimination against Federal Government employees, against Federal female government employees. It is absolutely wrong. This amendment should be approved; the provision should be struck.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. DeMint).

Sen. Jim DeMint

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the DeLauro amendment. As Members of Congress from across the country, we come representing various positions on the life issue, but the fundamental question presented to us by this amendment is should the Federal Government be in the business of subsidizing abortions.

Make no mistakes. Taxpayers do pay for the salaries and benefits of Federal workers. The taxpayers are our employers, and they do have the right to decide what benefits that they offer.

This amendment is supposedly about fairness, being fair to women who choose to have an abortion. I ask my colleagues this: How is it fair to ask millions of Americans who oppose abortion because they believe it is the taking of human life to pay for the very procedure they oppose? In addition to taxpayers' funds paying for abortion, insurance premiums contributed by all Federal employees would also be used to subsidize abortions on demand.

In a 1994 poll published by the Journal of American Medical Association, only 4 percent of the respondents answered that they thought the government should pay for the expense of an abortion. A New York Times poll indicated that 72 percent of poll respondents said the cost of abortion should be paid for directly by the women who have them, not by a national health plan. And, remember, we are not taking the choice away. All we are saying is do not ask taxpayers to pay for it.

Regardless of one's position on life issues, it is frankly surprising that there would be a push to ask taxpayers of America who subsidize 72 percent of the purchase of Federal employees health insurance to pay for abortions. In fact, this amendment would create a situation in which Americans, both Federal and others who are struggling to make ends meet, are asked to subsidize the abortion decision of a Federal worker who may make five times as much as they do. Regardless of the salary level, it is fundamentally unfair to ask Americans to subsidize a procedure which ends with the taking of a human life.

To conclude, I ask all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the issue, to oppose this unfair and unreasonable amendment.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler).

(Mr. NADLER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Jerrold Nadler

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman for yielding this time to me and for her leadership on this issue. I rise in strong support of the DeLauro amendment and oppose this continuing discrimination against women who are Federal employees by denying those women enrolled in the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan access to abortion services.

Until 4 years ago, Federal employees, like their private sector counterparts, could choose a health plan which covered the full range of reproductive services including abortion. Two-thirds of private health plans and 70 percent of HMOs today provide abortion services. We are not talking here about the government or the taxpayer subsidizing abortion. Federal employees purchase their own private health insurance. The government contributes to the premium. The health benefit, like their salary, belongs to the employees. Employees who do not choose a plan with abortion coverage are not required to.

This provision discriminates again women in public service. It is egregious, reprehensible and arrogant that Members of Congress think they have a right to tell women who in many cases have dedicated their lives to public service that they do not have the choice of receiving legal abortion services.

The real agenda here, of course, is to make the women's constitutional right to an abortion as difficult as possible. Since some Members cannot amend the Constitution to appeal the constitutional right, they will do everything possible to place roadblocks in the way of women who want to exercise their constitutional right to have a an abortion.

I can respect honest disagreement. They should amend the Constitution, if they can. We will oppose that, we will have an honest debate, and the American people will make a decision. But do not skulk in the rear and use a thousand different ways to violate women's constitutional rights.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Cummings).

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings

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Mr. Chairman, this body is made up of 435 Members, 22 of which are in the health profession, and 10 are medical doctors. Yet today we stand ready to determine the type of reproductive health services Federal employees should be provided, basically infringing upon the rights of women, their doctors and health plans to make this determination.

I believe that public policy should advocate the provision of comprehensive reproductive health care services in a manner that protects the essential privacy and rights of our Nation's women. Unfortunately, provisions in this legislation would work to chip away at this very important principle.

I believe that we must uphold the constitutional protections provided to women by giving doctors the ability to consider a woman's life, extenuating circumstances such as rape or incest and health when making reproductive health decisions.

The significance of this issue comes to light when we answer the following questions:

First, who does it affect? 1.2 million of our Nation's women of reproductive age who rely on FEHBP for their medical care.

Second, why should plans participating in FEHBP provide expanded reproductive health coverage? Attempts to prohibit comprehensive coverage discriminate against women in public service who are denied access to legal health services and procedures based on who they work for. Federal employees, like private sector workers, should be able to choose an insurance plan that covers a full range of reproductive health services including abortion. Approximately two-thirds of private fee for service plans and 70 percent of HMOs provide such coverage.

Lastly, how will expanded reproductive health coverage make a difference? These women, along with those in private insurance plans, currently spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, and much of this gap is due to reproductive health services.

I urge the adoption of this amendment.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).

Rep. Jan Schakowsky

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Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) talked about violence in very graphic terms, violence to unborn children. Well, let us talk about violence. Maybe he could explain about violence to the parents of Becky Bell, Karen and Bill Bell, whose 17-year-old daughter died from a botched illegal abortion. Maybe Becky's doctor could come and talk about what happened inside of her and the ripped organs and the bleeding that she had before she died from having that abortion. Maybe we can have doctors come in and talk about what happens when a hanger is used by a desperate woman who cannot bring another baby into poverty, who has gone through everything to try and get a legal abortion and now has taken things into her own hands.

We have seen the violence against women who are deprived of a safe and a legal, a legal procedure.

All we are asking is that women who are Federal employees, whose doctor says they can have an abortion, who have discussed it probably with their families, who have talked to their rabbis, who are denied that, that is what I call violence against women.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith).

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to me.

Mr. Chairman, I just want to remind Members that the language in the bill constitutes the Hyde amendment of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. On average, approximately 72 percent of the money that is in the federal health plan system comes from the U.S. taxpayers, and the premium payers donate the remainder of that amount of money.

An earlier speaker spoke about violence. So let me remind you that many women are dying from so-called safe and legal abortions, as well. There are many of them. One recent mother-victim is the woman who was butchered by an abortionist in Arizona. This woman who died of a botched abortion by a totally legal, so-called reputable abortionist. She bled to death, so both mother and baby were the victims of that violence.

Let me again remind Members that approximately 40 million children have died from abortion in this country, a staggering loss of babies through dismemberment, chemical poisoning, and other types of poison shots.

Do not make us subsidize any more child killing.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey).

(Ms. WOOLSEY asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Rep. Lynn Woolsey

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the DeLauro-Morella amendment to strike the ban on abortions in this bill. I applaud this stalwart commitment to stop discrimination, discrimination by the far right that would place 1.2 million women in the Federal government that work for this government, discriminate against them and them alone.

The reality is that the Congress' political antics have no place in a woman's health care decisions, reproductive or otherwise. Let us be very clear about this, a woman's health decisions should be made between herself and her doctor, not by the Federal government, and certainly not by Members of Congress.

Mr. Chairman, women in public service deserve a full range of reproductive health care services, including abortion. They deserve this in their Federal health plans, no different from a worker in private industry. Please vote for the DeLauro amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Tiahrt).

Rep. Todd Tiahrt

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Mr. Chairman, I just think we ought to be honest about this debate. There is nothing in law today that prohibits women who work for the Federal government from obtaining an abortion. There is nothing in the legislation that is before us that would overturn Roe versus Wade. Every Federal employee has the opportunity to procure an abortion if she chooses to terminate the life of her child. So I think we ought to be honest about the debate.

The question is whether the taxpayers of the country are going to subsidize that process. I think, just in the way that they would not want to subsidize the purchase and ownership of a slave, they would not want to subsidize and purchase an abortion. A majority of American taxpayers do not want to see their tax dollars going to fund someone else's abortion.

So let us simply be honest about the debate. This is not whether we can have abortions in America. The question is whether we are going to subsidize abortions for people who work for the Federal government. I do not think we should do that. I think if they make that choice, they should pay for it out of their own pocket.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) is recognized for 2 minutes.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, we have heard several different arguments in this debate. I, too, agree we must be very honest in this debate. It comes down to a simple fact, that no amount of debate will change the fact that many of my colleagues just fundamentally oppose a woman's right to choose.

Like it or not, abortion is a legal medical procedure. The majority of Americans support keeping it a legal medical procedure. This amendment would simply ensure that Federal employees have access to that legal medical procedure. It would not require a health plan to offer abortion coverage, it does not require any employee to choose a health plan which covers abortion. It simply ensures that our Nation's public servants have the choice to health insurance which would provide coverage of legal, doctor-recommended abortions which are necessary to preserve a woman's health.

This is not a question of taxpayer money being used to subsidize abortion. The health insurance premiums are earned by employees of our government every bit as much as their paycheck. The paycheck and the premium belong to the employee, not to the government and not to the taxpayers. What right do we have to dictate what someone can or cannot do with the paycheck or with the health benefit that they receive?

This amendment is about basic fairness, about allowing the women who serve in our Federal Government to choose a health insurance plan which covers an important aspect of women's health.

Under the existing language in the bill, health plans cannot cover an abortion, even when a doctor tells a patient that it is needed to preserve the mother's health. Why are women who work in the Federal government treated as second-class citizens? This is not acceptable.

I urge my colleagues, do not impose their personal beliefs on our public servants. Give women the dignity of being able to choose for themselves. Support this amendment to strike this dangerous provision.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Chairman, I am not against a woman's right to choose. I am not even against a woman's right to have insurance coverage for abortion procedures when they are deemed necessary. But Mr. Chairman, I am not entirely, in this instance, a free agent in the sense that as chairman of this subcommittee, I believe I have a responsibility to bring a bill to the floor which can and will pass this body, as well as the Senate, and be enacted into law.

This body has debated this issue on many numerous occasions. I have been on the other side of this issue. But I believe that the will of this body ought to stand at this point. I believe that this bill is balanced in the coverage, the provision that prohibits Federal funding for abortions, but on the other hand, permits contraceptive coverage. I would certainly vote against any effort to strike that provision from this bill.

I believe we should keep this bill intact as it is. I hope that my colleagues will join me in voting to keep this provision in the bill so that we may pass a piece of legislation that can ultimately be enacted into law. It is for that reason that I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro.)

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee

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Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the amendment offered by several Members on the Appropriations Committee--Representatives DeLauro, Morella, Hoyer, Greenwood, Moran, Kilpatrick, and Lowey. This amendment strikes Section 509 of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program that prohibits coverage of abortion services for those covered by the plan. For those who rely on the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program for their medical care, they are unable to take advantage of the same reproductive health care services that are available to private sector employees.

Approximately 1.2 million women rely on this program for their medical care. Some of these women work here in this Congress as members of our respective staffs. Until 1995, federal employees could select health care plans that covered the full range of reproductive services, including abortion.

The current provision discriminates against women in public sector service. Federal employees should not be denied this legal health procedure simply because of the political nature of abortion. For a government employee faced with the decision about a serious fetal health condition, this provision leaves her with few options.

Although 509 does contain exceptions for cases of rape and incest or in cases where the life of the mother is in danger, this language contains no health exception. This omission places many women in the painful decision to continue a potentially health-threatening pregnancy.

This section places federal employees on unequal footing with private sector employees, many of whom receive health care coverage from private fee-for-service plans or from HMO's. Approximately two-thirds of private fee-for-service plans and seventy percent of HMO's provide abortion coverage.

It is rather ironic that we have been debating patient protection legislation because many of us believe private insurance companies and HMOs need to provide specialized services as needed by patients. Yet, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, our health plan for our employees, does not provide a specialized service that is provided by the HMOs.

Like most health insurance plans, the Federal government contributes to the premiums, but the employees purchase private health insurance. For those employees who do not want a plan with abortion coverage, they may simply choose not to.

I hope that my colleagues support this amendment because it does not in any way mean that the government is subsidizing abortion services. There are specific limitations governing the conditions which a woman would be eligible for those services--rape, incest, danger to the life of the mother, and certain health conditions.

Please support the DeLauro-Morella-Hoyer-Greenwood-Moran-Kilpatrick-Lowey amendment to this bill. Let's extend coverage for the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion services to our employees.

Rep. Diana DeGette

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Mr. Chairman, this is an amendment about restoring equal access and equal rights to women and families who devote their careers to public service. There are over 1 million women of child bearing age who are enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program that are being denied comprehensive access to reproductive health care.

Three years ago, Congress decided that federal employees do not deserve the same rights that private sectors employees have--the right to choose and pay for a health plan that covers a full range of reproductive services, including abortion.

Opponents will try to mislead their colleagues and the American people by arguing that this amendment means that taxpayers will pay for abortions. That is absolutely not true. Federal employees purchase private health insurance of which the government contributes a share to the premium. The health benefit, like the salary, belongs to the employee. Employees are given the freedom to choose from a range of health plans and the Delauro amendment merely ensures that an employee can choose a health plan that does or does not cover abortion.

Until this anti-choice Congress succeeds in making abortion illegal, they are intent on making it more dangerous and difficult. I believe as should anyone in this body who cares about the health of American women and their families, that abortions should be safe, legal and RARE.

Last year, Congress was right to pass legislation to cover prescription contraceptives for federal employees. Let us value the nation's public servants--not turn their health care coverage into yet another political game. I urge my colleagues to stand up for the reproductive health care needs of America's women and vote yes on the DeLauro amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro).

The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

A recorded vote was ordered.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 188, noes 230, not voting 16, as follows:

[Roll No. 301] AYES--188 Abercrombie Ackerman Allen Andrews Baird Baldacci Barrett (WI) Bass Becerra Bentsen Berkley Berman Biggert Bishop Blagojevich Blumenauer Boehlert Bonilla Boswell Boucher Boyd Brady (PA) Brown (FL) Brown (OH) Campbell Capps Capuano Cardin Carson Castle Clay Clayton Clement Clyburn Condit Conyers Coyne Cramer Cummings Davis (FL) Davis (IL) Davis (VA) DeFazio DeGette Delahunt DeLauro Deutsch Dicks Dingell Dixon Doggett Dooley Ehrlich Engel Eshoo Etheridge Evans Farr Fattah Filner Foley Ford Frank (MA) Franks (NJ) Frelinghuysen Gejdenson Gephardt Gilman Gonzalez Gordon Green (TX) Greenwood Gutierrez Hastings (FL) Hill (IN) Hinchey Hinojosa Hoeffel Holt Hooley Horn Houghton Hoyer Inslee Jackson (IL) Jackson-Lee (TX) Jefferson Johnson (CT) Johnson, E. B. Jones (OH) Kelly Kennedy Kilpatrick Kind (WI) Kuykendall Lantos Larson Lazio Lee Levin Lewis (GA) Lofgren Lowey Maloney (CT) Maloney (NY) Markey Martinez Matsui McCarthy (MO) McCarthy (NY) McGovern McKinney Meehan Meek (FL) Meeks (NY) Menendez Millender-McDonald Miller (FL) Miller, George Minge Mink Moore Moran (VA) Morella Nadler Napolitano Obey Olver Ose Owens Pallone Pascrell Pastor Payne Pelosi Pickett Pomeroy Porter Price (NC) Pryce (OH) Ramstad Rangel Reyes Rivers Rodriguez Rothman Roukema Roybal-Allard Rush Sabo Sanchez Sanders Sandlin Sawyer Schakowsky Scott Serrano Shays Sherman Sisisky Slaughter Smith (WA) Snyder Spratt Stabenow Stark Strickland Sweeney Tanner Tauscher Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tierney Towns Udall (CO) Udall (NM) Velazquez Vento Visclosky Waters Watt (NC) Waxman Weiner Wexler Wise Woolsey Wu Wynn NOES--230 Aderholt Archer Armey Bachus Baker Ballenger Barcia Barr Barrett (NE) Bartlett Bateman Bereuter Berry Bilbray Bilirakis Bliley Blunt Boehner Bonior Bono Borski Brady (TX) Bryant Burr Burton Buyer Callahan Calvert Camp Canady Cannon Chabot Chambliss Coburn Collins Combest Cook Costello Crane Crowley Cubin Cunningham Danner Deal DeLay DeMint Diaz-Balart Dickey Doolittle Doyle Dreier Duncan Dunn Edwards Ehlers Emerson English Everett Ewing Fletcher Forbes Fossella Fowler Gallegly Ganske Gekas Gibbons Gillmor Goode Goodlatte Goodling Goss Graham Granger Green (WI) Gutknecht Hall (OH) Hall (TX) Hansen Hastings (WA) Hayes Hayworth Hefley Herger Hill (MT) Hilleary Hobson Hoekstra Holden Hostettler Hulshof Hunter Hutchinson Hyde Isakson Istook Jenkins John Johnson, Sam Jones (NC) Kanjorski Kaptur Kasich Kildee King (NY) Kingston Kleczka Klink Knollenberg Kolbe Kucinich LaFalce LaHood Lampson Largent LaTourette Leach Lewis (CA) Lewis (KY) Linder Lipinski LoBiondo Lucas (KY) Lucas (OK) Manzullo Mascara McCollum McCrery McHugh McInnis McIntosh McIntyre McKeon Metcalf Mica Miller, Gary Moakley Mollohan Moran (KS) Murtha Myrick Neal Nethercutt Ney Northup Norwood Nussle Oberstar Ortiz Oxley Packard Paul Pease Peterson (MN) Peterson (PA) Petri Phelps Pickering Pitts Pombo Portman Radanovich Rahall Regula Reynolds Riley Roemer Rogan Rogers Rohrabacher Ros-Lehtinen Royce Ryan (WI) Ryun (KS) Salmon Sanford Saxton Scarborough Schaffer Sensenbrenner Sessions Shadegg Shaw Sherwood Shimkus Shows Shuster Simpson Skeen Skelton Smith (MI) Smith (NJ) Smith (TX) Souder Spence Stearns Stenholm Stump Stupak Sununu Talent Tancredo Tauzin Taylor (MS) Taylor (NC) Terry Thomas Thornberry Thune Tiahrt Toomey Traficant Turner Upton Vitter Walden Walsh Wamp Watkins Watts (OK) Weldon (FL) Weldon (PA) Weller Weygand Whitfield Wicker Wilson Wolf Young (AK) Young (FL) NOT VOTING--16 Baldwin Barton Brown (CA) Chenoweth Coble Cooksey Cox Frost Gilchrest Hilliard Latham Luther McDermott McNulty Quinn Thurman {time} 1828

So the amendment was rejected.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I rise to engage the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) in a colloquy.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman will yield, I am pleased to join the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Ryan) in a colloquy.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

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Mr. Chairman, the committee has included language in its report directing the U.S. Customs Service to continue to provide service to the Port of Racine, Wisconsin, and that any change in service shall only be an improvement.

I would like to clarify the term ``service'' as used in the committee's report. The Port of Racine is a growing area. It is home to modern industrial corporations and businesses that depend on continuous availability of Customs' services to ensure the rapid clearance of cargo to support their business operations in what has really become a growing business hub. The importance of having Customs' presence in Racine cannot be underestimated, given the growth of just-in-time manufacturing that allows very little room for delays in the delivery of trade goods in the Racine community.

I recognize that the committee has attempted to ensure with the report language that Racine will continue to be well served. However, I would like an assurance that there will be no attempt to reduce the level of services, including, perhaps, the closing of the Customs office in Racine. Can the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman Kolbe) provide such assurances that this is the intention of the committee by this report language?

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

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Yes, I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Wisconsin for yielding to me. He has spoken with me at some length about this issue. I believe that he has raised some very, very good points; and I appreciate the tenacity with which he has pursued this.

I want to share with the gentleman my understanding of the need to ensure that Racine does continue to be served by the U.S. Customs Service.

The committee does not, as I think the gentleman knows, as a matter of fact, support specific designations or expansions of Customs' districts or ports in this appropriations bill. It is the intent of the committee that timely services at the Port of Racine will not be adversely affected in any way.

I, therefore, would emphasize for the Record that this committee would expect to see and approve any Customs' proposal before actions are taken to close the offices of the Port of Racine or to otherwise change service in any way to Racine.

No action could be taken by the Customs Service until it has been proven to the satisfaction of the committee that no reduction in timely service to Racine would result.

I would also commit to the gentleman from Wisconsin that we will work in close consultation with him to ensure that, if there were to be any proposed changes, that they are in the best interest of Racine and of the business community there.

Rep. Paul D. Ryan

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I would like to thank the gentleman from Arizona for his support and his willingness to work with us on this very, very important matter. I look forward to reviewing any possible proposal from the Customs Service before anything would be implemented.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the bill through page 99, line 20 be considered as read, printed in the Record, and open to amendment at any point.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Arizona?

There was no objection.

The text of the remainder of the bill through page 99, line 20 is as follows:

Sec. 510. The provision of section 509 shall not apply where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest. Sec. 511. Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, not to exceed 50 percent of unobligated balances remaining available at the end of fiscal year 2000 from appropriations made available for salaries and expenses for fiscal year 2000 in this Act, shall remain available through September 30, 2001, for each such account for the purposes authorized: Provided, That a request shall be submitted to the Committees on Appropriations for approval prior to the expenditure of such funds: Provided further, That these requests shall be made in compliance with reprogramming guidelines. Sec. 512. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Executive Office of the President to request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation any official background investigation report on any individual, except when-- (1) such individual has given his or her express written consent for such request not more than 6 months prior to the date of such request and during the same presidential administration; or (2) such request is required due to extraordinary circumstances involving national security. Sec. 513. Notwithstanding section 515 of Public Law 104- 208, 50 percent of the unobligated balances available to the White House Office, Salaries and Expenses appropriations in fiscal year 1997, shall remain available through September 30, 2000, for the purposes of satisfying the conditions of section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 1999. Sec. 514. The cost accounting standards promulgated under section 26 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (Public Law 93-400; 41 U.S.C. 422) shall not apply with respect to a contract under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program established under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there any amendments to that portion of the bill?

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Weldon of Florida: In section 635 (relating to contraceptive coverage), redesignate subsection (d) as subsection (e) and insert after subsection (c) the following new subsection: (d)(1) None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be used by the Office of Personnel Management to enter into or renew a contract with a health benefits plan which does not offer health plan enrollees at the time of enrollment the option of choosing an enhanced benefit described in paragraph

Mr. WELDON of Florida (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the Record.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Florida?

There was no objection.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arizona reserves a point of order.

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, last year, Congress adopted the Lowey mandate that all FEHBP plans include coverage of contraceptive care. This year, that language was considered in the base text of the bill. There are millions of Americans who object to being forced to subsidize, through higher premiums, contraceptive benefits for other plan enrollees, for one reason or another, including many Federal employees.

They have many reasons to object to being forced to subsidize these benefits. They may have moral and religious objections. They may be a single person, and they feel that they should not be forced to subsidize this benefit. They may be an infertile couple facing the tragedy of having to pay tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills for infertility work-ups while they are simultaneously paying a higher premium for this benefit for others.

Why should those older Federal employees who may be beyond the childbearing years pay the higher premium when they might prefer better dental care coverage or preventive care?

My amendment ensures that Federal employees are given the choice of opting out of this mandate of contraceptive benefits. My amendment would give enrollees the choice to select the contraceptive benefit currently required in the bill, or they could, if they preferred, exercise and choose enhanced dental, optometry, prenatal, infertility, or prescription drug benefits.

My amendment will not result in additional costs to plans, because the language in my amendment calls for these benefits to be of equivalent value of what the plan spends for the average beneficiary choosing the contraceptive benefit.

My amendment does not require a plan to offer any new benefits that they do not already offer. Plans could opt to provide these enhanced benefits through lower copays for doctors visits or lower copays for prescription drugs. They could enhance preventive care benefits like providing free dental checkups. I believe that my amendment is a significant improvement over the base text language.

I understand the decision of the gentleman from Arizona (Chairman Kolbe) to raise a point of order against my amendment. I will, therefore, withdraw my amendment from consideration. But I would encourage members of this subcommittee to consider language such as this when they go to conference or when they take this bill up next year.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. David J. Weldon

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for withdrawing his amendment. As the gentleman knows, I would have supported the chairman's point of order. But I do want to commend the gentleman. Significantly, Federal employees do not have the dental benefits that are available in some other policies.

I think the gentleman raises a good issue, not in the context he raises it, he and I would disagree on that, but in a separate context outside of that. I think that it is a good issue, and I am pursuing it, along with others.

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) for his input. I would be very happy to work with him on this issue in the future.

Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Florida?

There was no objection.

Rep. Pete Sessions

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 10 offered by Mr. Sessions: Strike section 644 (relating to compensation of the President).

Rep. Pete Sessions

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Mr. Chairman, this amendment strikes section 664, which doubles the President of the United States' salary from $200,000 to $400,000 effective January 20 at noon in the year 2001.

I believe that doubling the President's salary in an era when we are expected to make tough, responsible decisions to save the American people's money, to save Social Security, and to ensure a smaller, smarter, common sense budget, means that we did not attempt to invoke reason or balance in this process.

Our amendment is sponsored by the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, and Americans for Tax Reform.

I am joined in this effort by the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Sanford).

Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Sanford).

Rep. Mark Sanford

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Mr. Chairman, I concur wholeheartedly with what the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions) said and what this amendment is about. As the gentleman suggested, it is simply about leaving the presidential salary at $200,000 rather than doubling it to $400,000. That has absolutely nothing to do with Bill Clinton. It has absolutely nothing to do with George Bush. It has everything to do with George Washington.

Because our Founding Fathers, and George Washington in particular, went to absolutely great degrees to make sure that we did not elect a king but that we had representative government.

The idea of representative government was that it would be of the people, by the people, for the people. Instead, we have gone from there to the point where, and as we all remember, George Washington was going through the checkout line at the grocery store, and he could not remember how much a gallon of milk cost.

People have become very removed in this political process from what regular day people feel. So what this amendment is about is simply trying to keep some small thread of connection between elected leadership and what people feel on a daily basis.

This is very much a back-of-the-envelope kind of write-up here, but what it points to is that the President's compensation is about $20 million. I think that that is the back of the envelope. An average CEO compensation, according to Forbs magazine is $2.3 million. So I think that he is adequately paid.

Let me just walk through a few of these numbers. The numbers up here, we begin with the White House. If a corporate CEO is paid, he has to go out and rent a place or buy a place. One gets a pretty nice pad, if one wants to call it that, if one is staying down at the White House. One has a staff of about 100 on the domestic side. One has got cooks. One has got housekeepers. One has got calligraphers. One has got a pool. One has got a hot tub. One has got a bowling alley. One has got a theater. One has got a few goodies in there. It costs about $10 million to run. That is not including security. That is just, again, on the domestic side.

One also has a vacation home. It is called Camp David. I do not know exactly what it costs to run, but I do know that if one is to go into the mountains and rent a vacation place like that that had stables, a tennis court, a swimming pool, a theater, it would run one maybe $10,000 a week. So let us just throw it in at $40,000 a month. So that would be about $480,000 of compensation there.

One has got a plane called Air Force One. It is a pretty nice jet. One can go with Marine One. I do not know what the numbers would be in terms of operating costs. An executive jet would run one $5,000 an hour. A 747 would surely run one a lot more than that.

One has got a retirement plan. Every President, after he becomes President, gets $151,000 a year for the rest of his life in a pension plan.

And if we were to blow that number backward, what that means is that wealth is accruing at about the rate of $275,000 a year on top of the $200,000 base pay the President is already getting.

There is the Presidential office, the Presidential library, there is unlimited earning power after they get out of office. There is a fair bit of prestige. We have the Ronald Reagan National Airport, the Ronald Reagan Federal Building, the Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier. The President gets a few benefits and he has a chance to affect public policy.

The point of all that is that the President is by no means undercompensated, and I think that is what the heart of the gentleman from Texas is trying to get at.

Rep. Pete Sessions

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, what we have talked about tonight is we believe this decision to raise the rate of pay for the President of the United States, doubling it from $200,000 to $400,000, should be challenged by Members of Congress.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I moved my place and I went over to the seat on the other side of the aisle so I would have a better opportunity to see this sort of monologue stand-up comedy routine that we had. It was a great routine. But I thought to myself, I wonder if the President calls up the comptroller at Stanford and says, ``By the way, can I send you a picture of Air Force One, and maybe you can even get a picture of the White House, because it's a worth a lot, for my tuition payment this semester.'' And the bursar at Stanford is going to say, ``Send money.''

My colleagues, with all due respect, let us look at what we are talking about. The President of the United States in 1969 had his salary set at $200,000. Now, hear me now, my colleagues. The Founding Fathers, not in the Constitution, but in their early legislation set the President's salary in 1789 at $25,000 cash money that he was paid. Twenty-five thousand dollars 210 years ago. In today's dollars our Founding Fathers set the President's salary at $4 million per year.

Frankly, when I go to the grocery store, I do not say, ``Hey, I am a Congressman. I have a heck of a good office, I've got a great view there and all kinds of things, so can I get my groceries for that?'' No. They say, ``Give me the money.''

We have an insurance executive in America who made last year $400 million. Now, my colleagues, Mr. Sununu, whose son is a Member of Congress, testified, and he is the one that, by the way, said that the President's salary effectively in 1789 was in today's dollars $4 million per year.

Rep. Mark Sanford

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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I yield to the gentleman from South Carolina.

Rep. Mark Sanford

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Mr. Chairman, I would just say to the gentleman that I think that one has to look at how George Washington got around. He did not get around in Air Force One; he did not get around in Marine 1. He got around on a horse.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, is it the gentleman's perception that George Washington said, ``I know Air Force One is out at Andrews, but I am a good guy, and I am just not going to use it''? Because if that is the gentleman's perception, I must inform him, with all due respect, that Air Force One was not there to use. But I have a sneaking hunch if he had had a horse that flew, he would have used it.

Rep. Mark Sanford

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If the gentleman will continue to yield, I would agree with him on that, but I guess the point I'm getting at, as we both know, there was no White House when George Washington was here. There are a number of different things that go into the package now.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Has the gentleman noticed the House that George Washington lived in?

Rep. Mark Sanford

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Mount Vernon.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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It was not a bad place.

Rep. Mark Sanford

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His own, though.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Yes. How did he support that house?

I do not want to get into that, but the fact is, the point I am making is that $400,000 is a very significant sum of money, but it is only 10 percent of what our Founding Fathers determined the President ought to be paid. Ten percent.

Of course we have him live in the White House, but that is the People's house, America's house. The President lives there because that is where we tell him to live. Of course we fly him on an airplane, because he has international global responsibilities, and we want him to get from place A to place B safely and fast so he can conduct the People's business.

Of course he has benefits of being the President of the United States, which he will lose when he leaves that office. Of course I agree with the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Sanford) on that.

But the fact of the matter is, the President of the United States, unlike the Congress, that has had numerous raises since 1969 when we were making $42,500, we will now be making approximately 3\1/2\ times that, the President has not had a raise in that period of time. If we did 3\1/2\ what we have gotten, clearly the President would be making about $750,000.

The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) has expired.

(By unanimous consent, Mr. Hoyer was allowed to proceed for 2 additional minutes.)

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I tell my colleague from South Carolina that if the President had gotten simply a cost of living adjustment since 1969, he would be making $758,000 today. Just a cost of living.

So I think the chairman, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe), has been very modest in his proposal. And as a matter of fact, all the testimony before the Committee on Government Reform, chaired by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Burton), was that a higher salary was justified.

So I enjoyed the back of the envelope presentation. I tell the gentleman from South Carolina, notwithstanding the fact that it was written on the back of the envelope, it was not given at Gettysburg, and may not last quite as long. I think his compilation was interesting but not particularly relevant.

It is important for us, I think, to compensate the President not in the sense of a king or lavishly, but certainly appropriately as it relates to the rest of the people in government. And as the gentleman knows, the Speaker makes $175,000. In 1969 the Speaker was making less than half of that.

So it is appropriate, in my opinion, to at this point in time, for the next President, this will not affect, as the gentleman knows, the incumbent President. Under the Constitution, we cannot do that and should not be able to do that. But this will reflect an appropriate salary for arguably the person who has the toughest job in the world and on whom billions of people rely for good judgment and honest service.

So I would hope that the House would reject this amendment and approve the committee's recommendation.

Rep. Mark Sanford

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I will not take all that time, and I would agree with many of the things that the gentleman from Maryland said. He makes very good points in the fact that we by no means want to have an underpaid President of the United States.

I guess the only point I was trying to make is that, A, there are a number of other ways that one is compensated besides just the base pay, and there are some benefits that, frankly, come with the job of being the President of the United States. I guess that was all I was trying to point out.

And, too, I would point out the fact that I know of no poor Presidents. Thomas Jefferson, in other words, if we look back into the history books, Thomas Jefferson basically died broke. I am not suggesting that we want that to be the case, by any means, but that was the end of public service for him.

That is not at all the case with modern-day public servants. We do not hear any stories of past Presidents being poor Presidents. In fact, Ronald Reagan makes, when he was giving speeches, was making about $2 million per speech. And there was the big write-up on the speech George Bush gave in Japan wherein he took stock in lieu of the speech, and it turned out to be worth $13 million.

So these guys do pretty well on their compensation package that seems to follow their time in office, and that is all I am trying to suggest.

I guess tied to that would be the fact that I do not know of a shortage of people running for President. When compensation is out of whack in a given job, we generally do not see people seeking that job. But that is not at all the case that we see these days in Washington in terms of people seeking the office.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Mark Sanford

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. Let me respond to two points.

First of all, I will tell my colleague that there would be no shortage of people who would be President of General Motors if they paid at $100,000. We could get a president of General Motors, perhaps not a very good one.

There would be no shortage of players to play on the Washington Wizards for $100,000. Now, the fact is, the gentleman and I both know they would not win any games, ever, but there would be five players on the court.

So I would make that point. We are not recruiting anybody if we paid them zero.

Let me make another point. The gentleman talks about former Presidents. President James Carter, who was relatively wealthy when he came to the office, that is correct, but there is a perfect example of someone who has used his time in a voluntary way to make life better for his fellow citizens here and around the world.

So I understand the gentleman's point, and people do different things. Both President Bush and President Reagan did make a lot of money in speeches. Maybe this President and future Presidents will do the same. But I think we ought to, nevertheless, appropriately compensate them relative to what the rest of us in government make.

Because if an individual had the responsibility that the President of the United States has, they would be paid millions and millions of dollars in the private sector for comparable responsibility. I do not think we ought to do that. That is not appropriate, the gentleman is right. People should not seek this to become millionaires.

Rep. Mark Sanford

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Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I would simply say that the gentleman from Maryland raises great points. I guess it is just a philosophical divide on this particular one issue.

Rep. Pete Sessions

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Mark Sanford

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I yield to the gentleman from Texas.

Rep. Pete Sessions

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Mr. Chairman, I think this debate has been worthy. I think we have gone through the process. Hearings have been held on this matter.

I believe that it is an honest request that we would ask Members of Congress to take seriously that which they have before them, to make a determination about whether we are going to double the President's salary. I believe in a time when we are trying to do the responsible thing, it does not pass the smell test to think that we would double someone's salary.

With that said, I hope that this debate has ended.

Rep. Stephen Horn

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I was also enjoying the recitation that the President has as fringes, but that is not the point. We do not know who the President of the United States will be after the 2000 election, and this will strictly apply solely to that individual and his successors.

Now, there has only been a few times in American history that salaries have been increased. George Washington's salary was mentioned. By the way it, is $4.6 million adjusted for inflation, states the Congressional Research Service and the Office of Personnel Management. The Constitution authorizes in Article II that ``The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation: . . .'' Washington was an outstanding President. The first Congress set his compensation at $25,000.

I heard this comment that several post war Presidents were not very poor. Well, they sure were in the 19th century. When General Grant was dying of cancer he worked all days and nights to finish his memoir. Why? Because his spouse had no money. And there were, in the 1850s, presidential widows with no pensions. Mary Lincoln was one of them. We have solved that problem.

And also in this century we have had widows that lived on very little. That should not be a factor for a President of the United States when they serve their country ably. And whether ably or not when they give the service, they are the People's choice.

We do not choose Presidents. The people do.

Based on the testimony we had before our Subcommittee on Government Management, eleven chiefs of staff representing every administration since Lyndon Johnson--three Democratic Presidents and three Republican Presidents--all of them were unanimous that the President's compensation should go to $400,000. Some of them thought it should go to $500,000. We took the $400,000 and felt that was appropriate.

Now, in addition to what was said about the salaries early in the government, it was not just the President of the United States that received $25,000 which is now equal to $4.6 million. John Adams earned $5,000 a year as Washington's Vice President, John Jay received $4,000 a year as the first chief justice of the United States.

If we do not make an adjustment for the President, we are going to find that by 2002 the Speaker, the Chief Justice, and the Vice President will have a higher salary than the President of the United States.

It is not unreasonable to come in this chamber and ask our colleagues to support $400,000. Why? Because it is the right thing to do. We cannot always say that Presidents of the United States will match the salaries of many of our corporate heads in this country and even the compensation of a few university presidents. A handful are in that range.

So I would hope my colleagues would vote down this particular amendment. I do not think it is appropriate. We have to face up to it. Times change. Congress first faced up to increasing the compensation in the Grant administration. And the latest facing up to the realities of presidential compensation was in the Lyndon Johnson administration. LBJ signed our act which doubled the salary from $100,000 to $200,000 a year. That decision benefited the three Democratic Presidents and the three Republican Presidents who occupied the White House since Johnson's time.

$400,000 is appropriate because there has been steady inflation in this country, and $400,000 is about what $200,000 would really be back in 1969, when the latest law was passed. I think there is a need for equity between the heads of each of the three branches of government. So I think this is in order for the chief of the executive branch, which every one of us knows is the most complex job and most amazing managerial job.

It does not mean Presidents have been good managers. Some of them have been horrible managers. We will deal with that matter later in the year. But the fact is they have the responsibility. They have to make key decisions. They are tough decisions: life, death, dollars, no dollars for programs. I think we know that. Many people do not.

Some see the Presidency as ``fun and games.'' There are probably some White House occasions when a President, who has worked a 12 hour day is not excited by being the gracious host four or five more hours. ``How glorious,'' people think.

We must compensate the individual who has the popular vote from the American people to represent our country with honor at home and abroad. Presidents also have children in school, as we have with this President, and tuition is high.

So vote down this amendment and let us be sensible about it and give the next President a raise.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I just want to make a couple of things very clear. I do rise in opposition to this amendment. I do believe this is not about, and I think all of us would agree with this, this is not about the current occupant of the White House. This salary change would not affect that individual.

I think there are some other points that go along with that, and that is that this is the right time to do this. This is the right time to do this for a couple of reasons. One, we are 18 months away from an election and having another President. That gives us a moment to look at this for the future.

Another reason that we need to think about it now is that, unlike Members' compensation where the courts have ruled that, under the 28th amendment, a cost-of-living adjustment is not a change or a compensation, the Constitution is very clear, there can be no change to the President's compensation during the term of office. So that, if we do not do this now, we are really looking at 2005 as the next time any kind of change could be made to the compensation of the President.

The gentleman from California (Mr. Horn) I thought speaks both very eloquently and clearly about why this is justified. And his subcommittee has done some yeoman's work on this, as the work of his subcommittee I think has brought us where we are today and caused us to include this in our bill.

As he has pointed out and the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) has pointed out, the President's salary has not been adjusted since 1969. That is quite a time. And as I have just pointed out, if we do not make this adjustment now, this one, which, by the way, has no effect on the appropriations bill for this year and only for part of the following year, that is anything after January 20, 2001, if we do not make the change now, we are looking, as the gentleman from California (Mr. Horn) has pointed out, at a situation where the Speaker of the House and the Vice President would actually be making more than the President of the United States might by the year about 2003.

Now, if we go back to the last time we adjusted the President's salary in 1969 and we gave just the cost-of-living adjustments that other Federal employees have had since that time, the salary today would be $726,000. If the salary had kept pace with inflation, it would be $936,000, which suggests that we have perhaps not kept Federal employees in pace with inflation. Or, stated another way, in today's dollars the value of that $200,000 that we paid in 1969 is $45,367.

Or we can look at the last time there was a formal recommendation on President's pay, and that was 1989 when the Commission on Executive, Legislative and Judicial Salaries met and they recommended the President's pay be increased from $200,000 to $350,000. If we assumed inflationary adjustments just since that time, the same inflationary adjustments that the Federal employees have had, the President's salary would be approximately $458,000.

So I think that by any measure that we look at this, by purchasing power, by what we paid in 1969 and what it might have been adjusted, what we recommended in 1989 and how that might be adjusted, we are considerably under that level.

But, Mr. Chairman, there is a more substantive reason for this. The United States is the preeminent power in the world. We are the major power in the world. And I believe that the job of the Chief Executive of the United States is an incredibly important and difficult job. There is not going to be any compensation that we can pay that can cover that, in my opinion.

And as has been pointed out correctly by the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Sanford), there are a lot of things that the President of the United States enjoys that are not available to the rest of us. But, nonetheless, the President has to think about his future, about his retirement, about his family, about how he covers those expenses during time in office and after the time in office.

If we are going to attract the right people to run for office, whether it is this office or the President's office, we have to, I think, have compensation that makes sense. And when we are paying the President of the United States less than we pay in many cases branch managers of banks, it simply makes no sense to me.

I believe that this compensation is long overdue. It is a modest increase. I believe that it is fully justified under any analysis that my colleagues might give to this issue.

I hope we will defeat this amendment.

Rep. Doug Ose

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to come down. I have listened attentively to the speakers who have preceded me. I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Sitting here listening to my good friend, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe), I am reminded of the scope and breadth of the President's responsibilities. Whoever the occupant of this office is is required to know things related to the minutia of trade agreements to nuclear waste responsibilities, to the minutia again of START contracts, to environmental questions in Antarctica, to what it takes for NASA to put a missile or a space shuttle up in the air.

The responsibilities bearing on the occupant of the office of President of the United States are enormous, and we need to compensate this person accordingly.

Just for comparison's sake, I wanted to go through a couple of the other countries of the world who also compensate their chief executive.

For instance, Hong Kong, arguably a country far smaller than the United States, pays its chief executive over $400,000 a year.

The country of Israel, whose economic challenges, security issues and the like and population is nowhere near the breadth and scope of ours, they pay their executive $90,000 a year.

Panama, a country that we have a long historical association with, pays its chief executive $180,000 a year. We are currently paying the President of the United States $200,000 a year, essentially equivalent to the amount that the President of Panama is earning.

The responsibilities of the President of Panama, are they equivalent to the responsibilities of the President of the United States? On a comparative basis alone, this body should move forward expeditiously to increase the rate of pay for the President of the United States.

I also want to associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe). What we pay will be reflected in the quality of the person we get. That is a dictum of business that has been proven year after year, decade after decade, century after century. We need to take advantage to the extent we can.

And $400,000 is lot of money, but not for this job. Whoever the occupant of this office is, is gone from their family, loses any semblance of private life, is at the beck and call of the people of the United States, and stands under enormous stress day after day after day. We need to compensate this person appropriately. We need to have people who are good people in this office. We need to pay them to sacrifice their personal lives and come to the service of their country.

I think the amendment, however well-meaning, does not serve that purpose; and I oppose it.

Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I also rise in opposition to this amendment. Serving with the gentleman from California (Mr. Horn) on his committee, I think he has done the country and the Congress a great service in bringing this issue to the forefront at this particular moment, for the precise reasons as the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) mentioned. If we do not do it now, we will not be able to do it successfully for another 5 years. This is not a raise for the incumbent President. It is for the next President.

I have to confess to my fellow colleagues that last week I had the occasion to spend the week with the President and sort of live in his shoes, if you will. It is a 20-hour-a-day job. There are a myriad of issues, great and small, that he must deal with every day.

Obviously, his full commitment has to be to the job of executing the administration of the government of the United States. I would hope that we would want our Chief Executive to dedicate himself fully to that and think of nothing materialistic in his nature because this is, without a doubt, the most important office in the world. I think we, as Americans and Members of Congress, ought to be proud to say that.

I understand that there are some Members of Congress that like to put a dollar value on public service. But I remember several years ago a story told to me at a hearing by the then and present Chief Justice of the United States. We were talking about pensions and salaries at that hearing, and he remarked to me that he was a little disappointed as Chief Justice because that day when he returned to the court he was going to lose his Chief Clerk. And we all know the Chief Clerk is an excellent law student out of law school who serves with the Chief Justice for a period of a year or two. And he said it was ironic how he was losing his Chief Clerk, who in the next day who would be earning in excess of two times the salary of the Chief Justice of the United States.

He threw out another important figure to me, that when we take the comparison of the entire Bar of the United States, the Chief Justice does not earn in up to the 75th percentile of the earning capacity of the Bar of the United States.

And of course, the President of the United States, if we made that comparison to CEOs of corporations or, as the gentleman recently said, to other chief executive officers of what we would call minor states in the world, it is ludicrous the $200,000 that was allocated in 1969 for this President.

I would just suggest one other thing. We heard value for inflation. If we took the stock market of 1969 at $200,000 and the stock market today, the President's salary would be over $2 million.

I do not know what measure we should use, but clearly there are few constituents of mine, I am sure, and many constituents of my colleagues that do not consider the salary of $200,000 as extravagant for the President of the United States.

There is a special thing about being President. I learned it on the trip this week. It is not necessarily the individual. It is that office. Wherever he went and whoever he talked to, those people would remember until the day they died that they had an opportunity to meet and shake hands and welcome the President of the United States.

We ought to be proud of that fact and we as Congressmen should not pander to the sympathies of Populism that says no pay, nothing. I know people who would accept the presidency for zero. The power is extraordinary, and if you were wealthy, you could afford it. But this is a country of average, common people and let us hope that common men can aspire to be President, and if they ever do, the salary of $400,000 a year at the end of this millennium will not sound like very much.

I urge my colleagues on both sides to put aside our foolishness and stay with this bill and set the salary of the President of the United States at $400,000 a year.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, this is an issue that I think reasonable people can disagree on. I respect my colleagues for bringing forward this amendment, but I wholeheartedly disagree with them on this particular issue at this time.

As we look through history, we look back to 1873 when the salary was $50,000; it was 36 years later that salary was moved to $75,000; in 1949 it went to $100,000; 20 years later to $200,000, and it has not been changed for 30 years.

We do not run for office and people do not aspire to serve in government for the money. If we did this for the money, we would be doing something else. I took a pay cut to come here. A number of my colleagues did that. We do it for the ability to serve. But the President of the United States I think arguably has the most challenging job on this planet. We do not want that individual worried about pinching pennies, worried about their financial future, the future of their kids, worried about putting their kids through college, about maintaining their homes back in their native States.

We do not want only the wealthy to be able to aspire to the presidency because they can afford the other entertainment expenses that go along with this because their expenses could be cut in any given year.

To give my colleagues a global perspective, it has been mentioned that the President of Hong Kong, not even an independent country, the Chancellor there gets $400,000 a year, in excess. The President of Japan, a country smaller than ours, an economy smaller than ours, $381,000 year. The President of Singapore gets almost a half million dollars a year in annual salary. The President of Switzerland gets more than our President gets today, $230,000. The President of Taiwan gets over $300,000 a year. This is not out of line. This is a reasonable, incremental increase that is commensurate with what we have done in the past to provide for our chief elected officers.

I do not want government on the cheap, but I want that person in the Oval Office, of whatever party, of whatever persuasion, to not have to worry about the financial aspects of the job. I want him to concentrate on running the country. I think the increase that is in this bill, that has gone through extensive hearings, that is supported by the gentleman from California (Mr. Horn) of the authorizing subcommittee and others, is the right approach at this time. I ask my colleagues to reject this amendment.

Rep. Spencer Bachus

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I would say that I was undecided on this issue before a few minutes ago. I have tried to listen to the debate on both sides.

Over the past few weeks, I have had conversations with friends of mine, and I will tell my colleagues what their advice was. They said, ``Don't vote for a pay raise.'' They said that this is not a popular thing to do. We have discussed certain things and they have actually said, ``This is how I feel. My gosh, don't get out on the floor of the House and say that,'' because it is not a popular thing.

Let us just sit back for a minute and imagine that we did not know how much the President of the United States made. Let us start from that reference point. We would consider certain things. We would look at what our forefathers paid the first President. That would be one calculation. I am sure major league baseball players would come into it. I am sure there would be other people that would say they ought to take the job for free. Most people that now run for President, they are independently wealthy and they could afford to do that. There are some that are not. If we wanted to approach it is to take the job for free and we would rule out anyone who was not a multimillionaire, that is the way some people might like it. But again, go back. We do not know what the President makes. What do you think we would guess he makes? I have asked some people that and the figure a million dollars is the most often response. ``I think the President ought to make a million dollars.''

Now, we will discuss an amendment in a few minutes that the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) is offering as to whether or not we have oversight when we pay out a billion dollars. We deal in those type figures. It is important that we focus on this figure and what the President makes.

I will agree with the gentleman from Virginia that there are certain people that come here in all honesty and argue that $200,000 is fine. But when you talk to executives, when you talk to professionals, I think that they would probably tell you that the President ought to make a million dollars.

I will not be doing the popular thing. I will be opposing this amendment. But in doing so, I will be doing the right thing, because I think the President of our country, the leader of the free world, ought to make at least what is proposed in this legislation.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions).

The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

Rep. Mark Sanford

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Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 246, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions) will be postponed.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Smith of New Jersey: In section 635 (relating to contraceptive coverage), strike paragraph (2) of subsection (b) and insert the following: (2) any existing or future plan, if the carrier for the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions. In subsection (c) of such section 635, strike ``prescribe'' and insert ``prescribe or otherwise provide for''.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arizona reserves a point of order.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, let me be very brief. This should be and I hope it will be a noncontroversial amendment.

Mr. Chairman, the effect of the policy enacted last year and carried over in this bill is to force health plans participating in FEHB to cover controversial abortifacients, such as the new ``morning after'' pill, Preven. Preven and some other new drugs, as we all know, destroy a developing embryo. They are really not contraceptives, but unfortunately they are included in this bill.

While I oppose that mandate as bad public policy, I am not here today in an effort to strike it or even to limit it. Rather, I want to ensure that the conscience protection does what many already believe that it does, and that is to protect individuals in plans with moral or religious objections from the requirements of the mandate.

This is a conscience clause. Right now the FEHB mandate lacks adequate conscience protection for some of the potential sponsors of health plans and individual providers who are opposed to providing such drugs and devices. As we know from the language of the bill, five religious plans are exempt by name as well as any existing or future plan if the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs. Left out is ``moral convictions.'' We believe, I believe, they should be protected as well.

Finally, the conscience protection for individual providers also needs to be expanded and clarified to protect any health care worker--I repeat any health care worker--including physicians, nurses, pharmacists and physician assistants.

The second part of my amendment provides conscience protection to everyone in health--all health care workers who might object on either moral or religious grounds to the contraceptive mandate. I would hope that this amendment would be agreed to.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I make a point of order against the amendment. Again, this was just handed to us.

I make a point of order against the amendment, because it appears to me that it proposes to change existing law and constitutes legislation on an appropriations bill and would violate clause 2 of rule XXI.

The rule states that an amendment to a general appropriations bill shall not be in order if changing existing law imposes additional duties. This adds a word, in this case, to the current legislation, by adding ``moral convictions.'' For that reason, it would seem to impose an additional requirement on the Office of Personnel Management that administers these plans and in my view it would, for that reason, violate clause 2 of rule XXI. I would make that point of order.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, if I could be heard, I would very briefly say that this is not legislating on an appropriations bill but merely perfecting legislation permitted to remain.

The CHAIRMAN. Does any other Member wish to be heard on the point of order?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I too have just seen the amendment, but it does appear to require action beyond what would be solely a perfecting amendment with respect to the paragraph 2 that is being added, in that the plan objects to such coverage on the basis, one would have to make a judgment as to the objection, the reason for the objection, and, therefore, it imposes an additional duty on the administrator. Under those circumstances, it seems to me that this would be in violation of the rule cited by the gentleman from Arizona.

The CHAIRMAN. Does any other Member wish to be heard?

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I would like to be heard additionally.

Again, I would point out that the legislation as it exists now refers to any existing or future plan if the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs. That clearly is a particular limitation and says none of the funds appropriated may be used for that purpose.

Now we have added in an additional duty to the Office of Personnel Management, by saying ``moral convictions.'' So they clearly have additional responsibilities that are going to be required in order to carry this out.

In addition, subsection (c), and I am not sure I understand exactly what the impact of this is, but by striking ``prescribe'' and inserting ``prescribe or otherwise provide for'' would seem also to require some additional duties, and I believe that this clearly is additional legislation, additional duties.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other Members who wish to be heard? If not the Chair is prepared to rule.

The amendment must be judged against all the language found in section 635. Such language covers contraceptive ``coverage'' and ``moral convictions'' as addressed in the pending text. The amendment appears to be merely perfecting and the Chair overrules the point of order.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, as I was walking in, I heard the amendment, part of the amendment, but I would like to address the first portion of the amendment as I believe I heard it. I believe the gentleman is attributing to a plan a conscience. We debated this point quite fully in the last session of the Congress. And, in fact, we were quite concerned that a plan could suddenly develop a conscience and not allow this service to be provided, and, therefore, working in a bipartisan way with Members on both sides of the aisle, there was an agreement that any individual provider could opt out as long as that plan would provide the service.

So I would like to ask the gentleman how a plan could suddenly develop a conscience, number one.

Now I would like to continue. Number two, I would like to make another point. It is my understanding, Mr. Chairman, that 1.2 million Federal employees currently have this service covered. There has not been any concern; there has not been any criticism. Under the conscience clause included in this provision, which the chairman has included in his mark which has been brought to this floor, it is my understanding that there are no other plans that have requested to even be part of the conscience clause. There were religious plans included in the conscience clause that was developed, and it is my understanding from talking to the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan that no other plans have asked to be included in the conscience clause in the exemption.

So, Mr. Chairman, every once in a while we tend to pass legislation that really works, that is really providing a service, that is basic health care for women, and based upon all the information that I have there has been no objection.

So, therefore, Mr. Chairman, I would just ask us to allow a program that is really working, that is providing basic health care for women, to move along as it is. And I would like to work with the gentleman, as I mentioned many times, in preventing unintended pregnancy, and it seems to me that one of the best ways to do this is to provide for contraceptive services. That is the way we reduce the number of abortions and prevent unintended pregnancies.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, we had a very extensive debate on this issue last year. The extensive debate really dealt with the gravamen of the central point of the providing of contraceptive services through the insurance plans. Very frankly, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) and I, as many people in this body know, are very close personal friends and work very closely together, and I have the greatest respect and affection for him, but we disagree on this issue. We have a different perspective.

But during the course of that debate and during the course of the compromise on trying to come to grips with how to provide for what the overwhelming or significant majority of this House believed ought to be provided in the health care plans available Federal employees was the fact that we ought not to have insurance companies who had a religious affiliation and religious base do something that was inconsistent with their religious tenets. Most of us agreed that that was appropriate. What the gentlewoman who worked so hard on this amendment and so effectively on this amendment said when developing a conscience, the gentleman from New Jersey now seeks to add moral conviction to the language that exists for religious organizations.

Now, clearly, executives of insurance companies have moral convictions; clearly, employees of insurance companies have moral convictions. But those moral convictions, I would suggest to my colleagues, are probably pretty diverse. And the executive vice president in charge of negotiations with the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan may have one moral conviction, and the operating vice president may have another moral conviction. Now I am not sure whether the stockholders would vote on what a moral conviction is at any given time, but clearly, in fairness, that is an impractical standard to add to the standard that exists.

What we were trying to do is make sure that religiously based and centered insurance offerers were not compelled to do something that was against their religious beliefs. We all understand that. But I defy anybody to explain to me how one is going to determine on insurance plan A or B or C that are not religious affiliated what their moral convictions are without, in effect, polling or voting or having included in their charter something that says moral convictions.

The fact of the matter is that we had this debate last year, and we rejected this proposal because of the lack of clarity in the proposal.

So I would hope my colleagues would reject this again this year because, quite clearly, it goes far beyond the exemption that we all agreed was appropriate; that is, the religious-based exemption, and goes to a further step, which moral convictions are critically important. Hopefully, all of us hold moral convictions; and, hopefully, as I said, insurance executives hold moral convictions as well. But they do not operate, unlike religiously based insurance companies, to promote their moral convictions. They hopefully operate legally, ethically and morally, but they operate to offer insurance programs to their clients. And, therefore, Mr. Chairman, this amendment, while I frankly would call it an imperfecting amendment, Mr. Chairman, in that it adds a provision that will be extraordinarily if not impossible to apply and interpret, for that reason I would hope the House would reject this amendment.

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Smith amendment. I believe the Smith amendment is a significant enhancement to the current conscience clause language in the bill. The current conscience clause language does not sufficiently cover all those individuals who would like to take a moral as well as a religious exemption.

It is well known that some of these products that are being referred to as contraceptives are not in reality contraceptives but are abortifacients, and this indeed causes many people who are of strong personal moral conviction, pro-life, or people who take a very strong religious perspective on this issue to have a problem, and I believe the gentleman's amending language is a significant improvement over the underlying bill.

Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from New Jersey.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I just want to point out to our colleagues that there are at least four laws, and I can give my colleagues all the citations, and I will put them in the Record, where plans organizations and institutions can raise objections on either moral or religious grounds.

Why ``moral'' was left out is a gaping oversight, and I hope it was an oversight, and to suggest that people with moral convictions should not be able to express them and somehow manifest them, maybe through a vote of the board of directors or in some other way, would be wrong and would disenfranchise people, especially those who do not believe in God. Say someone is an agnostic, but has a strongly held conviction about a certain practice. To disenfranchise that person would be wrong.

Let me also point out that the language of this amendment says, the underlying language says, the prescriber, the doctor that writes the prescription, does not have to do so if he or she, as a matter of moral conviction, does not want to prescribe an abortifacient, for example, an abortion-producing pill or drug. Well, everyone else in the line, including the dispenser, the person that actually gives the abortion chemical, cannot conscientiously object and say, ``Wait a minute, I'm all for family planning, but this crosses the line.''

And there is a case of that right now that just made the Associated Press, and it was in the San Diego Union Tribune, of five nurses who quit their positions at a county-run health clinic because they did not want to be compelled to dispense abortifacients. These are women who routinely counsel and provide family planning. They are all for family planning, but they felt that they hit their breaking point when a clinical administrator said that they had to cross this line, and this could be the beginning.

Let us not compel people in the health care delivery service to do something against their deeply held convictions. This is a conscience clause. Unfortunately, we did not vote on anything comprehensive last year, as the membership will note. Much of this was done in conference. It is infirm as it exists today. We ought to make it a real conscience clause. Do not force people to do things they do not want to do. Please do not do that.

Rep. David J. Weldon

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Mr. Chairman, in closing let me just say that the gentleman's amendment, I believe, is a relatively modest amendment. By adding this moral clause I believe it will allow people to exercise their moral convictions and in many ways improve the underlying provisions in the language of the bill.

In 1998, Congress included an amendment in the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill requiring almost all health plans that participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program to provide ``contraceptive coverage,'' including early abortifacient methods, to the same extent that they provide prescription drug coverage generally. (The Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill became law as part of the FY 1999 Omnibus Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 4328, PL 105-277.)

The FY 2000 Treasury-Postal contains the same language.

The effect of this policy is to force health plans participating in FEHB to cover controversial abortifacients such as the new so-called ``morning after'' product, Preven, approved by the FDA for use as ``postcoital emergency contraception.'' Preven and similar drugs work up to three days after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure to destroy a developing embryo. Clearly, this is not contraception but it is called contraception by the FDA.

The latest edition of the nation's leading embryology textbook explains the mode of action of such drugs: ``The administration of relatively large doses of estrogens (``morning after'' pills) for several days, beginning shortly after unprotected sexual intercourse, usually does not prevent fertilization, but often prevents implantation of the blastocyst.'' K. Moore and T. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (6th ed.: 1998), p. 58.

The FEHB mandate lacks adequate conscience protection for some sponsors of health plans and individual providers who are opposed to providing such drugs and devices. Five religious plans are exempt by name, as well as any ``existing or future plan, if the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs.'' Plans and individuals objecting to such coverage based on moral convictions should be protected as well, as they are under many state and federal laws.

The conscience protection for individual providers also needs to be clarified to protect any health care provider--including but not limited to physicians, nurses and physician assistants--who objects to providing these drugs or devices on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions. The current law only protects individuals who decline to ``prescribe'' such drugs and devices and may be interpreted too narrowly.

The conscience protection language enacted in 1998 and currently in this year's bill marks a departure from other federal conscience laws. The lack of an exemption for those whose moral convictions are offended by abortion sends the message that religious beliefs are the only foundation for respecting human life before birth. In fact, objections to the destruction of living human embryos--and, in particular, forcing taxpayers and others to support this killing--is widely opposed by many people. We saw this in 1996 when 256 Members of House Representatives voted against funding research in which human embryos are destroyed, discarded or even put at risk.

Prior to last year's enactment of the contraceptive mandate, most health plans participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program paid for prescription drugs approved by the FDA as ``contraceptives''--including abortifacients. In 1998, each woman who participated in FEHB and who used contraception already had the choice of at least three (3) plans which provided coverage for whatever prescription method she used.

Last year pro-life Members did not try to end this coverage, but to preserve the right of federal employees--including many women--to choose a health plan which did not cover abortion-inducing drugs characterized by the FDA as ``contraceptives.'' That choice was taken away from Federal employees when the mandate was enacted.

One significant effect of the new coercive mandate was to force plans to cover--and force federal employees and taxpayers to pay for--the new ``morning after'' drug regimens such as Preven, which is to be taken after intercourse, or in the case of ``contraceptive failure,'' to ensure that a developing embryo will be expelled and not implant in the mother's womb.

The controversy surrounding this drug is widespread. Many pharmacists, who have no objection to dispensing contraceptives, are strongly opposed to dispensing a drug which is primarily intended to kill a developing human embryo.

Outside the federal context, individual pharmacists have had their jobs threatened because of their refusal to provide so-called ``emergency contraception.''

Just this year, five nurses in Riverside, CA, quit their jobs at a county health department because of the department's insistence that they violate their religious beliefs and provide ``emergency contraception.'' (These nurses had spent years working in family planning, telling women about contraception.)

Walmart, the nation's fifth largest distributor of pharmaceuticals, including contraceptives, recently announced that it would not dispense Preven in its stores because of concerns with objections from its customers.

Conscience clauses are common both in federal and state law and are based on respect for individual freedom and individual beliefs. Forcing someone to engage in activity that violates his or her deeply and conscientiously held beliefs is a violation of human rights and a gross abuse of the power of government.

Among the more recent conscience clauses enacted into law is legislation passed by Congress in 1996 to protect medical education programs from being required to provide abortion training. The exemption was provided regardless of whether their opposition is religiously or morally based. We recognized that abortion--the killing of an innocent human being--is simply not the kind of practice in which anyone should be forced to participate for any reason.

As Senator Olympia Snowe--who is also a supporter of the contraceptive mandate--said during the debate on the amendment to protect doctors and training programs from having to perform abortions:

This amendment accomplishes two things. One, it does protect those institutions and those individuals who do not want to get involved in the performance or training of abortion when it is contrary to their beliefs. I do not think anybody would disagree with the fact--and I am pro-choice on this matter, but I do not think anybody would disagree with the fact that an institution or an individual who does not want to perform an abortion should do so contrary to their beliefs.

By mandating coverage of contraception and abortifacients by health plans, Congress has increased the pressure on individual physicians, nurses and pharmacists providing services under these plans to violate their own consciences. In fact, currently only those who may be asked to ``prescribe'' the drug have any conscience protection under the law, and unless they are familiar with it, they may not even know of their right to refuse.

In addition to the abortion training conscience protection described above, Congress provided conscience clauses for plans offered under Medicare+Choice if the sponsoring organization offering the plan objects on ``moral or religious grounds.'' (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1395w-22(j)(3)(B))

Another section protects Medicaid managed care organizations from being required to ``provide, reimburse for, or provide coverage of, a counseling and referral service if the organization objects to the provision of such service on moral or religious grounds.'' (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1396u-2(b)(3)

Also, in yet another section, Congress provided that Legal Services Corporation funds could not be used to attempt to ``compel any individual or institution to perform an abortion, or assist in the performance of an abortion, or provide facilities for the performance of an abortion, contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such individual or institution. . . . (42 U.S.C. Sec. 2996f(b)

Clearly federal law has established that conscience protection should not be limited to individuals, nor should it be limited to objections based on religious beliefs.

Ironically, some who support the mandate have been critical of attempts to clarify the conscience provisions in the mandate, claiming that it already exempts health plans with ``moral or religious'' objections (The Boston Globe, October 1, 1998) and that, under the mandate, ``individual doctors and nurses can refuse to provide contraceptives on moral grounds.'' (The New York Times, October 16, 1998). Neither of these protections is actually in the contraceptive mandate's conscience exemption. Presumably they would not object to their addition now.

While some pro-abortion Members may in fact believe that a drug which does not prevent fertilization but prevents implantation of an embryo is not an abortion-inducing drug, what these Members think is not important. What is important are the beliefs and convictions of those who will be required to carry out the mandate.

No one should be forced to do what he or she believes would cause the death of an innocent human being, particularly in the name of health care.

This is not, however, the view of those at the front of the fight for abortion on demand throughout pregnancy.

At a March 5, 1999, briefing sponsored by the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP)--which has challenged state Partial-Birth Abortion Ban laws around the country--and the People for the American Way, Janet Benshoof, President of CRLP said, ``I don't think there should be conscience clauses.''

Do you?

Rep. Joe Pitts

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Smith amendment. This amendment is common sense. It is not a threat to any contraceptive coverage. What it does is expand the choices of women and health providers. All this amendment does is add two simple things to the current conscience clause in the contraceptive mandate.

Number one, it expands the conscience protection to plans which object on moral not just religious grounds. Religion is not the only reason one would object to abortion, and this should be accounted for.

Number two, it expands the conscience protection not only to those who prescribe medication as in current law but also to those who provide for the abortifacient drug. All this means is that a nurse who does not prescribe but might be asked to administer an abortifacient drug has a right to refuse if it goes against her conscience.

Conscience clauses are common both in Federal and State law. They are based on respect for individual freedom and on individual beliefs. Forcing someone to engage in activity that violates his or her deeply and conscientiously held beliefs is a violation of human rights. It is a gross abuse of the power of government.

We have similar moral and religious provisions in conscience clauses in medical education programs, in the Medicaid managed care organizations law, in the Legal Services Corporation law. By mandating coverage of contraception and abortifacients by health plans, Congress has increased the pressure on individual physicians, nurses and pharmacists providing services under these plans to violate their own consciences. In fact, currently only those who may be asked to prescribe the drug have any conscience protection under the law, and unless they are familiar with it, they may not even know of their right to refuse.

If the contraceptive abortifacient mandate in this bill were imposed on all plans, the president of a business who objects or whose employees object to covering abortifacients would not be able to work with an insurance carrier to design a plan that reflects those convictions. The plan would have to cover them, and the business owner and the employees would have to pay for them. No one should be forced to do what he or she believes would cause the death of an innocent human being, particularly in the name of health care.

Mr. Chairman, this is a rational, common-sense reform. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to protect the consciences of all those in the medical profession and American women.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment to the amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mrs. Lowey to the amendment offered by Mr. Smith of New Jersey: In the text of the matter proposed to be inserted, on line 3, strike the words ``or moral convictions''.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I would like to explain the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I have no objection to the part C of my good friend, which talks about implementing the section, ``Any plan that enters or renews a contract under this section may not subject any individual to discrimination on the basis that the individual refuses to prescribe or otherwise provide for contraceptives because such activities would be contrary to the individual's religious beliefs and moral convictions.''

If an individual, be it another provider or a nurse, chooses not to provide this service, as long as the plan will continue to provide this service, we think this would be a perfecting provision. My objection, Mr. Chairman, is to to the first part, that a plan should develop a moral conscience.

We were very careful last year in crafting this to respect every plan's religious conviction. We included five religious plans: Providence Health Plan, Personal Care's HMO, Personal Choices, OSF Health Plans, Yellowstone Community Health Plan, and any existing or future plan, if the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious belief.

However, Mr. Chairman, in the year that this has been implemented there were no objections. There were no additional plans that appealed to be included in this opt out provision.

I have real concerns, Mr. Chairman, that we should suddenly give Blue Cross-Blue Shield or any other plans a conscience. I would expect that a plan that wanted to opt out because of their deeply held convictions would have done so in the last year.

This year, the religious exemption that is in effect today and is contained in the bill continues to specifically exempt the five plans, and again, beneficiaries who want contraceptive services but whose provider choose not to offer them can be referred to other providers by their health plan.

I want to also remind my colleagues, because this is a very important point, that providing coverage of contraception does not compel provision of services contrary to moral or religious convictions by any individual or health care provider. It merely requires the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan to provide the coverage, write the check, in other words, for the contraceptives.

Again, OPM has reported that no other Federal employee health plan has requested a religious-based exemption, and no other plan has complained that the exemption is inadequate. No provider, no beneficiary, has complained.

So in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, many of us on both sides of the aisle worked very hard to be sure that the religious exemption was well thought out. It was extensively negotiated between the House leadership, the White House, and myself, and most importantly, it is working. It strikes the appropriate balance between the legitimate religious concerns of individuals and plans participating in FEHBP with an equally compelling public policy goal facilitating access to the broad range of contraceptive methods in order to reduce unintended pregnancies.

Again, I respect the personal views of my colleagues, on whichever side of the issue they fall. We should have respect for each other. But let us not impose our beliefs on any other individual. This provision is working. Let it continue to work. Please reject the motion and please accept this second degree, which we believe is a perfecting motion.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, first of all, it is Orwellian double speak--a gross distortion of reality to somehow suggest that pro-lifers are imposing our view in proffering this amendment when we are carving out a conscience clause so women and men, or by extension, groups of people, collections of people, who make up plans and administrators of plans don't have a contraceptive/abortion chemical mandate imposed upon them against their moral convictions. The imposition by force of law is by the pro-abortion side.

I happen to believe that people who object to abortion chemicals on a basis other than religious beliefs should not have their deeply held moral convictions overruled.

Not all moral convictions are based on religions. Many of my deeply held beliefs on human rights, including for the unborn, were first arrived at that belief that the unborn child should be protected as a matter of human rights and moral convictions, not religion. Religion inspires a belief in the value of persons but others can value life absent religion.

Dr. Nathanson, I mentioned him earlier in the debate, was an atheist who came to his view concerning the value of an unborn child not based on religious beliefs. He did not believe in God. He had no religious beliefs. He came to that as a matter of moral conviction buttressed by science and logic.

This is an imposition of the contraceptive, but more importantly, from my point of view, the abortifacient, chemicals used early in pregnancies or early after fertilization to destroy the growing embryo. That is a terrible, terrible precedent to be set.

It is outrageous, I say to my colleagues. Where is the choice of those people who say no, I do not want to be involved with this? I think this is outrageous. To strike moral convictions, Mr. Chairman, would set us back in terms of conscience clauses.

Let me also point out to my colleagues that among the more recent conscience clauses enacted into law is legislation passed by Congress in 1996 to protect medical education programs from being required to provide abortion training. The exemption was provided regardless of whether their opposition was religiously or morally based. We recognize that abortion, the killing of an innocent human being, is simply not the kind of practice that should be forced on anyone.

Let me also point out that some of our friends on the other side of the issue, including Senator Snowe, pointed out that institutions and individuals could be and should be protected.

Let me also point out to my colleagues that in addition to abortion training conscience protection that I just described, Congress has provided conscience clauses for plans under Medicare Plus Choice, if the sponsoring organization offering the plan objects on, and I quote, ``Moral or religious grounds; not just religious ground, moral or religious grounds.

Another section protects Medicaid managed care organizations from being required to provide reimbursement or provide for coverage of counseling and referral services if the organization objects to the provision of such service on moral and religious grounds. Moral and religious, they go hand-in-hand. But to just have one is to just have half a loaf.

Also, in yet another section, Congress provided that the Legal Services Corporation fund could not be used to attempt to compel any individual or institution to perform an abortion or assist based on religious beliefs on moral convictions.

I am amazed, I am shocked, I say to the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey), that she wants to strike moral convictions. Why should she impose her views on those who would otherwise not want to do it?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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I yield to the gentlewoman from New York.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I would like to respond to the shock of my good friend and colleague, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith).

I would like to make it very, very clear that what our provision does is allow an individual, a person, a group of people, a provider, to have a religious or moral conviction. I respect that. I want to make that very clear, that be it a doctor or a nurse or a provider, that person, in our provision, certainly may have a religious or a moral conviction.

But I would like to remind my colleague what my provision does not do is allow a plan to have a moral conviction. A Blue Cross-Blue Shield, or another plan, in our judgment, in my judgment, it cannot have a moral conviction. If it has a religious objection, if it is religiously-affiliated, there were five plans that were included. Again, I would like to repeat, any existing or future plan, if the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs, that plan can opt out. No one, not one plan in the past year, requested to opt out.

So Mr. Chairman, I would like to explain again, we are willing to accept their provision which perfects the one from last year, which gives any provider the right on religious or moral convictions to opt out. That is just fine. But a plan does not have a conscience, and there is no plan that requested to be included in this opt out provision.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I want to ask my friend, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), a question, because I know of his very sincere beliefs, and do not question them at all. I agree that we should not question moral convictions, either.

Is there a problem? Have we had some plan, an insurance company that deals with the FEHBP, i.e., a plan, come to us and say that they were being compelled to do something that they did not want to do?

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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I yield to the gentleman from New Jersey.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, the language in the amendment says ``Any existing or future plan.'' I think it wise and provided the future to anticipate.

I know of no plan at the moment to carried a plan may spent nor have I surveyed every plan but that does not mean it has not happened. That does not mean that sitting in the boardrooms around the nation men and women who offer specific plans haven't grappled with this and said, we have to provide this no matter what conditions it violates.

We have to provide maximum freedom in regard to a moral conviction for people who manifest opposition and dissent, and to opt out. And again, let me also point out that I did say with regard to the future plan. There could be plans that would love to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan program but conclude wait a minute, there is a mandate there that violates our moral convictions.

And that is why I would hope and believe this should be a totally noncontroversial amendment, unless its opponents have designs on using the coercive power of the state to force compliance not withstanding moral convictions.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman, I probably do not have much left, but I would say that the gentlewoman I think has tried to reach a resolution within the framework of what we know exists now.

I asked the gentleman if there was a plan, because if there is a problem and we are compelling them to do something that they have a moral conviction against, we ought to look at that. I agree with the gentleman from New Jersey. He is absolutely right.

On the other hand, apparently we do not at least now have a problem with respect to this. However, we may, as the gentlewoman from New York has pointed out, have a problem, and we want to make sure that not only do individuals not have to prescribe, but they do not have to involve themselves in providing.

The gentlewoman's amendment deals with individuals' rights to certainly say, no, I have a moral conviction or religious belief, and I am not going to do that. I really do believe the gentlewoman has tried to reach a middle ground, if any such exists; and I do not know that that is the case, but if any such exists on this particular issue, because I think in the first instance that problem does not exist, but on the second instance, it may exist and she provides a protection against it.

I would hope that we can adopt the gentlewoman's amendment.

Rep. Henry John Hyde

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I certainly will not use the 5 minutes, but it seems to me this really is much ado about nothing; not that the issue is a nothing issue, but the distinctions that should be made.

Conscience and moral conviction are really facets of the same issue. Religious reasons may motivate a conviction, but ethical reasons, without any religious foundation, are of the same stripe. They are a nuanced way of expressing one's conscience.

If we want to protect peoples conscience which flows from religious conviction, we want to similarly treat people's moral convictions that do not have a religious foundation but are just as strongly felt.

Now, does a plan have a conscience? That should not bother anybody. Corporations can act immorally. They can dump toxic wastes in the ground. By continuing to do that, we say that corporation is immoral, is acting immorally.

Plans operate through people. It is not some sort of entity out there. It is an intangible. But people make decisions and have consciences and violate their conscience or protect their conscience or act pursuant to it. But there is nothing strange about a plan acting morally.

We say the profits for this corporation were ``obscene.'' So corporations and these entities can have a conscience, can act pursuant to a conscience because they are run by directors and by people.

So why do we not protect moral conviction just as strongly as we protect religious conscience? They are two sides of the same coin. And I do not understand why we are doing this.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Henry John Hyde

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I yield to the gentlewoman from New York not just with pleasure, but with great pleasure.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) for yielding to me. We have been discussing this issue for many years.

Mr. Chairman, a plan is a corporate entity, and it is organized often for profit. Its role is to write a check. I do not think that we want a plan to begin to claim a moral conviction, moral objection to writing a check.

Now this is not about examining a patient, talking about patients, because we have already included in the language that any individual provider, a nurse or other provider, may opt out based on religious or moral conviction. But we are saying if a plan suddenly has 50 people outside protesting, they could develop a moral conscience and say, ``I do not want to write a check.''

Now, I want to make it clear again that the provision which the gentleman and I negotiated very carefully last year listed all the religiously based plans that wanted to opt out. We gave other plans the option of opting out, but no one took that option.

Rep. Henry John Hyde

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Mr. Chairman, before my time lapses if I could recapture it briefly to say we do not suffer from too much moral conviction; perhaps too little. And where we find it, we ought to nurture it and protect it.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, earlier today this House voted down an attempt to strike the abortion restriction from this bill. And if Members oppose abortion, there is no better way to try to avoid it than to increase access to contraceptives. My colleagues are offbase with their amendment which is a transparent attempt to cut off access to birth control.

The amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) already has a conscience clause that allows religious plans to opt out if they choose to. In fact, five plans have chosen to do just that.

I also take issue with the contention that a health plan, a nonhuman entity, can have a moral objection to anything. Individual providers do not have to prescribe contraceptives if they do not choose to.

Mr. Chairman, let us get to the base of this discussion. We know what this is about. We know that those offering this amendment do not believe in birth control. They have said this outright, that they believe that oral contraceptives used by tens of millions of American women every day are a form of abortion. And to imply that those women are abortionists is an affront to every American woman and shows how out of touch some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle really are.

I ask again and again and again that they do not impose their personal agenda on others. If my colleagues want to reduce abortions in this country, and we all want to do that, there is no better way than to support contraceptives and to support birth control.

Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support the Lowey amendment and to oppose the Smith amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that all debate on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), and all amendments thereto, close in 20 minutes, and that the time be equally divided and controlled by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) and the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey).

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Arizona?

There was no objection.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) for 10 minutes.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Aderholt).

Rep. Robert B. Aderholt

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Mr. Chairman, I rise to strongly support the Smith amendment. I cannot imagine the Congress of the United States not allowing health plans in this Nation, the United States of America, to include such exceptions.

All this amendment does, and it has been said here today already but let me reiterate two simple things to the current conscience clause in the contraceptive mandate. Number one, it expands conscience protections to plans which object on moral, not just religious grounds. Religion is not only the reason one would object to abortion. This should be accounted for.

And number two, expands conscience protection to not only those who prescribe medication, as is the current law, but also to those who provide for the abortifacient drug. All this means is that a nurse who does not prescribe but might be asked to administer an abortifacient drug has a right to refuse it.

I would simply ask my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, to vote to protect the conscience of all women.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Connecticut.

Rep. Nancy Lee Johnson

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the amendment to the amendment. The example that my colleague just gave about a nurse having the right not to administer a contraceptive that they believed was abortifacient because they believed it was an abortion is a right that is protected under the underlying bill. The nurse, as a provider, has a right not to provide services to which she morally objects. Any provider and any entity has that right under this bill. No hospital has to provide abortions if they do not want to. No physician has to. That is a very important right that is protected in the law.

It is also true that if an insurance company offers contraceptive coverage, every woman covered by that insurance policy has a right to use it or not. If they have moral objections to contraceptives, they do not have to use contraceptives. There is nothing in the insurance policy that mandates that they use any of the health care services that the health care plan provides. It is a menu of services that they have the option of choosing, depending on their personal conviction, their religious convictions, and their moral convictions.

But to give to a plan the power to deny because the plan, which is a piece of paper, it is not a person, but because the plan decides that I, as a woman, do not have the right to take the common contraceptives that 90 percent of American women depend on so that they can have a healthy marriage and be a good mother, that is what family planning does. It spaces our children and limits the number so parents can support them and send them to college, so women can be a loving wife in a happy partnership. That is what family planning is about.

It is about good healthy married sex. And I am proud to say that. And I think every woman in America has a right not only to limit the number of children, but to enjoy a healthy relationship with her husband.

Mr. Chairman, one thing I wanted to add, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), my dear friend said that we do not suffer from too much morality. That is true. But there is no question that in America we suffer from too much government regulation. And the idea that government is going to regulate, give to a plan on a piece of paper the moral authority to dictate to me, a woman of religious integrity, whether or not I can choose to use a contraceptive is a level, frankly, of intrusiveness into personal freedom that I as a Republican object to and reject.

I find it very hard to believe that Republicans who believe in less government and more freedom could endow a plan with the moral authority to limit my right not only to manage when I have children in accord with my good health and my family's ability to support them, but also regulate my right to have confidence, the confidence that frankly healthy sexual relationships among married couples demands, and that is just true.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, first of all the gentlewoman from Connecticut, my good friend, is factually incorrect when she suggests that the underlying legislation which repeats language that has been in existence for a year, protects health care workers' right to conscience. Nothing could be further from the truth. The plan language that is in the bill, the plan language that has been on the books, for the last year, only says that the prescriber, the person that ``prescribes'' the contraceptives, or abortion chemicals--those drugs or devices that have the capacity to prevent implantation for example, have ``conscience'' protection. Every other health care worker--nurses, nurse practitioners and others--have absolutely no ``conscience'' protection whatsoever.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment, which the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) has said she supports, expands conscience protection to all health care workers. There has been a serious omission in the current law and the proposal that is before the House tonight that is remedied by my amendment.

Now, when we talk about a plan, a plan and a provider of a plan, the carrier is a collection of people. These plans--BlueCross or BlueShield for example--have a board of directors, a chain of command. They are made up of people. People who have religious beliefs are protected. But there are also some and maybe many who do not have religious beliefs. They may be agnostics or atheists or people for whom religion carries little weight, but have a moral conviction, individually or collectively, who object on moral grounds to the provision of contraceptives. They may feel, as a matter of moral conviction, that abortion chemicals have no place in their provision of health care. Ironically, there is no right to choose here contemplated by the gentlelady from New York. It would be wrong to force them to say they have got to provide it. That is using the coercive power of the Federal Government to make them do something that is against their ``moral conviction.'' This is about moral conviction. I am amazed and really shocked and disappointed that the gentlewoman from New York has offered this amendment to strike the words ``moral conviction''. It trivializes people who oppose certain practices on a basis other than their religious belief.

As the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) pointed out so well, corporations do have consciences. There are mutual funds that are ``green,'' in other words, pro-environment. They only invest in that which is environmentally protective. There are mutual funds that do not invest in corporations dealing with the weapons industry because they feel that is wrong. That is their choice. They can do it. And I respect it. Disinvestment from corporations doing business in South Africa in the 80's sharpened the ``conscience'' of many corporations.

Carriers, health plans and the like do have a conscience expressed through their board of directors and expressed perhaps through their shareholders. Any attempt to stifle moral conviction or repress it is absolutely wrong. And, again, I am really disappointed that some would force their moral convictions on those who want to say they have a moral objection to this.

In terms of individual men and women who want to get abortion chemicals, there are a myriad of programs that provide that. Sadly. But it is not like there is a lack of provision of that kind of service. But do not tell everybody that they have to get in lockstep and provide this.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella).

Rep. Constance A. Morella

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) for yielding me this time. She is my stalwart friend who introduced this legislation last year that passed that we spoke about earlier today. I also thank her for the work that she has done to make sure that Federal employees have an opportunity for coverage for contraception within the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan. I consider it an equity provision containing the religious exemption that specifically exempts the five religious-based plans within the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan.

I have talked to the Office of Personnel and Management, and they report that no other FEHB plan has requested any kind of an exemption, nor have they complained that the conscience language that is currently there is inadequate.

So I do not know. We talk about a plan based on moral convictions. The Office of Personnel Management is the one that negotiates with the proposed planners for any kind of a plan that they would offer. None of them have asked for a plan based on moral convictions, that they want to be exempted. There are the five. They are specifically mentioned.

Implementation of the policy has gone very well. No insurer, provider, or beneficiary has complained to the Office of Personnel Management about that provision. Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the cost of delivering contraceptive coverage is so minimal that the provision has no negligible budgetary effect.

I think this coverage is necessary for families where contraception decisions are most often made. Women spend 80 percent of their productive years, or reproductive years, I should say, trying not to get pregnant.

Actually, currently, women pay 68 percent more for out-of-pocket health care costs. The majority of these costs come from contraception. Providing prescription contraceptive coverage is important for our Federal employees. It is essential to setting a model for private insurance plans.

Actually, this issue comes up because of abortion. The way to prevent abortion is to offer the opportunity for appropriate contraception. That is what we are now doing for Federal employees. Let us not change it on the basis of a plan based on moral convictions. We have a plan that does work.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey).

(Ms. WOOLSEY asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Rep. Lynn Woolsey

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of the contraceptive coverage provisions in this bill.

Last year, Congress got smart and voted to give women who work for the Federal Government access to contraceptives. But now it seems like the appropriations process is signalling the beginning of another hunting season on a woman's reproductive rights, particularly if that woman works for the Federal Government.

Go figure it out. Unwanted pregnancy and abortion rates drop when women have access to preventive productive health care.

I ask Members to look at their female employees. Look at the staff who work so hard for them to serve their district. Look at those women and tell them that we do not care about their reproductive health. Then look at the millions of Federal workers that work for the Federal Government, who work day in and day out to serve the people of this country. Go ahead. Tell them that we do want to deny them the rights that are made accessible to other women but not to them.

Contraceptives give women and their families new choices and new hope. They increase child survival. They increase safe motherhood. Prohibiting Federal workers from using their health care coverage for prescription contraceptive coverage as they see fit discriminates against women just because they work for the Federal Government. This is a total disgrace.

Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to support contraceptive coverage for our Federal employees.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair advises all Members that the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) has 2\1/2\ minutes remaining and the right to close. The gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) has 6 minutes remaining.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I am delighted to yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee).

(Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) for her leadership.

Late into the night, let me simply say it is a crying shame. It is a crying shame that, in 1999, we would not address this question of dealing with the rights of women in the Federal employment in the way that it should be, giving them real reproductive rights.

I respect the disagreement that the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) has, and he has been strong on his disagreement. But we already have a religious exemption. We already allow for plans who, because of religious beliefs, do not want to engage in contraceptive education or prescription to opt out. We allow for those who are medical professionals and particular physicians to opt out.

But now what we are being asked to do is to simply gut the right of women in the Federal employment to have the right for reproductive rights, to be protected, to be safe, to be secure. What we are suggesting now is a return to the coat hanger for those who work in the Federal employ.

Our medical plans are a nonperson. They do not exist as a person. To give them a moral exemption does not seem to be realistic. This is a question of choice. It is a question of privacy. It is a question of their very personal decision.

While we can respect the religious differences of those who wish to conspicuously opt out, whether it is a Catholic or a Baptist plan, how can we attribute to any plan the ability to rise up and say, ``I have a moral reason. Oh, it is not religion, but it just happens to be in the back of my mind. I do not want to do it.'' Therefore, we endanger the lives of women who are serving this country as Federal civil servants.

Mr. Chairman, I would simply ask my colleagues, can we make our Federal employees second-class citizens? Are women now to go to the back of the bus and be able to suffer under this unequal plan?

I ask support for the Lowey amendment.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I urge my colleagues to vote for this language. The contraceptive provision in this bill that has been very successfully implemented for the past year has not received any, any, any challenges from one plan. I believe the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) agreed with that.

We have given the individual the right to opt out before of a moral conscience. But, Mr. Chairman, a plan in my judgment does not have a moral conscience, and we do not want to give these plans the right to opt out from writing a check to cover basic health care for women.

Rep. Christopher H. Smith

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, just let me make a couple of points.

I respect the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee). We recently traveled to Macedonia and Albania, we talked going and coming, and I think we struck up a very good friendship during the course of that trip. Regrettably, I believe the gentlewoman engaged in some very real hyperbole on the floor tonight.

First, the mandate that is in this bill, that is in existing law, remains the same.

What I am offering is a conscience clause, a real, honest-to-goodness conscience clause. Frankly, I am amazed. I said it earlier. I am very, very disappointed that those who take the view that abortions are okay, but for purposes of this language we are talking about chemicals that induce an early abortion, they want carriers to jettison their conscience. A carrier, obviously, is a group of people who form a corporation. Say it is Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Kaiser Permanente, NYL Care. Name the carrier, and say it does not have people behind it, it does not have a board of directors, it does not have people who might have a very strong sense of conscience regarding these things that is not related to their religious beliefs.

Moral convictions and religious beliefs, as I pointed out earlier in the U.S. Code, usually go hand in hand. Why the exception when it comes to abortion chemicals?

I am truly dismayed by this, that the conscience of those people who have a moral objection that is not rooted in religious beliefs, they may not have any, religious faith, there are a lot of agnostics out there, and some atheists out there who might have strong beliefs based on moral conviction why they do not want to proceed with this. If they collectively say, through a vote of board of directors, that they do not want to have abortion chemicals being provided, they should be able to object as a matter of moral conviction.

The amendment of the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey), an imperfecting amendment, to use what the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) said earlier, undermined that and suggests that moral convictions don't count. I would respectfully submit to all of my colleagues that moral convictions should count, and they should count equally with religious beliefs. Equally.

Again, I think it trivializes those people who do not have religious beliefs to say their moral convictions should be thrown over the side simply because we do not happen to agree with them.

Let me just also say once again, that my language comports with several existing statutes. It is very important. I will put all of them that I have compiled so far into the Record and ask my colleagues to take a look at it.

Let me just read the language of my amendment just so everyone is very clear. It talks about a conscience clause for any existing or future plan if the carrier for the plan objects to such coverage on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Very simple and straightforward. The Lowey amendment strikes moral convictions. Again, I think that is a very, very serious imposition on those who have moral convictions that are not based on religious beliefs.

Again, we are not talking here about what our conscience would suggest in this. We are providing a framework for other people to exercise their consciences.

Why this idea of forcing people to all march down the same road if they have a moral conviction and sense they should go in the other direction? Again, that is why I urge a ``no'' vote on the Lowey amendment.

It is antithetical to the purported belief on choice on the other side. A man and woman, collectively as a plan, a carrier, does not have a choice anymore. Big brother in Washington is going to tell them they have to do this under pain of not being within the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

So let me just conclude by saying this is a conscience clause. Let me say it again. It is a conscience clause that is good, solid. It is rooted in boilerplate language that we find in other parts of the U.S. Code. I urge a strong no vote on the Lowey amendment and a yes vote on the Smith amendment.

Federal Statutes Protecting Moral and Religious Convictions

8 U.S.C. Sec. 1182(g). Bond and conditions for admission of alien excludable on health-related grounds. The Attorney General may waive the application of ... subsection (a)(1)(A)(ii) of this section [requiring documentation of having received vaccination against certain diseases] in the case of any alien ... under such circumstances as the Attorney General provides by regulation, with respect to whom the requirement of such a vaccination would be contrary to the alien's religious beliefs or moral convictions.... 18 U.S.C. Sec. 3597(b). Excuse of an employee on moral or religious grounds. No employee of any State department of corrections, the United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, or the United States Marshals Service, and no employee providing services to that department, bureau, or service under contract shall be required, as a condition of that employment or contractual obligation, to be in attendance at or to participate in any prosecution or execution under this section if such participation is contrary to the moral or religious convictions of the employee. In this subsection, ``participation in executions'' includes personal preparation of the condemned individual and the apparatus used for execution and supervision of the activities of other personnel in carrying out such activities. 21 U.S.C. Sec. 848(r). Refusal to participate by State and Federal correctional employees. No employee of any State department of corrections or the Federal Bureau of Prisons and no employee providing services to that department or bureau under contract shall be required, as a condition of that employment, or contractual obligation to be in attendance at or to participate in any execution carrier out under this section if such participation is contrary to the moral or religious convictions of the employee. For purposes of this subsection, the term ``participation in executions'' includes personal preparation of the condemned individual and the apparatus used for execution and supervision of the activities of other personnel in carrying out such activities. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300a-7(b). Prohibition of public officials and public authorities from imposition of certain requirements contrary to religious beliefs or moral convictions. The receipt of any grant, contract, loan, or loan guarantee under the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 201 et seq.], the Community Mental Health Centers Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 2689 et seq.], or the Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 6000 et seq.] by any individual or entity does not authorize any court or any public official or other public authority to require-- (1) such individual to perform or assist in the performance of any sterilization procedure or abortion if his performance or assistance in the performance of such procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions; or (2) such entity to---- (A) make its facilities available for the performance of any sterilization procedure or abortion if the performance of such procedure or abortion in such facilities is prohibited by the entity on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions, or (B) provide any personnel for the performance or assistance in the performance of any sterilization procedure or abortion if the performance or assistance in the performance of such procedure or abortion by such personnel would be contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such personnel. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300a-7(c). Discrimination prohibition. (1) No entity which receives a grant, contract, loan, or loan guarantee under the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 201 et seq.], the Community Mental Health Centers Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 2689 et seq.], or the Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 6000 et seq.] after June 18, 1973 may---- (A) discriminate in the employment, promotion, or termination of employment of any physician or other health care personnel, or (B) discriminate in the extension of staff or other privileges to any physician or other health care personnel, because he performed or assisted in the performance of a lawful sterilization procedure or abortion, because he refused to perform or assist in the performance of such a procedure or abortion on the grounds that his performance or assistance in the performance of the procedure or abortion would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions, or because of his religious beliefs or moral convictions respecting sterilization procedures or abortions. (2) No entity which receives after July 12, 1974, a grant or contract for biomedical or behavioral research under any program administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services may---- (A) discriminate in the employment, promotion, or termination of employment of any physician or other health care personnel, or (B) discriminate in the extension of staff or other privileges to any physician or other health care personnel, because he performed or assisted in the performance of any lawful health service or research activity, because he refused to perform or assist in the performance of any such service or activity on the grounds that his performance or assistance in the performance of such service or activity would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions, or because of his religious beliefs or moral convictions respecting any such service or activity. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300a-7(d). Individual rights respecting certain requirements contrary to religious] beliefs or moral convictions. No individual shall be required to perform or assist in the performance of any part of a health service program or research activity funded in whole or in part under a program administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services if his performance or assistance in the performance of such part of such program or activity would be contrary to his religious beliefs or moral convictions. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 300a-7(e). Prohibition on entities receiving Federal grant, etc., from discriminating against applicants for training or study because of refusal of applicant to participate on religious or moral grounds. No entity which receives, after September 29, 1979, any grant, contract, loan, loan guarantee, or interest subsidy under the Public Health Service Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 201 et seq.], the Community Mental Health Centers Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 2689 et seq.], or the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act [42 U.S.C. Sec. 6000 et seq.] may deny admission or otherwise discriminate against any applicant (including applicants for internships and residencies) for training or study because of the applicant's reluctance, or willingness, to counsel, suggest, recommend, assist, or in any way participate in the performance of abortions or sterilizations contrary to or consistent with the applicant's religious beliefs or moral convictions. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1395w-22(j)(3)(B). Conscience protection. Subparagraph (A) [prohibiting interference with provider advice to enrollees] shall not be construed as requiring a Medicare + Choice plan to provide, reimburse for, or provide coverage of a counseling or referral service if the Medicare + Choice organization offering the plan--(i) objects to the provision of such service on moral or religious grounds; and (ii) in the manner and through the written instrumentalities such Medicare + Choice organization deems appropriate, makes available information on its policies regarding such service to prospective enrollees before or during enrollment and to enrollees within 90 days after the date that the organization or plan adopts a change in policy regarding such a counseling or referral service. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1396u-2(b)(3). Construction. Subparagraph (A) [protecting enrollee-provider communications] shall not be construed as requiring a medicaid managed care organization to provide, reimburse for, or provide coverage of, a counseling or referral service if the organization (i) objects to the provisions of such service on moral or religious grounds; and (ii) in the manner and through the written instrumentalities such organization deems appropriate, makes available information on its policies regarding such service to prospective enrollees before or during enrollment and to enrollees within 90 days after the date that the organization adopts a change in policy regarding such a counseling or referral service. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2996f(b). Limitations on uses. No funds made available by the [Legal Services] Corporation under this subchapter, either by grant or contract, may be used . . . (8) to provide legal assistance with respect to any proceeding or litigation which seeks to procure a nontherapeutic abortion or to compel any individual or institution to perform an abortion, or assist in the performance of an abortion, or provide facilities for the performance of an abortion, contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of such individual or institution.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) to the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith).

The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

Rep. Nita M. Lowey

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Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 246, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) to the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) will be postponed.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 246, proceedings will now resume on those amendments on which further proceedings were postponed in the following order: The amendment offered by gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions), the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey), and the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith).

The Chair will reduce to 5 minutes the time for any electronic vote after the first vote in this series.

The CHAIRMAN. The pending business is the demand for a recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Sessions) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote.

The Clerk will redesignate the amendment.

The Clerk redesignated the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. A recorded vote has been demanded.

A recorded vote was ordered.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 82, noes 334, not voting 18, as follows:

[Roll No. 302] AYES--82 Aderholt Barcia Bartlett Berkley Berry Bono Boswell Brady (TX) Bryant Chabot Combest Cook Crane Danner DeMint Duncan Dunn Emerson Everett Fletcher Fossella Gibbons Goode Graham Green (WI) Hall (TX) Hansen Hastings (WA) Hayworth Hefley Hill (IN) Hilleary Jenkins Johnson, Sam Jones (NC) Kasich Kelly Kind (WI) Kucinich Largent Lewis (KY) LoBiondo Lucas (KY) Manzullo McCollum Metcalf Mica Moran (KS) Myrick Nethercutt Paul Pryce (OH) Radanovich Ramstad Riley Rogan Ryun (KS) Salmon Sanders Sanford Schaffer Sensenbrenner Sessions Shimkus Shows Skeen Stabenow Stearns Stump Tancredo Taylor (MS) Thornberry Thune Tiahrt Toomey Turner Udall (CO) Upton Vitter Wamp Watkins Wu NOES--334 Abercrombie Ackerman Allen Andrews Archer Armey Bachus Baird Baker Baldacci Ballenger Barr Barrett (NE) Barrett (WI) Barton Bass Bateman Becerra Bentsen Bereuter Berman Biggert Bilbray Bilirakis Bishop Blagojevich Bliley Blumenauer Blunt Boehlert Boehner Bonilla Bonior Borski Boucher Boyd Brady (PA) Brown (FL) Brown (OH) Burr Buyer Callahan Calvert Camp Campbell Canady Cannon Capps Capuano Cardin Carson Castle Chambliss Clay Clayton Clement Clyburn Coburn Collins Condit Conyers Costello Cox Coyne Cramer Crowley Cubin Cummings Cunningham Davis (FL) Davis (IL) Davis (VA) Deal DeFazio DeGette Delahunt DeLauro DeLay Deutsch Diaz-Balart Dickey Dicks Dingell Dixon Doggett Dooley Doolittle Doyle Dreier Edwards Ehlers Ehrlich Engel English Eshoo Etheridge Evans Ewing Farr Filner Foley Forbes Ford Fowler Frank (MA) Franks (NJ) Frelinghuysen Gallegly Ganske Gekas Gephardt Gillmor Gilman Gonzalez Goodlatte Goodling Gordon Goss Granger Green (TX) Greenwood Gutierrez Gutknecht Hall (OH) Hastings (FL) Hayes Herger Hill (MT) Hilliard Hinchey Hinojosa Hobson Hoeffel Hoekstra Holden Holt Hooley Horn Hostettler Houghton Hoyer Hulshof Hunter Hutchinson Hyde Inslee Isakson Istook Jackson (IL) Jackson-Lee (TX) Jefferson John Johnson (CT) Johnson, E. B. Jones (OH) Kanjorski Kaptur Kennedy Kildee Kilpatrick King (NY) Kingston Kleczka Klink Knollenberg Kolbe Kuykendall LaFalce LaHood Lampson Lantos Larson LaTourette Lazio Leach Lee Levin Lewis (CA) Lewis (GA) Linder Lipinski Lofgren Lowey Lucas (OK) Maloney (CT) Maloney (NY) Markey Martinez Mascara Matsui McCarthy (MO) McCarthy (NY) McCrery McGovern McHugh McInnis McIntosh McIntyre McKeon McKinney Meehan Meek (FL) Meeks (NY) Menendez Millender-McDonald Miller (FL) Miller, Gary Miller, George Minge Mink Moakley Mollohan Moore Moran (VA) Morella Murtha Nadler Napolitano Neal Ney Northup Norwood Nussle Oberstar Obey Olver Ortiz Ose Owens Oxley Packard Pallone Pascrell Pastor Payne Pease Pelosi Peterson (MN) Petri Phelps Pickering Pickett Pitts Pombo Pomeroy Porter Portman Price (NC) Rahall Rangel Regula Reyes Reynolds Rivers Rodriguez Roemer Rogers Rohrabacher Ros-Lehtinen Rothman Roukema Roybal-Allard Rush Ryan (WI) Sabo Sanchez Sandlin Sawyer Saxton Scarborough Schakowsky Scott Serrano Shadegg Shaw Shays Sherman Sherwood Shuster Simpson Sisisky Skelton Slaughter Smith (MI) Smith (NJ) Smith (TX) Smith (WA) Snyder Souder Spence Spratt Stark Stenholm Strickland Stupak Sununu Sweeney Talent Tanner Tauscher Tauzin Taylor (NC) Terry Thomas Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tierney Towns Traficant Udall (NM) Velazquez Vento Visclosky Walden Walsh Waters Watt (NC) Watts (OK) Waxman Weiner Weldon (FL) Weldon (PA) Weller Wexler Weygand Whitfield Wicker Wilson Wise Wolf Woolsey Wynn Young (AK) Young (FL) NOT VOTING--18 Baldwin Brown (CA) Burton Chenoweth Coble Cooksey Fattah Frost Gejdenson Gilchrest Latham Luther McDermott McNulty Peterson (PA) Quinn Royce Thurman {time} 2048

Mrs. CUBIN, Mr. THOMAS, and Mr. CONYERS changed their vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''

Messrs. TAYLOR of Mississippi, ROGAN, RADANOVICH and KUCINICH changed their vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''

So the amendment was rejected.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 246, the Chair announces that he will reduce to a minimum of 5 minutes the period of time within which a vote by electronic device will be taken on each amendment on which the Chair has postponed further proceedings.

The CHAIRMAN. The pending business is the demand for a recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Lowey) to the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote.

The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The Clerk designated the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. A recorded vote has been demanded.

A recorded vote was ordered.

The CHAIRMAN. This will be a 5-minute vote.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 217, noes 200, not voting 17, as follows:

[Roll No. 303] AYES--217 Abercrombie Ackerman Allen Andrews Baird Baldacci Barrett (WI) Bass Becerra Bentsen Bereuter Berkley Berman Berry Biggert Bilbray Bishop Blagojevich Blumenauer Boehlert Bonior Bono Borski Boswell Boucher Boyd Brady (PA) Brown (FL) Brown (OH) Campbell Capps Capuano Cardin Carson Castle Clay Clayton Clement Clyburn Condit Conyers Cook Coyne Cramer Crowley Cummings Danner Davis (FL) Davis (IL) DeFazio DeGette Delahunt DeLauro Deutsch Dicks Dingell Dixon Doggett Dooley Dunn Edwards Ehrlich Engel Eshoo Etheridge Evans Farr Fattah Filner Foley Ford Fowler Frank (MA) Franks (NJ) Frelinghuysen Gallegly Ganske Gejdenson Gephardt Gibbons Gilman Gonzalez Granger Green (TX) Greenwood Gutierrez Hastings (FL) Hill (IN) Hilliard Hinchey Hinojosa Hobson Hoeffel Holt Hooley Horn Houghton Hoyer Inslee Isakson Jackson (IL) Jackson-Lee (TX) Jefferson Johnson (CT) Johnson, E. B. Jones (OH) Kanjorski Kaptur Kelly Kennedy Kilpatrick Kind (WI) Kleczka Klink Kolbe Kuykendall Lampson Lantos Larson LaTourette Lazio Lee Levin Lewis (GA) Lofgren Lowey Maloney (CT) Maloney (NY) Markey Martinez Matsui McCarthy (MO) McCarthy (NY) McGovern McKinney Meehan Meek (FL) Meeks (NY) Menendez Millender-McDonald Miller (FL) Miller, George Minge Mink Moakley Moore Moran (VA) Morella Nadler Napolitano Neal Nethercutt Obey Olver Ose Owens Pallone Pascrell Pastor Payne Pelosi Pickett Pomeroy Porter Price (NC) Pryce (OH) Ramstad Rangel Reyes Rivers Rodriguez Roemer Rothman Roukema Roybal-Allard Rush Sabo Sanchez Sanders Sandlin Sawyer Schakowsky Scott Serrano Shaw Sherman Simpson Sisisky Slaughter Smith (WA) Snyder Spratt Stabenow Stark Strickland Tanner Tauscher Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tierney Towns Udall (CO) Udall (NM) Velazquez Vento Visclosky Walden Waters Watt (NC) Waxman Weiner Wexler Weygand Wise Woolsey Wu Wynn NOES--200 Aderholt Archer Armey Bachus Baker Ballenger Barcia Barr Barrett (NE) Bartlett Barton Bateman Bilirakis Bliley Blunt Boehner Bonilla Brady (TX) Bryant Burr Buyer Callahan Calvert Camp Canady Cannon Chabot Chambliss Coburn Collins Combest Costello Cox Crane Cubin Cunningham Davis (VA) Deal DeLay DeMint Diaz-Balart Dickey Doolittle Doyle Dreier Duncan Ehlers Emerson English Everett Ewing Fletcher Forbes Fossella Gekas Gillmor Goode Goodlatte Goodling Goss Graham Green (WI) Gutknecht Hall (OH) Hall (TX) Hansen Hastings (WA) Hayes Hayworth Hefley Herger Hill (MT) Hilleary Hoekstra Holden Hostettler Hulshof Hunter Hutchinson Hyde Istook Jenkins John Johnson, Sam Jones (NC) Kasich Kildee King (NY) Kingston Knollenberg Kucinich LaFalce LaHood Largent Leach Lewis (CA) Lewis (KY) Linder Lipinski LoBiondo Lucas (KY) Lucas (OK) Manzullo Mascara McCollum McCrery McHugh McInnis McIntosh McIntyre McKeon Metcalf Mica Miller, Gary Mollohan Moran (KS) Murtha Myrick Ney Northup Norwood Nussle Oberstar Ortiz Oxley Packard Paul Pease Peterson (MN) Petri Phelps Pickering Pitts Pombo Portman Quinn Radanovich Rahall Regula Reynolds Riley Rogan Rogers Rohrabacher Ros-Lehtinen Ryan (WI) Ryun (KS) Salmon Sanford Saxton Scarborough Sensenbrenner Sessions Shadegg Shays Sherwood Shimkus Shows Shuster Skeen Skelton Smith (MI) Smith (NJ) Smith (TX) Souder Spence Stearns Stenholm Stump Stupak Sununu Sweeney Talent Tancredo Tauzin Taylor (MS) Taylor (NC) Terry Thomas Thornberry Thune Tiahrt Toomey Traficant Turner Upton Vitter Walsh Wamp Watkins Watts (OK) Weldon (FL) Weldon (PA) Weller Whitfield Wicker Wilson Wolf Young (AK) Young (FL) NOT VOTING--17 Baldwin Brown (CA) Burton Chenoweth Coble Cooksey Frost Gilchrest Gordon Latham Luther McDermott McNulty Peterson (PA) Royce Schaffer Thurman {time} 2058

LAZIO changed their vote from ``no'' to ``aye''.

Mr. UPTON changed his vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''

So the amendment was agreed to.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

Stated against:

Rep. Bob Schaffer

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Mr. Chairman, on rollcall No. 303, the Lowey amendment, I was inadvertently detained. Had I been present, I would have voted ``no.''

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), as amended.

The amendment, as amended, was agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will read.

The Clerk read as follows:

Sec. 645. (a) Section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, as amended, is amended by deleting the position of ``Commissioner of Customs, Department of the Treasury''. (b) Section 5314 of title 5, United States Code, as amended, is amended by adding the position of ``Commissioner of Customs, Department of the Treasury'' after ``Administrator, Research and Special Programs Administration''. Sec. 646. Effective October 1, 1999, all personnel of the General Accounting Office employed or maintained to carry out functions of the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program (JFMIP) shall be transferred to the General Services Administration. The Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall provide to the General Services Administration one permanent Senior Executive Service allocation for the position of the Executive Director of the JFMIP. Personnel transferred pursuant to this section shall not be separated or reduced in classification or compensation for one year after any such transfer, except for cause. Sec. 647. (a) None of the funds made available in this or any other Act with respect to any fiscal year may be obligated or expended for any new construction, renovation, alteration to existing facilities, or other improvement, at the Border Patrol Academy, located in Charleston, South Carolina. (b) Subsection (a) shall not prevent any obligation or expenditure, approved in advance by the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, for minor improvements. (c) No appropriated funds may be used to continue operating the Border Patrol Academy, located in Charleston, South Carolina, after September 30, 2004. Sec. 648. It is the sense of the Congress that there should continue to be parity between the adjustments in the compensation of members of the uniformed services and the adjustments in the compensation of civilian employees of the United States. This Act may be cited as the ``Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2000''.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Andrews: Page 101, after line 10, insert the following new section: Sec. 649. No funds made available by this Act may be obligated or expended for offices, salaries, or expenses of the Department of the Treasury in excess of the amounts made available for such purposes for fiscal year 1999 until the Secretary of the Treasury has, pursuant to section 1610(f) of title 28, United States Code, released property described in section 1610(f)(1)(A) of such title, to satisfy all pending judgments for which such property is subject to execution or attachment in aid of execution under section 1610(f) of such title.

Mr. ANDREWS (during the reading). Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment be considered as read and printed in the Record.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New Jersey?

There was no objection.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arizona reserves a point of order.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Mr. Chairman, this is a matter of a job that is only half done that needs to be completed. In the last few years, this Congress addressed the problem of American citizens who win civil judgments against foreign governments for acts of terrorism and find it impossible to recover money damages because of the protections of sovereign relations. Very wisely in recent years, this Congress made modifications to title XXVIII, section 1610, to provide for ways that American citizens who were wronged, who were able to prove that wrong in a court of competent jurisdiction, then could receive a judgment and who were then able to identify assets which are carefully delineated as assets that do not touch or concern or interfere with in any way the sovereign operations of foreign nations should be able to have their judgment satisfied, should be able to be made whole for the wrongs that they have suffered.

Despite the good work of the Congress, it has been unfortunate that the administration has aggressively used its waiver authority to render this law to be effectively ineffective, to render it rather meaningless for people that have been successful in recovering these judgments.

The purpose of my amendment is to compel the effective use of the law that we passed a few years ago. It is to make sure that when an American is injured by a terrorist act of a foreign state, pursues his or her injuries through a court of law, wins the case and goes to satisfy that judgment, the same way we would satisfy a judgement against General Motors in the suit involving a car that explodes or the same way that we would pursue a judgment and satisfy it against a bank or any other institution in American society, that people have the opportunity to satisfy the judgment against a foreign government.

The purpose of this amendment is to compel the release of assets held by foreign powers under the terms of the statute that we passed a few years ago so that Americans who have been wronged may recover as is their right.

Frankly, I believe that the administration has abused its waiver authority, and the purpose of this amendment is to restore that right under the statute to its rightful place so people can recover the judgments that are rightfully theirs.

This is a matter, I think, of simple fairness and justice. I would urge my colleagues to support this amendment, because I believe that it will right the wrongs that I have described in my statement here and it will finish the job that the Congress wisely began just a few years ago.

I have discussed this with both my friend the ranking subcommittee member and the chairman.

Mr. Chairman, I would be happy first to yield to my friend from Maryland who is our ranking member.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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I thank my friend for yielding and want to congratulate him on the offering of this amendment and the pursuing of this very compelling case. Quite obviously the Flato family has suffered a very significant loss, has received a judgment which obviously cannot compensate for their loss but is a money judgement as we have in our system which is the best we can do. Clearly the Congress intended for an American citizen, as the gentleman has pointed out, to collect on this judgment.

The only difference I would have with him, while it is a case of justice, quite obviously it is not as simple, and there are different perspectives on the ramifications beyond this case. But I congratulate the gentleman, and I have indicated to him and to others that I will work closely with the chairman to see if this matter can be resolved successfully.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Reclaiming my time, I thank the ranking member for his active cooperation and involvement and would point out that it is not simply one family, it is many that would be affected by the terms of this. This is a proposal that would be both prospective and retroactive, to cover the claims of any American family with that problem. I thank him for his help.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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I would just, if I might, Mr. Chairman, say I appreciate the gentleman's bringing this issue to our attention. We had a lot of discussion about this last year. I think we are all familiar with the plight of the Flato family. I certainly worked with him and with the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Saxton) last year on this issue. But I do have the concerns that I raised before and will at the appropriate time here raise my point of order if that is necessary.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, based on my discussions with the gentleman from Arizona, it is my understanding this is very likely a conferenceable item with the Senate.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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If the gentleman will yield further, yes. Because of the provisions that exist in the Senate legislation, this clearly will be an item for discussion in conference.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Reclaiming my time, given that action by the other body and given the very good faith representations by the chairman and the ranking member that they are aware of the concerns that we have raised tonight and will do their best to validate those concerns and serve our interests here, I would ask for unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment based upon the chairman's representation.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.

There was no objection.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Davis of Illinois: Page 101, after line 10, add the following: Sec. 649. The Secretary of the Treasury shall prepare and submit to the Congress on an annual basis a report on the conduct of strip searches by employees of the United States Customs Service of individuals subject to such searches in accordance with regulations established by the Customs Service. The information contained in such report shall include data on the ethnicity, gender, nationality, and race of the individuals subject to such searches.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman I reserve a point of order against this amendment.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, first of all, I want to thank the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) and the ranking member, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), for their cooperation with this amendment.

The amendment that I am offering today is designed to assure travelers that they will be treated fairly when going through Customs. Recently, there have been numerous incidents of allegations of searches at airports throughout our country that have resulted in humiliation and pain for the individuals involved. Incidences of racial profiling and misconduct by law enforcement have shaken the faith of many people with regard to our judicial system. The erosion of any segment of our population's confidence in law enforcement agencies can lead to anarchy.

Mr. Chairman, the United States Customs Service has an important job to do in terms of keeping out illegal contraband as well as interdicting drugs. However, this job must be done with protection of human rights and civil rights intact. Strip searches and racial profiling are humiliating, dehumanizing and degrading. When these strip searches disproportionately effect Africans, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Asian Americans or any other segment of our society, then we must ask the question, why? Are African Americans more prone to be drug carriers or to smuggle in illegal contraband? I do not think so. However, we believe that it is important that the U.S. Customs be required to keep data on who is strip searched and that it be made available to Congress. We cannot and should not fund agencies that intimidate, degrade and dehumanize our citizens.

Let me share with my colleagues a story of a few individuals who happened to be strip searched. After a long flight from Hong Kong, Amanda Baritca was just looking forward to getting a good night's sleep, but as she arrived at the San Francisco International Airport and prepared to pass through Customs she was subjected to the most humiliating, degrading experience of her life. Without any explanation she was subjected to an intensive strip search. She was told, ``Take off your clothes, bend over.'' The inspector found nothing. She was forced to take powerful laxatives. The inspector found nothing. She was x-rayed, and still Customs found nothing. Throughout such humiliation she was never even allowed a phone call. Twenty-four hours later, after finding no drugs, she was released.

Amanda's story is just one of many stories that could be told, but the fact of the matter is, as these unfortunate stories are told, they are not isolated. More than 60 women were recently brought together to share their horror stories. One woman described the experience as feeling like she was raped. These 60 women all shared one thing in common. None of them had any drugs.

At O'Hare and Atlanta's Hartsfield airports class action lawsuits have been filed by women who have alleged that they were illegally strip searched. The over 600 million passengers who go through Customs deserve to know that their rights will be protected while at the same time knowing that our vigilance is maintained in fighting drugs.

I want to commend Commissioner Kelley for beginning to do something about this issue. However, I do believe that class action lawsuits have had something to do with it. I think it time that we make sure that every person traveling our airways and railways know that they will be treated fairly; and hopefully we can deal with this in such a way, Mr. Chairman, that it will not be necessary to go through with this amendment.

And I would like to invite comment from the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) at this time and from the gentleman from Maryland Mr. Hoyer).

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman bringing this matter to our attention, and this is something the subcommittee is aware of, and we have heard about this not only from members of the subcommittee and the full committee, but we did inquire of the Commissioner of Customs about this problem, and I think the gentleman has raised a very valid point. We need to understand whether or not strip searches have been used in an inappropriate manner.

Let me just share with my colleagues, if I might, a couple of things that Commissioner Kelley is doing. I think he is really making a real effort to address the concerns that have been raised about this problem of personal searches, and I would also note that this legislation that we are considering this evening includes $9 million to help put in place non-intrusive inspection technologies at airports and other locations which would reduce the need for such searches. This is non-intrusive technology. That means one does not have to go through a strip search. It also includes $5 million in super surplus funding. It would go to Customs training initiative, some of which would support their inspectors training in this issue in not only the technology but in the procedures that are to be used.

So I do believe that the Commissioner has a real concern about this.

I will tell the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) that we intend to follow this matter very closely in further hearings with Customs and in our regular appropriations hearings next year. The gentleman has raised a very valid point, and I appreciate the fact that he has brought this to our attention.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) for raising this very important issue. I agree with the gentleman from Arizona. I want to say to my friend from Illinois that Commissioner Kelley is vigorously pursuing this and is very concerned. He agrees with the gentleman that incidents of this type have no place with respect to the Customs Service or in this country.

So I am very pleased that the gentleman has introduced this. It is my understanding he is going to withdraw it, but I know that the chairman and I both committed to the gentleman that we are going to vigorously pursue this and work with him to make sure that we know exactly what is going on and that corrective action is taken that is effective and precludes these kind of incidents from happening at any time in the future.

I will say to the gentleman once again that I think the gentleman from Arizona is right. Commissioner Kelley shares our concern and is going to, I think, therefore be an ally of ours in pursuing this very strongly; and I thank the gentleman for raising this important issue, Mr. Chairman.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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I yield to the gentleman from Illinois.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, I want to thank the gentleman from Maryland as well as the gentleman from Arizona; and after listening to their comments and expressions of concern, I ask, Mr. Chairman, unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Illinois?

There was no objection.

The CHAIRMAN. The amendment of the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) is withdrawn.

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I had intended to submit an amendment to the floor, but the amendment deals with some of the same subject matters that the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) did, and I just want to add on that the issues which Mr. Davis talked about which have recently been aired on NBC television a few weeks ago is an issue with reference to civil rights violations by the Customs Service at airports throughout the country.

John F. Kennedy International Airport, what I believe is the world's premier international gateway located in the Sixth Congressional District of New York, was one of the airports cited by the NBC News report. Here and at other airports Customs agents are engaged in discriminatory practices on people of color.

This simple amendment that was offered by the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) is an amendment which ensures the integrity of civil rights laws passed by Congress. For too often at a great human expense many individuals who happen to be of color have been unfairly detained, examined and dehumanized at airports by Customs agents. African Americans and Latino women are asked by Customs agents to go into a room at an airport, strip naked and subject themselves to cavity searches and other dehumanizing tactics. Many times these searches on these women are done by males.

This amendment would encourage the Customs Service to meet their obligation under existing civil rights laws and stop the practice of racial profiling and discrimination in our Nation's airports. Every American and every legal entrant into this country has a right to travel freely regardless of his or her race, nationality or ethnicity. It is the responsibility of this body to ensure that the civil rights of all people are protected.

Let us send a sound and loud message to the Customs Services that their practices and patterns of abuse against people of color will no longer be tolerated.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I appreciate his action, I know the chairman does as well, and I look forward to his joining with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) and ourselves in working on this issue.

I know from having talked to Commissioner Kelley that he shares our concerns. As my colleagues know, he is relatively new as the commissioner, but he is going to, I am sure, vigorously pursue this, and working together I think we will get at this problem and make sure that we resolve it.

Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for his efforts and for his interest.

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Sanders: At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (preceeding the short title) the following new section:

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, this amendment is a very simple amendment. It prohibits loans in excess of $1 billion to foreign countries from the Treasury Department's exchange stabilization fund unless approved by Congress.

Now this is an unusual amendment in that the sponsors come from a wide and broad spectrum of political life. This amendment is being cosponsored by the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur), the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher), the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Kucinich), the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Stearns), the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul), the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Visclosky), the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio), the gentleman from California (Mr. Miller), the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Evans) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Stark). And not only are the Members who are endorsing this amendment from a wide spectrum of political life, so are the organizations who are endorsing this amendment. They include such unions as the United Steelworkers, the Atomic Chemical and Energy Workers, the United Union. They include the Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, the Alliance for Global Justice, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and many other organizations.

Now why are we all united on this issue? For a very simple reason, and that reason is that the great crisis in American society today is that the vast majority of our people are giving up on the political process.

They do not believe that it is worth their energy to vote. In the last election, 64 percent of the American people did not vote. Over 80 percent of the young people did not vote.

What this amendment tries to do right here in the United States Congress is to reinvigorate our democracy. It says that if the President of the United States wants to spend more than $1 billion as part of a loan or a bailout, he must come to the United States Congress to get approval.

As all of us know, the Exchange Stabilization Fund was originally developed in the 1930s to stabilize our currency. That is what it has done. This amendment leaves that function untouched. The President of the United States can continue to do that. But what it does say is that if the President spends more than $1 billion, he must get the approval of the United States Congress.

Once again, this amendment will not in any way restrict the Treasury Department's use of the ESF to stabilize currencies, because currencies stabilization is the purpose for which Congress established the ESF.

The point here is that, as everybody Member of this body knows, that we on occasion spend hours debating how we are going to spend $1 million here or $1 million there. Given that reality, some of us think that maybe we should participate in debates when billions of dollars are appropriated.

Mr. Chairman, in recent years, whether it has been Mexico, whether it has been Asia, whether it has been Latin America, in Brazil, the President has acted unilaterally. I would argue that those of us who believe in the democratic process, those of us who get up here and argue about how we spend $1 million here or there, have a right to participate in how billions of taxpayer dollars are going.

Mr. Chairman, our opponents in this amendment, and they are legion, they are all over the place, no doubt, from both political parties, they are going to say, well, the President has to act in an emergency. But take that argument to its logical extreme. What are we doing here? Are we chopped liver, or what? Is it not time that we revitalize American democracy and get involved in the process?

Now, everybody knows that there are great concerns about the global economy, and honest people have differences of opinion about that economy. I have real fears. I have real fears that when a financial problem in Thailand develops, it spreads all over Asia and it affects the United States. It is amazing to me how little this Congress participates in that debate.

The gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) and I may disagree, but he should not disagree that that debate should taken here on the floor of the House. Has the ESF program worked? Has the IMF program worked? Honest people have differences of opinion. Let us have that debate here on the floor of the House.

Once again, let me inform Members of what this amendment does and what it does not do.

The CHAIRMAN. The time of the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) has expired.

(On request of Mr. Hoyer, and by unanimous consent, Mr. Sanders was allowed to proceed for 1 additional minute.)

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, let me reiterate, this amendment is similar to an amendment that was passed in 1995 under which the United States government functioned quite well, functioned quite well. This amendment recognizes the historical and traditional role of the Exchange Stabilization Fund, and allows the President to do what presidents have done since 1934.

But this amendment says that when we are going to spend more than $1 billion, come to the United States Congress for approval, so that the American people can be involved in that process.

Rep. Cliff Stearns

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I also rise on behalf of this coalition, in support of this amendment, as one of the cosponsors to limit the use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund. Mr. Chairman, this sounds a little complicated, but it is not. It is basically that the President has the ability to spend money without Congress' approval.

Last year, Mr. Chairman, we offered a similar amendment, and we were accused at that time, you are trying to take advantage of the Asian economic crisis. The administration even felt threatened by it. Last year the former Treasury Secretary, Mr. Robert Rubin, sent us a letter saying that the President would veto the appropriations bill because of our efforts.

We are back, and we think it is so important that I hope my colleagues will listen to this debate carefully. We are pushing this issue for one reason and only one reason: Each of us believes that the use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund by our president without congressional authorization is simply unconstitutional.

The ESF was established in 1934 solely, solely, Mr. Chairman, to stabilize the exchange value of the U.S. dollar. That was it. The ESF's purpose was to give the U.S. adequate financial resources to counteract the activities of the European fund. The fund was established essentially with $2 billion, appropriated from profits realized from the reevaluation of U.S. gold holdings.

But slowly, through history, the Exchange Stabilization Fund has been perverted and altered from protecting the U.S. dollar, which would be its proper use, to bailing out foreign currencies. The ESF's purpose was changed, just the same as the IMF's purpose and mission was unilaterally changed from being one that was used to ease temporary currency exchange rate problems to one that is used to bailing out foreign governments.

By our last count, the ESF had about $30 billion in reserve, ready to be used as a presidential slush fund without congressional oversight. Tonight Members are going to hear the proponents of using the ESF fund and the IMF fund typically say, using these funds are risk-free, we are going to hear that argument time and time again, because borrowing nations always pay back these loans. We have heard that.

The proponents also treat such funds as if they are surplus accounts, free to be used by benevolent administrations.

First of all, Mr. Chairman, the $30 billion in the ESF fund belongs to the American taxpayers, and only Congress, only Congress should have the power to disburse the ESF funds.

Secondly, use of the funds is not risk-free to the American taxpayers. If a borrowing Nation defaults on a loan, it is the American taxpayers who lose, because it is their funds to begin with.

There is also this myth that nations pay back such loans, when in fact they usually borrow more money from other sources in order to pay off the previous IMF or ESF fund, which simply increases their debt level again and again and again.

Others will argue that we have only pursued this amendment because, well, this is a political shot. This is a bipartisan amendment that the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) has offered, so that argument does not hold water.

Mr. Chairman, last year the amendment had restricted the President from using ESF funds beyond $250 million without our approval. This year we have upped it to $1 billion, which is still a moderate and I think a sensible amount to put as a condition before the President can spend the money. Unilateral executive authority on international financial matters is not what our Founding Fathers intended when they drafted the unique concept of separation of powers in the Constitution.

It is once again time to reassert, Mr. Chairman, reassert our constitutional prerogatives that give Congress the rightful authority to authorize and to appropriate these funds.

So, Mr. Chairman, this is one of a constitutional question. I ask all of the Members to support this amendment.

Rep. David R. Obey

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I have great respect for the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders). I think if all Members of this institution cared as much about working people as he does, that this country just might give everybody in this society an even shake. We have stood together on NAFTA, we have stood together on GATT, and we will stand again together tomorrow on another trade issue, I suspect, and I mean immediately, tomorrow.

However, I simply want to say that I think this amendment is an absolute recipe for disaster. I am very much an economic populist, but I am also a committed internationalist. It seems to me that the use of the Economic Stabilization Fund should be determined by the merits of the case, and not how popular an individual country is within the United States Congress, or who happens to be lobbying the Congress if the country in question happens to be involved in foreign policy disputes which significant portions of our own society do not happen to like.

The use of the Economic Stabilization Fund is not foreign aid. When the Exchange Stabilization Fund is used, it is used to try to stabilize the world economy, not to help another country but to defend our own country, to defend our own prosperity, to defend our own jobs.

In 1929, the collapse of the world economy was not caused by the collapse of the stock market. That was just a very public event. It was started when we had a currency collapse in Austria and the CreditAnstalt bank collapsed. That was followed by a run on the German banking system, and their system collapsed. Then the crisis jumped to Britain, and after the British banks were mowed down in the crisis, then the crisis jumped across the Atlantic and it hit the United States economy. It went worldwide.

We know the results. Not only did the economies collapse of the countries involved, we had tremendous political instability as a result. People like Adolph Hitler and Mussolini came to power, and 50 million people died. That is why we have had actions taken to establish not just the Economic Stabilization Fund, but some of the other international economic institutions that some people in this institution love to chastise.

It just it seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that there is a reason for the separation of powers. It seems to me that any administration needs to have the authority to deal with an economic crisis internationally in any way that it needs to deal, without having to be second-guessed by the Congress.

We saw what happened just a year ago when we had a crisis in Korea that demanded that we marshal more resources to deal with the possible worldwide economic collapse. Disgracefully, it took almost a year and a half for this Congress to act. I would hate to God to think that that would be the pattern, but that would most certainly be the pattern if this amendment were adopted.

Mr. Chairman, I would say, should we give a president a blank check? Absolutely not. What this Congress ought to do is exercise its sharp oversight responsibility. It ought to critique administration actions whenever it differs. The executive needs to act, but the Congress also needs to, in my view, to skin the executive if he plays it wrong, or plays it incompetently.

But do not handicap and do not hamstring the President of the United States, who is charged with being the steward of America's economic interest in the international arena. That is what this amendment does, and that is why it ought to be defeated.

Rep. Spencer Bachus

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I speak in strong support of this amendment. Mr. Chairman, what this amendment simply says is this: no multi-billion dollar loans of taxpayer money to foreign countries without congressional approval. Let me repeat that: no multi-billion dollar loans of taxpayer monies to foreign countries without congressional approval.

Mr. Chairman, the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) spoke first. We are talking about billion dollar loans. Now hear me, we are not talking about million dollar loans, we are talking about billion dollar loans, a thousand million dollars. Is it not reasonable, is it not rational, that before the President or the Secretary of the Treasury writes a check or makes a loan to a foreign country for $1 billion, for a thousand million dollars, Congress ought to approve that, if it is for a loan? We are talking about for a loan.

People have said the Exchange Stabilization Fund, which was started in 1934, has grown to $34 billion today. They have said that that money is necessary to stabilize currencies. There is absolutely nothing in this bill, and let me repeat, our amendment will not in any way restrict the Treasury Department's use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund to stabilize currencies, which is what the fund is designed to do, and what it was used for until 1995. That is what the fund was established for. It is what it is supposed to do.

It is not this type of transfers that we are trying to ask for congressional approval of. It is only loans to foreign governments. One reason that we ought to review these is when we have made these $5 billion loans and $3 billion loans and $5 billion loans we have said to these foreign governments that they will start an austerity program where the recipient countries will increase their exports to the United States and decrease their imports from the United States. When they have done those, they have cost jobs in the United States.

That is not free trade when we send billions of dollars to foreign countries to prop up competition, companies that compete with us. That is not free trade. It has cost us thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country. But we are not saying they cannot make these loans; we are saying come to Congress and get approval.

We just spent 2 hours debating a $200,000 expenditure a year for the next few years. We are not talking about $200,000 here. We are talking about a $34 billion fund.

Mr. Chairman, let me say in conclusion, we passed this measure in 1995. In 1995, this Congress, most of the Members that will be voting tonight said it is prudent for us to approve these loans. And it is still prudent today. We have had a loan of $5 billion from this fund to Korea. We have had a loan of $5 billion or commitment from this fund to Brazil. We have had a commitment of $3 billion from this fund to Indonesia. There is an honest disagreement here.

Rep. Ken Bentsen

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. I have to take issue with a number of points that have been made. There is some question about the comments of the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders), the author of the amendment who is a friend, we do not always agree, and the comments of the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus), chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services on which I serve.

First of all, Mr. Chairman, I would ask the author of the amendment, would a loan or an extension of credit for the stabilization of currency apply under the gentleman's amendment, or would it be subject to oversight or subject to congressional approval?

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Ken Bentsen

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I yield to the gentleman from Vermont.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, it would not be subject to congressional approval. It would continue to do as the purpose of this program was meant to.

Rep. Ken Bentsen

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So, reclaiming my time then, to the extent an extension of credit was made to the Mexican Government to stabilize the peso, then that will be allowed apparently under this, and it would be up to the general counsel of the Treasury Department.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman would continue to yield, he would have to define what currency stabilization means. But in the current sense of what currency stabilization means, and what has historically been done under this fund, this amendment would allow that to continue.

Rep. Ken Bentsen

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Mr. Chairman, again reclaiming my time, I think this amendment is fraught with uncertainty and problems. Back in 1995 when this amendment passed and we were in the midst of the crisis in Mexico, we were not sure what was going to happen. We now know that the Mexican economy did not collapse; and had it collapsed, it would have had broad ramifications for the United States.

Certainly my State of Texas would have felt it a great deal since Mexico is our number one trading partner. We would have lost jobs. We would have lost exports to that country. We would have had an increase in the immigration problem as a result of it.

But instead, Mr. Chairman, we have seen the Mexico bolsa coming back and the peso has stabilized some. Yes, they still have problems, but they would have been a lot worse out if we had not done anything. And in fact we have half a billion dollars more than the principal that was returned to the economic stabilization fund.

With respect to South Korea, the commitment was made at a very delicate time when the South Korean won was going down; The South Korean market was going down. Rapid unemployment. And part of that commitment, which was a multinational multilateral commitment to defend the currency, the South Korean currency for the benefit of the United States currency, in a large export market where we actually run a trade surplus, and the fact that that opportunity, that we were able to participate in that and never actually spent the funds or lent the funds, no funds went from the Treasury, it has worked now because the South Korean economy has stabilized. Yes, they have to continue to make changes but it worked.

In Brazil, where the commitment was made, we now see the real has stabilized and the Brazilian markets have stabilized because we have to do it. Why would we want to go and change something that works?

I would argue to my colleague from Florida, who I think has left the floor, we exercise our constitutional prerogative every day we are in session. And every day we are in session we can look at this and say if this is not working, we want to change it. If we want, 218 Members can file a bill and go sign a discharge petition to get it on the floor, if we cannot get the leadership to do it.

But this is something that works, and it has been to the benefit of the United States economy. If we had allowed the Mexican economy to go down in 1995, as it surely would had we not done this, or if we had allowed the Asian economy to go down as it was heading a year and a half ago, we would have felt it in the United States and we would have lost more jobs.

And, yes, austerity programs come in. We have problems with how the IMF does some things. But the fact is if we had done nothing, they would have been worse off. A complete collapse of the economy would have brought anarchy in the countries and increased unemployment and what good would that be? Maybe philosophically my colleagues would have felt more pure, but more people would have been unemployed and not just in those countries but in the United States as well.

Mr. Chairman, this is a program that has worked. We have oversight quarterly. The Treasury reports to the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, which the gentleman from Vermont sits on along with myself and the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul). Annually it reports to the entire Congress. We know what is going on there. We know how it is working. And if was not working, then it would be a problem and then we would have to address it.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Ken Bentsen

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I yield to the gentleman from Vermont.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the words of my good friend. Is there anything in this amendment which would suggest that anybody here is not deeply concerned about what is happening around the world, that we do not want to see the economies of Mexico, Russia, Asia strong?

All that we are saying is, for example, maybe if the Congress had been involved in the discussion over the bailout of Russia, maybe the Russian economy would not be in the pits that it is in now.

Rep. Ken Bentsen

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, this has nothing to do with Russia.

Rep. Ron Paul

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Ron Paul

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment, and I thank the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) for bringing this amendment to the floor.

I would like to clarify one thing about the original intent of the Exchange Stabilization Fund. It was never meant to be used to support foreign currencies. It should not be so casually accepted that that is the proper function of the Exchange Stabilization Fund.

The Exchange Stabilization Fund was set up, I think in error; but it was set up for the purpose of stabilizing the dollar in the Depression. How did that come about? Well, it started with an Executive order. It started with an Executive order to take gold forcefully from the people. And then our President then revalued gold from $20 an ounce to $35 an ounce, and there was a profit and they took this profit and used some of those profits to start the Exchange Stabilization Fund. They set it up with $200 million. It does not seem like a whole lot of money today.

How did it come about over these many years that this fund has been allowed to exist without supervision of this Congress, and now has reached to the size of $34 billion and we give it no oversight? It is supposed to send reports to us, very superficial reports to the Congress. We don't know how they got $34 billion. They earned interest on some of the loans, and all the loans are paid back because the countries who get the loans borrow more money.

Mr. Chairman, the Mexico bailout did not solve the Mexico problem. It is ongoing. The peso is in trouble again. They are in more debt than before. We only encourage the financial bubble around the world. This is a dangerous notion that we can take something that was set up to stabilize the dollar, and now we are pretending we can stabilize all the currencies in the world and use it as foreign aid to boot without the congressional approval. There is something seriously flawed with this.

It has also been suggested by many who know a lot more about the details of the Exchange Stabilization Fund than I do, and it has been suggested that possibly, quite possibly, what happens is Treasury deals in currencies all the time and there are profits to be made. And when there is a profit, it goes into the Exchange Stabilization Fund. When there is a loss. It is sent over to the Treasury and then recorded as a loss.

This is a magnificent thing, but in a free society, in a democracy, in a republic where we are supposed to have the rule of law, we are not supposed to have a slush fund that is run by our Treasury without supervision to be doing things that was never intended. This is a serious problem. And I think economically it is serious because it is contributing to the bubble. It is contributing to a financial bubble.

So, yes, we tide Mexico over for a year or two, but what are we going to say next year when there is another peso crisis? Are we going to close our eyes and say we will do whatever we want, it is a major crisis? Our obligation here in the Congress is to have a sound dollar, not to dilute the value of the dollar without our permission and for our President and our Treasury Department and the IMF and the World Bank and the internationalists to destroy the value of the dollar. That is not permissible under the rule of law, and yet we have casually permitted this to happen and we do not even ask the serious questions.

We should make it certain that all loans, all use of that is reviewed by the Congress. This is a very, very modest request by the gentleman from Vermont. It should be absolutely approved. But then some day we ought to give a serious study about how we as a Congress allow these kind of things to happen without our supervision.

What is the purpose of having a Congress? What is the purpose of the Constitution if we have an obligation to guarantee the value of the dollar and if we permit somebody not under our control to do whatever they want to the dollar under the pretense that we are going to protect the value of all the currencies of Asia?

Mr. Chairman, are we going to protect the Euro now? The Euro is getting pretty weak. I guess we are going to bail out the Euro. When it drops down under a dollar, we will expect the Exchange Stabilization Fund to come and bail out the Euro. This has to be looked at. This is the first very modest, very minimal step that we are making tonight. It should be overwhelmingly supported.

It is up to us to assume our responsibility to protect the dollar, have the rule of law, make sure that we assume the responsibilities that have been delegated to us and not close our eyes and let this slush fund of $34 billion that has existed for now these many decades and have allowed the Treasury Department to run it without us caring. So I plead with my colleagues, support the amendment.

Mr.LaFALCE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. So many things have been said that are so blatantly false. First of all, one of the distinguished gentlemen said that the actions of the executive branch under the Exchange Stabilization Fund are unconstitutional and this is, therefore, primarily a constitutional question. Well, we have used this now since the early 1930s and never has this been found unconstitutional. That is simply not before us.

Other individuals have said we should not have these wasteful expenditures of government monies as if we were giving foreign aid or grants. And yet we are talking about loans or credits, money that absolutely must be repaid and in every instance has been repaid.

Charges have been made, well, the chief executive acts in an unaccountable manner; and yet by law we have mandated monthly reports. Not simply annual reports, but monthly reports, as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Bentsen) said. We know everything they do.

A few days before he left office as Secretary of the Treasury, Bob Rubin had dinner with a number of Members of Congress and he did not talk about this issue. He talked about one of his concerns, perhaps his chief concern, and that was the ability of the United States Government to function in the future, given its cumbersome way of working.

Other governments have a parliamentary form of government so the prime minister can make a decision and act upon it. We have chosen our way with the separation of powers, et cetera. But Congress wisely realizes that there are certain times and certain events where we must delegate authority.

We have delegated authority with respect to the Exchange Stabilization Fund, going back to the early 1930s. What has happened since the 1930s? Well, the world has become unbelievably smaller. We have had an integrated global economy involving trillions and trillions of dollars where what goes on in Korea or Brazil or Germany or Mexico profoundly impacts citizens of the United States.

There has been a huge increase in technology, too. So trillions of dollars are transferred today every day in fractions of a second. We must be able to respond. We have the Exchange Stabilization Fund so that we can respond.

If we were to say one cannot act with a loan or credit in excess of $1 billion, and very, very frequently when the Secretary of the Treasury and the President act, it must be in excess of a billion dollars, whether it is Mexico, Brazil, Korea, name it, it must be, if one must have the Congress of the United States work its will, one might as well say that the United States must abdicate its leadership, and not only abdicate its leadership, abdicate its role in dealing with any future international financial crisis.

That is what the effect of this amendment would be if it were passed. That is why the past Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of the Treasury before him and before him and the current Secretary of the Treasury has said any bill that contains such a provision should be vetoed.

Please vote against this. My colleagues would not just abdicate the United States economic leadership, they would forfeit any United States role in dealing with any future international financial crisis.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, the Exchange Stabilization Fund is being misused by Treasury to bail out foreign investment failures. When some aspects of corporate foreign investment policy fails, the Treasury taps the ESF to cover over the failure.

Here is a recent example, Mr. Chairman. In Indonesia, the International Monetary Fund caused a run on Indonesian banks when it directed the closure of 16 banks there. A confidential internal IMF memo even acknowledged the failure. The IMF caused a panic by making a bad situation much worse. So what does this ``Foreign Investment Failure Fund'' do? Without congressional approval, Treasury dispatched a credit line of $3 billion to cover the mistake.

NAFTA caused a flood of U.S. investors to abandon their investments in the U.S. for higher rates of return in Mexico. Then the already over-valued Mexican currency collapsed. Guess what? The ``Foreign Investment Failure Fund'' was used without congressional approval to cover the multi-billion dollar failure.

Indeed, the ESF was used in this way because Congress refused to pass a $20 billion package to benefit the Mexican elite at the expense of the Mexican people. The use of the ESF by Treasury thwarted the will of the Congress.

The ``Foreign Investment Failure Fund'' is used to accomplish policy changes that often make international financial problems worse. In Korea, important consumer and labor standards and regulations were overturned as conditions for $5 billion in ``Foreign Investment Failure'' funds from the U.S.

Koreans now talk about ``IMF suicides'' to characterize the wave of suicide among jobless and hopeless Koreans. Korean labor unions are conducting massive protests and strikes. Without Congress' approval or involvement, global economic policy is being forged for the benefit of the few with the funds of the American people as leverage.

This amendment will correct the abuses, but it will not tie Treasury's hands. If Treasury needs to stabilize another country's currency, it will be able to use the ESF to do so unilaterally and without Congress' approval. The amendment allows Treasury to do currency swaps and other currency stabilization aids without Congressional approval.

But if Treasury is making a large loan to another country, they will have to come to Congress, which is the only appropriate process, given the American system of checks and balances.

This amendment is nearly identical to one that Congress passed in 1995. Many of my fellow Democrats voted for that amendment then. Unfortunately, the authority of that provision lapsed in October of 1997. Today, we need to repeat our correct action.

So long as the Exchange Stabilization Fund is used to extend credit or give loans to foreign nations without Congress' approval, these foreign investment failures will get larger and will become more frequent. More of the U.S. Treasury will be exposed to paper over them, benefit foreign elites, bail out big banks, and underwrite austerity, joblessness and hopelessness for the majority of people around the globe.

Let us stabilize the power of Congress by voting yes on this amendment.

Rep. Calvin M. Dooley

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this amendment. The world is going through one of the most fundamental changes in its economy in history. As we move from the industrial age to the information age, we are moving to an economy that is based much more on speed, whether it be the speed of commerce, the speed of innovation, the speed of communication.

As we move into this information-based economy, we are seeing the world shrink. We are seeing national borders are becoming increasingly porous to the flows of information as well as capital. It is leading to the integration of our economies.

The United States can no longer insulate itself from the affairs and the impacts of other countries and the financial situations and crises that occur there. So it is becoming increasingly important that the administration have the ability and the flexibility to use most effectively the Exchange Stabilization Fund.

We can look back at how effectively it has been used to stabilize some crises in Asia, in South America, which is in the interest of United States' working people and the interest of United States' businesses.

When we want people to advocate that this is something that Congress ought to take a role in to approve almost every loan that the United States might participate in through the Exchange Stabilization Fund, it certainly would be something that would almost render this inoperable, because in Congress, quite honestly, it almost takes us a year to name a Federal Post Office. To have Congress coming in and trying to okay and approve every loan is certainly going to be too cumbersome. That would render the effectiveness of the Exchange Stabilization Fund almost obsolete.

This is a tool that is benefiting not other countries so much, it is a tool which is benefiting working men and women in the United States, and we should oppose this amendment.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this amendment. We have heard arguments on both sides tonight. But I would ask people to use their common sense. I would ask the people at home to listen very carefully to the arguments, those reading the Congressional Record to read the words very carefully.

The proposition is very simple. If there is a $1 billion transaction or more from the Exchange Stabilization Fund, which means American tax dollars, the American people's money, there should be approval by Congress. It is almost nonsensical for us to suggest that the American people do not deserve accountability for expenditures of over $1 billion. I do not understand it.

I hope the people listening to this debate, I hope those people reading the Congressional Record begin asking themselves, why is it that we have such heavy debates on issues, for example, of whether we should increase spending for veterans benefits by $100 million or $50 million, yet we have people that are going to the floor defending a policy of having unelected officials, shadowy figures, who we do not know who exactly is making the decision, spending billions of dollars of American tax dollars to help foreign currencies?

The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) made a very important point tonight. The original purpose of the Exchange Stabilization Fund was to stabilize the American currency. At least, there is some justification, or perhaps there was at that time, that we were watching out for the interest of the American people.

Now, what we have here is yet another example, and I hope people look at this example, of American liberty being sacrificed on the alter of globalism: America has to come second. The interest of the American people should not be considered. We cannot hold ourselves accountable to the American people, even though it is billions of dollars of their money.

Count me out on that, please. I came here to Congress to be held accountable.

Now, we disagree on a lot of things. The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Frank) and I, we disagree on a lot of things. The gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders), the author of this amendment, and I disagree. We debate about them on the floor.

I happen to believe that less expenditures are good. That is a good policy for the United States. The gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) thinks that we should have more government intervention here at home. But that is an honest debate. We are held accountable for that.

To have people here say that, for the government of Brazil or Indonesia or some crooked regime in some other country, far-off country of the world, we have to give the power to some unelected officials to spend billions of dollars of our money without a vote of Congress, talk about undermining the democratic principles on which this country is founded.

I think this is very clear. I hope everyone pays attention to the debate. Unfortunately, it is happening at 10 o'clock at night. But I hope the American people pay attention to who is making the arguments and who is on their side.

Unfortunately, when one gives the power to an unelected elite to spend the money without any approval of Congress, and that is what we are talking about, billions of dollars being spent by an unelected elite, sometimes that money does not go to people who really share our values. Sometimes it goes to people like in Indonesia when it was being controlled by an autocratic regime. Sometimes it goes to people who are just part of the same international country club, the guys making the decisions, these Ivy Leaguers who get hired to make these decisions.

Now, after all, we Members of Congress cannot be trusted to make decisions like that. We have to leave it up to these guys from the Ivy League schools who are not elected by anybody to watch out for the American people.

No, I am sorry. That is not the way it works here in America. What works here in America is we have trust in the people. We have trust that, if we make the wrong decision, we are going to get kicked out. But everything is supposed to be up front.

Unfortunately, over the decades, we have permitted the freedom and the accountability of the democratic system to be eroded, and this is perhaps the best example in our government today.

My hat is off to the gentleman from Vermont, again a man who I disagree with philosophically on a number of issues, but who stands for democracy, stands for accountability, stands for liberty. And under those concepts, we can disagree on what the government should do.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, we have gone for an hour on this issue, and I have a proposal so that we can bring this debate on this issue to a close.

I ask unanimous consent that all debate on this amendment and all the amendments thereto close in 20 minutes, the time to be equally divided between the sponsor and myself.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Arizona?

There was no objection.

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) and the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) each will control 10 minutes.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Dakota (Mr. Pomeroy).

Rep. Earl Pomeroy

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me. The Exchange Stabilization Fund has never been more important than now. We are in an interlinked global economy where currency is transferred in the blink of an eye over an electronic infrastructure.

Capital flows can cause a national treasury to hemorrhage. And let me tell my colleagues how this works, briefly. If there is great investor uncertainty, money is pulled out. Without the Exchange Stabilization Fund able to assist for a brief period of time in shoring up currency, providing investor, stabilizing investor confidence, we literally have a run on the bank situation which can lead to catastrophic national bankruptcy.

I read from a letter that I will introduce for the Record from Secretary Larry Summers, who played such a critical role in stabilizing Korea that was teetering on the very brink of bankruptcy. On Christmas Eve, the ESF permitted the United States to participate in a critical time-sensitive effort to forestall financial default in Korea, where 37,000 American troops are stationed. The economic and national security consequences of default were clearly unacceptable to the United States.

That was on December 24, 1997. Do my colleagues know when Congress went home that year? November 13. And when did the Congress come back? January 27. Congress was missing in action for nearly 3 months, and in the middle of this period we had almost an Asia financial meltdown, forestalled just barely by the extraordinary work of Secretary Summers, using as an integral part of his effort the Exchange Stabilization Fund.

It would not have worked, it would not have been there if the congressional requirement the amendment seeks would have been in place. Congress was home. We must defeat this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, the letter from Secretary Summers I earlier referred to follows for the Record:

Dear Steny: I am extremely concerned that an amendment to restrict severely the use of the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) may be considered during House action on the Treasury, Postal Appropriations bill. Such an amendment would constitute an unacceptable limitation on the executive branch's ability to protect critical U.S. economic interests, and I would be forced to recommend a Presidential veto if the final bill contained such restrictions. The original ESF statute deliberately provided the executive branch with the flexibility needed to respond expeditiously and effectively when justified by important national economic interests. Because the nature of financial crises sometimes requires urgent action to stabilize markets and protect the U.S. economy, it is necessary to act more quickly than is permitted by the deliberative procedures of the legislative branch. This is particularly true in today's large, fast-moving financial markets. Two recent examples illustrate how the ESF works to protect American interests. On Christmas Eve, 1997, the ESF permitted the United States--with broad international cooperation--to participate in a critical, highly time-sensitive effort to forestall financial default in Korea, where 37,000 American troops are stationed. The economic and national security consequences of Korean default were clearly unacceptable risks for the U.S., and the availability and flexibility of ESF resources were indispensable to our stabilization efforts. Similarly, the ESF and bilateral resources from other countries were essential to the international effort last year to help Brazil avert the kind of financial collapse that could have had very severe consequences in our own hemisphere, with obvious implications for the U.S. economy. Let me make clear that we fully accept our responsibility to account to Congress for our actions under the ESF statute. Treasury submits detailed monthly reports on ESF transactions to the Banking Committees, and the President submits an annual report to the Congress. We believe strongly that our use of the ESF has been prudent and consistent with the spirit and letter of the law. We simply cannot afford to compromise our nation's vital economic and financial interests by limiting our ability to act responsibly and expeditiously during times of urgent crises, and I urge the Congress to preserve the ESF statute in its current form. Sincerely, Lawrence H. Summers, Secretary.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio).

Rep. Peter A. DeFazio

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time. The issue here is not the Exchange Stabilization Fund as set up by President Roosevelt. I believe there is broad agreement among Members of the House and others about the value of that fund to defend the American dollar and to intervene in currency stabilization around the world which would have a dramatic impact on our dollar or on the American economy.

The issue is should unsecured loans to foreign nations, most of the time being made to bail out extraordinary speculation, sometimes by U.S., sometimes by U.S. multinational, and sometimes by foreign interests, be made in excess of $1 billion of our taxpayers' money by a Cabinet member, with or without the consent of the President of the United States and without any consultation or consent of the elected representatives of the people?

Now, I think most people would have to raise a question about that. We are not talking about the reasons for which the fund was established, which was to shore up or defend the dollars against attacks. We are not talking about currency stabilization generally. We are talking about unsecured loans to foreign governments, foreign interests, to bail out failed speculative activities.

Now, some have gone to the floor to talk about the great success of bailing out these failed speculative activities. Guess what? If we do not have market discipline, if we bail out the speculators every time their 50 and 100 percent loans go sour, and give them back their capital after they have already gained it two or three times over in interest, then they will go out and do it again and again and again. And now they are doing it with the support of U.S. taxpayers' money and at the risk of U.S. taxpayers' money.

Oh, yes, the speculation has worked out pretty well so far, as far as we know, since the fund is not fully accountable. In fact, in the past, and we have heard accounts of that earlier this evening, the fund was used to buy rugs and special trips and all sorts of things. Yes, it was cleaned up a number of years ago. But, still, it is not fully accountable to the American people. No full accounting is rendered. And it continues in these activities.

Now, I think we as the elected representatives of the people have got to question. Maybe $1 billion is the right figure. Maybe we should let them do $2 billion. I do not know. I do not know exactly what it is. But I can say that before we extend a loan without security of taxpayers' dollars, which is not in direct defense of the interests of the United States of America, of our economy, of our currency, of our people, of our taxpayers, of our workers, yes, maybe in defense of a few bankers who made some really stupid loans at extraordinary rates of interest, then we have to question whether it should continue in that vein.

For 2 years this amendment stood. Were there any international crises during that time to which the United States could not respond? No. There are other tools. We can go to the World Bank, which basically is an arm of the U.S. Treasury, or the International Monetary Fund, another arm of the U.S. Treasury. At least, though, it would be diluted by other countries' money and other taxpayers' from other countries' money. It was not directly funds allocated from our taxpayers to foreign governments. Interventions took place during those 2 years that this amendment was in effect to bail out speculators.

Now, if we think it should be the policy of the United States to bail out speculators so all their investments are always guaranteed, then we should vote against this amendment. That will be a fine day for some people, but not for the American people. Not a proud day for me as a representative of the American people. And I urge my colleagues to think long and hard and remember this amendment was in effect for 2 years and none of these horrible things happened, because other tools are available that do not put our taxpayers' dollars at risk.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer), the distinguished ranking member.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time. I listened to my good friend, the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders), who, I agree with the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey), cares a great deal about the policies of this government, a great deal about the working men and women of this country and is one of our finest Members. I also listened to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio), who I also believe is a very fine Member. We happen, however, to disagree on this particular issue.

I understand what is being said. I understand about the multinationals and those who have extended credit wisely. I agree with all that, and that angers us. But the fact of the matter is the real adverse ramifications are not to those necessarily who have acted so irresponsibly. Destabilization impact is not on those rich guys who did things speculatively that may have made them a lot of money and at great risk, and when the deal went bad they maybe either expect to bail out or just bail out themselves and leave others holding the bag.

The real problem, from my perspective, is that the destabilization that occurs if they are not bailed out is to those working men and women in this country and in other countries; and they are the ones who suffer, from my perspective, unfortunately.

It is like bailing out the savings and loans that was so controversial. Yes, we bailed out some big guys who were bad people, but the fact is what we tried to do really was to save harmless, an awful lot of depositors who had relatively small amounts of money invested.

I believe he has been quoted of course, and there are some people who obviously disagree, but Secretary Summers has been very much involved in the utilization of this fund over recent months, to, in my opinion, the great benefit not only of the governments of Korea and Brazil and of Mexico but also this government and our people as well.

Mr. Chairman, I would urge the defeat of the amendment.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

It seems to me that this important and interesting debate is primarily about two fundamental issues, both of great importance. The first is the issue of democracy, which I hold to be the most important issue.

I want to reiterate the fact that I believe the great crisis facing this country is that we are losing our Democratic traditions. Every Member of this body should be terribly frightened that in the last election over 80 percent of the people 24 years of age or younger did not vote. And every poll that is taken shows the young people are not interested about what is going on in government or are extremely alienated from the process. With big money controlling both political parties, many, many people have given up on the political process.

One of the reasons they have given up is they do not see the Members who they send to Congress, who supposedly represent them, fighting for their interests and participating in the important issues facing their lives. How can we stand to defend democracy when we say, oh, yes, we will have no say when the President, Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, can put at risk billions and billions of dollars and we have no say about that. And then we go home and we tell our constituents, get involved in the political process. They are not going to do that. That is issue number one and the most important issue.

But the second issue we hear about is the global economy. Well, if these ideas are so good, then let the President of the United States come to the Congress. He will get support if the ideas are good. What a statement it is to say that we are incapable of responding to a crisis. What a terrible and awful thing to say. If the President feels that it is necessary to appropriate or to lend substantial sums of money to a foreign government, he can come to the United States Congress, make his case; and if it is a good case, the American people will support him and the Congress will support him.

But when we talk about the global economy and all the glowing accords, I would mention to my friends go and tell that to the average American worker, whose wages today are 12 percent less than they were in 1973. Tell that to the average American worker today, who in the midst of this great global economy is working 160 hours more than he or she worked 20 years ago. Tell that to the people of Mexico, whose standard of living has declined. Tell that to the people of Russia, who have almost descended into Third World living standards.

Now, people have honest disagreements about the global economy. That is what we should be debating on the floor of the House. That is a good debate. And maybe if we do that our constituents would know that we are involved in the important issues of their lives. Is the global economy working for the steelworker, for the textile worker, for the family farmer in my State of Vermont? Some think it is, some think it is not. Let us debate that issue.

So, Mr. Chairman, I would argue for strong support for this amendment. Let us restore the democratic traditions of this country. Let us get the Congress involved on the most important issues.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Vento).

Rep. Bruce F. Vento

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

I understand the good intentions of my colleague, but the fact of the matter is in our global economy, our economies are all more interrelated. This, in fact, is of course an authority. Although it is referred to as the exchange stabilization rate, it has evolved to be used, and used very effectively, in terms of preventing the type of economies in many countries from spinning out of control and to go back to economic ground zero.

The fact we do not have a perfectly functioning economy on a global basis is self-evident. But to deny our Nation and our leadership the type of tools that need to be used essentially in a crisis, whether that crisis is occurring in Korea or whether it is occurring in Mexico or whether it is occurring in Russia is a fundamental mistake, not only because it would devastate the economies of those countries but invariably that type of contagion and those types of impacts would be felt by the workers in this country and in our total global economy.

So the fact of the matter is we need to have these tools, and in fact they have evolved and we have oversight responsibilities. And there are plenty of mistakes to go around in terms of what happens in these economies, why they are not functioning; but in fact we have and continue to work for the type of transparency, the type of market forces that, in fact, will provide, I think, for a better working global economy.

I am an interventionist. I believe that we ought to intervene at home when we have problems in our economy and respond to people, and I believe we ought to do so internationally when we can to try and mitigate the adverse impacts that that has on people around this globe.

In fact, this type of crisis, these types of tools are absolutely essential. We have not lost money with this program I would underline to my colleagues. That money is fungible and that money was spent in Russia or spent in other countries improperly is not even debatable or that mistakes are made in these economies. If they were perfect, we would not need these types of tools. But we need the resources, we need these tools in the hands of our decisionmakers so they can exercise responsible policy and economic action.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Bachus).

Rep. Spencer Bachus

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Mr. Chairman, let me briefly sum up two things.

First of all, the Sanders-Bachus amendment was passed in 1995 and was in effect from 1996 and 1997 in the midst of this global crisis. The idea that if this were passed by the Congress it would be a recipe for disaster, it was in effect for 2 years and it was not.

It does not restrict transfers of funds in any amount to stabilize currencies, which is the statutory use of the fund. What it does limit is loans to foreign countries of a billion dollars plus.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin).

(Mr. LEVIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Sander M. Levin

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Mr. Chairman, I believe I would be among the first to acknowledge there were problems arising out of globalization, and we need to attend to them. But the worst thing we can do is kind of take a sledgehammer and somewhat blindly whack at them. They are more serious than that.

It is true there was a 2-year moratorium. It expired. And since then this fund has been used. It has been used in several instances. I think there is evidence it has been used constructively and effectively in the interest of U.S. workers and families. If that is not true, let us have a full debate about it.

There needs to be oversight. Those on the Committee on House Oversight should be diligent. But let us not come here somewhat out of the blue and make a major change in policy when the evidence of the last couple of years is that this may well be a useful fund. It is not giving a billion dollars to another country. These are loans that are guaranteed that have been invariably, or almost so, paid back.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 45 seconds to the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher).

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

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Mr. Chairman, I plead with my fellow Republicans, and I say ``plead'' with them, to pay attention to what is happening here.

How can we claim the mantle of being responsible in the budget process, in the budget decisions we have to make, when we are providing the President of the United States with a slush fund to spend billions and billions of dollars on foreign interests?

How can we look our people in the face, the veterans in the face that we have to sometimes, or the jobless or the seniors and say we cannot spend $10 million more here or $100 million more here because we are trying to be responsible?.

If we do not vote for the Sanders amendment to say there must be a vote in Congress to spend these billions of dollars overseas, we are betraying these citizens of our country. How can we look at them in the face and say we are being responsible at home when we prevent unaccountable spending overseas?

Please support this amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished gentleman from Texas (Mr. Stenholm), the ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture.

(Mr. STENHOLM asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. Charles W. Stenholm

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Mr. Chairman, it just popped into my mind when I heard the word ``budget,'' this body spent all last year and never passed a budget, and we spent 1 trillion, 700 billion dollars of the taxpayers' money.

But here is the point I wanted to make in this 1 minute. There has been some I am sure unintentional but some very misrepresentational statements made concerning congressional oversight.

There are monthly reports submitted to the Congress regarding all of the expenditures from the Economic Stable Stabilization Fund, monthly reports, annual reports to the Congress in which we have ample opportunity to oversee.

If anyone had the problems that we have heard in the overuse of the English language tonight about what has happened, we can certainly have that debate. And we will have that debate, and we should have that debate. But for us to take away the flexibility that an administration might need in order to meet with an international crisis, if we do not have that flexibility, I would submit to my colleagues that we are literally taking the jobs of millions of men and women and putting them in our hands and in a situation in which we will be almost totally incapable of acting.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of the time.

Mr. Chairman, let me just conclude by thanking the chairman for this interesting debate. This amendment is endorsed by progressitives, conservatives, and many people in between, by the United Steelworkers, by Unite, some of the great unions in this country, by the National Taxpayers Union, by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

I would ask for the support of all Members for this amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, obviously I rise in opposition to the amendment which is being considered here. But I agree with the gentleman from Vermont, this has been a good debate. It has not been enough of a debate with the right kinds of people in the right kind of forum, and that means we should have had this debate in the Committee on Banking and Financial Services and then here on the floor as a separate bill. Because the issue of what we should do with the Exchange Stabilization Fund and the levels of its loan authority, of its guarantee authority, is clearly an issue that this body should debate.

But surely we ought to at least have pause to consider the fact that the Secretary of Treasury has said that this amendment alone would be a reason that he would recommend a veto to the President. Now, that is not a reason for us to vote for or against it. But it certainly ought to give us pause.

And it ought to give us pause that the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, somebody who I think most Members of this body respect very greatly, has said: ``I also believe it is important to have mechanisms such as the Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund that permit the United States in exceptional circumstances to provide temporary bilateral financial support, often on short notice and under appropriate conditions and on occasion in cooperation with other countries.''

That ought to at least give us pause when somebody like Alan Greenspan says that.

Now, the question was raised here earlier, somebody said, well, we are going to claim that it is risk free. No, of course it is not risk free. But it is also not a hundred percent risk. Just as a bank does not have to reserve a hundred percent of all of its loans in reserve, we do not reserve a hundred percent of this either. It is a credit issue, and that is how it is scored appropriately.

We have other kinds of funds like this. We have the Trade Adjustment Assistance that we provide these funds in-ready when it is needed for workers. We have FEMA's Diaster Fund.

It is not we come to Congress every time there is a disaster in order to get a fund. We have a fund in order to provide that. And that is exactly what I think we have here.

We live in a world where these kinds of economic crises are becoming more and more real. I believe very strongly that we should give this kind of flexibility for economic crises, just as we do for the kinds of fiscal disasters which can afflict our country.

I would urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment. It is wrong policy. It is not the right thing to be doing on this legislation. I urge a ``no'' vote.

Rep. Pete Stark

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Mr. Chairman. I rise today in support of the Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) amendment to the Treasury Dept. Appropriations bill. Congress is the only body of this government that is legally able to authorize the treasury to spend any money. That is why I support this amendment, it returns control of US funds to the Congress, where it belongs.

Our Constitution states that the government spending is restricted in that ``No payment (shall be made) from the Treasury except under appropriations made by law''. The Constitution shows no concern whether the funds in the Treasury come from taxes, or sales of assets, or even investment and trading of foreign currency. Therefore Congress, not the Executive or some Agency of the Government, is the only body that can allocate funds from the Treasury for any purpose.

I understand some concerns that this body may not be swift enough to react to the rapidly changing international economy, however some compromise weighing the importance of the Constitution with the rapidly changing nature of the economy must be made. This amendment does not stop the Treasury from reacting to an emerging financial crisis, it simply allows the Congress to live up to its Constitutional responsibility to make sure that America's money is spent in a manner that promotes American interests. In 1997 a provision similar to the amendment we are debating today expired. In the year following this expiration, the Treasury provided $3 billion to Indonesia, $5 billion to South Korea, and $5 billion to Brazil, through the ESF. Which means that $13 billion of the American citizen's money was spent at the discretion of the Treasury with no need to consult representatives of the American people.

The Exchange Stabilization Fund was established in order to stabilize the US dollar. Some may argue that the stability of foreign governments is vital to the stability of the international economy, and therefore the American currency. That may even be true, but no member of Congress was able to make that argument. It was simply a decision handed down to us by some officials in the Department of the Treasury.

Passing this amendment will restore the power of this body to control how the American citizen's dollars are spent. I urge all members who understand the Constitution and believe that they are responsible to their constituents, to vote for this amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. All time has expired.

The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders).

The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.

Sen. Bernard Sanders

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Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 246, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) will be postponed.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Clerk read as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. Davis of Illinois: Page 101, after line 10, add the following: Sec. 649. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act in title 1 under the heading ``United States Customs Service'' may be made available for the conduct of strip searches by employees of the Customs Service of individuals subject to such searches in accordance with regulations established by the Customs Service unless the employee who conducts the strip search is of the same gender as the individual subject to the strip search.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, again, I want to thank the chairman of the committee and the ranking member for their cooperation.

Mr. Chairman, this amendment basically requires that no funds under this bill be used for male employees at the United States Customs Service to strip search women or for women employees to strip search males.

It is my understanding that the Customs Service currently prohibits such searches. However, there have been allegations by several complainants who have stated that men have participated or been present during strip searches of women.

Therefore, this amendment simply underscores what is already the policy at the U.S. Customs Service to prohibit men from strip searching women and vice versa.

I believe it is important to speak to this issue because Federal funds are involved and because of the allegations which are being made. In addition, what is agency policy may not be adhered to by individual employees. Therefore, we simply want to underscore that it should not be tolerated.

Now, I would hope that I could work again with the chairman and ranking member to ensure that this important policy is adhered to by all employees of the U.S. Customs Service.

Mr. Chairman, I yield to the chairman for comment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman yielding.

Again, the gentleman from Illinois has raised a very important policy issue. I might just add that it is now the policy of the Customs Service to require that a strip search of an individual must be conducted by an individual of the same gender. But this is certainly something that we would want to monitor very closely.

We intend to do that. We intend to gather the statistics to make sure that they are doing that. I will work with the gentleman from Illinois to share that information. And if he is not satisfied, we will make other inquiries in our hearings of the Customs Service and can pursue this in another way if it is not to the satisfaction of the gentleman from Illinois.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I thank the chairman very much for his comments.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman yielding and concur with the chairman.

Obviously, this is now, as the gentleman from Illinois has pointed out, the policy. What we need to ensure is that the policy is being followed so that no American or no foreign visitor is subjected to unwarranted and inappropriate processing by Customs or searches by Customs.

I appreciate the gentleman raising this issue and look forward to working with him on it.

Rep. Danny K. Davis

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Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Illinois?

There was no objection.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 6 offered by Mrs. Maloney of New York: At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (preceding the short title) the following new section: Sec. . None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce any prohibition on women breastfeeding their children in Federal buildings or on Federal property.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

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Mr. Chairman, first, I would like to thank the chairman and the ranking member for their leadership on this committee and in so many ways and particularly Mr. Hoyer for his assistance on this particular amendment. I am pleased to offer it on behalf of myself, the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Shays), the gentlewoman from Maryland (Mrs. Morella), the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee), the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Millender-McDonald) and many, many others.

Our amendment is very simple and family friendly, as American as motherhood. Our amendment will protect a woman from being escorted off of Federal property when she is breast-feeding her child. We originally put forward our right to breast-feed legislation because our offices were contacted by women across this country who are ashamed or ridiculed or ordered off of Federal property merely because they choose to breast-feed their child.

We have many, many examples from across the country. In one particular case, a woman in Virginia was ordered to stop breast feeding and the incident led to the passage of Virginia's legislation exempting breast feeding mothers from indecent exposure statutes. Thirteen other States have enacted similar laws.

Instead of citing all these examples and the State legislation and the medical reports, it is my understanding that the gentleman from Arizona will be accepting this amendment.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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If the gentlewoman will yield, I would urge that the committee adopt this amendment.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

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I thank the gentleman.

Our amendment is very simple, and is as American as motherhood.

The language of the amendment states:

None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce any prohibition on women breastfeeding their children in Federal buildings or on Federal property.

Our amendment will protect a woman from being escorted off of federal property when she is breastfeeding her child.

As you may know, a similar amendment was adopted by the full Appropriations Committee on the Interior Appropriations bill, allowing breastfeeding at federal parks and in the Smithsonian and other federal museums. I would like to point out that the amendment on Interior passed unanimously by voice vote.

Our amendment, which was also introduced as a stand-alone bill (H.R. 1848, the Right to Breastfeed Act), would extend this policy to all federal property covered by the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill.

We initially introduced H.R. 1848 because we have heard from many women across the country who have been shamed and ridiculed when they have chosen to breastfeed their children in federal buildings, and other federal property. Often, the are simply asked or told to leave a federal building, park, or office.

We would like to share with you a few of these examples:

A New York woman was to leave a Post Office while she was breastfeeding her child.

A New Jersey woman was stopped from breastfeeding when she visited a federal park in New Jersey. She was ordered by a tour guide to go outside to continue breastfeeding.

Another woman was waiting for several hours in a court house to present her case when she began to nurse her son and was told to leave the holding room.

Another woman was asked to stop nursing in Yosemite by a park ranger. Her husband, a pediatrician, cited all of the medical benefits to breastfeeding, and eventually the ranger backed down. Many other women would have simply backed down and decided that breastfeeding was not ``acceptable'' in public.

A Delaware woman was visiting a Washington, D.C., museum and began nursing her son in the back corner of the bookstore. She was harassed by the bookstore clerk and 4 security guards before being allowed to leave.

A Virginia woman visited Wolf Trap Farm Park's Theatre-in-the-woods (a federal park) in the summer of 1993 with her children. She began nursing her then 10-month-old daughter, Amy, and was approached by park rangers who told her to stop breastfeeding because the breast milk ``attracts bees.'' This incident led to the passage of Virginia's 1994 legislation exempting breastfeeding mothers from indecent exposure statutes. Thirteen other states have enacted similar laws.

Another woman was visiting the U.S. Capitol where she was observing a session of Congress with her 3 daughters. When the youngest daughter became hungry, she began to nurse her discreetly. A guard approached her and asked her to ``do that somewhere else.'' The same thing happened outside in the hallway.

While visiting the National Museum of Natural History, a guard instructed a Maryland woman who was breastfeeding her child to leave because there is ``No food or drink'' allowed in the museum. A woman nearby was feeding a child with a bottle.

When public breastfeeding is restricted, so is a breastfeeding woman's access to public facilities and functions.

Many states have already enacted similar legislation. They include: Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Others are still working to pass such legislation.

Why is this such an important issue? Many of you are aware that breastmilk is the first line of immunization defense for infants and enhances the effectiveness of vaccines they receive.

Research studies show that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of allergies, meningitis, some types of cancers, juvenile diabetes, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and ear infections.

And the benefits flow both ways. Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer, hip fractures, and osteoporosis.

In fact, in 1997, the United States had one of the lowest breastfeeding rates of all industrialized nations and one of the highest rates of infant mortality.

I would like to point out that while there are no laws specifically against breastfeeding, a woman asked to leave federal property has no recourse, and that is why we hope this Congress will send the message to women in America:

Breastfeeding is an important choice that many women make.

Breastfeeding is natural.

And breastfeeding is welcome on federal property.

I urge a ``yes'' vote on this common-sense, bipartisan amendment.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I simply want to commend the gentlewoman for the work that she has done on this issue. I also want to mention the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Roybal-Allard) who has also in the Committee on Appropriations worked on this issue. Obviously this is, we think, a very fundamental and appropriate policy. The Federal Government ought to be encouraging this healthy activity on behalf of families in America and would hope that we would adopt it.

Rep. Constance A. Morella

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Maloney amendment. This amendment will ensure that women have the right to breast-feed on any federal property where a woman and her child are otherwise authorized to be.

As you know, breastmilk contains all the nutrients a child needs for ideal growth and development, promotes closeness between mother and child, and is easy to digest. It is the first line of immunization defense and enhances the effectiveness of vaccines given to infants. Research studies show that children who are not breast-fed have higher rates of mortality, meningitis, some types of cancers, asthma and other respiratory illnesses, bacterial and viral infections, allergies, and obesity. Additionally, breastmilk and breast-feeding have protective effects against the development of a number of chronic diseases, including juvenile diabetes and lymphomas.

In 1997, the United States had one of the lowest breast-feeding rates of all industrialized nations and one of the highest rates of infant mortality. While there are no laws specifically against breast-feeding, a woman asked to leave federal property has no recourse.

Twenty-three states have already enacted similar legislation and it is time to set a federal example by ensuring a woman's right to breast-feed.

Women should not encounter obstacles or be made to feel embarrassed when attempting to breast-feed on federal property. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important amendment.

Rep. Christopher H. Shays

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Maloney-Shays-Morella amendment to ensure a woman's right to breastfeed her child in federal buildings and on federal property.

As an original cosponsor of the Right to Breastfeed Act, I strongly support this common-sense reform.

Breastfeeding is a natural and healthy choice. Breast milk helps protect against a number of childhood diseases, including ear infections, juvenile diabetes, lymphoma, some chronic liver diseases, and allergies.

In addition to containing all the nutrients a child needs for ideal growth and development, breastfeeding promotes closeness between a mother and child, and is easy to digest.

While not all mothers choose to breastfeed, those who do should be able to feed their child on federal government property without fear of harassment.

It is unfortunate that this amendment is necessary. Women across the country--indeed in the U.S. Capitol where we stand today--have been asked or told to leave a federal building park or office because they were breastfeeding.

Examples include the story of a woman who was visiting the U.S. capitol to observe a session of Congress with her three daughters, and began to nurse her youngest daughter discreetly. A guard approached her and asked her to ``do that somewhere else.'' The same thing happened outside in the hallway.

A New York woman was asked to leave a Post Office while she was breastfeeding her child and another woman was waiting for several hours in a court house to present her case was told to leave the holding room when she began to nurse her son.

While visiting the Nation Museum of Natural History, a guard instructed a Maryland woman who was breastfteeding her child to leave because there is ``no food or drink'' allowed in the museum.

These examples sound crazy, I know, but they reflect the very real problem women are having when breastfeeding their children on federal property.

While there are no laws specifically against breastfeeding, a woman asked to leave federal property often has no recourse. When public breastfeeding is restricted, so is a breastfeeding woman's access to public facilities and functions.

I am pleased the Fiscal Year 2000 Interior Appropriations Act included a similar amendment to allow breastfeeding at federal parks, the Smithsonian and other federal museums.

Let's close the loop and preserve a woman's right to breastfeed on all federal property.

I urge you to support this common-sense amendment.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee

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Mr. Chairman, I rise today to support Representative Maloney, Shays, and Morella's amendment regarding breastfeeding on federal property.

The amendment will protect a woman who chooses to breastfeed her child while she is visiting federal property.

Although there are no laws specifically prohibiting breastfeeding, this amendment will ensure that women are welcome on federal property when they are breastfeeding, and that they will never be turned away from federal buildings.

Many women across the country who have been shamed and ridiculed when they have chosen to breastfeed their children in federal buildings, and other federal property. Often, they are simply asked or told to leave a federal building, park, or office.

For example: A New York woman was asked to leave a Post Office while she was breastfeeding her child. A New Jersey woman was stopped from breastfeeding in July, 1998, when she visited the Edison National Historic Site (a federal park in NJ).

A woman was waiting for several hours in a court house to present her case when she began to nurse her son and was told to leave the holding room. A woman was asked to stop nursing in Yosemite by a park ranger. A Virginia woman was told to stop breastfeeding at the Wolf Trap Farm Park's Theatre-in-the-Woods (a federal park) in the summer of 1993 because, she was told, ``it attracts bees.''

Another woman was visiting the U.S. Capitol where she was observing a session of Congress with her 3 daughters. When her youngest daughter became hungry, she began to nurse her discreetly. A guard approached her and asked her to ``do that somewhere else.'' The same thing happened outside in the hallway.

While visiting the National Museum of Natural History, a guard instructed a Maryland woman who was breastfeeding her child to leave because there is ``no food or drink'' allowed in the museum. When public breastfeeding is restricted, so is a breastfeeding woman's access to public facilities and functions.

Many states have already enacted similar legislation. They include: Alaska, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin including my state of Texas. Many others are working to pass similar legislation.

A similar amendment was adopted by the full Appropriations Committee on the Interior Appropriations bill, allowing breastfeeding at federal parks and in the Smithsonian and other federal museums. The amendment on Interior passed unanimously by voice vote.

Breastmilk contains all the nutrients a child needs for ideal growth and development, promotes closeness between mother and child, and is easy to digest. It is the first line of immunization defense and enhances the effectiveness of vaccines given to infants.

Research studies have also shown that breastmilk and breastfeeding have protective effects against the development of a number of chronic diseases, including juvenile diabetes, lymphomas, Crohn's disease, celiac disease, some chronic liver diseases, and ulcerative colitis.

Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer, hip fractures, and osteoporosis. I ask my colleagues to support this very vital and important amendment.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the amendment offered by our colleague, Carolyn Maloney, to permit breast-feeding in federal buildings or on federal property.

Congresswoman Maloney has been a leader in promoting the importance of breast-feeding and in removing the obstacles facing nursing mothers.

Based on legislation Ms. Maloney introduced, I offered an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill permitting breast-feeding in our national parks and Washington-based museums and cultural attractions.

Unfortunately, there had been a series of anecdotes where mothers were confronted by museum guards or park rangers while nursing their babies.

I was pleased that the full appropriations committee unanimously accepted the amendment, and it was part of the bill that we passed last night.

The amendment in front of us today would expand that same concept to federal buildings and federal property. Some colleagues have asked me: is this really a problem?

That question goes to the real importance of this amendment. The fact is, we all know the benefits of breast-feeding. And this amendment ensures that women can continue to live the active lives that American society requires of them in the 1990's.

It means women can be mothers and be all the other things we expect them to be. Who knows what daily activities will bring mothers and their nursing children in contact with the 8400 federal buildings nation-wide. For example, maybe a farm family is visting U-S-D-A to put the farm's crop insurance package together.

Or maybe a new American is visiting the I-N-S to obtain visas for family members. Or maybe a small businesswoman has an appointment to receive technical advice from the S-B-A. Or maybe she and her child are mailing letters and packages at the post office. Or maybe a military family is going about its day-to-day activities on a military base.

The undeniable fact of life is that hungry babies demand to be fed no matter where they are. And in 1999, American mothers and their children are everywhere. Unfortunately, breast-feeding obstacles are a fact of daily life. La Leche League International, the well-known breast-feeding organization, reports that up to 60 mothers a month contact them to inquire about their legal rights after being asked to stop breast-feeding by a security guard, a store manager, or someone else in authority.

We can't transform the sensibilities of everyone overnight, but we can send a positive message to mothers and families trying to fulfill their responsibilities of everyday life in our increasingly complex society. The Maloney amendment is a positive step forward, and I urge my colleagues to support this strong signal of support to American mothers and families.

Rep. Barbara Lee

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Mr. Chairman, on behalf of women, children and Barbara Lee, I thank my colleague from New York for her leadership. I rise in strong support of the Maloney, Shays, Morella, Lee amendment.

It is a shame that women who breast-feed their babies have to worry about being told to leave federal property or that they are engaging in inappropriate behavior while breast-feeding on federal property. Children should not have to be uncomfortable with hunger because their mother cannot breast-feed them while on federal property. Breast-feeding reduces the risks of many diseases and promotes a child healthy development. We should not penalize women and babies by refusing to be clear that it is not a crime to breast-feed on federal property.

I am proud to say that in 1997 a bill was signed into law in California that authorizes a mother to breast-feed her child in any location, public or private except in the private home or residence of another. This law has heightened public awareness of the need of breast-feeding. It is time that now in 1999, the federal government sends a strong message that no longer women can be asked or told to leave federal property if they are breast-feeding. This is an amendment that will go a long way in reassuring women that they have a right to breast-feed on federal property, that we support the healthy development of babies and in no way will allow mothers and children to be subject to harassment and intimidation any more for doing what is natural and necessary.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. Maloney).

The amendment was agreed to.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 4 offered by Mr. Andrews: At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (preceding the short title) the following new section: Sec. . None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the United States Customs Service to admit for importation into the United States any item of children's sleepwear that does not have affixed to it the label required by the flammability standards issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Flammable Fabrics Act (15 U.S.C. 1191 et seq.) and in effect on September 9, 1996.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Mr. Chairman, this is an attempt to right what I believe is a shameful abandonment of consumer protection here in the United States.

In 1972, the Consumer Product Safety Commission adopted a rule with respect to sleepwear, pajamas, for infants and toddlers. That rule said that if the sleepwear was not treated with flammable-resistant material, that is to say, if it was not put together in such a way that it was flame retardant, you had to put a clear label on it that explained that to the buyer of the sleepwear. Nurses, firefighters, emergency service personnel, emergency room technicians, doctors understood and supported this standard for 24 years. It resulted in a dramatic reduction in the number of deaths and serious injuries suffered by children and infants as a result of burns.

Inexplicably, in 1996, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, by a 2 to 1 vote, changed that standard and weakened it, created a standard for disclosure and labeling on children's sleepwear that is frankly baffling. If you go into a store in this country and try to figure out which of the little pajamas are flammable and which are not, it is virtually impossible to tell because of the confusion that has been created.

Last year, thanks to the leadership of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) and the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro), we were successful in getting the Consumer Product Safety Commission to reconsider this decision. In June of this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission made a decision, and I believe fervently they made the wrong decision, because they kept in place the new standard that is a weaker standard, that does not protect the children of this country. Therefore, this amendment.

This amendment would prohibit the importation into this country of infant and children's sleepwear that does not have the disclosure standards that were in effect prior to the 1996 change. In other words, if you are going to import infant sleepwear or pajamas, as the vast majority of pajamas are imported, you could not import them into this country unless they had that real and strong consumer protection standard which I believe was a serious and egregious mistake to abandon.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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I yield to the gentleman from Arizona.

Rep. James T. Kolbe

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I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I had understood there were some members of the Committee on Ways and Means that might object to this, but they have not shown up and I am prepared to accept this amendment if we can move it along as quickly as possible.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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I would gratefully accept. I thank the gentlewoman from Connecticut (Ms. DeLauro) for her participation and the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer). I would be delighted.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Chairman, I am a strong supporter of the gentleman's amendment and the gentlewoman from Connecticut's amendment and would hope that we would adopt it.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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I yield briefly to my coauthor the gentlewoman from Connecticut.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

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Mr. Chairman, I commend the gentleman from New Jersey for offering the amendment. The gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews), the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) and myself were as, as has been pointed out, shocked and dismayed with what happened with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We have had a strong standard for two decades. The interest here is to make sure that our infants and children are protected and that the clothing that they wear has the fire-resistant material that for so many years has made a real difference in the lives and well-being of children in this country.

I want to commend my colleague Rob Andrews for offering this very important amendment today and I thank him for his hard work on this issue which is so important to the safety of our nation's children.

I know Congressman Andrews and Congressman Weldon shared my shock and dismay at the Consumer Product Safety Commission's actions in weakening the fire safety standard which governed children's pajamas.

For more than two decades, children's sleepwear has been held to a more stringent standard of fire safety than any other type of clothing. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that without this strict standard, there would have been ten times as many deaths and significantly more burn injuries relating to children's sleepwear.

Yet for reasons I can not understand, the CPSC has weakened that standard, so that now there is no fire safety standard for infants up to nine months, and no fire safety standard for ``tight fitting'' clothes up to children's size 14. This action leaves children in grave danger of being burned or killed in a fire. Infants are completely defenseless in this type of situation. If we don't act, the numbers of children burned in these types of incidents will only rise.

This amendment will make sure that only sleepwear which conforms to the fire safety standard passed in the Flammable Fabrics Act more than two decades ago is imported into our country. As the CPSC has again decided--for reasons which quite frankly mystify me--to stay with the weaker standard, this is a step in the right direction. It will also send a strong message to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, letting them know that the Congress is extremely concerned about this issue and is not content to let it drop.

Congress has the responsibility to do all that we can to protect the health and safety of our nation's children. This amendment will help us to do just that. I urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment and help to ensure that children are kept safe from burn injuries and even death. Support the Andrews amendment.

Rep. Robert E. Andrews

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Reclaiming my time, I want to express my deep appreciation to the gentleman from Arizona and the gentleman from Maryland.

Rep. Constance A. Morella

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Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Andrews, Weldon, Towns, Farr, English, Capuano, Luther, Hoyer, DeLauro, Morella, Kilpatrick amendment. This provision would prohibit the importation of any item of children's sleepwear without a label as required by the flammability standards issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

Our children are precious and we must make every effort to keep them safe. But there are so many hidden hazards in the world, and parenting doesn't come with an instruction manual. It's strictly on-the-job training.

When my children were little, we didn't know that we had to worry about keeping them safe in their pajamas. For more than 25 years, with passage of the Flammable Standards Act in 1972, children in America were protected from the risk of fire from their sleepwear. The CPSC, in 1996, voted to relax the fire safety standard for children's sleepwear. The new standard exempts all sleepwear for infants aged nine months and younger, and tight-fitting sleepwear for children sizes 7-14. I have been particularly concerned about the exemption from flammability standards for infants. As any parent or grandparent knows, children under 9 months of age often are active and may come in contact with ignition sources.

That is why I am a cosponsor of H.R. 329, which directs the CPSC to return to stricter flammability standards that were in effect for two decades prior to 1996. If we allow children's sleepwear products to be imported without any safety standards, we will be sending a message to the CPSC that their relaxed standards are acceptable.

You know, unintentional injury is the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. Each year, unintentional injuries kill 7,200 kids and leave an additional 50,000 disabled.

This year approximately 14 million children will require emergency treatment for preventable injury and will cost this country an estimated $13.8 million. Fortunately, we know that prevention saves lives and money. If we allow sleepwear to be imported from other countries that is not flame resistant, we will be putting our children at great risk. This amendment is a Measure of Prevention to protect our children from harm.

I urge a ``yes'' vote on the Andrews Children's Sleepwear Amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews).

The amendment was agreed to.

The CHAIRMAN. The pending business is the demand for a recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote.

The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The Clerk designated the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. A recorded vote has been demanded.

A recorded vote was ordered.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 192, noes 228, not voting 14, as follows:

[Roll No. 304] AYES--192 Abercrombie Aderholt Andrews Armey Bachus Baker Barr Bartlett Bass Bateman Bilbray Bilirakis Bliley Blunt Bonilla Brown (OH) Bryant Burr Buyer Camp Campbell Canady Cannon Chabot Clay Coburn Collins Condit Conyers Cook Costello Cox Crane Cubin Cunningham Danner Davis (IL) Deal DeFazio DeMint Diaz-Balart Doolittle Duncan Ehrlich Emerson English Evans Everett Fletcher Foley Fossella Fowler Franks (NJ) Ganske Gibbons Gillmor Goode Goodlatte Goodling Graham Granger Green (WI) Greenwood Gutierrez Gutknecht Hall (TX) Hastings (WA) Hayes Hayworth Hefley Hill (MT) Hilleary Hoekstra Holden Hostettler Hulshof Hunter Hutchinson Hyde Istook Jenkins Johnson, Sam Jones (NC) Kaptur Kasich Kingston Klink Kucinich Largent Lee Lewis (KY) Linder Lipinski LoBiondo Lucas (KY) Lucas (OK) Manzullo McCollum McHugh McInnis McIntosh McIntyre McKeon McKinney Metcalf Mica Miller, George Mink Moran (KS) Myrick Ney Norwood Owens Packard Pascrell Paul Pease Peterson (MN) Petri Phelps Pickering Pitts Pombo Pryce (OH) Quinn Rahall Ramstad Regula Reynolds Riley Rivers Rogan Rogers Rohrabacher Ros-Lehtinen Royce Ryan (WI) Ryun (KS) Salmon Sanders Sanford Saxton Scarborough Schaffer Sensenbrenner Serrano Sessions Shadegg Sherwood Shimkus Shows Shuster Simpson Skeen Slaughter Smith (MI) Smith (NJ) Smith (TX) Souder Spence Stark Stearns Strickland Stump Stupak Sununu Sweeney Talent Tancredo Taylor (MS) Terry Thornberry Thune Tiahrt Toomey Traficant Turner Upton Velazquez Visclosky Vitter Walden Wamp Watts (OK) Weldon (FL) Weldon (PA) Weller Whitfield Wicker Wise Wolf Woolsey NOES--228 Ackerman Allen Archer Baird Baldacci Ballenger Barcia Barrett (NE) Barrett (WI) Barton Becerra Bentsen Bereuter Berkley Berman Berry Biggert Bishop Blagojevich Blumenauer Boehlert Boehner Bonior Bono Borski Boswell Boucher Boyd Brady (PA) Brady (TX) Brown (FL) Callahan Calvert Capps Capuano Cardin Carson Castle Chambliss Clayton Clement Clyburn Combest Coyne Cramer Crowley Cummings Davis (FL) Davis (VA) DeGette Delahunt DeLauro DeLay Deutsch Dickey Dicks Dingell Dixon Doggett Dooley Doyle Dreier Dunn Edwards Ehlers Engel Eshoo Etheridge Ewing Farr Fattah Filner Forbes Ford Frank (MA) Frelinghuysen Gallegly Gejdenson Gekas Gephardt Gilman Gonzalez Gordon Goss Green (TX) Hall (OH) Hansen Hastings (FL) Herger Hill (IN) Hilliard Hinchey Hinojosa Hobson Hoeffel Holt Hooley Horn Houghton Hoyer Inslee Isakson Jackson (IL) Jackson-Lee (TX) Jefferson John Johnson (CT) Johnson, E. B. Jones (OH) Kanjorski Kelly Kennedy Kildee Kilpatrick Kind (WI) King (NY) Kleczka Knollenberg Kolbe Kuykendall LaFalce LaHood Lampson Lantos Larson LaTourette Lazio Leach Levin Lewis (CA) Lewis (GA) Lofgren Lowey Maloney (CT) Maloney (NY) Markey Martinez Mascara Matsui McCarthy (MO) McCarthy (NY) McCrery McGovern Meehan Meek (FL) Meeks (NY) Menendez Millender-McDonald Miller (FL) Miller, Gary Minge Moakley Mollohan Moore Moran (VA) Morella Murtha Nadler Napolitano Neal Nethercutt Northup Nussle Oberstar Obey Olver Ortiz Ose Oxley Pallone Pastor Payne Pelosi Pickett Pomeroy Porter Portman Price (NC) Radanovich Rangel Reyes Rodriguez Roemer Rothman Roukema Roybal-Allard Rush Sabo Sanchez Sandlin Sawyer Schakowsky Scott Shaw Shays Sherman Sisisky Skelton Smith (WA) Snyder Spratt Stabenow Stenholm Tanner Tauscher Tauzin Taylor (NC) Thomas Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tierney Towns Udall (CO) Udall (NM) Vento Walsh Waters Watkins Watt (NC) Waxman Weiner Wexler Weygand Wilson Wu Wynn Young (AK) Young (FL) NOT VOTING--14 Baldwin Brown (CA) Burton Chenoweth Coble Cooksey Frost Gilchrest Latham Luther McDermott McNulty Peterson (PA) Thurman {time} 2313

Messrs. MOAKLEY, TIERNEY, and GARY MILLER of California, Ms. DUNN, Mrs. KELLY, Mr. BARCIA, and Ms. SANCHEZ changed their vote from ``aye'' to ``no.''

Messrs. RILEY, SWEENEY, LEWIS, TIAHRT, BLUNT, and WELDON of Florida, Ms. WOOLSEY, Ms. GRANGER, Mr. MICA, Mr. BUYER, Mrs. FOWLER, and Mr. LARGENT changed their vote from ``no'' to ``aye.''

So the amendment was rejected.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

The CHAIRMAN. If there are no further amendments, under the rule, the Committee rises.

Accordingly, the Committee rose; and the Speaker pro tempore (Mr. Pease) having assumed the chair, Mr. LaHood, Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, reported that that Committee, having had under consideration the bill (H.R. 2490) making appropriations for the Treasury Department, the United States Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and certain Independent Agencies, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, and for other purposes, pursuant to House Resolution 246, he reported the bill back to the House with sundry amendments adopted by the Committee of the Whole.

Under the rule, the previous question is ordered.

Is a separate vote demanded on any amendment? If not, the Chair will put them en gros.

The amendments were agreed to.

The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.

The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was read the third time.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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Mr. Speaker, I offer a motion to recommit.

Is the gentleman opposed to the bill?

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

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I am, Mr. Speaker, opposed to the bill in its present form.

The Clerk will report the motion to recommit.

The Clerk read as follows:

Mr. Hoyer moves to recommit the bill, H.R. 2490, to the Committee on Appropriations.

Without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit.

There was no objection.

The question is on motion to recommit.

The motion to recommit was rejected.

The question is on the passage of the bill.

Pursuant to clause 10 of rule XX, the yeas and nays are ordered.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 210, nays 209, not voting 16, as follows:

[Roll No. 305] YEAS--210 Abercrombie Aderholt Archer Armey Bachus Ballenger Barrett (NE) Bartlett Barton Bass Bateman Bereuter Biggert Bilbray Bilirakis Bliley Blumenauer Blunt Boehlert Boehner Bonilla Bono Brady (TX) Bryant Burr Buyer Callahan Calvert Camp Campbell Canady Cannon Castle Chambliss Coburn Collins Combest Condit Cook Cox Crane Cubin Cunningham Davis (VA) Deal DeLay DeMint Diaz-Balart Dickey Doolittle Dreier Dunn Ehlers Ehrlich Emerson Engel English Everett Ewing Fletcher Foley Forbes Fossella Fowler Franks (NJ) Frelinghuysen Gallegly Ganske Gekas Gibbons Gillmor Gilman Goodlatte Goodling Goss Graham Granger Green (WI) Greenwood Gutknecht Hansen Hastert Hastings (WA) Hayes Hayworth Hefley Herger Hill (MT) Hobson Hoekstra Horn Hostettler Houghton Hulshof Hunter Hutchinson Hyde Isakson Istook Jenkins Johnson (CT) Johnson, Sam Jones (NC) Kasich Kelly King (NY) Kingston Knollenberg Kolbe Kuykendall LaFalce LaHood Largent LaTourette Lazio Leach Lewis (CA) Lewis (KY) Linder LoBiondo Lucas (OK) Manzullo Matsui McCollum McCrery McHugh McInnis McIntosh McKeon Metcalf Mica Miller (FL) Miller, Gary Moran (KS) Morella Myrick Nethercutt Ney Northup Norwood Nussle Ose Oxley Packard Pease Petri Pickering Pickett Pombo Porter Portman Pryce (OH) Quinn Radanovich Regula Reynolds Riley Rogan Rogers Rohrabacher Ros-Lehtinen Roukema Royce Ryan (WI) Ryun (KS) Saxton Sensenbrenner Sessions Shadegg Shaw Shays Sherwood Shimkus Shuster Simpson Skeen Smith (MI) Smith (NJ) Smith (TX) Souder Spence Stearns Stump Sununu Sweeney Talent Tancredo Tauzin Taylor (NC) Terry Thomas Thornberry Thune Upton Vitter Walden Walsh Wamp Watkins Watts (OK) Waxman Weldon (FL) Weldon (PA) Weller Whitfield Wicker Wilson Wolf Young (AK) Young (FL) NAYS--209 Ackerman Allen Andrews Baird Baker Baldacci Barcia Barr Barrett (WI) Becerra Bentsen Berkley Berman Berry Bishop Blagojevich Bonior Borski Boswell Boucher Boyd Brady (PA) Brown (FL) Brown (OH) Capps Capuano Cardin Carson Chabot Clay Clayton Clement Clyburn Conyers Costello Coyne Cramer Crowley Cummings Danner Davis (FL) Davis (IL) DeFazio DeGette Delahunt DeLauro Deutsch Dicks Dingell Dixon Doggett Dooley Doyle Duncan Edwards Eshoo Etheridge Evans Farr Fattah Filner Ford Gejdenson Gephardt Gonzalez Goode Gordon Green (TX) Gutierrez Hall (OH) Hall (TX) Hastings (FL) Hill (IN) Hilleary Hilliard Hinchey Hinojosa Hoeffel Holden Holt Hooley Hoyer Inslee Jackson (IL) Jackson-Lee (TX) Jefferson John Johnson, E. B. Jones (OH) Kanjorski Kaptur Kennedy Kildee Kilpatrick Kind (WI) Kleczka Klink Kucinich Lampson Lantos Larson Lee Levin Lewis (GA) Lipinski Lofgren Lowey Lucas (KY) Maloney (CT) Maloney (NY) Markey Martinez Mascara McCarthy (MO) McCarthy (NY) McGovern McIntyre McKinney Meehan Meek (FL) Meeks (NY) Menendez Millender-McDonald Miller, George Minge Mink Moakley Mollohan Moore Moran (VA) Murtha Nadler Napolitano Neal Oberstar Obey Olver Ortiz Owens Pallone Pascrell Pastor Paul Payne Pelosi Peterson (MN) Phelps Pitts Pomeroy Price (NC) Rahall Ramstad Rangel Reyes Rivers Rodriguez Roemer Rothman Roybal-Allard Rush Sabo Salmon Sanchez Sanders Sandlin Sawyer Scarborough Schaffer Schakowsky Scott Serrano Sherman Shows Sisisky Skelton Slaughter Smith (WA) Snyder Spratt Stabenow Stark Stenholm Strickland Stupak Tanner Tauscher Taylor (MS) Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tiahrt Tierney Toomey Towns Traficant Turner Udall (CO) Udall (NM) Velazquez Vento Visclosky Waters Watt (NC) Weiner Wexler Weygand Wise Woolsey Wu Wynn NOT VOTING--16 Baldwin Brown (CA) Burton Chenoweth Coble Cooksey Frank (MA) Frost Gilchrest Latham Luther McDermott McNulty Peterson (PA) Sanford Thurman {time} 2335

Messrs. BERMAN, HALL of Ohio, STENHOLM, DINGELL, Ms. BROWN of Florida, and Messrs. DIXON, BOYD and LAMPSON changed their vote from ``yea'' to ``nay.''

Messrs. GOODLATTE, WATKINS, and METCALF changed their vote from ``nay'' to ``yea.''

So the bill was passed.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.