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NOTE: The section relating to immigration appears in bold below. (Emphasis has been added.)


[Congressional Record: July 26, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S7590-S7618]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:cr26jy00-111]                         



 
  TREASURY AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2001--MOTION TO 
                            PROCEED--Resumed

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, pursuant to rule 
XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending cloture motion, 
which the clerk will state.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     proceed to calendar number 704, H.R. 4871, a bill 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, 2001, and for other purposes:
         Trent Lott, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Pat Roberts, Richard 
           G. Lugar, Jesse Helms, Jeff Sessions, Larry E. Craig, 
           Jon Kyl, Craig Thomas, Don Nickles, Strom Thurmond, 
           Michael Crapo, Mitch McConnell, Fred Thompson, Judd 
           Gregg, and Ted Stevens.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call under the rule has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to proceed to the consideration of H.R. 4871, an act 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, 2001, and for other 
purposes, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are required under the rule. The clerk will call 
the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Wyoming (Mr. Thomas) is 
necessarily absent.
  Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. 
Torricelli) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 97, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 227 Leg.]

                                YEAS--97

     Abraham
     Akaka
     Allard
     Ashcroft
     Baucus
     Bayh
     Bennett
     Biden
     Bingaman
     Bond
     Boxer
     Breaux
     Brownback
     Bryan
     Bunning
     Burns
     Byrd
     Campbell
     Chafee, L.
     Cleland
     Cochran
     Collins
     Conrad
     Craig
     Crapo
     Daschle
     DeWine
     Dodd
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Durbin
     Edwards
     Enzi
     Feingold
     Feinstein
     Fitzgerald
     Frist
     Gorton
     Graham
     Gramm
     Grams
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Helms
     Hollings
     Hutchinson
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Inouye
     Jeffords
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Kerrey
     Kerry
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Mack
     McCain
     McConnell
     Mikulski
     Moynihan
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nickles
     Reed
     Reid
     Robb
     Roberts
     Rockefeller
     Roth
     Santorum
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith (NH)
     Smith (OR)
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Thompson
     Thurmond
     Voinovich
     Warner
     Wellstone
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--2

     Thomas
     Torricelli
       
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. If there are no Senators wishing to vote or 
change their votes, on this vote, the yeas are 97, the nays are 0. 
Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the 
affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  The Senator from South Carolina.
  (The remarks of Senator Thurmond pertaining to the introduction of S. 
2925 are located in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced 
Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')

[[Page S7591]]

  Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, I take a few moments following this 
cloture vote to talk about the appropriations bill and a couple of 
related matters to that bill that are to be brought to the Senate 
floor. We are completing the last week of the legislative session 
before the August break. When we come back following the August break, 
we will have a number of weeks in September and a couple of weeks in 
October, perhaps, at which time the 106th Congress will be history.
  We will have an election in early November, something that the late 
Congressman Claude Pepper, a wonderful public servant, used to call one 
of the miracles of democracy. He said: Every even numbered year, our 
Constitution provides that the American people grab the steering wheel 
and decide in which direction this country moves. He said it was one of 
the miracles of democracy. Indeed it is. We are headed toward an 
election. That will affect the Senate schedule. That means it is likely 
the Senate will complete its work, the Congress will complete its work, 
in the 106th Congress by the middle of October.
  As we look to that moment, we have a lot of work to do between now 
and then. We have appropriations bills to complete. After all that, one 
of the fundamental responsibilities we have is to provide for the 
funding of things we do together in government. We build our roads 
together. It doesn't make sense for each family to build their own road 
to the supermarket. It is called government. We come together and build 
a system of roads. We come together to build schools and maintain and 
operate schools in which the American people can send their children. 
It doesn't make sense for each and every person to build their own 
school. So we have roads and schools. Then we hire a police force. We 
hire folks who will serve in the Armed Forces to defend our liberty and 
freedom.
  All of these things we do, and much more, as a part of our governing 
process. I am proud of much of what we do. Much of what we have 
accomplished in this country is a result of the ingenuity of people in 
the private sector, in the market system, competing, the genius of 
those who are willing to take risks and use ideas to build new products 
and create new markets; on the other side, in the public sector, the 
vision that has been exhibited by some who have served this country for 
many years to do the right things in the public sector, to do together 
what we should do to provide for our common defense and build our 
schools, build roads, and do those things that we know also make this a 
better country.
  One of the pieces of legislation we are intending to bring to the 
floor very soon is the Treasury-Postal appropriations subcommittee 
bill. That is through the full Appropriations Committee in the Senate. 
It is legislation that will be, I hope, debated next on the Senate 
floor. The bill is through the full Appropriations Committee and 
includes funding for a wide range of things we do in this country.
  One of the larger portions of the bill is the funding for the Customs 
Service. The Customs Service is a very important element. Given the 
expanding nature of world trade, with the amount of commerce and goods 
and services moving in and out of our country and across our borders, 
the Customs Service provides an ever increasing important service to 
our country.
  We fund the Internal Revenue Service which collects the revenue by 
which we fund most of the government services we have in this country. 
One of the areas of this legislation is the national youth antidrug 
media campaign. That campaign in the drug czar's office is now about 3 
years old, and the Congress has been working on that diligently, as 
well.
  We have a number of issues in this legislation that are very 
important, that are timely, and that we need to get to the floor of the 
Senate to debate and try to make some decisions about them.
  Let me comment for a moment about a couple of issues that no doubt 
will be brought to the Senate floor on this bill. I will talk about why 
these issues are important and what I think will happen with these 
issues. In the House of Representatives, when they wrote the 
legislation dealing with Treasury and general government in that 
subcommittee, that legislation included some amendments dealing with 
the subject of Cuba and the sanctions with respect to food and medicine 
that exist with respect to Cuba.
  I want to talk just a bit about that because those provisions are 
included in the House bill. We will undoubtedly have amendments on that 
same subject in the Senate bill. There will be a defense of germaneness 
on those amendments. I will offer one of those amendments. I believe my 
colleagues Senator Dodd, Senator Roberts, perhaps Senator Baucus, and 
others will offer similar amendments. I want to describe why this is an 
important issue and why the Senate should consider these amendments, 
especially inasmuch as these types of amendments are in the House bill 
coming over for consideration in conference.
  There are some bad actors internationally who run governments in a 
way that is well outside the norm of international behavior. We 
understand that. Saddam Hussein is one of those leaders. There are 
others. We have watched the behavior and the activities of countries 
such as Cuba, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and others, and view with alarm 
some of the things that are happening.
  Cuba is a country that is run, with a Communist government, by Fidel 
Castro. North Korea is a relatively closed society run by a Communist 
government, a Communist dictator. Iran is a different kind of country, 
run by a group of folks who seem to operate--at least they have for 
some while--outside the norms of international behavior, engaged in an 
attempt to acquire sophisticated missile technology. I suspect they and 
others on the list would love to acquire nuclear weapons. These are 
countries that have demonstrated by their behavior, by their actions, 
that they are operating outside the norms of what we consider 
acceptable behavior. I am talking now about the international 
community, the community of nations.
  So what do we do? What we do is we say to Saddam Hussein: We are 
going to impose economic sanctions on your country. These sanctions, in 
the form of either sanctions or an embargo, are an attempt to choke 
your economy and cause you economic pain. They cause you to understand 
when you operate outside the norms of international behavior, when you 
are attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and 
biological weapons with which you can threaten your neighbors, we care 
about that and we intend to do something about that. We and other 
countries have imposed sanctions against the country of Iraq.
  We have had an embargo against the country of Cuba for some 40 years. 
It is a small country 90 miles off the tip of Florida. We have had an 
embargo for some 40 years against the country of Cuba, preventing goods 
from being shipped to Cuba, preventing Cuban goods from coming into our 
country, essentially trying to shut down their economy with that 
embargo. We have had similar sanctions against North Korea and Iran.
  One of the mistakes this country has made--and a very serious 
mistake--is deciding we will include food and medicine as a part of our 
economic sanctions. We should not have done that. This country should 
never have done that. This country is bigger and better than that. We 
should never use food as a weapon.
  We produce food in such abundant quality--the best quality food in 
the world. We have farmers today who are out driving a tractor in some 
field somewhere, planting a seed and raising crops with great hope they 
will be able to make a living on their family farm. We produce such 
wonderful quality food in such abundance, and then we say to countries 
whose behavior we don't like: By the way, we are going to slap you with 
economic sanctions. We are going to put our fist around your economic 
throat, and included in that, we are going to prevent the movement of 
food in and out of your country.
  I am all for economic sanctions. There is not any reason to make life 
better for Saddam Hussein. He ought to pay a price for his behavior. 
But this country is shortsighted to believe that using food as a weapon 
is an advancement in public policy for us. It is not. First, it hurts 
our farmers who are prevented from moving food through the 
international markets. Second, it takes aim at a dictator and ends up

[[Page S7592]]

hitting hungry people. That is not the best of what this country has to 
offer.

  So we have a very simple proposition--those of us who care about this 
issue. We say let's stop using food as a weapon; let us, as Americans, 
decide we shall never use food as a mechanism to try to punish others. 
We understand that Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro have never missed a 
meal. They have never missed breakfast, they have never missed dinner, 
never missed supper. They eat well. When we use food as a weapon, it is 
only poor people, sick people, and hungry people who pay a price; and 
of course, our farmers here in America also pay a price.
  So last year we had a debate about this. My colleague Senator 
Ashcroft, I, Senators Dodd, Roberts, Baucus--a range of people--have 
offered amendments. Last year we had a vote, and 70 Senators said: No, 
we shall not any longer ever use food as a weapon. Let us lift the 
sanctions on food and medicine; 70 percent of the Senate said let's 
stop it.
  I cannot speak for all 70, but I will speak for myself to say it is 
immoral to have a public policy that uses food as a weapon. It is 
immoral to punish hungry, sick, and poor people around the world 
because we are angry at dictators. Seventy percent of the Senate said: 
Let's stop. Let's change the sanctions. We can continue some of the 
economic sanctions. We are not making a judgment about using economic 
sanctions to punish dictators or punish countries whose behavior is 
outside the international norm. We are saying, however, we should not 
any longer use food or medicine as a weapon or as part of the 
sanctions.
  So 70 percent of the Senate voted. It was on the Senate agricultural 
appropriations bill, and off we marched to conference. I was one of the 
conferees. One of the first acts of conference between the House and 
Senate was my offering an amendment insisting that the Senate retain 
its position. In other words, we were saying as a group of Senators who 
were conferees: We insist on our provision, lifting the sanctions on 
food and medicine.
  I offered the amendment in the conference. We had a vote of the 
Senate conferees, and my amendment carried. Therefore, the Senators at 
this conference with the House Members said: We insist on the 
provision. We insist on our policy of removing food and medicine as 
part of our economic sanctions.
  Guess what. A Member of the House moved that the conference adjourn. 
We adjourned. It was late one morning, and we never, ever returned to 
conference. Do you know why? Because the House leaders, the House 
leadership, did not like that provision and they intended to kill it. 
They knew they could not kill it with their conferees. If there were a 
vote on it in the conference, they would lose. If there were a vote on 
it on the floor of the House, they would lose. So the only way they 
could win was to hijack that conference, adjourn it, never come back 
into session, and throw the ingredients of that bill into a broader 
bill, and we never saw the light of day on our policy.
  The result is we are back on the floor right now and this country 
still has in place a policy of using food and medicine as part of our 
economic sanctions. It is wrong. It is wrong.
  Following that conference last year, I had the opportunity to go to 
Cuba. I have traveled some, in various parts of the world, and have 
seen that what we produce in such abundance, the world needs so 
desperately. The winds of hunger blow every minute, every hour, and 
every day all across this world. So many people die of hunger, 
malnutrition, and hunger-related causes, and so many of them are 
children--every single day.
  I went to Cuba. What I saw was a country in collapse. It is a 
beautiful country with wonderful people. The city of Havana is a 
beautiful city, but in utter collapse. There are gorgeous buildings 
designed in the 1940s and 1950s by some of the best architects--
beautiful architecture, in total disrepair. The city is collapsing. The 
Cuban economy is in collapse. There is no question about that.
  I visited a hospital, and I saw a young boy lying in a coma. His 
mother was seated by his bedside holding his hand. This was in an 
intensive care ward of a Cuban hospital. This young boy in intensive 
care was not hooked up to any wires. There was no fancy gadgetry, no 
fancy equipment, no beeping that you hear in intensive care--the 
beeping of equipment--no, none of that. He was lying on his bed with 
his mother holding his hand.
  I asked the doctor, Do you not have equipment with which to monitor 
this young boy? He had a head injury and was in a coma. He said, Oh, 
no; they didn't have any of that equipment. They didn't even have any 
rudimentary equipment with which to make a diagnosis. Intensive care 
was to lay this boy in a room. They told me they were out of 250 
different kinds of medicine in that hospital.
  My point is this. The Cuban people do not deserve Fidel Castro--that 
is for sure. They deserve a free and open country, a free and open 
economy; they deserve the liberties we have and the freedom we have. 
But 40 years of an embargo, and especially 40 years preventing the 
movement of food and medicine back and forth, surely makes no sense.
  It has not hurt Mr. Castro. It has hurt the poor people of Cuba and 
the hungry people of Cuba. It is time to change that policy. A year ago 
we tried it. Seventy percent of the Senate voted for it, and it has not 
happened.
  This is what we have done this year: I offered an amendment, with 
Senator Gorton from the State of Washington, on the Agriculture 
appropriations bill that lifts the sanctions on food and medicine and 
also let's us do one other thing. It prevents any future President from 
ever including food and medicine as part of economic sanctions unless 
they come to the Senate and get a vote and the Senate says: Yes, we 
ought to do that.
  We do two things: We lift the sanctions on food and medicine that 
exist with those countries that are subject to our economic sanctions, 
and we prevent future Presidents from imposing sanctions and using food 
as a weapon. That is in the Agriculture appropriations bill which came 
to the floor of the Senate. The Senate passed that bill. My amendment 
is in it. We will go to conference.
  The only way we can lose that issue is if the House leaders hijack it 
once again. There is a member of the leadership of the House, whom I 
shall not name, who makes it his cause to derail us. He believes we 
ought to use food as a weapon, especially with respect to Cuba. He 
believes we ought not change the policy and will do everything he can 
to stop us.
  My colleague in the House who has been working on this passed some 
legislation that was negotiated with the House leadership, but it turns 
out the legislation, when one looks at the language, is a step 
backward, not a step forward.
  We will go to conference on the Agriculture appropriations bill with 
my amendment in it, and I say to those who might pay attention to the 
Senate record from the House side, if the House leaders expect to 
hijack this once again this year, they are in for a long session 
because there is a group of us--Republicans and Democrats--who insist 
this country change its policy. This policy is wrongheaded and it must 
change.
  Yes, we have some people in the Senate who are still fighting the 
cold war. We have people in the Senate--not very many, I admit--but we 
have a few people in the Senate who do not want this changed, but 70 
percent of the Senate want this changed. At some point, if they get a 
full vote in the House and we have a full vote in the Senate, 70 
percent of the Congress will say: Let's change this foolish policy. 
This policy is not the best of this country. This policy is wrong, and 
we aim to change it.
  Now we bring this bill to the floor of the Senate. We had a cloture 
vote on the motion to proceed today, and the Treasury-Postal bill will 
come to the floor at some point. As I indicated, in addition to the 
description of the amendment I offered to the Agriculture 
appropriations bill on the floor of the Senate dealing with sanctions 
on Cuba, a couple Members of the House applied some amendments, which 
were successful, to the Treasury-general government bill which means 
when our bill comes to the floor of the Senate, it will also attract 
these amendments. That is fine with me. Having them in two places is 
better than having them in one place. Perhaps one conference will be 
successful in changing this policy.

[[Page S7593]]

  My colleagues in the House added a piece of legislation, for example, 
dealing with travel in Cuba saying that no funds will be used to 
enforce the restrictions on travel to Cuba. I prefer to do it a 
different way. Who is going to believe it makes sense to travel to Cuba 
if it is still illegal but they just will not enforce it? If we change 
travel, let's change travel. Let's not say you shall not enforce 
something that remains illegal. Let's say the travel restrictions are 
lifted. Period. End of story.
  I hope my colleague who intends to offer that amendment in the Senate 
will consider doing that. We have other amendments as well, and I 
intend to offer an amendment dealing with food and medicine sanctions 
on Cuba on the Treasury-Postal bill when it is brought to the floor of 
the Senate.

  There is another issue I wish to talk about briefly that relates in 
some measure to this bill, but especially to the issue of the Customs 
Service and our borders and the issue of international trade. I am 
going to talk in a bit about our trade problem because we have the 
largest trade deficit in the history of humankind.
  There is a lot right with this country. There is a lot going on to 
give us reason to say thanks and hosanna. We have a wonderful economy. 
It is producing new jobs and new opportunity. All of the indices are 
right: unemployment is down; home ownership is up; inflation is way 
down. All the things one expects to happen in a good economy have been 
happening.
  Some parts of the country are left behind, such as rural areas. We 
have a farm program that is a debacle, and we cannot get anybody to 
even hold a hearing to change the farm program, but that is another 
story.
  There are some areas that have not kept pace with the prosperity. We 
need to continue to fight to write a better farm program and make sure 
those rural areas share in the full economic prosperity of America.
  There is a lot right in this country. This is a good economy. It is 
producing unprecedented opportunities.
  The one set of storm clouds above the horizon, however, is in 
international trade. We have a huge trade deficit. Our merchandise 
trade deficit was nearly $350 billion in 1999, and is projected to 
exceed $400 billion this year. Put another way: We are buying $1 
billion more in goods from overseas than we are selling each and every 
day, 7 days a week.
  Some say: Does that matter? Is it important? Gee, our economy is 
doing well. How on Earth can you make the case we should care about 
this?
  You can live in a suburb someplace and have a wonderful home with a 
huge Cadillac in the driveway and have all the evidence of affluence, 
but if it is all borrowed, you are in trouble. On the borrowing side, 
we have made a lot of progress dealing with Federal budget deficits. In 
fact, we have eliminated the Federal budget deficits, and good for us, 
but the deficits on the trade side have continued to mushroom, and we 
must get a handle on that as well and deal with our trade imbalance.
  What causes the trade imbalance, and what relevance does it have to 
this bill? In this bill, we fund the Customs Service, and the Customs 
Service evaluates what comes in, what goes out, and they try to assist 
in the flow of goods moving back and forth across our borders.
  The fact is, they have an old, antiquated computer system to take 
care of all of that and it is melting down. With expanded trade coming 
in and going out, we need a new system. The Customs Service has 
proposed a new system to accommodate and facilitate their needs. We 
need to fund it. It is very important we fund this system. It is called 
the Automated Commercial Environment or ACE system. We need to keep it 
operational, and we need to build it and make it work.
  In 1 day, the Customs Service processes $8.8 billion in exports and 
imports. They have to keep track of it all: $8.8 billion in daily 
exports and imports; and 1.3 million passengers and 350,000 vehicles 
moving back and forth across our borders. Think of that. This is the 
agency that has the responsibility of keeping track of all of it--whose 
vehicle, when did it come in, when did it go out, who is coming in, who 
is leaving our country, what are the goods coming in, what kind of 
tariffs exists on those goods, who is sending them, who is receiving 
them.
  All of that is part of what we have to keep track of in terms of 
movement across our border. The current system that keeps track of all 
of that is nearly two decades old, and running at near capacity. It is 
the single most important resource in collecting duties and enforcing 
Customs laws and regulations.
  This system has been experiencing brownouts over the past months that 
have brought the Customs operation at these border ports, in some 
cases, to a dead halt.
  Over 40 percent of the Customs stations are using work stations that 
are unreliable, are obsolete operating systems, and are no longer 
supported by a vendor.
  Trade volume has doubled in 10 years. The rate of growth in trade is 
astronomical. The Customs Service anticipates an increase of over 50 
percent in the number of entries by 2005. That means the current system 
just can't and will not handle it.
  So we have a responsibility to do something about that. If anybody 
wonders whether all this trade is important, and keeping track of it is 
important, as I said, look at the trade deficit and look at what is 
happening in this country.
  From the standpoint of policy--I was talking about the system that 
keeps track of it--but from the standpoint of policy, we also have to 
make significant changes. We will not make them in this bill because 
this isn't where we do that, but you can't help but look at what is 
happening in our country and understand that our own trade policy does 
not work. It just does not work.
  We have a huge and growing trade deficit with China--growing 
rapidly--of nearly $70 billion a year. We have a large abiding trade 
deficit with Japan that has gone on forever--$50 to $70 billion a year.
  This Congress, without my vote--because I voted against it--passed 
something called NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. It was 
billed as a nirvana. What a wonderful thing, we were told, if we can do 
a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. What a great hemispheric 
trade agreement, and how wonderful it would be for our country.
  In fact, a couple of economists teamed together and said: If you just 
pass NAFTA, you will get 300,000 new jobs in the United States. The 
problem is, there is never accountability for economists. Economists 
say anything, any time, to anybody, and nobody ever goes back to check.
  The field of economics is psychology pumped up with helium and 
portrayed as a profession. I say that having taught economics a couple 
years in college, but I have overcome that to do other things.
  But economists told us, if we pass NAFTA, it will be a wonderful 
thing for our country. Well, this Congress passed NAFTA. I didn't vote 
for it. Guess what. We had a trade surplus with Mexico. We have now 
turned a trade surplus with Mexico into a significant deficit with the 
country of Mexico.
  They said, by the way, if we pass NAFTA, the products that will come 
in from Mexico will be products produced by low-skilled labor. Not 
true. The products that are coming in from Mexico are the product of 
higher-skilled labor, principally automobiles, automobile parts, and 
electronics. Those are the three largest imports into the United States 
from Mexico.
  So the economists were wrong. I would love to have them come back and 
parade around, and say: I said NAFTA would work, but I apologize. We 
had a trade surplus with Mexico. Now it is a fairly large deficit. We 
had a trade deficit with Canada, and we doubled the deficit. I want one 
person to stand up in the Senate and say: This is real progress. 
Doubling the deficit with Canada, and turning a surplus into a deficit 
with Mexico--hooray for us. That is real progress. I want just one 
inebriated soul to tell me here in Washington, DC, that this makes 
sense. Of course it does not make sense.
  It did not work. So we have trade policy challenges dealing with 
Mexico, Canada, and NAFTA. We have policy differences dealing with our 
big trade deficit with China. We are going to have other struggles and 
challenges

[[Page S7594]]

dealing with the recurring deficit that goes on forever with Japan.

  It might be useful--I know people get tired of me talking about 
this--but it might be useful to describe our diminished expectations in 
this county and why we are in such trouble on trade.
  About 10 years ago--we have always had a struggle with Japan--we were 
having, at that time, an agreement negotiated on the issue of American 
beef going to Japan. We were not getting enough beef into Japan. At 
that point, it cost about $30 a pound to buy a T-bone steak in Tokyo. 
Why? Because there was not enough beef. So you keep the supply low, the 
demand and price go up, and a T-bone steak costs a lot of money in 
Tokyo.
  We wanted to get American beef into Japan. After all, we buy all 
their cars, VCRs and television sets. Maybe they should buy American 
beef. So we sent our best negotiators, and they negotiated. Our 
negotiators were hard nosed. It only took them a couple of days to 
lose. They sat at the table, and they negotiated and negotiated. And 
guess what they negotiated? They had a press conference and said: We 
have a victory. We have a beef agreement with Japan. What a wonderful 
deal. You would have thought they had just won the Olympics because 
they celebrated. And everybody said: Gosh, what a great deal.
  Here is the agreement. You get more American beef into Japan. Yes, 
you do. And we did.
  Ten or 11 years after the beef agreement with Japan, the tariff on 
American steak or American ground beef or American beef going to Japan 
today is 40 percent on a pound of beef. Can you imagine that? What 
would people think if you told them: In the United States, we only have 
a 40 percent tariff on your product coming into our country? They would 
say: What kind of nonsense is that? That is not free trade. Yet we 
celebrated the fact that we had an agreement with Japan that takes us 
to a 50 percent tariff, which is reduced over time, but snaps back up 
if we get more beef into Japan. We celebrated that.
  This is the goofiest set of priorities I have ever heard. We ought to 
learn to negotiate trade agreements that are in this country's 
interests.
  I have threatened, from time to time, to introduce a piece of 
legislation in Congress that says: When our trade negotiators go to 
negotiate, they must wear a jersey that says ``USA,'' just so that they 
can look down, from time to time, and see who they are negotiating for. 
``I am from the United States. I have the United States's best 
interests at heart. When we negotiate with you, Japan, China, Mexico, 
Canada, or others, we insist on fair trade.''
  Yes, our producers will compete. We are not afraid of competition. 
But we are not going to compete with one hand tied behind our back. Our 
negotiators negotiated GATT with Europe, and they said to the 
Europeans: You know what--my colleague, Senator Conrad, talks about 
this a lot--we will have a deal with you. You can have 6, 8, or 10 
times greater subsidies on your sales of grain to other countries than 
we will have. And we will have a deal where we will agree to limit our 
support payments to family farmers to a fraction of what yours are. So 
once we have done that, we have tied both of our hands behind our back, 
and then said let's go ahead and compete.
  That is what our negotiators have done virtually every time they have 
negotiated a trade agreement. They did it in GATT to family farmers and 
did it with Japan to our ranchers. I should say, our ranchers were 
pleased with the agreement with Japan. I would say to them: How can you 
be pleased? How can you call that success? It is because they have such 
low expectations in our trade negotiations. We give away everything. We 
expect little, get almost nothing, and then we are so pleased.
  When you have roughly $1 billion a day in the merchandise trade 
imbalance, it is time to wonder whether your policy is working. When 
you have a $1-billion-a-day deficit--every single day--in merchandise 
trade, it is time to ask whether this is a policy that works. The 
answer is no.
  I think it would behoove this Congress to say: Good for all the 
wonderful things that are happening in this country. Everybody deserves 
a little credit for all of that. Good for all the good things happening 
in our economy. But it is important for all of us to look at the storm 
clouds as well, and evaluate what is wrong, and try to fix that. If we 
did that, it would behoove us to bring to the floor of the Senate a 
debate and full discussion about America's trade policy.
  Every time I come and talk about this issue, there is someone 
watching or someone listening, or somebody later will say: That guy 
sounds like a protectionist. There is this caricature: You are either 
for free trade or you are some isolationist, xenophobic stooge. You are 
either for free trade or you don't get it. You either see the horizon 
or you are nearsighted. That is the way it all works.
  Even the largest newspapers do that. Try to get an op-ed piece in the 
Washington Post on trade issues. If you happen to believe we ought to 
stand up for our economic interests in trade, you can't do it.
  It is not my intention to say this country should not be a leader in 
expanding trade. This country ought to be a leader in promoting an 
expanded free and fair opportunity for international trade. This 
country ought to be a leader. We ought to expect that other countries 
would be involved in saying the things that we fought for for 75 to 100 
years. This country will be part of the discussions about trade.
  We had people dying in the streets in this country, fighting for the 
right to organize in labor unions, fighting for the right to create 
labor unions. We had people die on the streets of America.
  Some will say: We can avoid all that, having labor unions, having to 
worry about dumping chemicals into the water and the air, having to 
have a safe workplace, having to be prohibited from hiring kids; we can 
avoid all of that. We have debated it for 75 or 100 years in this 
country. We have made a lot of progress. We can avoid it all by moving 
our plant to some other Third World country where they don't have those 
inconveniences, where you can hire 12-year-old kids and work them 12 
hours a day and pay them 12 cents an hour and everybody calls it free 
trade.
  This country has a responsibility also to lead on the issues of what 
are the fair rules for international trade--not protectionism, what are 
the fair rules for trade that establish fair competition. That is 
something this country has a responsibility to be involved with as 
well.
  Talking about trade in the context of the Customs Service and our 
responsibility to keep track of what is happening around the world, it 
is true that my frustration from time to time boils over on the issue. 
I come to the floor and talk about it without much effect because there 
are not sufficient votes in the Senate to require a very robust debate 
on trade policy. It is coming. We ought to make it happen.
  If I can digress--because I have the time this morning, and I don't 
see anyone else waiting to speak--I want to mention something that 
happened some years ago that made a profound impact on me. I mentioned 
a moment ago that we struggled in this country to establish the right 
to form labor unions and establish collective bargaining. There are 
plenty of countries where, if you try to form labor unions, try to get 
workers together to see if they can't get a better deal, they can be 
thrown in jail. As I said, we had people who died in the streets in 
this country fighting for that opportunity. We now understand the 
consequences of that. We have labor unions, and we have management and 
labor, collective bargaining. It is a better country because of that. 
There are some areas of the world where we don't have the opportunity 
to do that. People who try to demonstrate for those rights are thrown 
in jail.
  Let me describe something that happened in Congress a long while ago 
related to that point. We had a fellow who spoke to a joint session of 
Congress. Normally, a speaker to a joint session of Congress is a 
President. The pageantry is quite wonderful when there is a joint 
session. It is normally in the House Chamber because that is the larger 
Chamber. The Senators come in and are seated in the House Chamber, 
Cabinet officials come in, the Supreme Court comes in. The American 
people see this. That is when the network television cameras come on.
  Then the Doorkeeper says: Mr. Speaker, the President of the United

[[Page S7595]]

States. And the President marches in and gives a State of the Union 
speech.
  We occasionally have other speakers who are invited to give an 
address to a joint session of Congress. On rare occasions, it has been 
a head of state. Many will remember other circumstances: General 
Douglas MacArthur coming back from Korea, when he was relieved of his 
command by President Truman, was invited to address a joint session of 
Congress; Winston Churchill addressed a joint session of Congress.
  One day about 10 or 12 years ago, I was a Member of the U.S. House, 
it was a joint session of Congress. In the back of the room, the 
Doorkeeper announced the visitor. The Doorkeeper said: Mr. Speaker, 
Lech Walesa from Poland. And this fellow walked in, a rather short man 
with a mustache. He had red cheeks and probably a few extra pounds, an 
ordinary looking fellow who walked into the Chamber of the House, 
walked up to the microphone. The joint session stood and applauded and 
didn't stop. This applause continued to create waves, and it went on 
for some minutes. Then this man began to speak. Most of us, of course, 
knew the history. But in a very powerful way this ordinary man told an 
extraordinary tale.

  He said 10 years before, he was in a shipyard in Gdansk, Poland on a 
Saturday leading a strike for workers to be able to chart their own 
destiny, leading a strike for a free labor movement in Poland against a 
Communist government. On that day, he had already been fired from his 
job as an electrician at a shipyard for his activities to fight for a 
free labor movement in Poland. The Communist government had him fired 
from his shipyard. So this unemployed electrician, on a Saturday 
morning, was leading a strike, leading a parade inside this shipyard 
for a free labor movement. He was grabbed by some Communist thugs and 
beaten and beaten badly. As they beat him, they took him to the edge of 
the shipyard, hoisted him up and unceremoniously dumped him over the 
barbed-wire fence outside the shipyard face down in the dirt. He lay 
there bleeding, wondering what to do next.
  Of course, we know what he did next. Ten years later, he was 
introduced to a joint session of Congress as the President of the 
country of Poland. This man went to the microphone and said the 
following to us: We didn't have any guns; the Communists had all the 
guns. We didn't have any bullets; the Communists had all the bullets. 
We were armed only with an idea.
  What he did next that Saturday morning, from lying on the ground 
bleeding from the beating he had received from the Communist agents of 
that Government of Poland, the history books record. He pulled himself 
back up and climbed back over the fence and climbed back into the 
shipyard.
  This unemployed electrician showed up in the Chamber of the U.S. 
House to speak to a joint session of Congress 10 years later as the 
President of his country--not a diplomat, not a politician, not an 
intellectual, not a scholar, an unemployed electrician who showed up in 
this country 10 years later as the President of his country.
  He said: We didn't break a windowpane in Poland. We didn't have guns. 
We didn't have bullets. We were armed with an idea and that idea simply 
was that free people ought to be free to choose their own destiny.
  I have never forgotten that moment, understanding the power of ideas 
and understanding that common people can do uncommon things. Ordinary 
people can do extraordinary things. Wondering where did Lech Walesa get 
the courage to pull himself up that Saturday morning in a shipyard in 
Gdansk, an unemployed electrician, believing so strongly in the need to 
provoke change in this Communist country that this man and his 
followers toppled a Communist government and lit the fuse, caused a 
spark that lit the fuse that began to topple Communist governments all 
through Eastern Europe. That is the power of an idea.
  What are the ideas that exist in this country that will make a better 
America and create a better future? We know from our history that in 
two centuries, a series of ideas by some remarkable men and women have 
created the best country in the world. It is the freest. I know there 
are a lot of blemishes, but there is no country that has freedoms like 
ours. There is no country that has accomplished what we have 
accomplished in every area. Find an area where we have had difficulty, 
we have confronted it. We have had difficult times, but we have solved 
the issues. We survived a civil war. We survived a great depression. 
When you think of what this country has done, it is quite remarkable.
  We stand today at the edge of a new century, the year 2000, with a 
lot of challenges in front of us. Some say we are just sort of content 
to be where we are and to kind of nick around the edges. No person, no 
country, no organization ever does well by resting.
  There are challenges in front of us. We have talked about some of 
them. Some of them will be in this legislation when we bring it to the 
floor. Some will be in other legislation. I was on the floor yesterday 
and Senator Durbin, who is on the floor at the moment, talked about the 
challenge of making our health care system work; the challenge of 
passing a Patients' Bill of Rights, and one that is a real Patients' 
Bill of Rights; the challenge of putting a prescription drug benefit in 
the Medicare program. Those are ideas--ideas with power and resonance, 
ideas which ought to relate to the public policy this Congress 
embraces. I talked, a little bit ago, about trade policy, the idea that 
we need to change trade policy to make it a policy that is effective 
for our country, to reduce the trade deficits and continue to expand 
markets, and to have fair rules of trade.
  There are so many things we need to do. Yesterday, I showed some of 
the challenges that we ought to address now in the coming weeks. For 
instance, gun safety. This is a wonderful country, but when you read 
the newspapers and read of the killings, and then you understand that 
we have a right to own weapons--and nobody is changing that right; it 
is a constitutional right. But we have said it makes sense for us to 
keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons. How do we do that?
  We have a computer base with the names of felons on it. When you want 
to buy a gun, your name has to be run against the computer base. At the 
gun store, they run your name to find out if you are a convicted felon. 
If you are, you don't get a gun. But guess what. You can go to a gun 
show on a Saturday someplace and buy a gun or a weapon, and nobody is 
going to run your name through an instant check.
  We say let's close that loophole. Are those who don't want to close 
it saying they don't want to keep guns out of their hands? I hope not. 
So join us in fixing this problem. That is an idea. That has some 
power. How many Americans will that save? How many children will it 
save by keeping the gun out of the hands of a convicted felon? We are 
not talking about law-abiding citizens. We are not going to 
disadvantage them. Let's keep guns out of the hands of convicted 
felons. Close the gun show loophole. It is a simple idea; yet one we 
can't get through the Congress because people are blocking the door on 
this issue.
  The Patients' Bill of Rights: We talked about that yesterday. We 
talked about putting a drug benefit in the Medicare program. We talked 
about school modernization. I will conclude by talking for a moment 
about school modernization.
  Our future is education. I have told my colleagues many times about 
walking into the late-Congressman Claude Pepper's office and seeing two 
pictures, both autographed, behind his chair. One was a picture of 
Orville and Wilbur Wright making the first airplane flight. It was 
autographed by Orville Wright, saying, ``To Congressman Pepper, with 
deep admiration, Orville Wright.''
  Then, the first person to stand on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, gave him 
an autographed picture. I thought to myself, this is really something. 
Here is a living American who has an autographed picture of the first 
person to leave the ground in powered flight, and also the person who 
flew all the way to the Moon. What was the in between? What was the 
difference between just leaving the ground and arriving on the Moon? 
Education, schools, learning; it is our future--allowing every young 
boy and girl in this country to become the very best they can be; 
universal education, saying that every young boy or girl, no matter 
what their background or circumstances are, can walk through a 
schoolroom door and be

[[Page S7596]]

whatever they want to be in life, universal opportunity in education.
  In the middle part of this past century, those who came back fighting 
for liberty in the Second World War, fighting for freedom, built 
schools all across our country as they went to school on the GI bill, 
got married, and had children. They built schools all across America. 
Now those schools, in many cases, are 45, 50 years old and in desperate 
need of repair and renovation. This country, as good as it is, can send 
our kids to the schoolroom doors of the best schools in the world. And 
we should. That ought to be our policy. So before this Congress ends, 
let's embrace our ideas and policies of saying let's modernize our 
schools, renovate our schools, and connect our schools to the Internet. 
Let's reduce the size of classes and make sure every student has the 
opportunity to go through a schoolroom door that we as parents are 
proud of. Let's make sure we keep the finest teachers, the best 
teachers in our classrooms and pay them a fair wage. These are ideas 
that we have that we can't get through this Congress. It doesn't make 
any sense to me.

  So we are prepared to bring the Treasury-general government 
appropriations bill to the floor. In that legislation there will be 
several of the ideas I have talked about, and other appropriations 
bills, and other pieces of legislation. We will continue to pound away 
at this Congress to say: Accept some of these ideas. Accept some 
progress. Join us. This isn't partisan. Our kids and our schools don't 
represent a partisan issue. Keeping guns out of the hands of felons 
surely can't be a Republican or Democratic issue. Surely, every 
American should embrace that goal. Putting the prescription drug 
benefit in the Medicare program so senior citizens who have reached 
their declining income years have the opportunity and can afford to buy 
life-saving drugs surely can't be a Republican or Democratic approach. 
There can't be differences here in terms of goals. So let's resolve to 
join together to meet these goals, to do our work and embrace ideas--
yes, big ideas--that recognize, yes, this country is doing very well in 
a lot of areas, but we are at the first stage of a new century, and we 
need to embrace new ideas to advance this country's interests and 
prepare for this country's future. Nowhere is that preparation more 
necessary than with our children and our schools.
  Mr. President, I have spoken at some length. I know others on the 
floor have comments about these and other issues.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California is recognized.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I understand that we are running out 
the clock on a motion to bring to the floor the Treasury-Postal 
appropriations bill. So I think my comments are pertinent to that bill 
and to the situation in which we find ourselves.
  Mr. President, about 14 months ago, those of us in this Chamber 
passed a juvenile justice bill. Prior to its passage, many of us on 
this side of the aisle came together to say if we want to really 
achieve some limited improvements in targeted gun measures, what should 
they be? We decided on a few, and the Republican side had a few. So 
some targeted measures were added to that bill.
  One of them was that guns should not be sold without trigger locks. 
That was made from our side of the aisle. One from the Republican side 
of the aisle was that children should not be permitted to buy assault 
weapons--a no-brainer. That was accepted by this body. A third vote was 
to close the gun show loophole which enabled the two youngsters from 
Columbine, 16 years old, to go to a gun show and buy two assault 
weapons with no questions asked. The final one was one I offered on the 
floor, which was to plug a hole in the assault weapons legislation.
  Under the assault weapons legislation, it is illegal to manufacture, 
possess, sell, or to transfer a large-capacity ammunition feeding 
device in this country. So, in other words, nobody can manufacture one 
domestically in this country now. The loophole is that they can come 
in, if manufactured in foreign countries, and be sold. So since the 
passage of the original assault weapons legislation, about 18 million 
large-capacity ammunition feeding devices have come into the country. 
But just in the last 14 months, since the passage of the juvenile 
justice bill, 6.3 million of these clips have come into this country, 
many of them 250 rounds, but most 30 rounds.
  What is the use of these clips? You can't hunt with them. You can't 
carry a clip with more than 10 bullets in virtually any State if you 
are going to hunt. You don't use them for self-protection. The street 
price of them has dropped. You can buy them, no questions asked, over 
the Internet for $7, $8, $9. The only reason for them is to turn a 
weapon into a major killing machine. They are used by drive-by 
shooters, by the gangs, and by the grievance killer who has a grievance 
and wants to walk into his place of business and kill a large number of 
people. Well, this body passed that, and the other body actually passed 
it by unanimous consent. So those are measures that have held up a 
whole huge juvenile justice bill for that period of time.
  So in 14 months, we have gone nowhere in achieving safety 
regulations, prudent targeted gun regulations to protect people.
  A million women--now 240 new organizations--in the Million Mom March, 
went to the streets of their cities and to the Capitol on Mother's Day 
to say they wanted prudent gun regulations. But what has happened since 
then is we have actually back slipped. The backsliding is taking place 
right in this very bill which time is running on.
  An amendment was put in the bill that says this:

       None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to 
     implement a preference for the acquisition of a firearm or 
     ammunition based on whether the manufacturer or vendor of the 
     firearm or ammunition is a party of an agreement with a 
     department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States 
     regarding codes of conduct, operating practices, or product 
     design specifically related to the business of importing, 
     manufacturing, or dealing in firearms or ammunition under 
     chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code.

  This amendment is essentially meant to prohibit the U.S. Government 
from giving any preference to any responsible gun manufacturer. I 
believe this measure is simply the worst possible public policy. I 
would rather not have a Treasury-Postal appropriations bill that has 
this kind of disincentive to good conduct in a manufacturer of weapons 
in this country.
  When this bill comes to the floor, the first amendment from our side 
will be the amendment to strip this verbiage from the bill.
  I am pleased to say I am joined in cosponsoring this by the Senator 
from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, and the Senator from New Jersey, Mr. 
Lautenberg.
  First, it is important to point out that no such preferences have 
been given. The thrust of this provision is based on a hypothetical. 
But it is based to be a deterrent. It is based to send a message. The 
message is to every manufacturer of weapons that there can be no reward 
in government if you manufacture safe guns. If you put trigger locks, 
if you have good, safe marketing practices, if you manufacture guns and 
see they are sold and distributed in a way to keep them out of the 
hands of children, people who are mentally deficient, or criminals--
that is the thrust of this amendment--to reduce the gun industry to its 
lowest possible common denominator all across the United States of 
America, that is the worst possible public policy. Members on both 
sides of this aisle should stand together and refute it.
  At least one company, Smith & Wesson, has agreed to adopt certain 
reasonable, responsible marketing practices. While this agreement was 
made under the threat of litigation, it is important to note that no 
dealer has to comply, and no measures have been forced on Smith & 
Wesson. Smith & Wesson has decided to take a responsible path to 
produce responsible policy, and for that this body would slap them on 
the hand.
  As a result of their effort, Smith & Wesson has allegedly been 
targeted by others in the gun industry that are unhappy with the 
agreement who say you can't march ahead of us; you can't do something 
right; we all want to be able to do something wrong. There has been 
talk of boycotts and anticompetitive behavior. In fact, I recently 
joined a number of my colleagues in writing to the Federal Trade 
Commission, asking them to look into these allegations.
  Given the determination of the National Rifle Association and its 
allies

[[Page S7597]]

to stop any and all reasonable control of the flow of guns to criminals 
and children, I believe it would be dreadful to prevent the 
administration from encouraging agreements such as this one.
  Let me be clear. No one is saying that law enforcement should buy 
inferior weapons simply because the manufacturer has agreed to act 
responsibly. The fact is, Smith & Wesson produces very good weapons. I 
have certainly never been one to argue that we should leave law 
enforcement without adequate weaponry. But where technology and safety 
of guns are similar, it makes eminent sense to give preference to the 
manufacturer that has agreed to certain commonsense standards.
  I wish to take a few moments and go over a few of the details in the 
Smith & Wesson settlement document. This is what it looks like.
  First, under the agreement, all handguns and pistols will be shipped 
from Smith & Wesson with child-safety devices. Again, the juvenile 
justice bill would have made this provision unnecessary. But, again, 
that bill has gone nowhere.

  What would that do?
  In Memphis, TN, not too long ago, a 5-year-old took a weapon off of 
his grandfather's dresser. It was loaded. He took it to kindergarten to 
kill the kindergarten teacher because that youngster had been given a 
``time out'' the day before. The gun was discovered because a bullet 
dropped out of his backpack--a 5-year-old child toting in his backpack 
a loaded pistol with no safety lock to kill the teacher because he had 
been given a ``time out'' the day before. With the safety lock, the gun 
would have been inoperable to that child.
  Another child in Michigan, a 6-year-old, has an argument with a 
child, brings a gun to school, and actually kills another 6-year-old.
  These may not be everyday events. But they would be prevented from 
happening if guns were made with smart technology and, prior to that, 
with safety locks.
  Also in the agreement, every handgun would be designed with a second 
hidden serial number. Why that? Because it prevents criminals from 
easily eradicating a serial number to impede tracing. How can we not 
support that?
  New Smith & Wesson models will be no longer able to accept any large-
capacity magazine. What is important about that? That immediately 
limits the kill power of that weapon. The weapon can still be used for 
defense. But the drums of 250 or 75 rounds with clips of 30 rounds, 
which are there for one reason--to kill large numbers of people--would 
not be accepted into that gun.
  Within 2 years, every Smith & Wesson model would have a built-in, on-
board locking system by which the firearm could only be operated with 
the key, or combination, or other mechanism unique to that gun.
  Two percent of Smith & Wesson's firearms revenue would be devoted to 
developing smart gun technology for all future gun models. What a good 
thing to have happen.
  Next, within a year of the agreement, each firearm would be designed 
so it could not be readily operated by a child under the age of six. 
This might include increasing the trigger-pull resistance, designing 
the gun so a small hand could not operate it, or perhaps requiring a 
sequence of actions to fire the gun that could not be easily 
accomplished by a 5-year-old. Who believes the Federal Government 
should not encourage manufacturers to make weapons so five- and six-
year-olds cannot fire them?
  The agreement includes safety in manufacturing tests, such as minimum 
barrel length and firing tests to ensure that misfires, explosions, and 
cracks such as those found in Saturday night specials do not occur. A 
drop test is also included.
  I remember very well a major robbery in San Francisco where a police 
officer with a semiautomatic handgun went into the robbery, pulled out 
his weapon, and the clip dropped out. He was shot and killed. And I 
remember another incident where the gun was dropped and fired 
accidentally.
  Another provision: each pistol would have a clearly visible chamber 
load indicator, so that the user can see whether there is a round in 
the chamber.
  No new pistol design would be able to accept large-capacity 
ammunition clips.
  The packaging of new guns will include a safety warning regarding the 
list of unsafe storage and use. What a good thing, a gun manufacturer 
that will put a warning with the gun that says to the prospective gun 
owner: Understand this is a lethal weapon. Here is how to keep it 
safely. Put it in a cabinet which is secure and locked. Keep the 
ammunition separate from the gun.
  And we are going to prevent anyone who provides this from gaining any 
kind of preference? We give preference with merit pay. There are all 
kinds of preferences in Federal law. Yet we are to deny this to anybody 
who does the right thing and manufactures safe guns, smart guns, better 
guns.
  Under the agreement, any dealer wishing to sell Smith & Wesson 
firearms would comply with a series of commonsense measures. Let me 
state what they are. Any dealer wishing to sell Smith & Wesson firearms 
first agrees not to sell at any gun show unless all the sellers in the 
gun show provide background checks. What a responsible thing to do. 
Again, this provision would be unnecessary if Congress had simply 
passed the juvenile justice bill and sent it to the President for his 
signature because all sellers at all gun shows would already be 
performing background checks. That bill is stalled in conference, and 
this provision of the agreement is a small step in the right direction.
  Again, under the agreement, any dealer wishing to sell Smith & Wesson 
firearms must carry insurance against liability for damage to property 
or injury to persons resulting in firearm sales. The same thing would 
apply if you had a swimming pool. You would have some liability 
insurance if a neighbor fell into the pool and drowned. This isn't 
asking too much.
  Any dealer wishing to sell Smith & Wesson firearms must maintain an 
up-to-date and accurate set of records and must keep track of all 
inventory at all times.
  Any dealer wishing to sell Smith & Wesson firearms must agree to keep 
all firearms within the dealership safe from loss or theft, including 
locking display cases and keeping guns safely locked during off hours.
  Ammunition must be stored separate from firearms.
  Any dealer wishing to sell Smith & Wesson must stop selling large-
capacity ammunition feeding devices and assault weapons.
  This gun company has set itself in the vanguard of reform in the gun 
industry, and the Treasury-Postal bill coming before the Senate 
penalizes them for doing so. What kind of public policy is that? It 
simply says we are going to try, by law, to lower safety, regulation, 
careful record keeping, and all the things that are positive to the 
lowest possible denominator. We are not going to commend anybody who 
does the right thing. We are going to see they are not given 
preference. We are going to provide a disincentive to gun companies 
that want to do the right thing.
  More than any other piece of legislation I have seen, this shows the 
disingenuousness of those who say they are for some targeted gun 
regulations. This speaks to what this is all about, that there should 
remain one, and one industry only, without regulation, without any 
kinds of standards, and that is the gun industry.

  I think there is no better time to join this debate than in the 
upcoming Treasury-Postal bill. The amendment to strip this language 
from Treasury-Postal will be the first item of business of this side.
  Mr. President, I will make this agreement available to anyone from 
either side of this aisle who wants to inspect it.
  Mr. President, Senator Kennedy is a cosponsor of the amendment. I 
thank him, as well.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Burns). The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, the Senate will soon be considering the 
Treasury and general government appropriations bill. This is one of the 
important funding bills we will have to pass this year to keep the 
Government open and running.
  In addition to the Department of the Treasury, this is the bill that 
provides moneys for the operation of the White House, the Executive 
Office of the President, and it also provides funds

[[Page S7598]]

for the construction of new courthouses, reflecting the priorities of 
the administrative offices of the courts. It is this third branch of 
our Government that I will take a few minutes to talk about.
  In 1994, the Senate and the House passed the Violence Against Women 
Act which President Clinton then signed into law. As the author of that 
legislation, securing its passage had been my highest priority for 
three sessions of Congress. The cause of eliminating violence against 
women remains my highest priority. I have watched the progress of the 
implementation of my Violence Against Women Act. In that act we 
included a provision giving anyone who had been the victim of a crime 
of violence motivated by gender the right to bring a lawsuit seeking 
damages from the assailant.
  On May 15 of this year, in a case called United States v. Morrison, 
the Supreme Court struck down this provision. The Court said that 
addressing the problems of violence against women in this way was 
beyond the constitutional authority of the elected representatives of 
the United States. Flat out, they said it was an unconstitutional act 
we engaged in.
  In ruling it was beyond the constitutional authority of the Congress, 
the Court said that it does not matter how great an effect such acts of 
violence have on interstate commerce. They said gender-based violence 
could be crippling large segments of our national economy, but, 
nonetheless, even if that were proven--according to the Court--the 
Congress is powerless to enact a law to deter such active violence 
because although we have acted this way under the commerce clause of 
the Constitution before, the Court ruled violence in and of itself is 
not commerce.
  I believe this is a constitutionally wrong decision. It is true that 
it does not strike a fatal blow against the struggle to end violence 
against women in this country. The other parts of the Violence Against 
Women Act are unaffected by this decision. I am pleased to report that 
these other provisions, together with changing attitudes in this 
country, are beginning to make a difference in this struggle in the 
lives of women who have been victimized.
  I have introduced a bill with, now, I think over 60 cosponsors, to 
enhance the provisions of my Violence Against Women Act so that we can 
continue to make progress. Nonetheless, the decision in Morrison is a 
wrongheaded decision. It is not just an isolated error. No, it is part 
of a growing body of decisions in which this Supreme Court is seizing 
the power to make important social decisions that, under our 
constitutional system of government, are properly made by elected 
representatives who answer to the people, unlike the Court.
  I said at the time that the case came down, striking down the 
provisions of the Violence Against Women Act, that the decision does 
more damage to our constitutional jurisprudence than it does to the 
fight against gender-based violence. Since I said that, a number of 
people have asked me to explain what I mean by that. Today, since we 
have the time, I am beginning a series of speeches to do just that by 
placing the Morrison decision in a larger context of what an 
increasingly out-of-touch Supreme Court has been doing in recent years.
  I plan on making two additional speeches on this subject over the 
next several weeks and months. It is crucial, in my view, that the 
American people understand the larger pattern of the Supreme Court's 
recent decisions and, to me, the disturbing direction in which the 
Supreme Court is moving because the consequences of these cases may 
well impact upon the ability of American citizens to ask their elected 
representatives in Congress to help them solve national problems that 
have national impact.
  Many of the Court's decisions are written in the name of protecting 
prerogatives of the State governments and speak in the time honored 
language of federalism and States rights. But as my grandmother would 
say, they have stood federalism on its head. Make no mistake, what is 
at issue here is the question of power, who wants it, who has it, and 
who controls it--basically, whether power will be exercised by an 
insulated judiciary or by the elected representatives of the people.
  In our separation of powers doctrine, upon which our Government 
rests, that power is being wrestled by the Court from the elected 
representatives, for in every case in which the Court has struck down a 
Federal statute, it has invalidated a statute that the people of the 
United States have wanted. As a matter of fact, in many of the cases of 
statutes that have been struck down, the numerous attorneys general of 
the various States have sided with the Federal Government in briefs 
filed with the Court, saying that they supported the decision taken by 
the Congress and the President.
  Let's give the emerging pattern of Supreme Court decisions a name. In 
a speech I gave before the New Hampshire Supreme Court last year, I 
referred to this pattern as an emerging pattern of an imperial 
judiciary. I meant to describe the judiciary that is making decisions 
and seizing power in areas in which the judgment of elected branches of 
government ought to be the controlling judgment, not the Court's. With 
increasing frequency, the Supreme Court is taking over the role of 
government for itself.
  The imperial judging might also be called a kind of judicial 
activism. ``Judicial activism'' is an overworked expression, one that 
has often been used by conservatives to criticize liberal judges. Under 
this Supreme Court, however, the shoe is plainly on the other foot. It 
is now conservative judges who are supplanting the judgment of the 
people's representatives and substituting their own for that of the 
Congress and the President.

  This is not just Joe Biden talking. The Violence Against Women Act 
case came to the Supreme Court through the Fourth Circuit Court of 
Appeals, where Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson is the chief judge. Judge 
Wilkinson has been on many so-called short lists for possible Supreme 
Court nominees of Governor Bush and is a well recognized conservative. 
In the opinion he wrote, agreeing that the civil rights remedy in the 
Violence Against Women Act was unconstitutional, Judge Wilkinson 
praised the result as an example of ``this century's third and final 
era of judicial activism.''
  He, Judge Wilkinson, acknowledges that the decision represents the 
``third and,'' he says, ``final era of judicial activism.'' And he said 
he hoped this new activism would be enduring presence in our Federal 
courts.
  That was in Brzonkala v. VPI, 169 F.3d 820, 892-893.
  Or consider Judge Douglas Ginsburg of the Court of Appeals for the 
District of Columbia, another well recognized conservative. Judge 
Ginsburg has quite explicitly criticized the interpretation of the 
Constitution that has prevailed through the better part of this entire 
century and, indeed, throughout most of our country's history, an 
interpretation which correctly recognizes the broad capacity and 
competence of the people to govern themselves through their elected 
officials, not through the court system.
  According to Judge Ginsburg, the correct interpretation of the 
Constitution produces results that severely restrict the power of 
elected government. He calls the Constitution ``the Constitution in 
Exile.'' Under that Constitution, the one that he thinks controls, 
unelected Federal judges would wield enormous power to second-guess 
legislative bodies on both the State and the Federal levels.
  When Judge Ginsburg wrote about these ideas in a magazine article in 
1995, he was eagerly awaiting signs that the Supreme Court would begin 
to embrace his notion of a Constitution in exile. Five short years 
later, much has changed. As Linda Greenhouse recently put it in a New 
York Times column, Judge Ginsburg's hopes:

       . . . sound decidedly less out of context today than they 
     did even 5 years ago, just before the court began issuing a 
     series of decisions reviving a limited vision of federal 
     power.

  By taking a closer look at these series of decisions referred to in 
the New York Times, the pattern I have been referring to will become 
quite evident.
  The first clear step toward an imperial judiciary was taken in the 
case called Lopez v. United States, which invalidated a Federal law 
making it a crime to possess a gun in a school zone. The Supreme Court 
held that it was not obvious ``to the naked eye'' that the nationwide 
problem of school violence has a substantial effect on the

[[Page S7599]]

national economy and interstate commerce, the predicate we have to show 
to have jurisdiction under the commerce clause to pass such a law.
  In our desire to respond quickly to the epidemic of school violence, 
which we all talk about here on the floor, we in the Congress did not 
make findings--that is, we did not have hearings that said ``we find 
that the following actions have the following impact on commerce''--we 
did not make findings to relate school violence to interstate commerce. 
Subsequently, however, we did make such findings and pointed to the 
voluminous evidence that was before the Congress at the time we passed 
Senator Kohl's Gun-Free School Zone Act.

  Nonetheless, the Court, this new imperial judiciary, ignored our 
findings and the raft of supporting evidence, and drew its own 
conclusions. They concluded--the Court concluded--that the threat of 
school violence to national commerce is not substantial enough to 
justify a legislative response on the part of those of us elected to 
the Congress.
  The Lopez case startled many people. Numerous law schools sponsored 
conferences to discuss the meaning of this case. Constitutional 
scholars debated how great a departure this case signaled from the 
settled approach to congressional power that has been taken over the 
20th century, at least the last two-thirds of the 20th century, by all 
previous Supreme Courts.
  Immediately after the decision, no consensus emerged. Many scholars 
plausibly concluded that Lopez was, as one put it, just an ``island in 
the stream,'' a decision that breaks the flow of the river of cases 
before it, but which will have no lasting effect of any significance on 
those that follow it.
  How wrong he was. It now turns out that if Lopez is an island, it is 
one the size of Australia. The Court soon followed Lopez by striking 
down the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act that Senator Hatch and I 
had worked so hard to craft and the Senate and House passed and the 
President signed.
  In Boerne v. Flores--that is the name of the case that struck down 
the Religious Freedom Act we passed--the Congress of the United States 
enacted the Religious Freedom Act in response to an earlier Supreme 
Court decision.
  In 1990, the Court ruled in Employment Decision v. Smith that the 
constitutional freedom of religion is not offended by a State law that 
significantly burdens the ability of members of that religion to 
practice their religion, so long as that law applies across the board, 
without singling out religious practices of any one denomination in any 
way.
  For example, under the Smith decision, a dry county which prohibits 
the consumption of all alcohol could prohibit a church from using 
sacramental wine when they give communion, as they do in my church; I 
am a Roman Catholic; and they do so in other churches as well.
  Smith broke with the prior line of decisions holding that such laws 
needed to make reasonable accommodations for religion unless the 
Government had a very good reason for applying the law when it offended 
someone's sincere religious practices to do so. In other words, unless 
the Government had an overwhelming reason why in a Catholic Church they 
could not serve, when they give communion, a sip of wine with the host, 
prior decisions said you cannot pass a law to stop that.
  The overwhelming majority of both Houses of Congress thought the 
Smith decision was incorrect as a matter of constitutional 
interpretation and as a matter of policy. We concluded that because 
section 5 of the 14th amendment authorized the Congress to protect 
fundamental civil liberties by appropriate legislation, we could enact 
a statute providing greater protection than the Smith decision did to 
accepted religious practices.
  After extensive hearings under the leadership of Senator Hatch and 
Senator Kennedy, the so-called RFRA, Religious Freedom and Restoration 
Act, was drafted to require that the application of neutral laws had to 
make reasonable accommodation to bona fide religious objections.
  The Supreme Court struck down our effort to extend reasonable 
protections to religious practices. It held that the 14th amendment 
does not authorize the Congress to confer civil rights by statute or to 
give judicially recognized rights a greater scope than the Court has 
set forth.
  In the Court's view, the power of section 5 of the 14th amendment 
gives the Congress the power to ``enforce'' the rights established in 
that amendment, but it only amounts to a power to provide remedies for 
the violations of the rights that the Court has recognized--not the 
Congress, the Court has recognized--not to protect any broader 
conception of civil rights than the Court has already recognized.
  In the Flores case, it was another sign that we are on the road to 
judicial imperialism. Recognizing the implications of the decision, the 
Republican majority on the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the 
Constitution in the House held a hearing on the Court's refusal to 
defer to Congress' factual findings and the policy determinations it 
based on those findings.
  Judicial deference to congressional findings and congressional 
authority to enforce civil rights are obviously important questions 
standing alone, but the Supreme Court raised the stakes even higher in 
two decisions relating to what we call State sovereign immunity. In 
those cases, Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida and Alden v. Maine, 
the Court declared the Congress may not use its commerce clause powers 
to abrogate State sovereign immunity.
  What this means, translated, is that when Congress acts under its 
broad power to improve the national economy, a power granted to it by 
the Constitution, the Congress, in the Court's view, cannot authorize 
an individual to sue a State even if they are suing over a purely 
commercial transaction with that State. For example, as the Court held 
in the Alden case, an employee of a State now cannot sue his or her 
employer for failing to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act just 
because the employer happens to be a State.
  If it is a business person, a corporation, and they violate the Fair 
Labor Standards Act, which we passed to protect all people who work, 
they can be held accountable under that act. The Supreme Court came 
along and said: But, Congress, you can't pass a law that holds a State 
accountable.

  The Seminole Tribe and Alden cases highlight the importance of the 
issue of congressional power under the 14th amendment because the Court 
continues to recognize that Congress can authorize individuals to sue 
States if our legislation is authorized by the 14th amendment rather 
than by the commerce clause.
  By limiting Congress' 14th amendment powers, therefore, the Boerne 
decision, which is the Religious Freedom Act decision, draws into 
question our capacity to meaningfully protect civil rights at all 
whenever remedies directly against a State are being considered.
  Viewed in its historical context, this is a remarkable development in 
and of itself. The text of the 14th amendment was drafted immediately 
after the Civil War, and it grants powers to only one branch of the 
Government, the only one named in the amendment: the Congress, not the 
Court. Specifically, the amendment sought to grant the Congress ample 
power to enforce civil rights against the States. That is what the 
Civil War was about. That is why the Civil War amendments were passed: 
to put it in stone. Developments in these recent cases I have cited are 
in profound tension with the sentiments and concerns of the drafters of 
the 14th amendment.
  Still, after that case, some might continue to say it is not clear 
where the Court was really headed. It was possible to say in the Flores 
case that it was simply articulating the standard governing the nature 
of Congress' power; namely, that it was purely remedial and not 
substantive.
  Because the legislative record was designed to support an exercise of 
substantive power, that record did not so clearly support the exercise 
of the remedial power.
  On this reading, the Court did not second-guess the congressional 
findings. It just saw them as answering the wrong question. Subsequent 
events, however, have confirmed that the Subcommittee on the 
Constitution had a right to be worried about Boerne because Boerne was 
much more ominous than that.
  In one of the last cases decided in the 1998 term, the Court laid 
down yet another marker, perhaps the most bold

[[Page S7600]]

decision yet in the trend of the Court usurping democratic authority.
  In that decision, the Court held unconstitutional a Federal statute, 
the Patent and Plant Variety Protection Remedy Clarification Act. That 
act provided a remedy for patent holders against any State that 
infringes on the patent holder's patent. That was in Florida Prepaid 
Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank.
  Before enacting this remedial legislation, the Congress had developed 
a specific legislative record detailing specific cases where States had 
infringed a federally conferred patent and evidence suggested the 
possibility of a future increase in the frequency of State 
infringements of patents held by individuals.
  Unlike Lopez, the Patent Protection Act did not lack findings or 
legislative record. Unlike Boerne, the legislative record demonstrated 
that the statute was remedial and not substantive. Nonetheless, the 
Supreme Court decided, independently, that the facts before the 
Congress, as it, the Court, interpreted them, provided, in the Court's 
words, ``little support'' for the need for a remedy.
  Get this: We, up here, concluded, on the record, that States have, in 
fact, infringed upon the patents held by individuals. We laid out why 
we thought--Democrat and Republican, House, Senate, and President--we 
should protect individuals from that and why we thought the problem 
would get worse. We set that out in the record when we passed the 
legislation.
  But the Supreme Court comes along and says: We don't think there is a 
problem. Who are they to determine whether or not there is a problem? 
It is theirs to determine whether our action is constitutional, not 
whether or not there is a problem. But they said they found little 
support for our concern--the concern of 535 elected Members of the 
Congress and the President of the United States.
  The Court was not substituting a constitutional principle here. The 
Court was substituting its own policy views for those of this body that 
described the problem of State infringement on Federal patents as being 
of national import. They concluded it is not that big of a deal.
  We need to be clear about what the Court did in the patent remedy 
case. For a long time, it has been accepted constitutional law that 
once a piece of legislation has been found to be designed to cover a 
subject over which the Constitution gives the Congress the power to 
act--let me say that again--this has been accepted constitutional 
theory and law that once a piece of legislation has been found to be 
designed by the Congress to cover a subject over which the Congress has 
constitutional authority, that it then becomes wholly within the sphere 
of Congress to decide whether any particular action is wise or is 
prudent.
  This has been constitutional law going all the way back as far as 
M'Culloch v. Maryland, written by the then-Chief Justice John Marshall, 
in 1819. There Chief Justice Marshall wrote that the ``government which 
has the right to act, and has imposed on it the duty of performing that 
act, must, according to the dictates of reason, be allowed to select 
the means [by which to act].''
  In the patent remedy case, the Court quite clearly usurped the 
constitutional authority of Congress to select the means it thinks 
appropriate to remedy a problem that is admittedly within the authority 
of Congress to address.
  In the patent remedy case, the Court did not hold that Congress has 
exercised a power in an area outside its constitutional authority. 
Instead, it disagreed with our substantive judgment as to whether the 
Federal remedy was warranted.
  In short, the Court struck down the remedy just because it did not 
think the remedy was a good idea. Who are they to make that judgment? 
Talk about judicial activism. The cases I have reviewed today--Lopez, 
Boerne, Seminole Tribe, Alden, and Florida Prepaid--bring us up to this 
term just completed by the Supreme Court.
  In the next series of speeches, I will show how the trend of judicial 
imperialism continued, and was extended by several cases decided this 
past year, including the Violence Against Women Act, which I began with 
today.
  The bottom line here is, in the opinion of many scholars and 
observers of the Court, we are witnessing the emergence of what I 
referred to a year ago as the ``imperial judiciary.'' I just discussed 
five cases leading up to the just completed term.

  Now I would like to discuss two significant decisions of this term. I 
will also begin the task of trying to place these decisions in a 
broader framework of the Constitution's allocation of responsibility 
between the elected branches of Government and the judiciary. It is a 
framework that this ``imperial judiciary'' is disregarding.
  Last December, the Court focused its sight on the Age Discrimination 
in Employment Act. That is the act that protects Americans against 
discrimination based on age and is amply justified under our 
Constitution. Not only does it protect the basic civil rights of equal 
protection and nondiscriminatory treatment--with bipartisan support, I 
might add--it also promotes the national economy, by ensuring that the 
labor pool is not artificially limited by mandatory requirements to 
retire.
  So the Congress had ample constitutional authority to enact the Age 
Discrimination Act. And the Court did not deny that. Nonetheless, the 
Court, this last term, gutted the enforcement of the act as the act 
applied to all State government employees.
  Building on its earlier decisions in the Seminole Tribe and Alden 
cases, which I discussed a moment ago, the Court ruled that the 
Constitution prevents us from authorizing State employees to sue their 
employers for violation of the Federal Age Discrimination Act. The 
Court also said, however, that the Constitution does not prevent the 
Congress from applying the law to the States.
  Now, you have to listen to this carefully. In a thoroughly bizarre 
manner, in my view, the Supreme Court has now held that the 
Constitution allows the Age Discrimination Act to apply to State 
employers, but it denies the employees the right to sue the State 
employers when their rights under the Federal law are violated. We 
learned in law school that a right without a remedy can hardly be 
called a right.

  As a result of this case, called Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents, 
over 27,000 State employees in my State of Delaware are left without an 
effective judicial remedy for a violation of a Federal law that 
protects them against age discrimination. Across the Nation, nearly 5 
million State employees no longer have the full protection of Federal 
law.
  Recall that in the Boerne decision--the case that invalidated the 
Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which I discussed a moment ago--the 
Court had begun the process of undermining the ability of the Congress 
under section 5 of the 14th amendment to enact legislation protecting 
civil rights. In Kimel, they continued that process.
  In Kimel, the Court held that Congress' 14th amendment power to 
enforce civil rights refers only to the enforcement of those rights 
that the Court itself has declared and not to rights that exist by 
virtue of valid statutes. Because the Court decided that the Age 
Discrimination Act goes beyond the general protection the Constitution 
provides when it says that all citizens are entitled to ``equal 
protection under the law,'' the Court ruled that the right to sue an 
employer for violations of the act was not ``appropriate'' and so ruled 
the act unconstitutional.
  After Kimel, the pattern of the imperial judiciary now emerges with 
some clarity. First, the Court has repudiated over 175 years of nearly 
unanimous agreement that Congress, not the Court, will decide what 
constitutes ``necessary and proper'' legislation under any of its, 
Congress', enumerated powers. Then in a parallel maneuver, the Court 
has announced that it, not the Congress, will decide what constitutes 
``appropriate'' remedial legislation to enforce civil rights and civil 
liberties.
  Let me return for a moment to the Violence Against Women Act, which I 
began earlier in my speech. Prior to the enactment of the Violence 
Against Women Act, I held extensive hearings in the Judiciary Committee 
when I was chairman, compiling voluminous evidence on the pattern of 
violence against women in America. The massive legislative record 
Congress generated over a 4-year period of those

[[Page S7601]]

hearings supported Congress' explicit findings that gender-motivated 
violence does substantially and directly affect interstate commerce. 
How? By preventing a discrete group of Americans, i.e., women, from 
participating fully in the day-to-day commerce of this country. These 
are the types of findings, I might add, that were absent when the 
Congress first enacted the Gun-Free School Zone Act, struck down in the 
Lopez case.
  Let me remind you that Congress, when we enacted the civil rights 
provision invalidated in Morrison, found:

       [C]rimes of violence motivated by gender have a substantial 
     adverse impact upon interstate commerce by deterring 
     potential victims of violence from traveling interstate, from 
     engaging in employment in interstate business, from 
     transacting with businesses and in places involved in 
     interstate commerce. Crimes of violence motivated by gender 
     have a substantial adverse effect on interstate commerce by 
     diminishing national productivity, increasing medical and 
     other costs, and decreasing the supply of and the demand for 
     interstate products . . .

  I cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of the toll that we found 
gender-motivated violence exacts on interstate commerce. Such violence 
denies women an equal opportunity to compete in the job market, 
imposing a heavy burden on our national economy.

  Witness after witness at the hearing testified that as a result of 
rape, sexual assault, or domestic abuse, she was fired from, forced to 
quit, or abandoned her job. As a result of such interference with the 
ability of women to work, domestic violence was estimated to cost 
employers billions of dollars annually because of absenteeism in the 
workplace. Indeed, estimates suggested that we spend between $5 and $10 
billion a year on health care, criminal justice, and other social costs 
merely and totally as a consequence of violence against women in 
America.
  In response to this important national problem, one to which we found 
the States did not or could not adequately respond, Congress enacted my 
Violence Against Women Act in 1994, which included provisions 
authorizing women to sue their attackers in Federal court. This statute 
reflected the legislative branch's judgment that State laws and 
practices had failed to provide equal and adequate protection to women 
victimized by domestic violence and sexual assault and that the lawsuit 
would provide an adequate means of remedying these deficiencies. This 
was no knee-jerk response to a problem. Congress specifically found 
that State and Federal laws failed to ``adequately provide victims of 
gender-motivated crimes the opportunity to vindicate their interests'' 
and that:

       . . . existing bias and discrimination in the criminal 
     justice system often deprives victims of crimes of violence 
     motivated by gender of equal protection of the laws and the 
     redress to which they are entitled.

  The funny thing about these explicit congressional findings and this 
mountain of data, as Justice Souter in his dissent called it, showing 
the effects of violence against women on interstate commerce--the funny 
thing about this is that the Supreme Court acknowledged all of it. They 
said: We don't challenge that.
  This is the new height in their imperial judicial thinking. That is 
right. The Court acknowledged all of the findings of my committee. In 
Morrison, the Supreme Court recognized that in contrast to the lack of 
findings in the legislation on the Gun-Free School Zone case, Lopez, 
that the civil rights provisions of the Violence Against Women Act were 
supported by ``numerous factual findings'' about the impact of gender-
motivated violence on interstate commerce.
  But the Court also acknowledged the failure of the States to address 
this problem--they acknowledged the States had not addressed it before 
we did--noting that the assertion that there was a pervasive bias in 
State justice systems against victims of gender-motivated violence was 
supported by a ``voluminous congressional record.'' They acknowledged 
that there was this great impact on interstate commerce. They 
acknowledged--because I had my staff, over 4 years, survey the laws and 
the outcomes in all 50 States--that many State courts had a bias 
against women.
  So they acknowledged both those predicates.
  Instead of according the deference typically given to congressional 
factual findings, supported by, as they said, a voluminous record, and 
without even the pretense of applying what we lawyers call the 
``traditional rational basis test''--that is, if the Congress has a 
rational basis upon which to make its finding, then we are not going to 
second-guess it; that is what we mean by ``rational basis''--the Court 
simply thought it knew better.
  This marks the first occasion in more than 60 years that the Supreme 
Court has rejected explicit factual findings by Congress that a given 
activity substantially affects interstate commerce. The Court justified 
this abandonment of deference to Congress by declaring that whether a 
particular activity substantially affects interstate commerce ``is 
ultimately a judicial rather than a legislative question.''
  You got this? For the first time in 60 years, since back in the days 
of the Lochner era, the Supreme Court has come along and said they 
acknowledge that the Congress has these voluminous findings that 
interstate commerce is affected and the States aren't doing anything to 
deal with this national problem of violence against women; they are not 
doing sufficiently enough.
  There is a bias in their courts. We acknowledge that. But they said, 
notwithstanding that, the question of whether a specific activity 
substantially affects interstate commerce ``is ultimately a judicial 
rather than a legislative question.'' Hang on, here we go back to 1925.
  As Justice Souter said in his dissent, this has it exactly backwards, 
for ``the fact of such a substantial effect is not an issue for the 
courts in the first instance, but for the Congress, whose institutional 
capacity for gathering evidence and taking testimony far exceeds 
ours.''
  In short, in a decision that reads more like one written in 1930 than 
in 2000, the Court held that the judicial, not the legislative, branch 
of the Government was better suited to making these decisions on behalf 
of the American people--a conclusion that certainly would have 
surprised Chief Justice Marshall, the author of the seminal commerce 
clause decision in Gibbons v. Ogden in the early 1800s.
  The judgments that the Congress made in enacting the Violence Against 
Women Act were, in my view, the correct ones. Even if you disagree with 
me, though, they were the Congress' judgments to make, not the Court's 
judgments to make.
  When it struck down the Violence Against Women Act, the Court left 
little doubt that it was acting outside its proper judicial role. They 
said that the commerce clause did not justify the statute because the 
act of inflicting violence on women is not a ``commercial'' act. It 
said that section 5 of the 14th amendment also did not justify this act 
because creating a cause of action against the private perpetrators of 
violence is not an ``appropriate'' remedy for the denial of equal 
protection that occurs when State law enforcement fails vigorously to 
enforce laws that ought to protect women against such violence.
  Over the course of this speech today, I have discussed seven 
significant decisions since 1995: Lopez, the gun-free school zones 
case; Boerne against Flores, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act 
case; Seminole Tribe and Alden, the two decisions prohibiting us from 
creating judicial enforceable economic rights for State employees; 
Florida Prepaid, the patent remedy case; Kimel, the Age Discrimination 
Act case; and finally, Morrison, the Violence Against Women Act case.
  None of them deal fatal blows to our ability to address these 
significant national problems, but they each, in varying degrees, make 
it much more difficult for us to be able to do so.
  There are two even more important points to make about these cases.
  First, together, these cases are establishing a pattern of decisions 
founded on constitutional error--an error that allocates far too much 
authority to the Federal courts and thereby denies to the elected 
branches of the Federal Government the legitimate authority vested in 
it by the Constitution to address national problems.
  Second, this is a trend that is fully capable of growing until it 
does deal telling blows to our ability to address significant national 
problems. This is not only my assessment; it is shared, for example, by 
Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed to the Court

[[Page S7602]]

by Gerald Ford. Dissenting in the Kimel case, Justice Stevens has 
written that ``the kind of judicial activism manifested in [these 
cases] represents such a radical departure from the proper role of this 
Court that it should be opposed whenever the opportunity arises.''

  That is not Joe Biden speaking; that is a sitting member of the 
Supreme Court appointed by a Republican President.
  It is also shared by Justice David Souter, who was appointed by 
President Bush. Dissenting in the Lopez case, Justice Souter has 
written that ``it seems fair to ask whether the step taken by the Court 
today does anything but portend a return to the untenable jurisprudence 
from which the Court extricated itself almost 60 years ago.'' He was 
referring to the Lochner era.
  It is shared by Justice Breyer, a Clinton appointee. Dissenting in 
College Savings Bank v. Florida Prepaid, Justice Breyer has written 
that the Court's decisions on State sovereign immunity ``threaten the 
Nation's ability to enact economic legislation needed for the future in 
much the way Lochner v. New York threatened the Nation's ability to 
enact social legislation over 90 years ago.''
  Significantly, this imperialist trend can continue to grow and flower 
in two different places. The Supreme Court itself can continue to write 
more and more aggressive decisions, cutting deeper and deeper into the 
people's capacity to govern themselves effectively at a national level.
  In the short term, perhaps the odds are that this will not occur. 
Many of the decisions in this pattern have been decided by votes of 
five Justices to four Justices, and it may be that one or more of the 
conservative majority has gone about as far as he or she is prepared to 
go at this time.
  In the longer term, however, we can quite reasonably expect two or 
three appointments to the Court in the next 4 to 8 years, and if those 
appointments result in replacing moderate conservatives on the Court 
with activist conservatives, we have every reason to expect that this 
trend I have outlined for the last 45 minutes would gain momentum.
  It can also bloom in the lower courts. This may, to some extent, be 
by design of the Justices who are taking the lead in the Court today. 
Certainly, many people have remarked on the proclivity of Justice 
Scalia to author opinions containing sweeping language that creates new 
ambiguities in the law and which then often provide a hook on which 
lower court judges can hang their judicial activism.
  Already, opinions have been written by lower court judges overturning 
the Superfund legislation, challenging the constitutionality of the 
Endangered Species Act, calling into doubt Federal protection of 
wetlands, and eviscerating the False Claims Act, among others. Not all 
of these judicial exercises can be corrected by the Supreme Court, even 
if it were inclined to do so, because the Court decides only 80 or so 
cases a year from the entire Federal system.
  In concluding, I wish to describe in the most basic terms why the 
imperialist course upon which the Court has embarked constitutes a 
danger to our established system of government.
  In case after case, the Court has strayed from its job of 
interpreting the Constitution and has instead begun to second guess the 
Congress about the wisdom or necessity of enacted laws. Its opinions 
declare straightforwardly its new approach: The Court determines 
whether legislation is ``appropriate,'' or whether it is proportional 
to the problem we have validly sought to address, or whether there is 
enough reason for us to enact legislation that all agree is within our 
constitutionally defined legislative power.
  If in the Court's view legislation is not appropriate, or 
proportional, or grounded in a sufficient sense of urgency, it is 
unconstitutional--even though the subject matter is within Congress' 
power, and even though Congress made extensive findings to support the 
measure.
  More significant than the invalidation of any specific piece of 
legislation, this approach annexes to the judiciary vast tracts of what 
are properly understood as the legislative powers. If allowed to take 
root, this expanded version of judicial power will undermine the 
project of the American people, and that project is self-government, as 
set forth in the Constitution.
  To understand the alarm that Justice Stevens, Justice Souter, and 
others have sounded about the Court's pattern of activism, we must 
understand the way the Constitution structures the Federal Government 
and the reasons behind that structure. We must also understand the 
history and the practice that have made the Constitution's blueprint a 
reality and provide a scale to measure when the balance of power has 
gone dangerously awry. These considerations amply support Justice 
Stevens's assessment of ``a radical departure from the proper role of 
this Court.''

  The Constitution (supplemented by the Declaration of Independence) 
sets forth the great aspirations and objects of our nation. It does 
not, however, achieve them. That is the great project of American 
politics and government: to achieve the country envisioned in those 
founding documents. The way to meet our aspirations and establish our 
national identity and our character as a people is through the process 
of self-government.
  The Declaration of Independence proclaims our fundamental commitment 
to liberty and equality. These commitments are by no means self-
executing. The history of our nation is in no small part the history of 
a people struggling to comprehend these commitments and to put these 
high ideals into practice.
  The Constitution itself was concerned with a more complex function. 
Whereas the Declaration explained the reasons for splitting from Great 
Britain, the Constitution was concerned with explaining why the former 
colonies should remain united as a single nation. It was also concerned 
with the task of providing a government that could fulfill the promise 
and purposes of union.
  The Framers who arrived in Philadelphia to debate and draft the 
Constitution were no longer immediately animated by an overbearing and 
oppressive government. In fact, our first national government, under 
the Articles of Confederation, was the precise opposite.
  The emergency that brought the leading citizens of the North American 
continent together in Philadelphia that Summer of 1787 was the 
inability of the national government to act in any effective way. These 
framers saw the vast potential of the new nation with its unparalleled 
natural and human resources.
  They saw as well the danger posed by foreign powers and domestic 
unrest. They realized too that the Confederation could never act 
credibly to exploit the nation's potential or to quell domestic and 
foreign hostilities. As Alexander Hamilton put it, ``[w]e may indeed 
with propriety be said to have reached almost the last stage of 
national humiliation. There is scarcely anything that can wound the 
pride or degrade the character of an independent nation which we do not 
experience.''
  Hamilton urged that the nation ratify the Constitution and throw off 
the ability of the states to constrain the national government: ``Here, 
my countrymen, impelled by every motive that ought to influence an 
enlightened people, let us make a firm stand for our safety, our 
tranquility, our dignity, our reputation. Let us at last break the 
fatal charm which has too long seduced us from the paths of felicity 
and prosperity.''
  Indeed, Hamilton may have been understating the degree of the crisis. 
Gouverneur Morris, a leading delegate from Pennsylvania, warned that 
``This country must be united. If persuasion does not unite it, the 
sword will . . . The scenes of horror attending civil commotion cannot 
be described . . . The stronger party will then make [traitors] of the 
weaker; and the Gallows & Halter will finish the word of the sword.''
  The words of the Constitution's preamble are not idle rhetoric. The 
founding generation ratified the Constitution in order to establish a 
government that could decisively and effectively act to ``provide for 
the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the 
blessings of liberty.'' This is a fundamental constitutional value that 
must always be brought to bear when construing the Constitution.
  Yet, it is precisely this constitutional value that the Supreme Court

[[Page S7603]]

has lost sight of. Consider, for example, Justice Kennedy's statement 
in the case striking down the Line Item Veto Act. ``A nation cannot 
plunder its own treasury without putting its Constitution and its 
survival in peril.
  The statute before us then is of first importance, for it seems 
undeniable the Act will tend to restrain persistent excessive 
spending.'' Who is he to make that judgment? Yet, Justice Kennedy 
viewed this as completely irrelevant to the statute's 
constitutionality. He concurred that the Line Item Veto Act violates 
separation of powers even though there was no obvious textual basis for 
this conclusion and no apparent threat to any person's liberty.
  Justice Kennedy is right about one thing. His statement is premised 
on the view that the Court is not particularly well-suited to make 
policy or political judgments. This is accurate and no mere 
happenstance. The Constitution itself structures the judiciary and the 
political branches differently by design.
  The Judiciary is made independent of political forces. Judges hold 
life tenure and salaries that cannot be reduced. The purpose of the 
entire structure of the judiciary is to leave judges free to apply the 
technical skills of the legal profession to construe and develop the 
law, within the confines of what can be fairly deemed legal reasoning.
  Outside this realm is the realm of policy. Here Congress and the 
President enjoy the superior place, again by constitutional design. The 
political branches are tied closely to the people, most obviously 
through popular elections.
  Between elections, the political branches are properly subject to the 
public in a host of ways. Moreover, the political branches have wide-
ranging access to information through hearings, through studies we 
commission, and through the statistics and data we routinely gather.
  This proximity to the people and to information makes Congress the 
most suitable repository of the legislative power; that is, the power 
to deliberate as agents of the public and to determine what laws and 
structures will best ``promote the general welfare.''
  It is much easier to describe the distinction between the judicial 
and the legislative power in the abstract than it is to apply in 
practice. That is why so much of our constitutional history has been 
devoted to developing doctrines and traditions that keep the judiciary 
within its proper sphere.
  After much upheaval, the mid-twentieth century yielded a stable and 
harmonious approach to questions relating to the scope of Congress's 
powers: these questions are largely for the political branches and the 
political process to resolve--not the courts.
  To be sure, the Court has a role in policing the outer boundaries of 
this power, but it is to be extremely deferential to the specific 
judgment of Congress that a given statute is a necessary and proper 
exercise of its constitutional powers. When the Court fails to defer, 
as it had during several periods prior to the New Deal, it inevitably 
finds itself making judgments that are far outside the sphere of the 
judicial power.
  This is the point of Justice Stevens' warning. The Court is departing 
from its proper role in scope of power cases. What was initially 
uncertain, even after Lopez and Boerne, is now inescapable: This 
imperial Court, in case after case, is freely imposing its own view of 
what constitutes sound public policy. This violates a basic theory of 
government so carefully set forth in our Constitution. In theory, 
therefore, there is ample reason to expect that the Supreme Court's 
recent imperialism will undermine the fundamental value animating the 
Constitution, and that is the ability of the American people to govern 
themselves effectively and democratically.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hagel). The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I yield to the Senator from Missouri up to 
7 minutes for a statement he wishes to make, and I ask unanimous 
consent I be allowed to do that without losing my right to the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Michigan for 
his kindness to me. I certainly am not the one to object to that 
unanimous consent. I appreciate that very much.
  I express my unequivocal support, and I rise to do so for the many 
efforts that we are making in this Congress to reform U.S. policy on 
embargoes of food and medicine. Now is the time to reevaluate the 
policies we have engaged in in the past that are perpetuating losses to 
America.
  Food embargoes can be summed up as a big loss: a loss to the U.S. 
economy, a loss of jobs, a loss of markets. For example, embargoed 
countries buy 14 percent of the world's total rice, 10 percent of the 
world's total wheat purchases, and the list goes on.
  When we lose those markets for America, we should have a very good 
reason. There should be some benefit if we are going to give up access 
to 14 percent of the world's rice import market, 10 percent of the 
world's wheat market, for soybean farmers, cattlemen, hog farmers, 
poultry producers, cotton, and corn farmers.
  The nation of Cuba, for example, imports about 22 million pounds of 
pork a year. Someone says that is important to the livestock farmers. 
Feed that pig corn before exporting it, so it is important to the grain 
farmers, as well.
  The embargo causes a loss in America's foreign policy. Often we think 
we will inflict some sort of pressure or injury on another country and, 
instead of hurting them, we help them. I don't think there was any more 
dramatic case of that than the Soviet grain embargo with 17 million 
tons of grain and those contracts were canceled. Instead of hurting the 
Soviet Union, they replaced the contracts in the world marketplace at a 
$250 million benefit to the Soviet Union. Instead of hurting the former 
Soviet Union, we helped the former Soviet Union. That particular weapon 
was dangerous. Using food and medicine as an embargo is dangerous 
because that weapon backfires. Instead of hurting our opponent, we 
helped our opponent.

  Who did we hurt? We hurt the American farm agricultural community. We 
hurt the food processing community. We need to make a commitment to 
ourselves that we need to reform this area of embargoing food and 
medicine resources.
  The provision the Senator from Kansas and I and others will likely 
offer today simply reaffirms what we have been trying to do for some 
time; that is, to get real reform of humanitarian sanctions. I will 
cosponsor Senator Roberts' and Senator Baucus' amendment. I support it 
fully. However, the amendment should not be necessary. Twice we have 
passed sanctions reform for food and medicine in the Senate. Why is it 
necessary to do this a third time? My clear preference is to pass 
sanctions reform for all countries, not only for Cuba. We should reform 
the sanctions regime for all countries, not only Cuba, and we should 
ensure that future sanctions will not be imposed arbitrarily.
  Last year, the Senate accepted overwhelmingly, by a vote of 70-28, 
accepted an amendment that I and many of my colleagues offered. That 
amendment lifts food and medicine sanctions across the board, not only 
applying the lifting of the sanctions to Cuba.
  When we went to the House-Senate conference, the democratic process 
was derailed. We were not voted down. The conference was shut down 
because the votes were there to affect what the Senate had clearly 
voted in favor of. That is, the reformulation of our policy in regard 
to food and medicine embargoes. The conference was shut down by a 
select few individuals in the Congress who were outside of the 
conference committee.
  This reform proposal was then adopted by the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee. I am pleased the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has 
embraced the concept, which the Senate voted 70-28 in favor of, in 
spite of the fact this was shot down when the committee was shut down 
in the conference last year.
  Once again, this provision passed the Senate this year. Senators 
Dorgan and Gorton offered it as an amendment in the agricultural 
appropriations markup, and it was accepted overwhelmingly.
  Once again, we are faced with a House-Senate conference. It would be 
very troublesome to me if the democratic process is not allowed to 
work,

[[Page S7604]]

especially after we have seen the will of Congress and the American 
people. That will is clearly expressed as a will to reform and embrace 
the reform of sanctions imposed by the President. It has passed the 
Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, and it has passed the Senate twice. 
Some version of this effort has now passed the House of Representatives 
and is broadly supported all across America.
  I hold in my hand a list of about 50 organizations, dozens and dozens 
and dozens of organizations, including the American Farm Bureau, the 
National Farmers Union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Ports of the 
Americas Association, the AFL-CIO. That is a pretty broad set of groups 
that want to reform this practice of embargoes.
  I ask unanimous consent to have this list printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the list was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

            Groups and Individuals Supporting the Amendment:

       Missouri Farm Bureau, and numerous other Missouri farm 
     organizations, The American Farm Bureau, The National Farmers 
     Union, American Soybean Association, U.S. Rice Producers 
     Association, Wheat Export Trade Education Committee, National 
     Association of Wheat Growers, U.S. Wheat Associates, National 
     Grain Sorghum Producers, Cargill.
       ConAgra, Riceland, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Grocery 
     Manufacturers of America, Gulf Ports of the Americas 
     Association, The AFL-CIO, Washington Office of Latin America, 
     Resource Center of the Americas, The U.S.-Cuba Foundation, 
     Cuban American Alliance Education Fund.
       Association for Fair Trade with Cuba, The U.S.-Cuba 
     Friendshipment/Bay Area, Americans for Humanitarian Trade 
     with Cuba, Cuban Committee for Democracy, U.S.A./Cuba 
     InfoMed, USCuBA Trade Association, Cuban Committee for 
     Democracy, Cuban American Alliance Education Fund, Inc., 
     InterAction (the American Council for Voluntary International 
     Action).
       Latin American and Caribbean Region American Friends 
     Service Committee, World Neighbors, Lutheran World Relief, 
     Church of the Brethren, Washington Office, Bread for the 
     World, Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association, 
     World Education, Lutheran Brotherhood, PACT, Third World 
     Opportunities Program.
       Concern America, Center for International Policy, Program 
     On Corporations, Law, and Democracy (POCLAD), Unitarian 
     Universalist Service Committee, Committee of Concerned 
     Scientists, Inc., (which is chaired by Joel Lebowitz, Rutgers 
     University, Paul Plotz, National Institutes of Health, and 
     Walter Reich, George Washington University), Women's 
     International League for Peace and Freedom, Oxfam America, 
     Institute for Food and Development Policy.
       Paulist National Catholic Evangelization Association, The 
     Alliance of Baptist, Institute for Human Rights and 
     Responsibilities, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on 
     Latin America, Fund for Reconciliation and Development, 
     Guatemala Human Rights Commission, USA, The Center for Cross-
     Cultural Study, Inc., Mayor Gerald Thompson, City of 
     Fitzgerald, Georgia, Professor Hose Moreno, Professor of 
     Sociology, University of Pittsburgh, Berkeley Adult School, 
     Career Center Director June Johnson, Youngstown State 
     University, Dept. of Foreign Language, Lake Charles Harbor & 
     Terminal District, Catholic Relief Services.

  Mr. ASHCROFT. We are today offering yet another amendment because 
there is concern that the democratic process in the agricultural 
appropriations House-Senate conference will not be respected.
  Let me be clear. We would not have to be here today offering this 
amendment that says ``don't enforce the law,'' if we in the Congress 
were allowed to change the law, which is the purpose of Congress.
  If you don't want to change the law, you don't need a Congress. You 
can have the same laws all the time. We found a law that is not 
working; we should change the law. This amendment will be a ``don't 
enforce the law'' amendment, but the truth is, our prior expressions on 
this are clear. We ought to change the law so we won't have to talk 
about withdrawing funding for enforcement.
  My preference is to get this issue resolved in the agricultural 
appropriations conference and pass embargo reform for all countries and 
for future sanctions. We need to send real embargo reform to the 
President's desk this year. That should be our objective. I will 
support this amendment today which I am cosponsor of, but real reform, 
and reforming the regime, the framework in which these sanctions are 
proposed, is what we ought to do. It is what we have done. I believe, 
ultimately, it is what we will do for the benefit of not only those who 
work in agriculture and who respect foreign policy but for future 
generations and the relations of the United States with other 
countries.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill 
includes a provision to establish a special postage stamp called the 
semipostal, intended to raise funds for programs to reduce domestic 
violence.
  I am a very strong supporter of programs to reduce domestic 
violence--I believe Congress should fully fund those programs--but I do 
not agree that another semipostal issue should be mandated by the 
Congress.
  Semipostals are stamps that are sold with a surcharge on top of the 
regular first-class postage rate, with the extra revenue earmarked for 
a designated cause. Those causes are invariably causes which I think 
most, if not all, support. They are very appealing causes that come to 
Congress and ask to require the Postal Service to issue a stamp that 
has an amount for first-class postage more than the regular 33 cents 
amount, with the difference going to their cause.
  The one and only time that we ever did that was for an 
extraordinarily worthy cause--breast cancer research. The question now 
is whether we are going to continue down that road and, as a Congress, 
mandate the Postal Service to issue those stamps for a whole bunch of 
causes that are competing with each other for us to mandate the Postal 
Service to issue such a stamp.
  Section 414 of this bill says:

       In order to afford the public a convenient way to 
     contribute to funding for domestic violence programs, the 
     Postal Service shall establish a special rate of postage for 
     first-class mail under this section.

  It then goes on to describe what that rate shall be. It says in part 
of this section that:

       It is the sense of the Congress that nothing in this 
     section should directly or indirectly cause a net decrease in 
     total funds received by the Department of Justice or any 
     other agency of the Government, or any component or program 
     thereof below the level that would otherwise have been 
     received but for the enactment of this section.

  I am not sure how this can possibly be enforced. But that is just one 
of the problems, not the basic problem, with this language.
  As I indicated, the first and only example in American history of a 
semipostal stamp being issued was the breast cancer research stamp 
which required the Postal Service to turn over extra revenue, less 
administrative costs, to the National Institutes of Health and the 
Department of Defense for its breast cancer research programs. That 
stamp broke tradition in Congress, not just because it was the first 
semipostal in our Nation's history but also because it was the first 
time that Congress mandated the issuance of any stamp in 40 years. I 
think our tradition of keeping Congress out of the stamp selection 
process has worked with respect to commemorative stamps, and I believe 
we should follow that with respect to semipostals as well.
  For the last 40 years, Congress has deferred to the Postal Service 
and to an advisory board which it has set up, nonpartisan, out of 
politics, objective. That Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee recommends 
subjects for the commemorative stamp program. That committee, the 
Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, was created more than four decades 
ago to take politics out of the stamp selection process. Committee 
members review thousands of stamp subjects each year and select only a 
small number that they believe will be educational and interesting to 
the public and meet the goals of the Postal Service.
  Although Congress advises that advisory committee on stamp subjects 
by making recommendations through letters that we send or through 
sense-of-Congress resolutions, until now, for the last 40 years, 
Congress has left the decisionmaking on stamp issuance up to the Postal 
Service.
  This is what the Postal Service says about the role of the Citizens 
Stamp Advisory Committee:

       The U.S. Postal Service is proud of its role in portraying 
     the American experience to a world audience through the 
     issuance of postage stamps and postal stationery.

[[Page S7605]]

       Almost all subjects chosen to appear on U.S. stamps and 
     postal stationery are suggested by the public. Each year, 
     Americans submit proposals to the Postal Service on literally 
     thousands of different topics. Every stamp suggestion is 
     considered, regardless of who makes it or how it is 
     presented.
       On behalf of the Postmaster General, the Citizens' Stamp 
     Advisory Committee (CSAC) is tasked with evaluating the 
     merits of all stamp proposals. Established in 1957, the 
     Committee provides the Postal Service with a ``breadth of 
     judgment and depth of experience in various areas that 
     influence subject matter, character and beauty of postage 
     stamps.''
       The Committee's primary goal is to select subjects for 
     recommendation to the Postmaster General that are both 
     interesting and educational. In addition to Postal Service's 
     extensive line of regular stamps, approximately 25 to 30 new 
     subjects for commemorative stamps are recommended each year. 
     Stamp selections are made with all postal customers in mind, 
     not just stamp collectors. A good mix of subjects, both 
     interesting and educational, is essential.
       Committee members are appointed by and serve at the 
     pleasure of the Postmaster General. The Committee is composed 
     of 15 members whose backgrounds reflect a wide range of 
     educational, artistic, historical and professional expertise. 
     All share an interest in philately and the needs of the 
     mailing public.
       The Committee itself employs no staff. The Postal Service's 
     Stamp Development group handles Committee administrative 
     matters, maintains Committee records and responds to as many 
     as 50,000 letters received annually recommending stamp 
     subjects and designs.
       The Committee meets four times yearly in Washington, D.C. 
     At the meetings, the members review all proposals that have 
     been received since the previous meeting. No in-person 
     appeals by stamp proponents are permitted. The members also 
     review and provide guidance on artwork and designs for stamp 
     subjects that are scheduled to be issued. The criteria 
     established by this independent group ensure that stamp 
     subjects have stood the test of time, are consistent with 
     public opinion and have broad national interest.
       Ideas for stamp subjects that meet the CSAC criteria may be 
     addressed to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, c/o 
     Stamp Development, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, 
     SW, Room 4474E, Washington, D.C. 20260-2437. Subjects should 
     be submitted at least three years in advance of the proposed 
     date of issue to allow sufficient time for consideration and 
     for design and production, if the subject is approved.
       The Postal Service has no formal procedures for submitting 
     stamp proposals. This allows everyone the same opportunity to 
     suggest a new postage stamp. All proposals are reviewed by 
     the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee regardless of how they 
     are submitted, i.e., postal cards, letters or petitions.
       Afer a proposal is determined not to violate the criteria 
     set by CSAC, research is done on the proposed stamp subject. 
     Each new proposed subject is listed on the CSAC's agenda for 
     its next meeting. The CSAC considers all new proposals and 
     takes one of several actions: it may reject the new proposal, 
     it may set it aside for consideration for future issue or it 
     may request additional information and consider the subject 
     at its next meeting. If set aside for consideration, the 
     subject remains ``under consideration'' in a file maintained 
     for the Committee.

  What is important about all that is that there are very clear 
procedures where every citizen of this country can make a 
recommendation to the committee which has certain basic criteria to 
determine the eligibility of subjects for commemoration on U.S. stamps. 
These criteria are set forth for the general public to see--12 major 
areas guide the selection.

       It is a general policy that U.S. postage stamps and 
     stationery primarily will feature American or American-
     related subjects.
       No living person shall be honored by portrayal on U.S. 
     postage.
       Commemorative stamps or postal stationery items honoring 
     individuals usually will be issued on, or in conjunction with 
     significant anniversaries of their birth, but no postal item 
     will be issued sooner than ten years after the individual's 
     death. The only exception to the ten-year rule is the 
     issuance of stamps honoring deceased U.S. presidents. They 
     may be honored with a memorial stamp on the first birth 
     anniversary following death.
       Events of historical significance shall be considered for 
     commemoration only on anniversaries in multiples of 50 years.
       Only events and themes of widespread national appeal and 
     significance will be considered for commemoration. Events or 
     themes of local or regional significance may be recognized by 
     a philatelic or special postal cancellation, which may be 
     arranged through the local postmaster.
       Stamps or stationery items shall not be issued to honor 
     fraternal, political, sectarian, or service/charitable 
     organizations that exist primarily to solicit and/or 
     distribute funds. Nor shall stamps be issued to honor 
     commercial enterprises or products.

  These criteria--I have just read six of them; there are a total of 
12--are set forth for the public to see and for everybody to have a 
fair chance, according to certain criteria set forth in advance to have 
a recommendation considered.
  The stamp advisory committee, however, does not issue semipostals. 
One of the questions we need to face as a Congress is whether or not, 
given the fact we now are beginning to authorize semipostage such as 
the breast cancer research, semipostal, it would not be better for us 
to authorize the advisory committee of the Postal Service to be 
performing this important function.
  The problem is that since the breast cancer research stamp has been 
authorized, we have had dozens of requests for a semipostal stamp. This 
is a list of some of the bills that have been introduced. These are 
just the bills that have been introduced for semipostal: AIDS research 
and education; diabetes research; Alzheimer's disease research; 
prostate cancer research; emergency food relief in the United States; 
organ and tissue donation awareness; World War II memorial; the 
American Battle Monuments Commission; domestic violence programs; 
vanishing wildlife protection programs; highway-rail grade crossing 
safety; domestic violence programs--a second bill; another bill on 
organ and tissue donation awareness; childhood literacy.
  There are not too many of us, I believe, who are about to vote 
against a stamp that could raise--could raise, I emphasize--some funds 
because the cost of these issues are supposed to be deducted from the 
receipts, but I do not believe there are too many of us who are in a 
position where we would want to vote against a stamp or anything else 
that could assist AIDS research, diabetes research, Alzheimer's 
disease, prostate cancer research, or organ and tissue donation. Many 
of us have devoted a great deal of our lives to those and other causes 
such as the World War II memorial and the National Battle Monuments 
Commission.
  When the breast cancer research stamp was approved, I voted against 
it. I was one of the few who did. That created for me, and for others 
who voted no, the prospect that somebody would then say I opposed funds 
for breast cancer research, which obviously I do not. In a split 
second, I would have voted to increase the appropriation for breast 
cancer research by the amount of money which might have been raised by 
this stamp so we could give to NIH an amount of money at least equal to 
what might be raised by such a stamp. Obviously, I am not opposed to 
additional funds. Indeed, the opposite is true.
  What does trouble me, however, is that we are now beginning a course 
which will politicize the issuance of stamps again in this country. We 
had taken politics out of it by the creation of an advisory committee. 
For 40 years this advisory committee, and this advisory committee 
alone, has decided and made the recommendation to the Postal Service 
what commemoratives will be issued. They have not issued any 
semipostals nor were any issued by this country until the breast cancer 
research stamp was approved.
  Now in this bill we have another good cause, money which would go to 
programs aimed at reducing domestic violence. There is no doubt about 
the validity of the cause. The problem is that we have no criteria, 
that we do this ad hoc, helter-skelter.
  We have already authorized one stamp, which I will get to in a 
moment, that relates to grade crossing safety. This is on the calendar, 
approved by the Governmental Affairs Committee, not yet approved by the 
Senate. This is going to unleash a politicization process of the 
issuance of stamps which I do not believe will benefit this Nation.
  I think it will be incredibly difficult for the Postal Service, which 
does not want us to require the issuance of semipostals. They are still 
sorting through the breast cancer research stamp costs. We should 
reauthorize the breast cancer research stamp because we have already 
authorized the stamp and it has been printed, and unless we reauthorize 
it, then this program will run out. This is a very different issue from 
voting for an additional issue, and the next, and the next.

  I will spend a couple of minutes this afternoon talking about what 
happened with another semipostal stamp which was proposed in a bill and 
was approved by the committee. I did not vote for it

[[Page S7606]]

in the Governmental Affairs Committee, not because I oppose its cause, 
but, again, for what this is going to unleash upon us in terms of 
politics--issuance of stamps and using the issuance of stamps to raise 
money for causes which will then be vying against each other. I do not 
think that is in anybody's interest.
  The one example on which I want to focus for a few moments is a 
proposal which has already been approved by the Governmental Affairs 
Committee, and that is what is called the Look, Listen, and Live Stamp 
Act. That bill requires the Postal Service to issue a semipostal stamp 
for an organization called Operation Lifesaver.
  Operation Lifesaver is a nonprofit organization which is dedicated to 
highway and rail safety through education. Operation Lifesaver seems to 
be a fine organization, but it is not the only organization which is 
committed to preventing railroad casualties. As a matter of fact, 
railway safety advocates are split on the issue of grade crossing 
safety and the best method to prevent rail-related injuries. Operation 
Lifesaver, for example, emphasizes safety through education, while 
other railway safety advocates promote safety by funding automatic 
lights and gates at railway crossings.
  After the Governmental Affairs Committee reported this stamp 
proposal, railroad safety organizations contacted my office to 
represent their disagreement with the ``look, listen, and live stamp'' 
primarily because of the emphasis that one organization, Operation 
Lifesaver, puts on education and education only.
  The president of a group called the Coalition for Safer Crossings 
wrote me the following letter:

       Dear Senator Levin: I personally find Operation Lifesaver 
     spin on education appalling. Three and a half years ago, I 
     lost a very dear and close friend of mine at an unprotected 
     crossing in southwestern Illinois. Eric was nineteen. I 
     fought to close the crossing where Eric was killed and since 
     helped many families after the loss of a loved one through my 
     organization, the Coalition for Safer Crossings. And now 
     today, we are moving forward with other smaller organizations 
     to form a national organization to combat certain types of 
     education being put out by other groups and to help victims' 
     families and help change the trend of escalating collisions. 
     The National Railroad Safety Coalition is comprised of 
     families and friends of victims of railroad car collisions, 
     unlike Operation Lifesaver.

  Again, Operation Lifesaver is the group that is going to receive the 
net dollars that will be raised by the issuance of this ``look, listen, 
and live stamp.''
  Then the head of this competing group says:

       I personally and professionally oppose this measure. If the 
     United States Congress is truly concerned about this issue of 
     railroad crossing safety and is dead set on making stamps, 
     then you should make a railroad safety stamp not a Operation 
     Lifesaver stamp. And rather than have the money go to their 
     type of education, have it go towards the States funds for 
     grade crossing upgrades in that State. A matching dollar 
     scheme comes to mind from the State.

  He concludes:

       I am currently 23 years old. When I was in high school, I 
     received the same driver safety training regarding grade 
     crossings safety as my best friend Eric did. Eric is now 
     gone. The funds from this proposed stamp would not have 
     helped him. Now if this stamp would have been around prior to 
     1996 and funds were allocated to the State of Illinois for 
     hardware and a set of automatic lights and gates were 
     installed at this crossing in question I wouldn't be writing 
     you this letter today. I hope you understand the difference.

  Mr. President, at the time that this stamp was approved in the 
Governmental Affairs Committee, I submitted minority views on this 
issue. In part, this is what I wrote just about a year ago this month:

       For over 40 years, the U.S. Postal Service has relied on 
     the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee to review and select 
     stamp subjects that are interesting and educational. The 
     committee chooses the subjects of U.S. stamps using as its 
     criteria, 12 major guidelines, established about the time of 
     the Postal Reorganization Act. [They] have guided the 
     committee in its decisionmaking function for decades.
       The tenth criteria guiding [their] selection makes 
     reference to semi-postal stamps, the type of stamp that the 
     Postal Service would be required to issue if the Look, 
     Listen, and Live Stamp Act were enacted. With respect to 
     semi-postals, the guidelines state, ``Stamps or postal 
     stationery items with added values, referred to as `semi-
     postals,' shall not be issued. Due to the vast majority of 
     worthy fund-raising organizations in existence, it would be 
     difficult to single out specific ones to receive such 
     revenue. There is also a strong U.S. tradition of private 
     fund-raising for charities, and the administrative costs 
     involved in accounting for sales would tend to negate the 
     revenues derived.'' This position was also reflected in a . . 
     . letter from Postmaster General William Henderson.

  He has also cautioned and urged our committee not to mandate the 
issuance of specific semipostals.
  So I do not believe that we can and should be in the business of 
deciding to promote one worthy charity over another, one specific 
organization over another. This stamp, the one that is now on the 
calendar--not the one in this bill; the one on the calendar--for safety 
at railway crossings is, it seems to me, an example of a stamp that may 
not be workable, and yet the full Governmental Affairs Committee has 
reported this bill out.
  Then what are we to do? We are going to be presented with a number of 
proposals relative to semipostals. Many of our colleagues have 
introduced bills. The bill before us has such a provision. I believe 
the answer comes from Representative McHugh and Representative Fattah, 
who are the chairman and the ranking member of the House Government 
Reform Subcommittee on the Postal Service. They put their views in a 
bill, H.R. 4437, which passed the House of Representatives on July 17.
  It gives the Postal Service the authority to issue semipostals. It 
requires the Postal Service to establish regulations, before issuing 
any stamp, relating to, first, which office within the Postal Service 
shall be responsible for making decisions with respect to semipostals; 
two, what criteria and procedures shall be applied in making those 
decisions; and, three, what limitations shall apply, such as whether 
more than one semipostal will be offered at any one time.
  The McHugh bill also requires the Postal Service to establish how the 
costs incurred by the Postal Service as a result of any semipostal are 
to be computed, recovered, and kept to a minimum. One thing we learned 
from the breast cancer semipostal is that the Postal Service did not 
establish an accurate accounting system for tracking the cost of 
semipostals.
  According to a recently released GAO report, ``Breast Cancer Research 
Stamp, Millions Raised for Research, But Better Cost Recovery Criteria 
Needed''--that is the title of the report--the Postal Service did not 
track all monetary or other resources used in developing and selling 
the breast cancer research stamp. They kept track of some costs but 
were not able to determine the full costs of developing and selling the 
stamp. Postal officials obviously should keep track of both revenues 
and their full costs so that the appropriate net can be determined for 
delivery to that particular cause.

  The McHugh bill is before this body. The McHugh bill, in addition to 
authorizing the issuance of semipostals by the stamp advisory 
committee, also reauthorizes the breast cancer research stamp. It does 
both things. I hope this body will take up this bill and adopt this 
kind of procedure in order to attempt to take this issue out of 
politics and not put us in a position where we have to vote between a 
stamp raising money for AIDS research or diabetes research or 
Alzheimer's research or prostate cancer research, organ and tissue 
donation research, the World War II Memorial, domestic violence, and on 
and on.
  I doubt very much that we would want to vote no to any of those. Yet 
we cannot possibly have all of them at once. The Postal Service cannot 
possibly handle the accounting, the delivery, the sale of all those 
stamps. They have urged us very strongly not to be authorizing and 
mandating the issuance of those stamps.
  So I hope that when the bill comes before us, which I hope will be 
any time, we will reauthorize the breast cancer research stamp. Again, 
even though I voted against it, for the reasons I have given here this 
afternoon, nonetheless I think, given the fact that the stamps have 
been printed and that effort is already underway, and the huge number 
of people who have already been involved in promoting the sale, and the 
women and men from around this country who have gone out of their way 
to use that stamp are in

[[Page S7607]]

place--they have been operating; they have been very successful, very 
productive with millions of dollars that will be raised, the pluses of 
continuing to reauthorize that stamp, once it has been issued, and once 
that effort is underway, outweigh the negatives, which I have outlined 
this afternoon.
  At the same time, I hope that the rest of the McHugh bill will be 
adopted by us so that we can put into place criteria which will make it 
a lot easier for us to have a sensible system for the issuance of 
semipostals.
  Mr. President, on a matter that relates directly to this bill, 
because it is a Treasury bill, I want to just spend a few minutes 
talking about the issue of the budget surplus, and the response of the 
Congress to that budget surplus. I want to use, as my text, and then 
intersperse some comments into it, a memorandum that the Director of 
the Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, wrote on the effect of 
congressional legislative action on the budget surplus. This is what 
the OMB Director wrote:

       This memo is in response to your request that OMB assess 
     the effect of legislative action on the budget surplus. Over 
     the past six months, Congress has passed nine major tax cuts 
     resulting in a cost of $712 billion over ten years. Draining 
     this sum from the United States Treasury reduces the amount 
     of debt reduction we can accomplish, thereby increasing debt 
     service costs by $201 billion over ten years. Therefore, the 
     Congressional tax cuts passed to date will draw a total of 
     $913 billion from the projected surplus.
       In addition, the Congressional majority has stated clearly 
     that its tax cuts to date represent only a ``down payment'' 
     in a long series of tax cuts it intends to realize. While 
     there has been little specificity about the size and nature 
     of the entire program, the full range of action taken by the 
     106th Congress, both last year and this, provides an 
     indication of the total impact of the Congressional tax cut 
     proposals on the surplus.
       In the first session of the 106th Congress, the majority 
     passed one large measure, which included a variety of tax 
     cuts totaling $792 billion. Excluding certain individual tax 
     cuts which passed this year as well as last year (such as 
     elimination of the estate tax and the marriage penalty), the 
     cost of tax cuts passed last year amounts to $737 
     billion, and the additional debt service amounts to $148 
     billion for a total of $885 billion.

  Jacob Lew goes on as follows:

       The bill-by-bill approach to tax cuts in the absence of an 
     overall framework masks the full impact and risks of the 
     cumulative cost.

  I will repeat that because that is the heart of the matter.

       The bill-by-bill approach to tax cuts in the absence of an 
     overall framework masks the full impact and the risks of the 
     cumulative cost. In the absence of more specific indications 
     about the content and number of future tax cuts the 
     congressional majority has stated it plans to produce, we 
     have used the total costs associated with tax cuts from the 
     106th Congress as an illustration of Republican plans. If 
     their plans remain consistent with the past activity, the 
     full cost of this program would be:
       --tax cuts of $1.44 trillion
       --additional debt service of $349 billion
       --for a total of $1.796 trillion.
       The effect of such tax cuts would be to completely 
     eliminate the projected non-Social Security/Medicare budget 
     surplus at the end of ten years. Even by the more optimistic 
     projections the entire surplus would be drained. The most 
     recent CBO projections issued earlier this week estimate a 
     ten-year non-Social Security/Medicare surplus of $1.8 
     trillion. OMB's recent projections estimate a ten-year non-
     Social Security/Medicare surplus of $1.5 trillion. In either 
     case, because the costs of the tax cuts match or exceed the 
     projected budget surplus, there would be no funds available 
     for any of the nation's other pressing needs, including our 
     proposals to establish a new voluntary Medicare prescription 
     drug benefit, pay an additional $150 billion in debt 
     reduction to pay down the debt by 2012, expand health 
     coverage to more families, provide targeted tax cuts that 
     help America's working families with the cost of college 
     education, long-term care, child care and other needs, or 
     extend the life of Social Security and Medicare.

  Those are the options we are going to be faced with in the next few 
months, whether or not we want to take this projected surplus of either 
$1.5 trillion or $1.8 trillion--we are only talking about the non-
Social Security, non-Medicare surplus--whether we want to take that 
surplus, which the CBO estimates is $1.8 trillion and the OMB estimates 
is $1.5 trillion, and use that almost exclusively or exclusively for 
the tax cuts which have been proposed, or whether we want to use a 
significant part of that surplus to pay down the national debt faster, 
to establish a new voluntary prescription drug benefit, to expand 
health coverage, to expand opportunity for college education, and to 
extend the life of Social Security and Medicare.
  I want to put in the Record in a moment the list of the pending tax 
cuts in the 106th Congress which Jack Lew makes reference to, the $934 
billion, approximately, in the 10-year cost. These are bills which have 
been passed by one body or another or one committee or another in one 
body: Marriage Penalty Conference Committee, $293 billion; Social 
Security tier 2 repeal, $117 billion; estate tax in the House $105 
billion; the Patients' Bill of Rights in the House, $69 billion; the 
communications excise tax, $55 billion; the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, 
$7 billion; then the subtraction for provisions in multiple bills and 
so forth. Then you have to add the interest costs of these tax cuts. 
That comes out to be about $900 billion.
  I ask unanimous consent to print this list in the Record.
  There being no objection, the list was ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

                 PENDING TAX CUTS IN THE 106TH CONGRESS
                 [10-year cost, in billions of dollars]
Tax Legislation (Body Passed):
  Marriage Penalty (Conf. Cmte.)...................................  293
  Minimum Wage (House).............................................  123
  Social Security Tier II Repeal (W&M Cmte.).......................  117
  Estate Tax (House)...............................................  105
  Patient's Bill of Rights (House).................................   69
  Communications Excise Tax (Finance Cmte.)........................   55
  Pension Expansions (House).......................................   52
  Education Savings (Senate).......................................   21
  Taxpayer Bill of Rights 2000 (House).............................    7
  Trade Act (Enacted)..............................................    4
  Subtraction for Provisions in Multiple Bills (Estimate)..........   99
  Interest Cost of Tax Cuts (Estimate).............................  187
                                                                    ----
      Total, Pending Tax Legislation...............................  934
                                                                    ====
Plus New Markets/Renewal Communities...............................   20
------------------------------------------------------------------------

  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, there are problems with each of the major 
tax bills. I may spend a moment on each of those problems. On the 
estate tax bill, it has problems. There is an alternative which is a 
better alternative, which would help more people. For those relatively 
few people who do pay an estate tax, the alternative Democratic plan 
would provide immediate relief--100 percent relief to people who have 
less than $8 million per couple for family farms and small businesses; 
total and immediate relief for those people in the alternative plan.
  The bill which has been adopted has a major problem in that it favors 
upper income individuals, the wealthiest among us, and most of its 
benefits go to those people rather than the people who need this the 
most, which are individuals and married couples who have estates that 
might be, in the case of a family farm or small business, $8 million or 
less. But there is a bigger problem, whether we are talking about 
repeal of the estate tax or the marriage penalty tax. And there--
regarding the marriage penalty, we have an alternative as well which 
would benefit a larger number of low and moderate income people with a 
greater benefit instead of a group of people who are at the upper end 
of the income level. The major problem I have with these tax bills is 
that when you put them all together, what it means is that we would not 
be able to apply this surplus to reduction of the national debt.
  I am out there, as all of us are, in our home States. I talk to 
people and ask people in all the meetings I have: What do you primarily 
want us to spend the surplus on? Do you want tax cuts--putting aside 
for the moment whether they benefit upper income folks or benefit 
working families, put aside that issue for the moment; that is a major 
issue--do you basically want us to take this $1.8 trillion and pay down 
the national debt? Or do you want that to go in tax cuts?
  Overwhelmingly, repeatedly, I hear back from people, they want us to 
pay down the national debt. Whether we are talking about younger 
people, middle-age people, older people, they all come to the same 
conclusion: No. 1, we can't be sure the surplus will be that large so 
don't spend it all on anything, be it tax cuts or other programs. Spend 
most of it on protecting the future economy of the United States. Spend 
most of it on that $6 trillion debt that has been rung up--to reduce 
the amount of that debt, to try to assure that the economy, which we 
now have humming, will stay humming; that an economy which we finally 
have at a

[[Page S7608]]

point where we don't add to the national debt with annual deficits each 
year, that is healthy in terms of interest rates and job creation and 
in low inflation, that that economy will be there for us next year, 
next decade, next generation.
  I believe that is what the American people overwhelmingly want us to 
do. We can argue, and we should, and we can debate, and we should, 
which estate tax proposal is a better estate tax proposal. That is a 
legitimate debate. We obviously have an alternative to the one that was 
adopted which is targeted to the people who need it the most, people 
who have farms and small businesses and estates worth up to $8 million, 
people who are still paying an estate tax even though it might mean in 
some cases that they could lose that family farm. Our alternative 
provides total relief to those families and immediate relief to those 
families, unlike the one that was passed by the Republican majority 
which gives most of its cuts to the people who need it the least, 
people who are in the higher brackets, higher asset levels, and phases 
it in and then only does it partially.
  We should, and we do, debate those issues: Which alternative plans on 
the estate tax or on the marriage penalty tax provide the fairest kind 
of tax relief to the people who need it the most. But the underlying 
issue, which is one I hope we will keep in mind, is whether or not we 
want to commit this projected surplus of almost $2 trillion in 10 years 
to any of these proposals to the extent that we have. Be it tax cuts or 
be it efforts to improve education or health care or what have you, it 
is my hope and belief that the greatest contribution we can make to our 
children and to their children is to protect this economy, to try to 
keep an economy, which is now doing so well, healthy in future years, 
as it has been in the past few years. That means we need to protect 
that surplus, not spend it; not use it for tax cuts on the assumption 
that there is going to be $1.8 trillion or $1.5 trillion over the next 
10 years, because there is too much uncertainty in that, because our 
people sense--and correctly--that we do not know for certain that that 
budget surplus will in fact be there.

  There has been recent public opinion polling which seems to me 
illuminating on this subject. When people are asked whether or not they 
want to protect Social Security and Medicare and pay down the debt, or 
whether or not they think passing a tax cut is the better way to go, 75 
percent believe protecting Social Security and paying down the debt is 
the most important priority we have right now. Only 23 percent favor 
passing tax cuts as an alternative. When asked the question of whether 
or not the trillion-dollar tax cut package that was passed last year, 
without a penny for Medicare, and whether or not the tax cuts that are 
being added this year to the same amount, still without a penny for 
Medicare, is the better way to go, 63 percent say no, 32 percent say 
yes.
  So the public senses that with the surplus we have, the proportion we 
project, the best thing we can do to protect our economy and the best 
thing we can do with that projected surplus is in fact to pay down the 
debt, protect Medicare, and to target our efforts on some of the needs 
we have as a country, rather than to provide for the kind of tax cuts 
that we have seen the Republicans enact.
  What I have said about the estate tax is also true relative to the 
marriage penalty bill. We have two alternatives--the one that passed, 
but we also have an alternative that did not pass, which provides 
targeted, comprehensive relief and is fiscally more responsible because 
it leaves more for debt reduction and, therefore, overall is a better 
value for the American taxpayer. The alternative completely eliminates 
the penalty in all of its forms, not just in a few, as the marriage tax 
penalty legislation we passed does. The Democratic alternative 
eliminates it for couples earning up to $100,000, which is 80 percent 
of all married couples, and it costs $29 billion per year when fully 
phased in.
  The plan that was adopted, the Republican plan, confers 40 percent of 
its benefits on taxpayers who currently suffer a penalty. In other 
words, only 40 percent of the benefits of the Republican plan go to 
taxpayers who currently actually suffer a penalty. The rest of the 
people who get a benefit in the Republican plan either don't suffer a 
penalty--indeed they received a bonus when they got married--or are 
left untouched one way or another. And the Republican plan addresses 
only 3 of the 65 instances of the penalty in the Tax Code, whereas the 
Democratic alternative plan addresses every place in the Tax Code where 
the marriage penalty exists. And the Republican plan costs $40 billion 
when fully phased in as compared to $29 billion per year for the 
alternative Democratic plan.
  So, again, it seems to me it is a pretty clear choice that we have: 
Do we want a plan that is targeted to people who earn under $100,000, 
that confers benefits on people who are truly penalized when they are 
married, in terms of the taxes they pay, and a plan that does so at a 
cost significantly less than in the Republican plan that was adopted? 
Or do we want to adopt the more costly plan, most of the benefits of 
which go to people who are in the upper income brackets, and then do 
not address totally the problem that exists for those people who do 
suffer a tax penalty upon marriage?
  The same thing is true with the overall tax cut that has been 
proposed. We have basically two alternatives that have been set forth 
to the American people, not yet put in the legislative form, but which 
have been proposed by Governor Bush and Vice President Gore. According 
to the Citizens For Tax Justice, the distribution of benefits of the 
Bush plan basically provides that 10 percent of the taxpayers get 60 
percent--the upper 10 percent, the top 10 percent of taxpayers, get 60 
percent of the benefits; the bottom 60 percent of the taxpayers get 12 
percent of the benefits. That is the tax plan that has been proposed by 
Governor Bush.

  It would reduce revenues by $460 billion over the first 5 fiscal 
years, and by $1.3 trillion over 9 fiscal years, plus an additional 
$265 billion in associated interest costs. That is an extraordinarily 
expensive plan. We haven't seen that yet in legislative form, and I am 
not sure we will. Nonetheless, the American people are again going to 
be presented with very different approaches as to how we should use the 
surplus.
  Some people say, ``Senator, that is our money you are talking about; 
what is wrong with the tax cut?'' My answer is that it is our money, 
your money. It is also our economy. It is also our Social Security 
program. It is also our Medicare program. It is also our education 
program. It is our health care program.
  So the argument that this money belongs to the people of the United 
States is clearly true. I think it is undeniable. I can't imagine 
anybody suggesting that anything in the Treasury is anything but the 
property of the people of the United States. But the other half of 
that, which is too often left out, is that the economy, which is now 
healthy, belongs to the people of the United States. They have made it 
possible, through their work, for us to have a strong economy. Keeping 
that economy healthy is also the job of this Congress, as well as the 
job of the people of the United States.
  The Social Security system, which has made such a difference for so 
many that the poverty rate among seniors is now 5 percent, compared to 
the poverty rate among children, which is 20 percent, mainly because of 
the existence of Social Security--that program belongs to the people of 
the United States. Protecting that program is also our responsibility. 
So to say that, yes, the surplus belongs to the people is true. But the 
Medicare program, Social Security program, health care program, 
education program also belong to the people of the United States.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to discuss 
moving to the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill.
  I agree with the Majority Leader and others who have come to the 
floor this year to insist that we do the people's business, and that 
the people's business means completing all of the appropriations bills.
  There are several very important amendments that will be proposed to 
this legislation, and we must give them the time and consideration they 
deserve. I may well vote against the

[[Page S7609]]

Treasury-Postal appropriations bill in the end, but I recognize the 
importance of taking it up, considering it, and getting it done.
  We have got to take care of the unfinished business.
  We have more appropriations bills to consider, and we have other 
business as well, as my colleagues are well aware.
  I find it interesting to look at some of the other measures we have 
considered, and still might consider, this year.
  I am talking about priorities--what we get done on this floor, and 
what gets ignored.
  As I said, it is essential that we pass these appropriations bills--
they are the core of the people's business, because they keep the 
government up and running.
  But beyond bills like Treasury-Postal, what are we choosing to do?
  Recently, we chose to consider a repeal of the estate tax. As I said 
during that debate, the estate tax affects only the wealthiest 
property-holders. In 1997, only 42,901 estates paid the tax. That's the 
wealthiest 1.9 percent. People are already exempt from the tax in 98 
out of 100 cases. Let me repeat that: Already, under current law, 98 
out of 100 do not pay any estate tax.
  The Republican estate tax repeal would give the wealthiest 2,400 
estates--the ones that pay now half the estate tax--an average tax cut 
of $3.4 million each. And remember, 98 out of 100 people would get 
zero, nothing, from this estate tax cut.
  Now, this doesn't sound like something most Americans are clamoring 
for.
  It is of no use to most Americans, in fact. But it is of use to a 
very small--but wealthy--group of people.
  Those who are wealthy enough to be subject to estate taxes have great 
political power.
  They can make unlimited political contributions, and they are 
represented in Washington by influential lobbyists that have pushed 
hard to get the estate tax bill to the floor.
  The estate tax is one of those issues where political money seems to 
have an impact on the legislative outcome. That's why I recently Called 
the Bankroll on some of the interests behind that bill, to give my 
colleagues and the public a sense of the huge amount of money at 
stake--not taxes, but political contributions.
  We considered that bill not because it affected the vast majority of 
Americans, but because it directly affected the pocketbooks of a 
wealthy few.
  A similar point can be made about another piece of legislation, the 
H-1B bill.
  We haven't considered it yet, but we may well yet, and so far a 
terrific effort has been made by both sides to see it taken up.

  Why? Why, when we have more appropriations bills to consider, when we 
have the real people's business to do, are we pushing so hard to take 
up H-1B?
  Because the high-tech industry wants this bill to get done.
  In the case of H-1B, I'm not addressing the merits of the 
legislation-- I am not necessarily opposed to raising the level of H-1B 
visas. Instead I want to point out what is on our agenda and why? Why 
is it that we have this set of legislation as part of our agenda?
  The high tech industry wants to get this bill passed, and they have 
the political contributions to back it up.
  American Business for Legal Immigration, a coalition which formed to 
fight for an increase in H-1B visas, offers a glimpse of the financial 
might behind proponents of H-1Bs. ABLI is chock full of big political 
donors, and not just from one industry, but from several different 
industries that have an interest in bringing more high-tech workers 
into the U.S.
  Price Waterhouse Coopers, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, 
telecommunications giant and former Baby Bell BellSouth, and software 
company Oracle, to name just a few.
  All have given hundreds of thousands of dollars in this election 
cycle alone, and they want us to pass H-1B.
  We all know this.
  This is standard procedure these days for wealthy interests --you 
have got to pay to play on the field of politics. You've got to pony up 
for quarter-million dollar soft money contributions and half-million 
dollar issue ad campaigns, and anyone who can't afford the price of 
admission is going to be left out in the cold.
  I Call the Bankroll to point out what goes on behind the scenes on 
various bills--the millions in PAC and soft money that wealthy donors 
give, and what they expect to get in return.
  And yet we don't do anything about it.
  We took a small but important step toward better disclosure of the 
activity of wealthy donors earlier this summer when we passed the 527 
disclosure bill.
  But there is a great deal more to do.
  We are going to keep pushing until we address the other gaping 
loopholes in the campaign finance law.
  Right now, wealthy interests have the power to help set the political 
agenda.
  Wealthy interests spend unlimited amounts of money to push for bills 
which serve the interests of the wealthy few at the expense of most 
Americans.
  We have got to question why consider some bills on this floor while 
we ignore so many crucial issues the American people care about--like 
increasing the minimum wage and supporting working families.
  But instead we are left with an agenda that looks like wealthy 
America's ``to do'' list.
  How does it happen, Mr. President?--It's all about access, and access 
is all about money.
  Both parties openly promise, and even advertise, that big donors get 
big access to party leaders.
  Weekend retreats and other ``special events'' where wealthy 
individuals have the chance to talk about what they want done--whether 
that might be a repeal of the estate tax, or that their company wants 
to see the H-1B bill passed this year.
  Needless to say, that is the kind of access most Americans can't even 
dream of.
  And I have to wonder why we aren't doing anything about that.
  I am all for the doing people's business, and right now the people's 
business should be the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill, and that's 
why I support the motion to proceed, even though I may well vote 
against the underlying bill in the end.
  But I don't think that an issue like the repeal of the estate tax is 
the people's business--not 98 out of every hundred people, anyway.
  We need to get at the heart of what is wrong here.
  Our priorities are warped by the undue influence of money in this 
chamber.
  We have got to change our priorities, and do it now, by putting 
campaign finance reform back on the agenda.
  Because the best way to loosen the grip of wealthy interests is to 
close the loophole that swallowed the law: soft money.
  Soft money has exploded over the past few years.
  Soft money is the culprit that brought us the scandals of 1996--the 
selling of access and influence in the White House and to the Congress. 
The auction of the Lincoln Bedroom, of Air Force One. The White House 
coffees. All of this came from soft money because without soft money, 
the parties would not have to come up with ever more enticing offers to 
get the big contributors to open their checkbooks.
  Soft money also brings us, time and time again, questions about the 
integrity and the impartiality of the legislative process. Everything 
we do is under scrutiny and subject to question because major 
industries and labor organizations are giving our political parties 
such large amounts of money. Whether it is telecommunications 
legislation, the bankruptcy bill, defense spending, or health care, 
someone out there is telling the public, often with justification in my 
view, that the Congress cannot be trusted to do what is best for the 
public interest because the major affected industries are giving us 
money.

  For more than a year now, I have highlighted the influence of money 
on the legislative process through the Calling of the Bankroll. And the 
really big money, that many believe has a really big influence here, is 
soft money. We have to clean our campaign finance house and the best 
place to start is by getting rid of soft money. Let's play by the rules 
again in this country. With soft money there are no rules, no limits. 
But we can restore some sanity to our campaign finance

[[Page S7610]]

system. When I came to the Senate, I will confess, I didn't even really 
know what soft money was. After a tough race against a very well 
financed opponent who spent twice as much as I did, I was mostly 
concerned with the difficulties that people who are not wealthy have in 
running for office. My interest in campaign finance reform derived from 
that experience. Soft money has exploded since I arrived here, with far 
reaching consequences for our elections and the functioning of the 
Congress. Now I truly believe that if we can do nothing else on 
campaign finance reform, we must stop this cancerous growth of soft 
money before it consumes us.
  I will take a few minutes to describe to my colleagues the growth of 
soft money in recent years. It is a frightening story. Soft money first 
arrived on the scene of our national elections in the 1980 elections, 
after a 1978 FEC ruling opened the door for parties to accept 
contributions from corporations and unions, who are barred from 
contributing to federal elections. The best available estimate is that 
the parties raised under $20 million in soft money in that cycle. By 
the 1992 election, the year I was elected to this body, soft money 
fundraising by the two major parties had risen to $86 million. Eighty-
six million dollars is clearly a lot of money; it was nearly as much as 
the $110 million that the two presidential candidates were given in 
1992 in public financing from the U.S. Treasury. And there was real 
concern about how that money was spent. Despite the FEC's decision that 
soft money could be used for activities such as get out the vote and 
voter registration campaigns without violating the federal election 
law's prohibition on corporate and union contributions in connection 
with federal elections, the parties sent much of their soft money to be 
spent in states where the Presidential election between George Bush and 
Bill Clinton was close, or where there were key contested Senate races.
  Still, even then, even with that tremendous increase in the use of 
soft money, soft money was far from the central issue in our debate 
over campaign finance reform in 1993 and 1994. In 1995, when Senator 
McCain and I first introduced the McCain-Feingold bill, our bill 
included a ban on soft money, but it was not particularly controversial 
and no one paid that much attention to it at that time.
  Then came the 1996 election, and the enormous explosion of soft 
money, fueled by the parties' decision to use the money on phony issue 
ads supporting their presidential candidates. Remember those ads that 
everyone thought were Clinton and Dole ads but were actually run by the 
parties? That was the public debut of soft money on the national scene. 
The total soft money fundraising skyrocketed as a result. Three times 
as much soft money was raised in 1996 as in 1992. Let me say that 
again--soft money tripled in one election cycle. The reason was the 
insatiable desire of the parties for money to run phony issue ads, and 
that desire has only increased since 1996. Both political parties are 
raising unprecedented amounts of soft money for ad campaigns that are 
already underway this year. Soft money is financing our presidential 
campaigns, and this Congress stands by doing nothing about it.
  Fred Wertheimer, a long time advocate of campaign finance reform said 
it well in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday: He wrote,

       Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush and their 
     presidential campaigns are living a lie. The lie is this: 
     that the TV ads now being run in presidential battleground 
     states across America are political party ``issue ads.'' In 
     fact, everyone--and I mean everyone--knows that these ads are 
     presidential campaign ads being run for the unequivocal 
     purpose of directly influencing the presidential election.

  Wertheimer goes on to say:

       The ``issue ad'' campaigns now underway blatantly promote 
     and feature Gore and Bush, are designed and controlled by the 
     Gore and Bush presidential campaigns and are targeted to run 
     in key battleground states. The political parties are merely 
     conduits for the scheme and cover for the lie.

  He continues:

       What's the significance of all of this? Well, for starters 
     we are living this lie in the election for the most important 
     office in the world's oldest democracy. The lie will result 
     in some $100 million or more in huge corrupting contributions 
     being illegally used by Gore and Bush in the 2000 
     presidential election. (Many millions more will be illegally 
     used in the 2000 congressional races.)

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the full text of Mr. 
Wertheimer's article, ``Gore, Bush, and the Big Lie'' be printed in the 
Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

               [From the Washington Post, July 24, 2000]

                      Gore, Bush, And the Big Lie

                          (By Fred Wertheimer)

       Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush and their 
     presidential campaigns are living a lie. The lie is this: 
     that the TV ads now being run in presidential battleground 
     states across America are political party ``issue ads.'' In 
     fact, everyone--and I mean everyone--knows that these ads are 
     presidential campaign ads being run for the unequivocal 
     purpose of directly influencing the presidential election.
       The presidential campaigns and political parties know it, 
     the media know it and so do the viewers of the ads, which are 
     indistinguishable from other presidential campaign ads being 
     run.
       As such, the ``issue ads'' are illegal, because, among 
     other things, they are being financed with tens of millions 
     of dollars of soft-money contributions that the law says 
     cannot be used to influence a federal election. The ``issue 
     ad'' campaigns now underway blatantly promote and feature 
     Gore and Bush, are designed and controlled by the Gore and 
     Bush presidential campaigns are targeted to run in key 
     battleground states. The political parties are merely 
     conduits for the scheme and cover for the lie.
       What's the significance of all of this? Well, for starters 
     we are living this lie in the election for the most important 
     office in the world's oldest democracy. The lie will result 
     in some $100 million or more in huge corrupting contributions 
     being illegally used by Gore and Bush in the 2000 
     presidential election. (Many millions more will be illegally 
     used in the 2000 congressional races.)
       The lie makes a mockery of the common-sense intelligence of 
     voters and the honesty of the presidential race. And, to 
     date, no one in authority is prepared to do anything about 
     it.
       How did it happen that this lie came to rest at the core of 
     our national elections? Well, in good part we have 
     Presidential Clinton to thank. It was Clinton who, more than 
     anyone else, developed and ``perfected'' the lie, and the 
     legal fiction on which it is based.
       Soft money had been a problem prior to 1995, but no 
     presidential candidate had ever tried to use soft money to 
     finance a TV ad campaign promoting his candidacy. That's not 
     because politicians weren't clever enough to think of this, 
     but because everyone understood it was illegal.
       Then President Clinton and his staff invented a scam for 
     the 1996 election: They would use the Democratic Party as a 
     front for running a ``second'' presidential campaign. This 
     $50 million second campaign would use soft money--funds that 
     the law does not allow in a presidential campaign--to finance 
     Clinton campaign ads that would be labeled Democratic Party 
     ``issue ads.''
       It didn't take long for the Republican presidential 
     candidate, Bob Dole, to follow suit. Today, four years later, 
     the ``issue ads'' lie is standard political practice in 
     presidential and congressional races.
       The lie is built on the legal fiction that under Supreme 
     Court rulings, political party ads are not covered by federal 
     campaign finance laws unless they contain such magic words as 
     ``vote for'' or ``vote against'' a specific federal 
     candidate. That's supposed to be true even if the party ads 
     promote a specific federal candidate and even if the ads are 
     coordinated with or controlled by the candidate.
       But the reality is that neither the Supreme Court nor any 
     other federal court has ever said anything of the kind 
     regarding political party ads. When the Supreme Court 
     established the ``magic words'' test in Buckley v. Valeo, it 
     made explicit that it was for outside groups and non-
     candidates only and did not apply to communications by 
     candidates or political parties. And in any case, the ``magic 
     words'' test is not applicable when an ad campaign is 
     conducted in coordination with a federal candidate, as a 
     Washington federal district court confirmed last year.
       The Justice Department, in its failure to pursue the 1996 
     Clinton soft-money ads, never found the ads to be legal. 
     Instead, Attorney General Reno closed the case based on the 
     Clinton campaign's reliance on its lawyers' advice, which she 
     said was ``sufficient to negate any criminal intent on their 
     part.''
       The general counsel of the Federal Election Commission did 
     find that the 1996 soft-money ads were illegal. The 
     commission, however, by a 3 to 3 tie vote, refused to proceed 
     with an enforcement action. Thus we are left today with 
     enforcement authorities that refuse to act against these soft 
     money ads and, at the same time, refuse to say they are 
     legal. And the lie goes on.

  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, the big lie led to the transformation of 
our two great political parties into soft money machines. And what was 
the effect of this explosion of soft money, other than the millions of 
dollars available for ads supporting presidential candidates who had 
agreed to

[[Page S7611]]

run their campaigns on equal and limited grants from the federal 
taxpayers? Soft money is raised primarily from corporate interests who 
have a legislative axe to grind. And so the explosion of soft money 
brought an explosion of influence and access in this Congress and in 
the Administration.
  Here are some of the companies in this exclusive group. We know they 
have a big interest in what the Congress does--Philip Morris, Joseph 
Seagram & Sons, RJR Nabisco, Walt Disney, Atlantic Richfield, AT&T, 
Federal Express, MCI, the Association of Trial Lawyers, the NEA, Lazard 
Freres & Co., Anheuser Busch, Eli Lilly, Time Warner, Chevron Corp., 
Archer Daniel's Midland, NYNEX, Textron Inc., Northwest Airlines. It's 
a who's who of corporate America, Mr. President. They are investors in 
the United States Congress and no one can convince the American people 
that these companies get no return on their investment.
  They have a say, much too big a say, in what we do. It's that simple, 
and it's that disturbing. That's why our priorities are so out of 
whack, Mr. President. We should be going to the Treasury-Postal 
appropriations bill, and that's why I support the motion to proceed, 
despite the fact that I may vote against it when all is said and done. 
I recognize we have to focus on what people want, not what wealthy 
interests want.
  As I said when I first began Calling the Bankroll last year, we know, 
if we are honest with ourselves, that campaign contributions are 
involved in virtually everything that this body does. Campaign money is 
the 800-pound gorilla in this chamber every day that nobody talks 
about, but that cannot be ignored. All around us, and all across the 
country, people notice the gorilla. Studies come out on a weekly basis 
from a variety of research organizations and groups that lobby for 
campaign finance reform that show what we all know: The agenda of the 
Congress seems to be influenced by campaign money. But in our debates 
here, we are silent about that influence, and how it corrodes our 
system of government.
  I have chosen not to remain silent, but I know there are those who 
wish that I would stop putting the spotlight on facts that reflect 
poorly on our system, and in turn on the Senate, and on both the major 
political parties.
  I wish our campaign finance system wasn't such an embarrassment.
  I wish wealthy interests with business before this body didn't have 
unlimited ability to give money to our political parties through the 
soft money loophole, but they do.
  I wish these big donors weren't able to buy special access to our 
political leaders through meetings and weekend retreats set up by the 
parties, but they can.
  I wish fundraising skills and personal wealth weren't some of the 
most sought-after qualities in a candidate for Congress today, but 
everyone knows that they are.
  Most of all I wish that these facts didn't paint a picture of 
Government so corrupt and so awash in the influence of money that the 
American people, especially young people, have turned away from their 
government in disgust, but every one of us knows that they have.
  It is our unwillingness to discuss it or even acknowledge the 
influence of this money in this body that makes it even worse.
  It goes on and on, and it just gets worse.
  Last year was another record-breaker in the annals of soft money 
fundraising--the national political party committees raised a record 
$107.2 million during the 1999 calendar year--81 percent more than they 
raised during the last comparable presidential election period in 1995, 
according to Common Cause.
  An 81 percent increase is astounding, especially considering that the 
year it's compared with--1995, the last off-election year preceding a 
presidential election--which was itself a record-breaking year for soft 
money fundraising.
  This year one of the most notable fundraising trends hits very close 
to home, or to the dome, as the case may be: Congressional campaign 
committees raised more than three times as much soft money during 1999 
as they raised during 1995--$62 million compared to $19.4 million.
  That is a huge increase, Mr. President.
  Three times as much soft money--much of it raised by members of 
Congress.
  Now the latest news reports show record-breaking soft money figures 
for the first quarter of this year as well.
  How should the public view this?
  What can we expect them to think as Members of Congress ask for these 
unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and wealthy 
individuals, and then turn around and vote on legislation that directly 
affects those donors that they just asked for all this money?
  Frankly, it is all the more reason for Americans to question our 
integrity, whether those donations have an impact on our decisions or 
not.
  They question our integrity, and we give them reason. Why aren't we 
getting their business done? I say let's get the business done--let's 
agree to move to Treasury-Postal, whether we'll support that bill in 
the end or not. And then let's move on to the other pressing issues 
before us--not tax cuts for the wealthy, but real priorities like 
campaign finance reform.
  Let's put a stop to the soft money arms race that escalates every 
day, and involves more and more Members of Congress.
  I do not know how many of my colleagues are actually picking up the 
phones across the street in our party committee headquarters to ask 
corporate CEOs for soft money contributions. But no one here can deny 
that our parties are asking us to do this. It is now part of the 
parties' expectations that a United States Senator will be a big 
solicitor of soft money.
  Consider the soft money raised in recent off-year elections. In 1994, 
the parties raised a total of $101.7 million. Only about $18.5 million 
of that amount was raised by the congressional and senatorial campaign 
committees. In 1998, the most recent election, soft money fundraising 
more than doubled to $224.4 million. And $107 million of that total was 
raised by the congressional and senatorial campaign committees. That's 
nearly half of the total soft money raised by the parties.
  Half the soft money that the parties raised in the last election went 
to the campaign committees for members of Congress, as opposed to the 
national party committees. And I and many of my colleagues know from 
painful experience that much of that money ended up being spent on 
phony issue ads in Senate races. The corporate money that has been 
banned in federal elections since 1907 is being raised by Senators and 
spent to try to influence the election of Senators. This has to stop.
  The growth of soft money has made a mockery of our campaign finance 
laws. It has turned Senators into panhandlers for huge contributions 
from corporate patrons. And it has multiplied the number of corporate 
interests who have a claim on the attention of members and the work of 
this institution.
  I truly believe that we must do much more than ban soft money to fix 
our campaign finance system. But if there is one thing more than any 
other that must be done now it is to ban soft money. Otherwise the soft 
money loophole will completely obliterate the Presidential public 
funding system, and lead to scandals that will make what we saw in 1996 
seem quaint. Virtually no one in this body has stepped up to defend 
soft money. So let's get rid of it once and for all. Now is the time. 
Let's move to the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill, vote yes or no, 
and then let's do what we have to get done.
  When we define what we need to get done this year, let's get serious. 
It is not the estate tax, and it's not the H-1B bill. It's banning soft 
money.
  Now there is more support for banning soft money than ever before.
  I think it is important to talk on this floor about just who those 
Americans are who want to clean up this campaign finance system, 
because today calls for reform are coming from an incredible range of 
people in this country, including some very unlikely places.
  One of the most interesting places you can find demands for reform is 
corporate America, where one group of corporate executives, tired of 
being shaken down for bigger and bigger contributions, has said enough 
is enough.

[[Page S7612]]

  This organization, called the Committee for Economic Development, 
issued a report and proposal urging reform, including the elimination 
of soft money.
  One might guess that this group of people, who are in the position to 
use the soft money system to their advantage, would not dream of 
calling for reform.
  But the soft money system cuts both ways--it not only allows for 
legalized bribery of the political parties, it also allows legalized 
extortion of soft money donors, who are being asked to give more and 
more money every election cycle to fuel the parties' bottomless 
appetite for soft money.
  But it isn't just weariness at being shaken down that led CED members 
to call for reform of our broken campaign finance system. Let me quote 
from the CED report, which stated their concern so well:

       Given the size and source of most soft money contributions, 
     the public cannot help but believe that these donors enjoy 
     special influence and receive special favors. The suspicion 
     of corruption diminishes public confidence in government.

  The bigger soft money contributions get--and the amounts are truly 
skyrocketing--the more damaging the effect on the public's perception 
of our democracy.
  I applaud CED for its commitment to restoring the public's faith in 
government by calling for a soft money ban.
  And CED is just one part of a growing movement to call on this body 
to clean up our campaign finance system.
  One of the most inspiring leaders of the movement for reform is not 
any business leader, or political figure for that matter. She is a 
great grandmother from Dublin, New Hampshire named Doris Haddock. 
Doris, known affectionately as Granny D, walked clear across the United 
States at age 90 to insist that Congress pay attention to reform 
issues.
  She walked across mountains and desert, in sweltering heat and 
freezing cold, to make her point. And along the way she inspired 
thousands of others to speak up about the corrupting influence of money 
in politics, and demand action from Congress. I was proud to have her 
support for the McCain-Feingold bill, and I am thrilled to have such a 
devoted ally on this issue.
  The fight for reform is also gaining tremendous strength from 
religious organizations that are reaching out to educate and mobilize 
their congregations about the issue.
  Support from religious organizations includes: The Episcopal Church, 
Church Women United, the Lutheran Office for Governmental Affairs, the 
Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the Church of the Brethren's 
Washington Office, the Mennonite Central Committee's Washington Office, 
the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, the Union of 
American Hebrew Congregations, the United Church of Christ's Office for 
Church in Society, the United Methodist Church's General Board of 
Church and Society, and NETWORK--a national Catholic social justice 
lobby.
  Reform has the vital support of environmental groups like the 
Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth and The Sierra Club, 
and the backing of seniors groups like AARP and the Gray Panthers.
  The support for reform in this country is strong, it is vocal, and is 
truly broad-based. We also have the support of consumer watchdogs like 
the Consumer Federation of America, health organizations like the 
American Heart Association, children's groups such as the Children's 
Defense Fund, and of course the support of groups like Common Cause and 
Public Citizen, which have been fighting a terrific fight against the 
undue influence of money in politics for decades.
  And I could go on. We are talking about people from every walk of 
life, every income level and every political affiliation. But they all 
have one simple thing in common: They are demanding an end to the soft 
money system that has made a mockery of our campaign finance laws, has 
deepened public cynicism about this body, and darkened the public 
perception of our democracy.
  The public is watching us right now. That is why I want us to move to 
the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill, whether we support it or not--
so that they can have faith that we are doing what we should be doing. 
Not serving wealthy interests, but doing their business, and doing it 
responsibly.
  And being responsible means acting on campaign finance reform.
  That is what people want--their voices can be heard loud and clear in 
polls on the campaign finance issue:
  Two out of three Americans think money has an ``excessive influence'' 
on elections and government policy, according to Committee for Economic 
Development's March 1999 report on campaign finance reform.

  Another CED poll question revealed that two-thirds of the public 
think ``their own representative in Congress would listen to the views 
of outsiders who made large political contributions before a 
constituent's views'';
  74.5 percent of respondents believe the Government is pretty much run 
by a few big interests looking out for themselves, according to a poll 
from the Center for Policy Attitudes;
  78 percent of respondents believe ``the current set of laws that 
control congressional campaign funding needs reform,'' in a Hotline 
poll.
  These numbers are even more disturbing than the numbers of the soft 
money donations themselves.
  These numbers tell us that it's a given today that people think the 
worst of us and the work we do--they believe that we are on the take, 
and who could possibly blame them?
  What is it that they do not understand, that they are misinterpreting 
about this system and how it affects us? Nothing; the public has not 
missed a thing.
  The public has got it exactly right. It is this body that has it 
wrong every time a minority of my colleagues block the majority of the 
Senate and will of the American people by trying to kill reform.
  The public deserves a Congress that can respond to the concerns of 
all Americans, not a wealthy few.
  The public deserves a responsible Congress that does its job by 
moving to the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill, whether we choose to 
vote yes or no, and the same goes for the other remaining approps bills 
that deserve our attention.
  Most of all, the public deserves a Congress that can set priorities 
that represent the concerns of the American people, and not just soft 
money donors, not just those who can afford to attend weekend getaways 
with party leadership, and not just those who have estates of more than 
$100 million dollars.
  That is our challenge. Let's address the people's real priorities. 
Let's do the people's business, and let's get started right now.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Crapo). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Is there further debate on the motion?
  Several Senators addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. BYRD. Under the rules, once a quorum is called off, if nobody 
seeks the floor, is it the requirement that the Chair put the question?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.
  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, do I have the floor?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia has the floor.
  Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, I simply cannot understand what is going on 
here. I wish someone would tell me. I think we had a unanimous vote a 
little earlier here on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to 
proceed to the consideration of the Treasury-Postal Service 
appropriations bill.
  Why don't we vote? Why don't we vote?
  As the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee, I can say to 
my colleagues that Senator Ted Stevens and I--the chairman and I--and 
the various chairmen and ranking members of the subcommittees on 
Appropriations have worked hard--have worked hard--to bring these 
appropriations bills to the Senate floor. We need

[[Page S7613]]

to get on with acting on these appropriations bills so that we can send 
them to the President.
  I can tell you what is going to happen. I have seen it happen all too 
often in recent years. We don't get the appropriations bills down to 
the President one by one, so that he can sign them or veto them, which 
he has a right to do. What we do is delay and delay and delay. As a 
result, when the time comes that the leaders and Senators have their 
backs to the wall, and there is a big rush on to finalize the work so 
Senators can go home and the Senate can adjourn sine die, then 
everything is crammed into one big bill, one omnibus bill.
  I am telling you, you would be amazed at what happens in the 
conferences. You would be amazed to see what occurs in those 
conferences. Entire bills are sometimes put into the conference 
report--entire bills, bills that may or may not have passed either 
House. And the administration is there also. The executive branch has 
its representatives there. They are there for the purpose of getting 
administration measures or items that the executive branch wants put 
into those conference reports. The items may not have had a word of 
debate in either House. Neither House will have had an opportunity to 
offer amendments on bills or to debate measures, and yet those measures 
will be put, lock, stock, and barrel, into the conference reports.
  Then the conference report comes back to the Senate, where Senators 
cannot vote on amendments to that conference report. So Senators, as a 
result, have no opportunity to debate these matters that are crammed 
into the conference reports in those conferences. They will have had no 
opportunity to debate them. They will have had no opportunity to amend 
them. They will have had no opportunity to vote on parts thereof. Yet 
Senators in this Chamber are confronted, then, with one package, and 
you take it or you leave it. You vote for it or you vote against it.

  We have experienced that on a number of occasions. When we were 
considering the fiscal year 1997 appropriations, we had a conference 
report on the Defense Appropriations Bill and five additional 
appropriations bills were crammed into that conference report in 
conference, five appropriations bills. I believe two of them had never 
been taken up in the Senate. I believe two of them had had some debate, 
had been brought up, but had not been finally acted upon.
  I intend at a future time to have all of this material researched so 
I can speak to it. Today, I recall there were five appropriations bills 
crammed into that conference report on the DOD Appropriations Bill. It 
was brought back to the Senate where Senators were unable to amend it 
and have votes on parts of it. And if Senators think that was bad, in 
fiscal year 1999, eight different appropriations bills were put into 
the final omnibus package. In addition thereto, a tax bill was put into 
that package in the conference. I believe that tax bill involved about 
$9.2 billion. That was put into the conference report. It had never had 
a day, an hour, or a minute of debate in this Senate. There were no 
amendments offered to it. Eight appropriations bills and a tax bill 
were all wrapped into one conference report in FY 1999, tied with a 
little ribbon, and Senators were confronted with having to vote for or 
against, that conference report--take it or leave it!
  That was right at the end of the session when many Senators wanted to 
go home. They had town meetings scheduled; they wanted to go home. When 
that kind of circumstance arises, we are faced with a situation of 
having to vote on a bill that may contain thousands of pages which we 
have not had an opportunity to read. As I remember, there were 3,980 
pages in that conference report. Imagine that. If the people back home 
knew what we were doing to them, they would run us all out of town on a 
rail. And we would be entitled to that honor, the way we do business 
here. All we do is carry on continual war in this body, continual war, 
each side trying to get the ups on the other side. It isn't the 
people's business we are concerned with. It is who can get the best of 
whom in the partisan battles that go on in this Chamber.
  A lot of new Members come over from the House where they are 
accustomed, I suppose, to being told by their leaders what to do and 
how to do. Others come here fresh from the stump. I suppose they feel 
this is the way it has always been done. They don't know how it used to 
be done. They don't know that there was a day when we used to have 
conferences, and it was the rule that only items could be discussed in 
conference which had passed one or the other of the two bodies. Nothing 
could be put into a conference report that had not had action in one or 
the other of the two bodies. Otherwise, a point of order would lie 
against it.
  I can assure you, those of you who are not on the Appropriations 
Committee, you ought to see what goes on in the conferences. Bills that 
have never passed either body, measures that have never passed either 
body, measures, in many instances, which are only wanted by the 
administration, are brought to that conference and are crammed into 
that conference report. The conference report comes back to the Senate. 
It is unamendable, and we have to take it or leave it. That is no way 
to do business.
  I regret that it has come to this, and we are getting ready to do it 
again. I see the handwriting on the wall.

  Those of you who have read the book of Daniel will remember 
Belshazzar having a feast with 1,000 of his lords. They drank out of 
the vessels that had been taken from the temple in Jerusalem and 
brought to Babylon. And as they were eating and drinking and having 
fun, Belshazzar saw a hand appear over on the wall near the 
candlestick. And he saw the handwriting: mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. 
So he sent for his wise men, his astrologers, and wanted them to tell 
him what this writing meant. They couldn't do it. But the Queen told 
Belshazzar that there was a young man in the kingdom who could indeed 
unravel this mystery. As a result, Daniel was sent for. He told the 
King what was meant by the handwriting on the wall: ``God hath numbered 
thy kingdom, and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art 
found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and the 
Persians.'' And that night, Belshazzar was slain and the Medes and the 
Persians took the kingdom.
  I see the handwriting on the wall: mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. I see 
the handwriting. We have voted unanimously in this body today to 
proceed to take up the appropriations bill making appropriations for 
the Department of Treasury-Postal Service and so forth, but we are not 
going to vote on that. I have asked questions around: When are we going 
to vote? There is no intention to vote on that today. We have another 
cloture vote coming up within a few minutes. If that cloture motion is 
approved, the Senate will then take on that subject, and the Treasury-
Postal appropriations bill will go back to the calendar. We are not 
going to take it up. There is no intention of voting on that bill, no 
intention. It will go back on the calendar.
  Then what will happen? I see the handwriting on the wall. We will go 
to conference one day when we get back from the August recess. We will 
go to conference one day on another appropriations bill, and everything 
will go on that appropriations bill. I wish Daniel were here today so 
he could tell me exactly what the handwriting on this wall really 
means, but I think I know what it means. It means this bill isn't going 
to see the light of day until after the recess, and probably not then. 
In all likelihood, the Treasury-Postal Service bill will be put on a 
conference report, maybe on the legislative appropriations bill. This 
bill will go on that. As time passes, more and more appropriations 
bills will likely go on that in conference.
  So we will get another conference report back here that is loaded--
loaded--with appropriations bills. We won't know what is in them. We 
Senators won't know what is in those bills. We didn't know what was in 
the 3,980-page conference report in fiscal year 1999. We voted for it 
or against it blindly. I voted against it. I didn't know what was in 
it. That is what we are confronted with.
  The American people, I think, are going to write us off as being 
irrelevant. We don't mean anything. We just stay here and fight one 
another and try to get the partisan best of one another.

[[Page S7614]]

Democrats versus Republicans, Republicans versus Democrats. Who can get 
the ups on the other side. The people will say we can go to hell. That 
is the attitude here. Hell is not such a bad word. I have seen it in 
the Bible, so I perhaps will not be accused of using bad language here. 
But that is what we are in for. That is the handwriting on the wall. We 
are going to replay the same old record and have these monumental 
conference reports come back here, unamendable, and we take them hook, 
line, and sinker, one vote. No amendments. We won't know what is in the 
bill.
  How is that for grown up men and women? We won't know what is in the 
bill because we are playing politics all the time. We are playing 
politics. That is why we are not getting our work done. I am not 
blaming that side or this side. I am just blaming both sides. We are 
all caught in this. I am sure the American people can't look at this 
body, or this Congress, and get much hope because we play politics all 
the time. I am sorry that things have come to this. But Congress 
doesn't work by the rules; the Senate doesn't operate under the rules 
it operated under when I came here and that existed up until a few 
years ago. This game has been going on and it is getting worse. It is 
getting worse.
  Mr. President, I don't intend to hold the floor any longer. I will 
have more to say about this. If you want to know the truth, what is 
said is exactly the truth. We are absolutely working a fraud on the 
American people. They look to this body and expect us to legislate on 
the problems of the country, and we are just tied in knots. We only 
seem to think about partisanship. I am sick and tired of that. I am 
sure we have to have a little of that as we go along, but it has become 
all partisan politics. Who can win this? If they come up with 
something, we have to come up with an alternative.
  I don't think the American people want that. I think they know more 
than we think they know, and I believe they are pretty aware of what is 
going on. We are just playing politics. That is exactly why we can't 
get this Treasury-Postal Service Appropriations Bill up and get it 
passed and send it to conference. Mark my words; we are going to play 
the same old game over and over again that we have played all too many 
times now, not passing appropriations bills, but having them all in 
conference put into one monumental, colossal conference report, and it 
is sent back here and we will vote on it and we won't know what is in 
the conference report. Shame! Shame on us!
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island is recognized.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss the current posture 
of the Treasury-Postal appropriations bill on the floor. It seems to me 
that we are in the doldrums. Our sails are unfurled, the crew is at 
their positions, but the ship is not moving. There are many reasons for 
that. But I suggest one of the principal reasons is that over the last 
several months--indeed, throughout this entire Congress--the leadership 
has taken it upon themselves to essentially try to nullify the 
President's constitutional authority to appoint judges to the Federal 
courts.
  Article II, section 2 of the Constitution is quite clear that the 
President has the right to appoint Federal judges, subject to the 
advice and consent of the Senate. But what has happened with increasing 
enthusiasm is that these appointments arrive here and then languish 
month after month after month after month. At some point, this type of 
nullification, this avoidance of responsibility under the Constitution, 
subverts what I believe the Founding Fathers saw as a relatively 
routine aspect of Government: Presidential appointment and 
consideration within a reasonable time by the Senate of these 
appointments.
  It has not been a reasonable time in so many cases. Repeatedly, 
appointments to the Federal bench have been made by the President. They 
have come to the Senate and have been virtually ignored month after 
month. At some point, we have to be responsible not only to the 
Constitution, but to the people of the country and act on these 
appointments. Now, that doesn't mean confirm every appointment. But it 
certainly, in my mind, means to have a reasonable deliberation, a 
hearing, and then bring it to a vote. It is far better, both 
constitutionally and in terms of the lives of individual Americans, to 
decide their fate, decide whether or not they will serve on the bench 
in a reasonable period of time than to let them twist slowly in the 
wind--some for upwards of a year or more. That is what has been 
happening. It is a reflection of a deeper paralysis within the system.
  The Senate is not operating as it traditionally has, as a forum for 
vigorous debate, amendment, and discussion, and after a vigorous 
debate, a vote. We have seen a situation in which measures are brought 
to the floor only after concessions are made about the number of 
amendments, the scope of amendments, and the type of amendments. That 
is operational procedure that is frequently associated with the other 
body but which defies the tradition of this body, where we pride 
ourselves on our ability to debate and amend, to be a place in which 
serious discussions about public policy take place routinely and just 
as often decisions are made by the votes of this body. We haven't seen 
that.
  We introduced on this floor for consideration--and it has been the 
pending business now since May--the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act. Every 5 years, we reauthorize the education policy of the Federal 
Government--the education policy with respect to elementary and 
secondary schools throughout this country: the title I program, 
Professional Development Program, and the Eisenhower Program that 
assists professional development. Yet this major piece of legislation 
has come to this floor and then, like judges, has been languishing in 
the shadows for months now. Why? Well, some suggest it is because the 
majority doesn't want to consider amendments with respect to school 
safety and gun violence. Those amendments might cause difficult votes. 
But in any case, we are likely, this year, not to discharge our routine 
duty of every 5 years reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act. We are going to--using a sports metaphor--punt.
  All of these things together have caused us to stop and essentially 
ask why can't we refocus our operations, refocus our emphasis, and 
begin to renew the tradition in this body of debate, wide-open 
amendment leading to votes with respect to substantive legislation and 
with respect to appointments by the President to the judiciary and 
other appointments.
  That is why I believe we are here in these doldrums. The lights are 
on. We are assembled, but we are not moving forward. I think we have to 
begin to look at what we are doing and why we are doing it. Perhaps 
that is the most useful aspect of this discussion this afternoon--
because I hope that eventually we can emerge from these doldrums and 
begin to, once again, take up the people's business in a reasonable and 
timely fashion leading to votes after debate. Some may go the way we 
want. Some may not. But in the grand scheme of things, when we are 
debating and bringing the principles of the debate to conclusion by 
voting, we are discharging the responsibility that the American people 
entrusted to us when they elected us to the Senate.
  There are many examples of what we could be doing if we adopted this 
approach. For example, I have an amendment which I would like to 
introduce with respect to this Treasury-Postal bill regarding the 
enforcement of our firearms laws in the United States.
  We hear time and time again--particularly by the opponents of 
increased gun safety legislation--that all we have to do is enforce the 
laws. Yet in the past we have seen the erosion of funds going to the 
ATF for their enforcement policies. I must say that this year's 
Treasury-Postal appropriations bill has moved the bar upwards in terms 
of funding appropriate gun safety programs, and I commend the Chairman 
and Ranking Member for their effort. But there are two areas in which 
they have failed to respond. One is the youth crime gun interdiction 
initiative by the ATF.
  I would request in my amendment an additional $6.4 million, which 
would bring it up to the funding requested by the President. This, to 
me, is an absolutely critical issue--not only in the sense of making 
sound public policy, but critical because in every community in this 
country we are astonished

[[Page S7615]]

by the ease of access to firearms by youngsters. We are horrified by 
the results of this access to firearms.
  A few weeks ago in Providence, RI, we were absolutely devastated by 
the murder of two young people. They had been in Providence on Thursday 
evening at a night club. They left. One youngster was working and the 
other was a college student. They were chatting by their car, waiting 
to go to their homes that evening when they were carjacked by five or 
six young men. They were driven to a golf course on the outskirts of 
Providence. Then they were brutally killed with firearms.
  Where did these accused murderers get these firearms? It is a 
confused story. But there was an adult, apparently, who had lots of 
weapons. Either they were stolen from this individual, or he lent the 
firearms to one of these young men. But, in any case, this is one of 
those searing examples of young people having firearms being desperate, 
being homicidal, and using those weapons to kill two innocent people.
  The program, which is underfunded in this appropriations bill, would 
authorize the ATF to work with local police departments to develop 
tracing reports to determine the source of firearms in juvenile crimes.
  There was some suggestion initially and anecdotally that most of 
these firearms were stolen, but then preliminary research suggested 
not; that, in fact, there is an illegal market for firearms and that 
too many weapons used by juveniles in these heinous crimes are obtained 
in this illegal firearms market.
  This type of information is extremely useful in terms of designing 
strategies to interdict access to firearms by youth perpetrators. We 
need this kind of intelligence in the Nation, if we are going to 
construct appropriate programs that are going to deal with this 
problem.
  This, again, is a reflection of what I sense happened in Providence. 
It is unclear precisely what happened. But here you have the 
possibility that the individual with the firearms either sold them or 
lent them, got them into the hands of young people who, in turn, used 
them to kill other young people.

  It would be extremely useful if we knew collectively and not only 
individually how these weapons moved through our society, because 
without this knowledge it is very hard to create counterstrategies.
  That is one important aspect--these trace reports--for appropriations 
that I will seek to move today with respect to appropriations.
  Indeed, the Senate Appropriations Committee report emphasizes the 
importance of the partnerships that are underlying this initiative, and 
underlying also the ability to deal with the incidents of youth firearm 
crimes. In their words:

       The partnership between ATF and local law enforcement 
     agencies in these communities--

  The communities that are already participating in this program--

     is invaluable to the mutual effort to reduce gun-related 
     crimes. The tracing information provided by ATF not only 
     allows local jurisdictions to target scarce resources to 
     investigations likely to achieve results, but also gives ATF 
     the raw data to be able to investigate and prosecute the 
     illegal source of these crime guns. The Committee continues 
     to believe that there are significant disruptions in these 
     illegal firearms markets directly due to investigative leads 
     arising from this regional initiative.

  Frankly, the committee recognizes that this is a useful initiative. I 
would like to see it fully funded. That is something we could be 
talking about. Indeed, I hope we can move to incorporate that within 
the appropriations bill that is before us.
  There is another important firearms enforcement measure that was not 
funded by the committee which I would like to see funded, and that is 
the national integrated ballistics information network. I would like to 
see that appropriation moved up by $11.68 million to meet the 
President's request. This would integrate two systems that try to 
identify bullets based upon their ballistic characteristics so they can 
be more useful in investigating crimes.
  The ATF has an integrated ballistics identification system, which is 
called in shorthand IBIS. The FBI has what they call the ``drugfire'' 
ballistic system. I have seen demonstrations of these systems. They are 
remarkable. They recover a slug at a crime scene. They take it to a 
lab, which has the computer equipment that is designed to run this 
system. They are able to identify the characteristics of the particular 
slug that is being examined and then, through their data banks, match 
it up with a known group of slugs, make a positive identification, and 
the positive identification leads, in many cases, to the arrest, or 
certainly to the identification of the weapon that was used. It is very 
similar to fingerprinting, with which we are all familiar.
  We have these two systems. They work very well independently. But 
they would work much better if their databases were combined; if the 
source was engineered to cooperate and work interdependently. That is 
what this appropriation would do.
  We have seen success already. Both of these systems, working 
independently, have produced more than 8,000 matches and 16,000 cases. 
For the first time we can take a slug from a crime scene, match it up 
with known weapons, leading, hopefully, to arrests and ultimately 
conviction. In a way, it is not only like fingerprints, it is like DNA, 
like all the scientific breakthroughs we are able to use to more 
effectively enforce the laws and bring lawbreakers to justice.
  I hope we can use this system more effectively by integrating the two 
programs, the ATF program and also the FBI program.
  One of the reasons I am offering this amendment is to ensure we have 
the money this year. There is a 24-month proposed schedule for the 
deployment of this system. The work has been done, the plans have been 
done, but if we do not appropriate sufficient money in fiscal years 
2001 and 2002, then we will fall short of this scheduled deployment. We 
will create a situation in which, again, when we ask why the American 
people get so frustrated with government, the situation in which we 
have been planning, we have been expending money, we are all ready to 
move forward on an initiative that will materially aid law enforcement 
authority, and then we stop short and go into a hiatus for a year, and 
maybe at the end of the year start again. But, more than likely, it 
will be more expensive, and we have lost months or years in terms of 
having effective tools for our law enforcement authorities. That is one 
of the frustrations. It is frustration based upon our inability to be 
able to move efficiently and promptly to do the people's business.
  I hope we can deal with this issue of both the youth crime gun 
interdiction initiative and the national integrated ballistics 
information network. These are the types of appropriations measures we 
should not only be talking about, but we should be voting for. Again, 
we are in this predicament because there has been such a conscious, 
overt effort on the part of the leadership to deflect consideration, 
deliberation, and decision on so many important issues that are 
critical to the future of America. Lifetime tenure on Federal courts is 
being withheld because there is a hope, an expectation on one side, 
that these judges will go away, these nominees will go away, in 6 or 9 
months.
  I don't think that is what the American people want Congress to do. 
They want Congress to either approve or disapprove, but they want 
Congress to act.
  Mr. BENNETT. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. REED. I am happy to yield to the Senator.
  Mr. BENNETT. Mr. President, the Senator has talked about the present 
situation we are in. Is the Senator aware that the majority leader 
tried to move the Senate toward consideration of this bill as long ago 
as last Friday and it was objected to by the minority?
  Mr. REED. I am aware of that. It is one of the situations where, 
after months and months of cooperating, of trying to accommodate, 
mutually, the desire and the recognition of getting things done, at 
some point when we see no movement with respect to our constitutional 
obligation to confirm judges, no real movement, when we see the 
elementary and secondary education bill that has been put out to 
languish and perhaps not to see the light of day for the rest of the 
year, when we see a process in which the price of bringing a bill to 
the floor is an agreement to surrender the rights of individual 
Senators to amend that legislation, to make that amendment

[[Page S7616]]

process subject to the approval of the majority leader, when we see all 
those things, what I think we have to do and what we must do is insist 
that we get back, away from that process of majority oppression. 
Perhaps that is too melodramatic. We have to get back to the rules of 
the Senate, the spirit of the Senate, which, I believe, is open debate, 
open amendment, and a vote.
  Frankly, if that were the rule that was forthcoming from the majority 
leader, if the majority leader said, bring ESEA back, open up the 
amendment process, vote; when we finish the amendments, if the debate 
goes too long, in my prerogative, after long debate, I will enter a 
cloture motion--that is the way the Senate should operate. I suggest 
that is not the way this Senate is operating. That is why we are here 
today.

  There is responsibility for every individual Senator for what happens 
on the floor of the Senate. Certainly the management of the Senate is 
within the grasp and the control immediately of the majority leader and 
the majority. That control has been deliberately, I think, to thwart 
the nomination and the confirmation of judges and deliberately to 
frustrate legislation important to the American people because there 
might be amendments that are uncomfortable for consideration by some in 
this body.
  Mr. BENNETT. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. REED. I am happy to yield to the Senator.
  Mr. BENNETT. Is the Senator aware the majority leader has an 
agreement with the minority leader whereby a number of judges would, in 
fact, be confirmed and that the agreement was accepted by both sides, 
only to have the minority leader come forward and say that he wanted to 
identify the specific judges, and the numbers were not acceptable? The 
minority leader wanted to pick specific people, in contradiction of the 
normal pattern of the Judiciary Committee.
  Is the Senator aware of the fact the minority leader has taken that 
stand?
  Mr. REED. Reclaiming my time, essentially what the Senator is 
arguing, by implication, is that the majority leader has the sole 
responsibility and sole prerogative to pick who will come to this floor 
for consideration as a judge.
  I am amazed at this whole process. Look at judges who have been 
pending for almost a year and their names are not coming to the 
surface. That is something more at work than the breaks of the game. 
That is a deliberate attempt by the majority to suppress the nomination 
of individual judges.
  Frankly, an offer to bring some judges to the floor is, in my view, 
insufficient unless that offer was transparent, saying we will begin to 
work down the judges who have been pending longest, with perhaps other 
criteria, such as districts or circuits that need judges.
  But that is not how it is working. These magnanimous offers of 
bringing up a couple of judges--I believe I saw yesterday where three 
judges from Arizona were just nominated by the President, and they 
already have hearings scheduled. We have other judges who were 
nominated over a year ago, and they have not even had a hearing, a year 
later. Some magnanimous gestures by the majority leader are self-
serving and ultimately had to be rejected by the minority.
  I respect the Senator, but I will continue my discussion on some 
other points.
  Mr. BENNETT. I will respond at a later time.
  Mr. REED. The youth crime gun interdiction initiative and the 
national integrative ballistics information network are important 
issues. Those are the issues we are talking about. They are a subset of 
what I argue is the larger issue.
  The larger issue: Is the Senate going to be the Senate? Or is it some 
type of smaller House of Representatives where the leadership dictates 
what is coming to the floor, what judge's name might come up, what bill 
might come up, what amendment might come up, when it all comes about? 
That, I think, is the key point.
  Let me take up another key point in terms of the demonstration of why 
we are not doing our duty. We have before the Senate a very difficult 
vote on extending permanent normal trade relations to China. It is a 
very difficult vote. We know that. It is a vote that bedeviled the 
House of Representatives. It was controversial. It was difficult. But 
after intense pressure and vigorous debate, the House of 
Representatives brought it to a conclusion and voted.
  Now that measure is before the Senate. It is controversial. It is, 
like so many other things, languishing. It could have been accomplished 
weeks ago. The business community would argue vociferously it should 
have been accomplished weeks ago. It has been couched in many terms, 
but one term I think is most compelling is that it is a critical 
national security vote. It is a critical national security vote. Yes, 
it is about trade. Yes, it is about economic impacts within the United 
States and around the world. But it is also about whether or not we 
will continue to maintain a relationship of engagement with China, or 
if we reject it, or if we delay it indefinitely and open up the 
distinct possibility of confrontation and competition with China.
  Yet this critical national security vote, this critical vote which is 
probably the No. 1 objective of the business community in this country, 
again languishes.
  Some would say there are reasons. We want to talk about Senator 
Thompson's and Senator Torricelli's amendment about proliferation. But, 
again, it is symptomatic of a situation in which the Senate is not 
responding as it should to its constitutional and to its public 
responsibilities because of the political calculus.
  Our side is not immune to political calculation. But the leadership 
of this body has created a situation in which avoidance of difficult 
issues, nullification of constitutional responsibilities and 
obligations to confirm judges, and deferment of critical national 
security issues for short-run advantages, is the standard of 
performance. I believe that is not the role the Senate should play and 
that is the heart of this discussion today.
  Let me suggest one other point with respect to the business of the 
body. We confront a range of issues that deal with those world-shaking, 
momentous issues like China trade policy; issues with respect to 
domestic tranquility; the safety of our streets; the funding of the 
appropriations bills for law enforcement when it comes to firearms.
  Then there are issues that are not important to the vast number of 
Americans in the sense it doesn't affect them directly but are 
critically important to many Americans. One is a measure I have been 
trying to find the opportunity to bring to the floor, and that is to 
somehow help the Liberian community in this country who came here in 
1990, in the midst of their violent civil war, and who for the last 
decade have been in the United States. They have been residing here. 
They have been contributing to our communities. Many of them have 
children who are American citizens. Yet they are in a position where 
they face deportation October 1. The clock is ticking.
  This is not an issue that is going to galvanize parades through every 
Main Street in America. But for these roughly 10,000 people who are 
caught up in this twilight zone while they are here, they want to 
remain here with their children, many of whom, as I said, are 
Americans, but they face a prospect of being deported back to a country 
that is still tumultuous, still dangerous, still threatening to them 
and many others.
  This is legislation that has been supported by Senator Chafee, my 
colleague from Rhode Island, Senator Hagel, Senator Wellstone, Senator 
Kennedy, Senator Landrieu, Senator Kerry, and Senator Durbin, 
legislation that will materially assist these individuals. But, once 
again, we are not moving with the kind of rapidity that allows for the 
easy accommodation of this type of legislation on the floor. I hope it 
does come up soon, but I think it represents the cost of this 
overcontrol and this inflexibility, perhaps, that we are seeing as the 
management leadership style here today.
  Let me just briefly set the stage about the need for this 
legislation. Liberia is a country that has the closest ties of any 
African nation to the United States--it was founded by freed slaves in 
the middle 1800s. Its capital is Monrovia, named after President 
Monroe. It is a country that did its utmost

[[Page S7617]]

throughout its existence in the 1800s and the 1900s, to emulate 
American Government structure, at least. But it erupted into tremendous 
violence in 1989 and 1990. Over the next several years, 150,000 people 
fled to surrounding countries. Many of them came to the United States--
many being about 14,000. In March 1991, the Attorney General recognized 
that these individuals needed to be sheltered, so he granted temporary 
protected status, or TPS.
  Under TPS, the nationals of a country may stay in the United States 
without fear of deportation because of the armed conflict or 
extraordinary conditions in their homeland. People who register for TPS 
receive work authorizations, they are required to pay taxes--and this 
is precisely what the Liberian community has done in the United States. 
They went to work. They paid taxes. However, they do not qualify for 
benefits such as welfare and food stamps. Not a single day spent in TPS 
counts towards the residence requirement for permanent residency. So 
they are in this gray area, this twilight zone. They have stayed there 
now for 10 years because the situation did not materially change for 
many years.

  Each year, the Attorney General must conduct a review. The Attorney 
General did conduct such a review and continued to grant TPS until a 
few years ago, until the fall of 1999, when the determination was made 
that the situation in Liberia had stabilized enough that TPS was no 
longer forthcoming.
  At that, many of us leaped to the fore and said the situation has 
changed. The situation has changed in Liberia, but it has also changed 
with respect to these individuals here in the United States. They have 
established themselves in the community. They have become part of the 
community. Their expectations of a speedy return to Liberia long ago 
evaporated and they started to accommodate themselves--indeed many of 
them enthusiastically--to joining the greater American community.
  The situation changed in Liberia. The change there was more 
procedural than substantive. What happened was the situation in which 
there was an election, which was monitored by outsiders, which elected 
a President, the former warlord, Charles Taylor.
  Based upon this procedural process change, the State Department and 
others ruled, essentially, that the situation was now ripe for the 
return of Liberians from the United States and surrounding countries to 
Liberia. But at the heart, the chaos, the economic disruption, the 
violence within Liberia did not subside substantially. As a result, 
Liberians here in the United States have genuine concerns about their 
return to Liberia. What has happened most recently, because this is an 
evolving situation, is that Charles Taylor, the President, again, duly 
elected President, has not renounced all of his prior behaviors because 
it is strongly suggested that he has been one of the key forces who is 
creating the havoc in the adjoining nation of Sierra Leone.
  All of us have seen horrific photographs of the violence there, of 
children whose arms and hands have been cut off by warring factions in 
Sierra Leone. The Revolutionary United Front is one of the key 
combatants in that country. Part of this is an unholy alliance between 
Taylor and the Revolutionary United Front for the purpose of creating, 
not only mischief, but also for exploiting diamond resources within 
Sierra Leone for the benefit of Taylor and the benefit of others. But 
all of this, this turmoil, once again, suggests that Liberia is not a 
place that is a stable working democracy where someone, after 10 years 
of living in the United States, could return easily and gracefully and 
immediately.
  Last year at this time, after being approached by myself and others, 
the Attorney General determined that she could not grant TPS again 
under the law. But she did grant Deferred Enforced Departure, or DED, 
to Liberians, which meant the Liberians could remain in the United 
States for another year but essentially they are being deported. It is 
just stayed, delayed for a while. They have been living in this further 
uncertainty for the last year.
  My legislation would allow them to begin to adjust to a permanent 
residency status here in the United States, and hopefully, ultimately, 
after passing all of the hurdles, to become citizens of this country.
  They arrived here, as I said, about 10 years ago. They came here with 
the expectation that they would have a short stay and would be home, 
back in their communities, back in Liberia, but that expectation was 
frustrated, not by them but by the violence that continued to break out 
throughout Liberia.
  Now they have established themselves here. They are part and parcel 
of the community, and they are extremely good neighbors in my State of 
Rhode Island, as well as in other parts of this country. I believe 
equity, fairness, and justice require that we offer these individuals 
the opportunity to become permanent resident aliens and ultimately, as 
I said, I hope they will take the opportunity to become citizens of 
this country.
  Our immigration policy is an interesting one, idiosyncratic in many 
cases, but it is important to point out there are several other 
countries around the globe that have already dealt with a problem like 
this: Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, and Great Britain. After 
a certain length of time, even if you are there temporarily--certainly 
10 years is a sufficient time--you can, in fact, adjust your status to 
something akin to permanent resident of the United States and pursue 
citizenship.
  We have done this before. We have made these types of adjustments for 
other national groups that have been here and for many of the same 
reasons: Simple justice, length of stay, connections to the community 
of America, continued turmoil in their own countries. For example, in 
1988 we passed a law to allow the Attorney General to adjust to 
permanent status 4,996 Polish individuals who had been here for 4 
years, 387 Ugandans who had been here for 10 years, 565 Afghanis who 
had been here for 8 years, and 1,180 Ethiopians who had been here for 
11 years.
  The 102nd Congress passed a law which allowed Chinese nationals who 
had been granted deferred enforced departure after Tiananmen Square to 
adjust to permanent residency. Over the next 4 years, 52,968 Chinese 
changed their status.
  In the last Congress, we passed legislation known as NACARA. Under 
this law, 150,000 Nicaraguans, 5,000 Cubans, 200,000 El Salvadorans, 
and 50,000 Guatemalans who had been living in the United States since 
the eighties were eligible to adjust to permanent residency status. A 
separate law allows Haitians who were granted DED to adjust to 
permanent residency.
  As one can see, we are not setting a precedent. We are doing what we 
have done before in response to similar motivations: fairness, length 
of stay here, turmoil in the homeland to which we propose to deport 
these individuals.
  Another important point is why we believe we have a special 
obligation to Liberia. As my colleagues know--and I have mentioned 
before--this is a country that shares so much with the United States.
  In 1822, a group of freed slaves in the United States began to settle 
the coast of western Africa with the assistance of private American 
philanthropic groups and at the behest of the U.S. Government. In 1847, 
these settlers established the Republic of Liberia, the first 
independent country in Africa. Five percent of the population of 
Liberia traces their ancestry to former American slaves. They modeled 
their constitution after ours. And they used the dollar as their 
currency.
  Before the 1990 civil war, the United States was Liberia's leading 
trading partner and major donor of assistance. When Liberia was torn 
apart by civil war, they turned to the United States for help. We 
recognized that special relationship, and we offered aid to Liberia. We 
offered it, as I said, to assist those who were fleeing destruction and 
devastation. We should continue to do that. We have had a special 
relationship with Liberia over history, and we have formed a special 
relationship throughout this country with those communities of 
Liberians who have been here for a decade and who seek to stay.
  Again, this is some of the legislation we could be considering, some 
of the legislation with which we could be dealing if we had a process 
that allowed that free flow of legislation to the floor.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that two letters be printed in 
the

[[Page S7618]]

Record: A letter from Bill Gray, President of the College Fund, and a 
letter from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
  There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                             The College Fund,

                                      Fairfax, VA, April 19, 2000.
     Hon. Jack Reed,
     U.S. Senator, Senate Hart Office Building, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Reed: I write to let you know of the great 
     importance I attach to the passage of legislation that would 
     allow Liberian nationals already in the U.S. for almost ten 
     years to become permanent residents. Your legislation, S. 
     656, the Liberian Immigration Fairness Act, would accomplish 
     this important goal.
       The United States has always shared a special relationship 
     with Liberia, a country created in 1822 by private American 
     philanthropic organizations for freed American slaves. In 
     December 1989, civil war erupted in Liberia and continued to 
     rage for seven years. USAID estimates that of Liberia's 2.1 
     million inhabitants, 150,000 were killed, 700,000 were 
     internally displaced and 480,000 became refugees. To date, 
     very little of the destroyed infrastructure has been rebuilt 
     and sporadic violence continues.
       When the civil war began in 1989, thousands of Liberians 
     fled to the United States. In 1991, the Attorney General 
     granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to these Liberians, 
     providing temporary relief from deportation since ongoing 
     armed conflict prevented their safe return home. For the next 
     seven years, the Attorney General annually renewed this TPS 
     status. Last summer, Attorney General Reno announced that 
     this TPS designation would end on September 28, 1999. 
     Throughout 1999, Liberians faced the prospect that they would 
     be uprooted and forced to return to a country still ravaged 
     by violence and repression. However, on September 27, 1999, 
     President Clinton granted non-citizen Liberians living in the 
     United States a reprieve, allowing them to remain in the 
     country and work for one additional year.
       The Department of Justice estimates that approximately 
     10,000 Liberians are living in the United States under 
     protection of our immigration laws. There are significant 
     Liberian populations in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, 
     Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Rhode 
     Island, and North Carolina. For the past decade, while 
     ineligible for government benefits, Liberians have been 
     authorized to work and are required to pay taxes. They 
     married, bought homes, and placed their children, many of 
     whom were born in this country, in school. Despite their 
     positive contributions to our communities, their immigration 
     status does not offer Liberians the opportunity to share 
     fully in our society by becoming citizens.
       When they first arrived, these nationals of Liberia hoped 
     that their stay in this country would indeed be temporary. 
     But ten years have passed and they have moved on with their 
     lives. Liberians have lived in this immigration limbo longer 
     than any other group in the United States. More importantly, 
     other immigrant groups who were given temporary haven in the 
     United States for much shorter periods have been allowed to 
     adjust to permanent residency: Afghans, Ethiopians, Poles and 
     Ugandans after five yeas and 53,000 Chinese after just three 
     years. It is time to end the uncertainty that Liberians have 
     lived with for so long. It is time to allow them the 
     opportunity to adjust to permanent residency as our nation 
     has allowed others before them.
       Following our Nation's tradition of fairness and decency, I 
     am pleased to add my personal support to S. 656 in order to 
     offer Liberians the protection they deserve.
           Sincerely,
     William H. Gray III.
                                  ____

                                          Lutheran Immigration and
                                              Refugee Service,

                                    Washington, DC, March 7, 2000.
     Hon. Jack Reed,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Reed: On behalf of the undersigned 
     organizations, we urge your support of the Liberian Refugee 
     Immigration Fairness Act of 1999 (S. 656). This Act would 
     provide relief and protection for some 15,000 Liberian civil 
     war refugees and their families now residing in the United 
     States.
       Since March of 1991, over 10,000 Liberian civil war 
     refugees have resided in the United States. Recently, they 
     were granted an extension of their temporary exclusion from 
     deportation when President Clinton ordered the Attorney 
     General to defer their enforced departure. Granted for one 
     year, the order is set to expire in September of this year. 
     Against this general background, legislation has been 
     introduced by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) to adjust the status 
     of certain Liberian nationals to that of lawful permanent 
     residence. We strongly support Senator Reed's proposed 
     legislation, S. 656. We view this bill as being vital to the 
     basic protection of and fairness towards Liberian civil war 
     refugees.
                             justifications

       The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1999 would 
     protect Liberian refugees and their families from being 
     forcibly returned to a nation where their life and freedom 
     may still be threatened. Even the Human Rights reports from 
     the U.S. Department of State and Amnesty International have 
     called attention to the continuing pattern of abuses against 
     citizens by the Liberian government. Additionally, the 
     legislation would protect against the dissolution of families 
     as Liberian parents are forced to choose between leaving 
     their American born children in the U.S. or taking them back 
     to Liberia if they are deported. Further, after nearly a 
     decade of living in the U.S., Liberians have established real 
     ties in their local communities and as such, forced 
     deportation would simply be wrong. Finally, it is imperative 
     that Liberian civil war refugees be accorded the same 
     favorable treatment as other refugee groups seeking relief in 
     the United States.
       We remain appreciative to Congress for its continued 
     attention paid to the general issue of immigration relief for 
     those in need, and we trust the same will be devoted to the 
     Liberians. We appreciate your consideration of these 
     comments.
           Sincerely,
                                           Ralston H. Deffenbaugh,
                                                        President.

       On behalf of:
       Nancy Schestack, Director, Catholic Charities Immigration 
     Legal Services Program.
       Douglas A. Johnson, Executive Director, Center for Victims 
     of Torture.
       Richard Parkins, Director, Episcopal Migration Ministries.
       Tsehaye Teferra, Director, Ethiopian Community Development 
     Council.
       Eric Cohen, Staff Attorney, Immigrant Legal Resource 
     Center.
       Curtis Ramsey-Lucas, Director of Legislative Advocacy, 
     National Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA.
       Jeanne Butterfield, Director, American Immigration Lawyers.
       William Sage, Interim Director, Church World Service 
     Immigration and Refugee Program.
       John T. Clawson, Director, Office of Public Policy and 
     Advocacy, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.
       Muriel Heiberger, Executive Director, Massachusetts 
     Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition.
       Oscar Chacon, Director, Northern California Coalition for 
     Immigrant Rights.
       Skip Roberts, Legislative Director, Service Employees 
     International Union.
       David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center 
     of Reformed Judaism, Union of American Hebrew Congregations.
       Ruth Compton, Immigrant and Latin America Consultant, 
     United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.
       Katherine Fennelly, Professor, Humphrey Institute of Public 
     Affairs, University of Minnesota.
       Asylum and Refugee Rights Law Project of the Washington 
     Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
       Don Hammond, Senior Vice President, World Relief.
       Morton Sklar, Director, World Organization Against Torture, 
     USA.

  Mr. REED. These two letters are strong statements on behalf of the 
legislation, the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, which I 
have spoken about and which I ardently desire to see acted upon in this 
session in the next few weeks.
  Bill Gray, as many know, is a former distinguished Congressman from 
Philadelphia, PA. He is now President of the College Fund, which was 
formerly known as the United Negro College Fund.
  He points out in his letter the long association between the United 
States and Liberia and urges that we act quickly and decisively to pass 
this legislation.
  The letter from the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service also 
makes that same plea for prompt and sympathetic action on this 
legislation. It is signed also on behalf of numerous organizations: the 
Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services Program; the Episcopal 
Migration Ministries; the National Ministries of American Baptist 
Churches USA; the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota; the Union of 
American Hebrew Congregations; the United Methodist Church, General 
Board of Church and Society; and it goes on and on.
  Again, this is the heartfelt plea by the church community and the 
religious community in general of this country for a favorable and 
immediate response to the plight of these Liberians who are here with 
us.

                          ____________________




							  
							  


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