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[Congressional Record: July 27, 2000 (Senate)]
[Page S7822]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access []

                       VISA WAIVER PILOT PROGRAM

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I wish to explain to my colleagues the 
reasons for my objection to a unanimous consent request for the Senate 
to adopt legislation to make the Visa Waiver Pilot Program permanent, 
H.R. 3767. I do so consistent with the commitment I have made to 
explain publicly any so-called ``holds'' that I may place on 
  I regret that I am compelled to object to this measure at this point 
but I do so for reasons similar to those given previously. I believe 
the Senate should not allow the security of millions of rural Americans 
to be ignored while we press ahead with legislation to take care of 
immigration matters.
  Since April, a prominent Senate Republican leader has had a de facto 
hold on a bipartisan bill of critical importance to the security of 
those who live in rural counties, S. 1608, The Secure Rural Schools and 
Community Self-Determination Act of 2000. But time is running out. It 
is the end of July; there are fewer than 26 legislative days left. 
People in rural counties across America who have strained under 
dwindling Federal resource funds need this legislation. They should not 
be made to wait.
  S. 1608 addresses the problems 709 rural counties in 42 states face 
in trying to fund schools, roads and other basic county services with 
drastically declining Federal timber payments. These problems affect 
some 800,000 school children and millions of people. For example, Grant 
County in eastern Oregon has lost 90 percent of its timber receipts, 
forcing it to turn to a four-day school week as a cost-saving measure.
  This bipartisan bill provides a balanced solution to the problem. The 
Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported it by voice vote, and 
it is supported by hundreds of counties, labor organizations, education 
groups, and the National Association of Counties. I regret having to 
take this action but am compelled at this point in the legislative year 
to seek every opportunity to move this critically important