Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words. I rise today to support H.R. 1829.
I think most Americans would be surprised, and I dare say appalled, to know that the Federal Government has been using their tax dollars to engage in business which literally takes jobs away from hardworking men and women, away from law-abiding citizens who obey the laws of our Nation, who pay their taxes, try to raise their families, and the Federal Government takes their jobs away to give those jobs to convicted felons. Yes, that is the brutal reality of this. The Federal Government taking
away jobs from taxpayers and giving those jobs to prisoners who are housed and fed by those same taxpayers. [Page: H10483]
It sounds too ridiculous to be true, but believe it. Because some think we need to put prisoners' rights ahead of the rights of tax-paying American citizens, and they say that these poor prisoners are doing hard time and they need to be taught a skill. Let me say that hard time is a time that one is unemployed while they helplessly watch goods that they once proudly made now being made by prisoners who can produce the same product at a lower price because their overhead is being paid for by the
And some would say what is the harm? Why not keep prisoners busy? That is an important thing for us to do, who cares? Well, go to west Michigan and talk to the thousands of unemployed workers who have lost their jobs because their own government has conspired against them and ask them if they mind. A once vital industry in Michigan has been decimated, the furniture industry. Not because the workers did not have a high degree of productivity, not because the quality of their products was inferior,
not because their company wanted to ship those jobs to China or to Mexico. It has been devastated because the Federal Government has totally forgotten what the purpose of government is and, in fact, has actually, in the very height of arrogance, declared an unfair trade war against its own citizens.
These companies are not even allowed to competitively compete for those contracts. Rather, they are given to criminals because of some misguided notion of rehabilitation.
I am not a corrections expert. I admit that. But I do know that I could think of plenty of other rehabilitation outlets rather than assisting felons from, one more time, taking advantage of law-abiding citizens.
I urge my colleagues to do the right thing, to do the decent thing, to change a law that is un-American, and vote for H.R. 1829.
Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I listened to the gentleman from Mississippi. I was walking back to my office. He really made a lot of good points. I was going to make them, and I had 4 minutes.
Let me just say, he is right. You are shooting at American prisoners who are trying to be rehabilitated, when China has taken more jobs from this country. But somebody said China is not the enemy.
China has about 11 Catholic bishops in jail today according to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, if anybody read, I did a Special Order on it--11 Catholic bishops. They have 250 evangelical house church leaders in jail today. They have plundered Tibet. Tibet is a wreck. I have been to Lhasa. Lhasa is a dirty Chinese city. Lhasa is no longer the Tibetan capital. The Muslims. China is pounding the Muslims in the northwest portion of the country.
Spying. The gentleman from Mississippi is right. The FBI comes before my appropriations subcommittee. They gave me a classified briefing. I can tell you that the Chinese are spying against us more so than the Russians were doing it. Yet what does this body do with regard to China? Zero. Zip. Not a thing.
The gentleman is right. I was opposed to granting normal trade to China. I am a free-trader. A lot of you rushed down here to give MFN to the Chinese. They are spying against us; they sold weapons to Saddam Hussein. [Page: H10485]
Remember watching that show one day? The shopping center hit in Kuwait was from a Chinese missile, sold by China to Iraq.
I know some members are frustrated because you are losing some jobs, and I want to do something to help keep jobs here. Yet you do not deal with those who are persecuting fundamentalists, who are persecuting Christians, persecuting Catholics and Protestants. I never hear anybody here speak about it. I never hear this House speak about that issue.
Tibet. Many came to see the Dalai Lama, but nobody talks about the persecution of the Buddhists. Muslims. Many of you represent large Muslim areas. Why do you not speak out when China is persecuting the Muslim faith? Spying against us. Why do you not speak out? The gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Taylor) is right, China is spying against us.
China is taking high-tech jobs from us. We lost 600,000 jobs. Maybe some changes ought to be made in the FPI. The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Hoekstra) is a good guy, and it pains me to be on the opposite side. Hopefully, something can be done.
There is an amendment that the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott) has about repatriation, but we are fundamentally not dealing with a major issue here.
The gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Taylor) was right. Generally he makes a lot of sense, a lot of times. I know I am using this opportunity on a bill dealing with FPI, but we are ignoring--this side and that side--are ignoring the persecution of people of faith in China.
Do you know if you need a new kidney, for $50,000 you can get it in China? Do you want to see it? Come by my office. They are shooting people in the back of the neck. They put the bayonet up high so the body goes rigid, they shoot them, they throw the body in a canvas bag, they put it in an ambulance, and in a half hour they are doing a transplant.
When does this Congress ever speak out? When does the Congress speak out on that issue? The Congress does not. There are more slave labor camps in China today than there were in Russia when Solzhenitzyn wrote the book ``Gulag Archipelago.'' Does this Congress ever speak out about it?
About the FPI, I know members are frustrated, and want to do something. You want to deal with this issue. But we're talking about a handful of jobs that are helping to train people so when they get out of prison they have some rehabilitation and some dignity. The gentleman from Mississippi is exactly right.
Mr. HOEKSTRA. I thank my colleague for yielding.
Mr. Chairman, as the gentleman is worried about China and as the gentleman is also worried about FPI, I think it is fair to note that a number of us have been with him on the issue of China. I voted against PNTR, both again for the jobs and because of the persecution that is going on there and because of their military intervention.
I believe that we need to protect American jobs here, both from the Chinese; and we need to allow those folks at least to have the opportunity to try to keep their jobs if they are competing against Federal Prison Industries. We are going to make sure that there is plenty of work and rehabilitative services for those in our prisons.