7:46 PM EDT

Tom Osborne, R-NE 3rd

Mr. OSBORNE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate Chairman LARRY COMBEST on a long and successful congressional career. I was privileged to serve on the Committee on Agriculture under LARRY. We were certainly at opposite ends of the spectrum. My first 2 years on the committee were LARRY'S last 2. I was without status. He was the chairman. Regardless of seniority, each person had access to LARRY and his staff on an equal basis. I have always felt that the true measure

of a person's character was how he treated those who could do nothing for him. In that respect, I thought that LARRY was really exemplary and I really appreciated the way I was received.

The most significant accomplishment of the Committee on Agriculture the last 2 years was reauthorization of the farm bill. This was a very exhaustive process. It went on over 2 years, involving roughly 50 hearings, 25 of those in various parts of the country and 25 here in Washington. Input was received from such diverse groups as the Farm Bureau, Farmers Union, corn and soybean, rice and cotton, fruits and vegetables, Ducks Unlimited, Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club. Everybody had a chance.

What the chairman did was ask each group to write the farm bill as they saw it needing to be written and also to score it, to come up with what it was going to cost; and so this was kind of a unique approach because I think everybody that tried began to realize how complex this was.

Again, he took input from every group. The bill was written in full committee, which I appreciated. Everybody had a chance to speak their piece. It was truly bipartisan. We hear the term bipartisan around here all the time, but this was a case where I can really, honestly say that I do not believe either side was given any advantage and that each side felt they had equal ownership, and as a result the farm bill was passed almost unanimously out of the Committee on Agriculture.

LARRY was under a great deal of pressure to delay the writing of the farm bill until 2003. Yet he realized that agriculture was in trouble, that we were surviving each year on roughly a 7, $7.5 billion emergency payment and this simply could not go on, so he pressed forward and got the bill done in 2002 in the face of a fair amount of criticism. I thought that he showed great tenacity in doing so, and I really appreciated his efforts.

I visited South America with LARRY and other members of the Committee on Agriculture a little bit more than a year ago, and I can recall one meeting in Brazil with their agriculture leadership in which they were very critical of U.S. farm policy. They thought they were poised to take over the soybean market of the world, and I remember LARRY'S response. He said, ``My responsibility is to protect the interests of American farmers and ranchers.'' That is what he did. Our farmers and

ranchers really comprise only 1 percent roughly of our population. At one time they were a very significant part of our population. Now they are about 1 percent, and so they certainly need advocates. I really appreciate the fact that Chairman Combest truly did all that he could to represent a very important and often unappreciated part of our Nation.

I would like to thank the chairman for his contribution and for his career here and for the way that he worked with other people to bring agriculture to the forefront during the farm bill.

END

7:50 PM EDT

Chet Edwards, D-TX 11th

Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, before I discuss some comments I would like to make about the courageous acts of 51 Texas legislators last week, I want to join my Republican colleagues in thanking Congressman LARRY COMBEST for so many years of dedicated public service to the State of Texas and to our country.

Those of us who believe that one of the strengths of our country comes from the values of rural America, one of the strengths of our economy comes from the productivity of our family farmers and ranchers, all of us who believe those things owe a debt of gratitude, an everlasting debt of gratitude to LARRY COMBEST for his bipartisan and strong leadership in our country not only as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture but as chairman of the very important Permanent Select Committee on

Intelligence through which he served our Nation's security in so many important ways.

Mr. Speaker, I do want to talk about the actions of last week where we had [Page: H4224]

51 Texas legislators who fought to stop U.S. House Majority Leader TOM DELAY from forcing a divisive, partisan and unnecessary congressional redistricting plan through the Texas House of Representatives. Their act of courage was heralded by editorial boards throughout our State of Texas. I salute legislators like Jim Dunnam and John Mabry from my hometown of Waco, Texas.

Without their actions on Monday morning of last week, the Texas House would have passed a plan that would have split my 100-year-old historic rural central Texas district into four different congressional districts stretching from Fort Worth to the suburbs of Houston to San Antonio, literally covering hundreds and hundreds of miles without a single bit of input from one mayor or city council member in our district, one school board member, because that plan was only put together on Mother's Day

afternoon last Sunday with the intention of passing it through the Texas House starting at 10 a.m. the next day, on Monday morning. That was wrong for that plan to have been pushed and right for Texas legislators to stand up not for themselves, not for me, but for the right of central Texas citizens in my district and Texans, Republicans and Democrats alike throughout our State, to have a voice in shaping their congressional districts and the future of their communities.

While the Texas legislators are back in Austin working on State priority issues, there are some questions that will not go away and some questions to which the American people deserve an answer.

Outrageously, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the new agency with the responsibility to protect American families from terrorists here and abroad, that agency used Federal antiterrorism resources and personnel to track down Texas Representative Pete Laney of Hale Center, Texas, as he flew his private airplane from his hometown to Ardmore, Oklahoma. To borrow a phrase from former Senator Lloyd Bentsen, ``I know Pete Laney, Pete Laney is a friend of mine, and I can assure you Pete Laney

is no terrorist.'' Quite to the contrary, he is the former Speaker of the Texas House, a respected leader in our legislature, respected by members of both sides of the aisle. In fact, Pete Laney was the one individual that President George Bush who then as Governor Bush asked Mr. Laney to introduce for the first time to the public President-elect Bush in his first speech to the Nation and the world once he found out he would be President.

I have some questions for the Department of Homeland Security:

One, and most importantly, why will you not release the tapes of the conversation between the Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. homeland security agency, the very conversation that led to the possibly unlawful and certainly unethical use of Federal resources, antiterrorism resources to track down the law-abiding citizen Pete Laney?

Secondly, do you have something to hide? Why is our U.S. homeland security agency afraid to let the American people and the press know what was in that conversation?

Thirdly, does the public not deserve to hear the conversation that led to what does appear to be a gross abuse of Federal resources?

Fourthly, to the homeland security agency, our U.S. agency again trying to defend us against terrorism, if the tape exonerates you and your actions, what are you afraid of? Why are you not willing to release that tape now, not weeks, not months from now, not years from now? Why are you afraid to release that tape now to Members of Congress and to the public?

Fifth, did Majority Leader TOM DELAY or House Speaker Tom Craddick or any one of their staffs or someone speaking in their behalf ask the Texas Department of Public Safety to make this request to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security?

We will not know the answer to those questions until the tape of our U.S. homeland security agency is made available to the public.

Mr. Speaker, this is no longer just a Texas issue. It is an issue for all Americans who care about defending our families and our neighborhoods and our communities from terrorists. How horrible it is that during the very week that al Qaeda was preparing the final efforts apparently to attack Morocco and American citizens in Saudi Arabia our homeland security agency was tracking down former State Speaker of the House and present State representative Pete Laney in Hale Center, Texas, a community

of just over 2,000 people, not known as a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism or radicalism in little old west Texas.

END

7:56 PM EDT

Max Sandlin, D-TX 1st

Mr. SANDLIN. Mr. Speaker, there is disturbing news coming out of Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas, today that should be of great and grave concern to all Americans. Because, Mr. Speaker, the Department of Homeland Security, a U.S. government agency, has basically now had to admit that it used a homeland security plane and government resources for political purposes and now they are covering it up. As most of the country now knows, Texas Democrats in the State House recently absented themselves

from the floor to break a quorum, a legitimate parliamentary maneuver. This angered the Republican powers that be in Washington, D.C. A homeland security plane was dispatched to try to follow and harass Pete Laney, the former Democratic Speaker of the Texas House, and other members. Upon being caught and not before, the Department of Homeland Security said that they actually were under the impression that the plane was lost or crashed.

Mr. Speaker, that is just not credible. That is just not so. Period.

Now it has been learned that a tape and a transcript of the contact between Homeland Security and law enforcement has been discovered. And what has been the response of homeland security? They refused to turn over the tape. They refused to turn over the transcript.

Mr. Speaker, I have two questions. What did they know and when did they know it? The U.S. Congress calls upon Homeland Security to release the tapes, stop the cover-up, and do it now. Otherwise, they need to get a dictionary and they need to look up the word ``subpoena.'' Otherwise, they need to get the statutes and look up in the statutes the term ``freedom of information.''

The use of the Federal Government for political purposes should frighten all Americans. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram said this Sunday, ``To meet the threat of global terrorism, the United States is assembling enormous Federal resources focusing on activities in American cities, neighborhoods and countrysides that could endanger those citizens. If we are to have this security apparatus, it must be contained to its designated purposes. There must be every safeguard so that it does not cross the

thin line between protecting innocent citizens and spying on their private lives. That these security resources were used no matter in what minor way in a Texas political dispute should be alarming to us all.''

And, Mr. Speaker, alarmingly there is more. Not only has the Federal Government been spying on citizens for private purposes and then covering it up but also the authority of the state has been used to intimidate and terrorize the families of Texas legislators.

[Time: 20:00]

Here are some examples: Representative Craig Eiland, his wife recently had premature twins, the twins in the neonatal unit of the hospital. Investigators were sent to the neonatal unit to [Page: H4225]

investigate and question nurses, sent to his wife's home to terrorize her.

Representative Chuck Hopson, his wife left Austin to drive 4 miles to Jacksonville. The law enforcement officer got on her bumper and went with her the entire way.

Police entered the home of Joe Pickett, a State representative. His 17-year-old daughter was there alone, and as he explained it, ``They scared the holy hell out of her.''

Patrick Rose had his car searched after it had been placed on the TV and everybody in the whole country knew that the Texas legislators were in Oklahoma. A senior staff member, Representative Naishtat, was told it was a felony to withhold information about his whereabouts, a total lie.

In the Corpus Christi newspaper it said this: ``The wife of State Representative Jaime Capelo, Democrat, Corpus Christi, looked out her kitchen window Tuesday and noticed a blue four-door vehicle driving past. The driver looked at her home as he passed. The vehicle pulled up next to a white Chevy. `I asked him why he was watching my house.' The man identified himself as a State trooper and told her that officials in Austin had called his office and told the troopers to follow her.''

These abuses and others prompted State Representative Jim Dunnam from Waco to send a letter to Speaker Craddick and say in part: ``P.S. as you know, we are at the Holiday Inn in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Please stop having our loved ones followed and staked out by law enforcement.'' Mr. Speaker, surely, surely Mr. Craddick's family raised him better than that.

Mr. Speaker, using the power and authority of the Federal Government to trample the U.S. Constitution and the freedoms we hold dear is outrageous. Covering it up makes it worse. Coordinating with State enforcement to terrorize innocent families is not only illegal; it is inexcusable. It is time for the Federal Government to come clean and come clean now. Release the tapes, release the transcripts, stop the cover-up. The Constitution is superior to the arrogance of power. Thanks to my State reps,

Barry Telford, Mark Homer, Chuck Hopson, they know that. They have learned that lesson. I wish the Republican power brokers in Washington, D.C. do the same thing.

END

8:01 PM EDT

Marsha Blackburn, R-TN 7th

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, last September the U.S. Census Bureau released figures that showed that the number of Americans who do not have health insurance has increased to more than 41 million Americans. Of those, 60 percent are employed by small businesses. We know that a great number of these small business owners do want to offer their employees health insurance coverage; but with health insurance costs rising 14.7 percent just in 2002 alone, they are struggling to meet this cost.

House Resolution 660, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, opens the door for small business owners, providing the chance to give their employees high-quality health insurance at an affordable price by allowing associations to form large regional or national groups that can purchase fully insured health insurance which would put growing businesses on a level playing field for larger corporations.

Those opposed to AHPs, as they are called, claim that they will allow ``cherry picking'' or selecting only employees that are young and/or healthy for coverage. In reality, this legislation prohibits an AHP from denying health insurance on the basis of health status. They must follow the same rules on portability, preexisting conditions, and nondiscrimination that large employers must follow.

This legislation also contains solvency provisions that protect employees against the risk of health claims. These health plans must certify through a qualified actuary that an AHP is financially sound.

To conclude, what businesses want is to offer health coverage to their workers. House Resolution 660 gives employers the ability to provide this coverage by allowing small businesses to band together as a trade association to become larger purchasers of health insurance. By saving small businesses, an estimated 15 to 30 percent, compared to the cost of purchasing coverage directly from an insurance company, associated health plans will give more Americans the health benefits they need to provide

for themselves and for their families.

END

8:04 PM EDT

Brad Sherman, D-CA 27th

Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I came down here to talk about taxes, but let me first talk about Texas. All Americans must unite in the war against terrorism and we did that. We passed the PATRIOT Act. We provided resources for the Department of Homeland Security. But now we discover that the war on terrorism is a war against Democrats. This will divide America, and that is good for the terrorists. How many Americans may lose their lives because we cannot empower the Department of Homeland Security

because it uses that power to pervert American democracy? Only an honest release of the tapes, only an honest approach will save the Department of Homeland Security and save only the Americans that it can save.

Now let us talk about taxes. The Bush recession continues. Republicans continue to use their political power to adopt job-killer policies which means the Bush recession will continue to continue. The most obvious job-killer policy is the dividend exclusion provision included in the Senate tax bill passed last week. Every major tax provision has both positive and negative effects on our economy, and Republican after Republican has come down here to talk about the rather modest economic benefits

of excluding dividends from taxation. Democrats, though, have not used our time to respond and to point out the much larger offsetting negative effects of this provision. The reason for that is that we Democrats have been so incensed at a policy that provides 50 percent of the tax benefits to 1 percent of the population and gives 1 percent of the benefits to 50 percent of the population.

We have been so incensed that the Republicans would launch a class war attack against working families. We have been so incensed that they would come up with a policy designed to allow the richest in America to buy the new $350,000 Mercedes Benz, the Maybach, and pass the cost on to the sons and daughters of working Americans as they build the deficit. We have been so incensed about that that we forgot to mention, oh, by the way, it is a job killer.

Let us talk about that. We could of course drop currency from helicopters, $25 billion a year, $50 billion a year, and that would have some positive economic effects; but it would have a much larger negative economic effect because it would raise interest rates and it would deprive us of the opportunity to help States. They will have to discharge teachers, law enforcement officers, and others; and those folks will lose their jobs. So even helicopters dropping cash has some positive effect, but

a larger offsetting effect.

The offsetting and negative effect of this dividend exclusion is worse because at least the people who catch the money from the helicopter will probably go out and spend it on necessities of life, whereas the dividend exclusion is aimed at the folks most likely to buy foreign luxury imports, which does not provide jobs for Americans.

The dividend exclusion was justified on the idea that it was going to build up corporate treasuries because people would invest in stock and then the corporations would go out and buy plants and equipment. This was proven to be a phony ruse because under pressure to bring down the price tag of the dividend exclusion, the White House has now written a version that obviously will not cause any additional corporate investment. What does that provision do? It provides half-tax exclusion for dividends

paid in 2003; full exclusion for 2004, 2005, 2006, and then back to a full taxation of dividends starting in 2007 and future years.

What will that mean? First, all the dividends corporations were going to pay out this month and in the next 8 [Page: H4226]

months will not be paid; so we will have a slump in expenditures by those who receive dividends. Why? Because they can wait until January 1 of next year, pay the dividend, and have it be completely tax exempt. So we start with the decline even in the amount of dividends paid, but come 2004 we will see huge dividend payments. That money comes

out of corporate treasuries. It reduces the amount that corporations have available for investment of plant and equipment; and if they have any money after 2004, they will pay it all out in 2005, 2006. No corporate investment; huge dividends.

But it is argued that this dividend exclusion is going to encourage investment in stock. If it had been a permanent exclusion, maybe that was a possibility. A lot of people buy municipal bonds because they get tax-free income. But who would buy municipal bonds if their income was going to become fully taxable in just a few years? Who is going to buy corporate stock because they want dividend exclusion when the dividend exclusion is going to expire in just a few years? So there will be a huge

outlay of corporate funds from corporate treasuries that will not be available to buy plant and equipment. But there will be no investment in corporations caused by this provision because nobody is going to buy a new issuance of stock if in just a few years we are going to be back to the old tax law.

The Bush recession continues. Job-killer policies like that contained in the Senate bill will ensure that the Bush recession will continue to continue.

END

8:10 PM EDT

Nick Smith, R-MI 7th

Mr. SMITH of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, in the next few days, Congress is going to pass another increase in the statutory debt limit, and it will be signed by the President. I want to talk about the rising sea of debt, and we have to be careful that we do not drown.

A few years of surpluses between 1998 and 2001, which were not really surpluses except by Washington standards, seems to have given us a false sense of security. Since then the situation has deteriorated very rapidly, with huge increases in spending; and now we face the most serious debt and overspending crisis in American history. The value of the dollar is going down because of the increasing debt and the tax obligation that our kids and our grandkids are going to pay is going up because of

increased debt.

President Andrew Jackson paid off the Federal debt in 1835, retiring the last of the Revolutionary War bonds; however, the United States returned to borrowing which has now grown to levels that President Jackson could hardly imagine. Starting at zero in 1835, it took more than a century for the debt to reach $100 billion in 1943; $100 billion in 1943. After 200 years of American history, the debt reached $500 billion in 1976. Now we are projected to borrow more than $500 billion every year, this

year, next year, the year after. The debt stands at $6.5 trillion today and will reach $10 trillion at current borrowing rates before the end of the decade. The administration is now using gimmicks to pay our bills until Congress again increases the statutory debt limit.

The debt is not even the worst of it. The government unfunded liabilities are several times larger than the official public debt. These liabilities are promises that the government has made or obligations it has undertaken without setting aside any resources or a way to pay those debts. According to the Department of Treasury's latest financial report to the United States Government, we owe or can expect to owe $57.8 billion to cover otherwise defaults on direct and guaranteed loans; $55.8 billion

on accounts payable across the government; $1.86 trillion for government and military pensions and benefits; $849 billion in other veterans benefits, mostly medical; $273 billion for projected environmental cleanup from government activities; $202 billion in miscellaneous liabilities. These are all OMB projections, and this is only the beginning. This is the least of it.

This still is not part of the unfunded liabilities which are Social Security and Medicare. It will cost $9 trillion to pay promised Social Security benefits. Similarly, Medicare part A is expected to run $5.13 trillion over expected taxes. Part B is another $8.13 trillion.

[Time: 20:15]

Thus, the liabilities in just these three programs is about four times our current debt.

Further, this unfunded liability assumes the full repayment of all trust funds. Government has been borrowing from all of these other trust funds to afford the expenditures that have increased so dramatically over the last several years. If those trust funds are not paid, those amounts, which are really very small by comparison, will have to be added to the liability.

We have gotten to the sorry state of affairs through what I consider overspending and overpromising by Washington. Reelection votes are bought today in exchange for promises of benefits later, and the problem is that the country cannot afford all Washington is promising.

About 13 percent of the total Federal budget is now used to pay interest on the debt. If overspending continues and interest rates return to normal, we could easily see spending of the United States using one-quarter, one-fourth, of all of the total budget. A day of reckoning is coming sooner or later. If the government stays on its present course, we will face the choice of much higher taxes or much reduced benefits and services.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, Washington needs a new sense of urgency. We are promising too much, spending too much, and leaving future generations at risk. I have long pushed for spending restraints and necessary entitlement reform, including Social Security reform. It is time for those issues to come before the floor.

END

8:15 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, over the next hour we will be paying tribute to our colleague and friend, Representative LARRY COMBEST, who announced in November of 2002 that he was retiring from Congress at the end of this month.

It is a real privilege and honor for me to participate in this special order, because LARRY has been a friend and a mentor to me for more than 10 years now since I first became a Member of the House and joined the House Committee on Agriculture. He served as our chairman for 4 years. He has very graciously traveled to my district to meet with my farmers and community leaders and talk about matters of concern to them and has truly been a great help to many of us here in the Congress.

LARRY COMBEST has also faithfully served his own constituents, his home State of Texas and his country, for the past 18 years.

His greatest legislative accomplishment lies in his shepherding through of the landmark 2002 Farm Bill, which President Bush signed into law last year. He and other members of the committee began work on the bill 3 years ago when the agriculture community was in the throes of a severe economic depression. Under LARRY'S leadership, the farm bill was eventually signed into law, reflecting his goal of providing a dependable safety net that farmers could rely on when tough economic times arise,

as they inevitably will.

President Dwight Eisenhower once remarked, ``Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you are 1,000 miles from the cornfield.''

LARRY understood the fundamental concept that legislators in Washington cannot craft effective farm policy if they are not in touch with the day-to-day struggles of rural America. With this in mind, the Committee on Agriculture, under LARRY'S leadership, held 10 field hearings across the country before actually sitting down to craft the farm bill. They drew high attendance and over 200 witnesses.

For his tireless work on behalf of the farm community, he received countless accolades, among them the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Award for Public Service, the Lubbock Area Foundation Hero of the Year Award, and the Legislator of the Year from the National Association of Farm Service Agency Employees.

While LARRY was a consistent voice for agriculture, his work in Congress did not end there. He is a senior Member of the Committee on Small Business, where he has earned a reputation as a fiscally responsible Member of Congress who serves as a reliable steward of taxpayer money.

[Time: 20:30]

As evidence of this commitment, his first day in Congress he cosponsored the balanced budget amendment. He has also been a leader on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and has lent previous experience in the military affairs and in intelligence matters to the Congress, and that has also been widely recognized and acknowledged.

In recognition of his efforts, he has been the recipient of many recent awards, including the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce's Distinguished Service Award, Leader of the Year in Service to Agriculture by Progressive Farmer Magazine, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas 2002 Trailblazer Award, and the Heritage of Odessa Foundation's 2002 Award for Excellence in Community Service in Government.

Additionally, each year the National Federation of Independent Businesses recognizes LARRY as a guardian of small business, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has consistently honored him with their Prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award.

In addition to his abundant legislative accomplishments, LARRY remained attentive to the needs of his constituents, never forgetting where he came from and who sent him here. His office has an excellent reputation for case work which flowed from his enthusiastic spirit of service. Voters recognized this about LARRY, expressing their confidence in his representation by ever-increasing electoral margins.

I am honored to follow him as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and am committed to ensuring that the farm bill that he guided through Congress is implemented according to its original intent. He has been a valued colleague.

After nearly 2 decades of distinguished public service, it is an understatement to say that LARRY COMBEST can return home with his head held high. But those who know him doubt that will happen; for, in spite of all that he has accomplished, LARRY has maintained his humility, a character trait which is increasingly rare in this city.

I know he is anxious to return to west Texas, to his friends and family; and we wish him and his wife, Sharon, all of the best. His consistent voice on behalf of rural America will be terribly missed.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Stenholm), the distinguished ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture who has served long in this body and served the entire time the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) served.

8:15 PM EDT

Michael C. Burgess M.D., R-TX 26th

Mr. BURGESS. Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight to recognize a member of the Texas House from my district and my hometown of Denton, Texas.

Representative Myra Crownover has written what I consider to be the most insightful remarks regarding the recent lack of a quorum in the Texas House. Her remarks were written and carried in the Denton Record-Chronicle last weekend. I ask Members to listen to Representative Crownover in her own words.

``I would like to take this opportunity to explain what is at the heart of the battle between Texas House Republicans and Democrats.

``Though Republicans and Democrats debate and disagree on a number of issues each and every session, none is as arduous or contention as redistricting. While most legislation concerns issues that cross party lines, such as children, health care or education, redistricting is simply about politics and elections. There is no bipartisan redistricting. There never has been, there never will be. It is the nature of the beast.

``Although the Legislature addressed congressional redistricting 2 years ago in the last legislative session, lawmakers could not agree on new lines, so a panel of three Federal judges did, and their map led to a 17-15 advantage for the Democrats. Rather than drawing a map that currently reflects the political landscape of Texas, the lines were tooled just enough to keep the map legal. There is no question that the current map meets the standards for redistricting spelled out in law.

``The argument for addressing the congressional maps this session rests in the fact that in the 2002 elections the GOP won every statewide race from the governor to the courts and took control over both houses of the State legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. Roughly 60 percent of the [Page: H4227]

State voted Republican during the last election cycle. The Legislature now has an obligation to pass a map that properly reflects the demographics and voting

patterns of Texas.

``As stated previously, redistricting is a painful process, but it is also necessary. For the party in the minority, it is a difficult but important debate. It has been for years. However, the minority this session chose to walk away from the debate and crossed a line that should never be crossed. The rules of the House relating to a quorum were created to maintain a balance, protecting both the majority and the minority parties. This rule has been abused and a harmful precedent has been set.

If 51 members dislike a piece of legislation, they may simply walk away. No debate. No vote. No representation.

``There will always be a majority and a minority. We will continue to redistrict State and congressional maps for decades to come. Such emotionally charged issues are simply part of the process, and because of this, rules and respect for the rules are required. Without them, the system breaks down. Not just for the 150 Members of the Texas House, but for every citizen of Texas.''

Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more.

END

8:19 PM EDT

Frank Pallone, D-NJ 6th

Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I come to the House floor this evening to mark the fact that we now have 100 cosponsors of House Resolution 193, a bill reaffirming support of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This legislation seeks to educate on the horrors of the crimes against humanity of genocide and, by educating, helping to prevent genocide from happening again. It is common knowledge that history repeats itself, and some of the worst crimes against humanity

are no exception to this rule.

Mr. Speaker, as the cochair and founder of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues, I have been involved in genocide recognition efforts for the past decade. The caucus is 125 members strong and has been instrumental in the education of my colleagues on the issue of Armenian genocide. We have organized floor speeches every year on April 24, we have circulated a yearly letter asking the President to use the word ``genocide'' in his yearly April 24 address, and, most importantly, we were very

close in the year 2000 in passing legislation officially recognizing the Armenian genocide.

That resolution in 2000 did not come to the House floor for a vote due to a decision by the leadership. If it were not for that decision, the legislation would have passed overwhelmingly, in my opinion.

As I mentioned, the Armenian Caucus sends a yearly letter to the President asking him to use the word ``genocide'' in his yearly April 24 commemoration. President Bush, like President Clinton before him, made a campaign promise to give the Armenian genocide its due recognition, but then they both recanted. Both presidents avoided the use of the word ``genocide'' in their statements.

This year, 168 Members of Congress, well over one-third of the total number of Members serving, asked President Bush to use the word ``genocide'' last month. He instead characterized the worst crime ever to befall the Armenian people as a ``great calamity.'' I must say I reject this characterization as simplistic and also demeaning, and I hope my colleagues in the House will do the same. If they do, they have the chance to act by joining the 100 Members who have signed on to H.R. 193 and take

a stand to properly recognize the worst crimes against humanity.

I use the plural ``crimes,'' because this legislation is not only about the Armenians. In the bill it states, ``the enactment of the Genocide Convention Implementation Act marked a principal stand by the United States against the crime of genocide and an important step towards ensuring that the lessons of the Holocaust, the Armenian genocide and the genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, among others, will be used to help prevent future genocides.''

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we have not come together as a world community to eradicate the horrific crime of systematic destruction of an entire people. Every generation in the last 100 years has seen the brutal realities of genocide, but none have fully learned from it. Passing House Resolution 193, in my opinion, will help to educate and hopefully help to stop the crime of genocide in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that we have obtained cosponsors that will bear great credence to this bill. H.R. 193 is currently under consideration in the Committee on the Judiciary, with the gentleman from Wisconsin (Chairman SENSENBRENNER) and the ranking member, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) on as cosponsors. Also among the 100 cosponsors are the minority leader, the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi), and the former minority leader and presidential

candidate, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Gephardt). All of my colleagues on a bipartisan basis will be instrumental in passing this bill, but it is nice to see some early support from a very diverse group of Members on a bipartisan basis.

The title of House Resolution 193 includes the word ``genocide,'' but the heart of the bill is about humanity. It takes humanity to overcome the ignorance that spurs the evil crime of genocide, learning about another culture instead of fearing it. It takes humanity to bridge the gap of hate that exists between a warring people.

We have seen this work in the last century. One of the worst crimes ever to be committed, the Holocaust against the Jews, is the best example of how some good can come from a terrible evil. At the end of World War II, Germany was vanquished as a Nation and its citizens were forced to accept the reality of what Hitler had done. The fact is, Germans as a people accepted that something horrific had taken place, and they accepted it. Last year, the Holocaust Museum in Berlin became a reality. Sixty

years after the Holocaust, peace was made where war had begun.

The lessons of the relationship of the Jewish and German people should be applied to the rest of the victims and perpetrators of the crime of genocide all around the world. This is especially true, Mr. Speaker, in Armenia and Turkey. It has been 88 years since the beginning of the genocide, and after 33 U.S. State legislatures, over a dozen governments around the globe and vast documentation in our national archives, the Turkish government still will not recognize the Armenian genocide. They

have instead established a deliberate campaign of revisionist history to try to commit the last act of genocide, the destruction of culture and history.

I ask that the Turkish government give up its futile effort and for my colleagues to join me in recognizing the worst crimes against humanity.

END

8:25 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, over the next hour we will be paying tribute to our colleague and friend, Representative LARRY COMBEST, who announced in November of 2002 that he was retiring from Congress at the end of this month.

It is a real privilege and honor for me to participate in this special order, because LARRY has been a friend and a mentor to me for more than 10 years now since I first became a Member of the House and joined the House Committee on Agriculture. He served as our chairman for 4 years. He has very graciously traveled to my district to meet with my farmers and community leaders and talk about matters of concern to them and has truly been a great help to many of us here in the Congress.

LARRY COMBEST has also faithfully served his own constituents, his home State of Texas and his country, for the past 18 years.

His greatest legislative accomplishment lies in his shepherding through of the landmark 2002 Farm Bill, which President Bush signed into law last year. He and other members of the committee began work on the bill 3 years ago when the agriculture community was in the throes of a severe economic depression. Under LARRY'S leadership, the farm bill was eventually signed into law, reflecting his goal of providing a dependable safety net that farmers could rely on when tough economic times arise,

as they inevitably will.

President Dwight Eisenhower once remarked, ``Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you are 1,000 miles from the cornfield.''

LARRY understood the fundamental concept that legislators in Washington cannot craft effective farm policy if they are not in touch with the day-to-day struggles of rural America. With this in mind, the Committee on Agriculture, under LARRY'S leadership, held 10 field hearings across the country before actually sitting down to craft the farm bill. They drew high attendance and over 200 witnesses.

For his tireless work on behalf of the farm community, he received countless accolades, among them the Gerald W. Thomas Outstanding Agriculturalist Award for Public Service, the Lubbock Area Foundation Hero of the Year Award, and the Legislator of the Year from the National Association of Farm Service Agency Employees.

While LARRY was a consistent voice for agriculture, his work in Congress did not end there. He is a senior Member of the Committee on Small Business, where he has earned a reputation as a fiscally responsible Member of Congress who serves as a reliable steward of taxpayer money.

[Time: 20:30]

As evidence of this commitment, his first day in Congress he cosponsored the balanced budget amendment. He has also been a leader on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and has lent previous experience in the military affairs and in intelligence matters to the Congress, and that has also been widely recognized and acknowledged.

In recognition of his efforts, he has been the recipient of many recent awards, including the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce's Distinguished Service Award, Leader of the Year in Service to Agriculture by Progressive Farmer Magazine, the Independent Bankers Association of Texas 2002 Trailblazer Award, and the Heritage of Odessa Foundation's 2002 Award for Excellence in Community Service in Government.

Additionally, each year the National Federation of Independent Businesses recognizes LARRY as a guardian of small business, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has consistently honored him with their Prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award.

In addition to his abundant legislative accomplishments, LARRY remained attentive to the needs of his constituents, never forgetting where he came from and who sent him here. His office has an excellent reputation for case work which flowed from his enthusiastic spirit of service. Voters recognized this about LARRY, expressing their confidence in his representation by ever-increasing electoral margins.

I am honored to follow him as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and am committed to ensuring that the farm bill that he guided through Congress is implemented according to its original intent. He has been a valued colleague.

After nearly 2 decades of distinguished public service, it is an understatement to say that LARRY COMBEST can return home with his head held high. But those who know him doubt that will happen; for, in spite of all that he has accomplished, LARRY has maintained his humility, a character trait which is increasingly rare in this city.

I know he is anxious to return to west Texas, to his friends and family; and we wish him and his wife, Sharon, all of the best. His consistent voice on behalf of rural America will be terribly missed.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Stenholm), the distinguished ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture who has served long in this body and served the entire time the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) served.

8:30 PM EDT

Charles W. Stenholm, D-TX 17th

Mr. STENHOLM. I thank the gentleman very much for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, it is with very mixed emotions that I join in tonight's Special Order to recognize the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) on his departure from the halls of Congress. I say mixed emotions because, while it is more than fitting for the House to recognize him for his many years of service to this body, both as a staff member and as a Representative, I am sorry to see the departure of a colleague, a neighbor, and a friend.

Many times over the past two Congresses I would, sometime during my speech, say, well, at first it was the first Congress in the history of our Nation, then it was the second, this would have been the third Congress in which one State, Texas, had the chairman and the ranking member of the Committee on Agriculture. At no time in our history has this ever happened. Not only were we from the same State, but we were neighbors and we were friends.

That is the spirit in which I come tonight. Since LARRY came to Congress in 1985, we have had many occasions to work together for the mutual benefit of Texas, our Nation, and particularly our Nation's agriculture.

In fact, it was a year ago this month that the 2002 farm bill was enacted into law, and about a year and a half of the time and effort of the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) went into writing that bill. It was a collaborative effort, very typical of the bipartisan manner for which the Committee on Agriculture is recognized.

As much as I would have enjoyed being the chairman during that period of time, that was not to be; but LARRY made sure that, as ranking member, I was a full participant throughout the legislative process, and I greatly appreciated the opportunity of riding shotgun and working side by side with him in that endeavor.

I do not believe it would be an overstatement tonight to say that without LARRY'S devoted work on that farm bill in a bipartisan way, it would not have become law. I think that is a very fair and accurate statement. Many times we might stretch it a little bit; but knowing as much about the inner workings of what happened in that bill, without the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest), we would not have gotten it done. I think the colleagues on the gentleman's side of the aisle agree

and those on my side agree.

LARRY'S departure from the House of Representatives marks the end of a very distinguished record of service to the folks of the 19th Congressional District of Texas. LARRY throughout this time has been a man of great character and sound judgment who has served his constituents well. I personally will miss his company, his counsel, and the true spirit of bipartisanship with which he conducted himself throughout his tenure in Congress.

Sadly, such bipartisanship and good will has increasingly become a rare [Page: H4229]

commodity in the halls of Congress, but not on the House Committee on Agriculture.

LARRY, Cindy and I wish you and Sharon all the best as you embark upon a new chapter in your lives. I hope and trust there will be many more occasions for our paths to cross in the future. It has truly been a pleasure to work with you. We will miss you; but we know, suspect highly, that those paths will cross again in some constructive way. Good luck and God speed to you and Sharon.

8:34 PM EDT

Kay Granger, R-TX 12th

Ms. GRANGER. I thank the gentleman, Mr. Speaker. I imagine that most of us in this House particularly admire or respect someone for various reasons: their use of power, their talent in persuasion, their deep commitment to a cause or an issue. I admire LARRY COMBEST because he has the right balance of things. He knows what is really important in politics and in life. He maintains his dignity, his honesty, and his commitment while giving us his best for nearly 20 years.

He served this Nation and the State of Texas in an extraordinary way in standing firm for the farmers of this country, for rural America, and for business interests. LARRY's quiet and often serious demeanor fooled me for a while, but we often get to really know each other in this House either by working on a particular issue together or by traveling together. That is how I got to know LARRY and his wonderful wife, Sharon. You don't really know LARRY until you have experienced

the love and closeness that LARRY and Sharon share.

This Congressman from west Texas has much to be proud of; but LARRY would probably say, I am just doing my job. I will miss LARRY in this Congress, we all will, but we could not do better than to pattern our service after his.

8:36 PM EDT

Max Burns, R-GA 12th

Mr. BURNS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a man who crafted and delivered a strong farm bill to the farmers of the Twelfth Congressional District of Georgia.

Although I serve on the Committee on Agriculture now, I did not have the opportunity to serve on the committee under the leadership of the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest). I thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) for his support for the Georgia farmers that I now represent, and for his commitment to the benefit of American agriculture.

In his 4 years as chairman of the committee, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) worked to improve Federal risk-management programs and Federal farm policy. His work went beyond that of the livelihoods of farmers. He worked to improve rural infrastructure, university research, broadband access, child nutrition, conservation efforts, and even food to aid other countries.

Mr. Speaker, LARRY COMBEST is well respected among the farmers I represent. His masterpiece, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act, is farm policy that my producers support. The legacy of the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) will be remembered and appreciated for years to come.

8:37 PM EDT

Nick Smith, R-MI 7th

Mr. SMITH of Michigan. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.

Imagine for a moment the late 1990s where many farmers were going broke. There were auctions, and farmers had to sell out farms that had been in their family for generations.

Imagine running for reelection in 1998, being reelected, and being asked to serve as chairman of the Committee on Agriculture to pass a new farm bill to try to keep a viable agriculture in the United States, a huge challenge. Every commodity group is coming forward to suggest that they should have more money from the Federal Government, but being chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, LARRY COMBEST was still under pressure to limit total spending.

I think it should be repeated that where we ended up on the subsidies for agriculture were actually less under this farm bill that the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) guided through. Subsidies for farmers ended up less than what they were for the prior 3 years.

LARRY COMBEST came to Congress as a leader in Texas agriculture. He came with the knowledge of how farm programs work. I had my disagreements with some of the provisions of the farm bill, like I suspect every member of the Committee on Agriculture might have written it a little bit differently if they had their personal desires. But what we ended up with is a help for American agriculture, faced with a situation of challenging subsidies in a world atmosphere. Let me give a couple of examples.

Europe, for example, subsidizes their farmers five times as much as we subsidize our farmers. Japan subsidizes their farmers between 20 and 25 percent as much as we subsidize our farmers. We ended up with a farm bill that is going to help assure, at least, that we have a strong, viable agriculture in the United States.

On LARRY COMBEST'S retirement, I wish him Godspeed and thanks for the effort.

8:39 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. I thank the gentleman.

It is my pleasure to recognize the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Thornberry) for 5 minutes.

8:39 PM EDT

Mac Thornberry, R-TX 13th

Mr. THORNBERRY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Virginia, the chairman, for taking this time to pay tribute to our departing Member, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest).

Mr. Speaker, my connections with LARRY go back some distance. We were raised in towns about 30 miles apart in the Texas panhandle and our families knew each other, but I really got to know him when I went to work for him as his administrative assistant in 1985, shortly after he was first elected to Congress.

Of course, LARRY was not just any freshman Congressman. He had worked for Senator John Tower and came to Congress with that background, experience, and network all working for him. Needless to say, I learned a lot and benefited tremendously from my time as part of the Combest team.

For the last 8 1/2 years, LARRY and I have represented adjoining districts, and even shared in the representation of several cities and counties. I have continued to learn from him and to benefit from our work together.

Mr. Speaker, LARRY COMBEST'S public record of accomplishment is well known in Washington and in Texas. From leadership positions, such as chairman of the select Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and then chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, he has made a bright mark on the public policy agenda of the last decade.

The farm bill, which he shepherded through the 107th Congress, was landmark legislation, important not just to agriculture but to the country's economy and to the health and standard of living of all Americans.

But along the way, as he was leaving his mark on public policy for the Nation, he was providing outstanding representation to the people of the 19th Congressional District of Texas. Every day he was their advocate. Every day he was their voice. Every day he was their biggest fan.

Of course, none of us do this job alone. Other than the handicap of a certain AA in the middle of the 1980s, LARRY has been fortunate to have an outstanding group of dedicated public servants assisting him. And I think it is important to mention those that have been with LARRY nearly 20 years: Lynn Cowart, Patti Murphy, Jenny Welch, Mary Whistler, Jay Ibarra, Jimmy Clark.

Any Member of the House or Senate would be fortunate indeed to have such dedicated, loyal, capable staff members.

In addition, LARRY has been fortunate to have outstanding help on the political side. Jane Anne Stinnett has been the director of LARRY'S team since the beginning of his political career. I have never met anyone who works harder or cares more in such a selfless way. She is a remarkable lady, and it is a combination of LARRY'S good fortune and good judgment that led to Jane Anne playing a key role in LARRY'S political and public life for 20 years. [Page:

H4230]

Lisa Nowlin has also played an important part in LARRY'S political world, as has Ken Towery. Mr. Speaker, it is impossible for me to catalog the career and contributions of Ken Towery, from Pulitzer Prize winner to chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Among other things, he has helped guide the tremendously successful political career of LARRY COMBEST, among others.

It is said that first-rate people hire first-rate people, while second-rate people hire third-rate people. If that is true, LARRY COMBEST ranks at the top because he has truly had first-rate people working with him throughout his career.

[Time: 20:45]

Finally, one cannot speak about LARRY COMBEST without acknowledging the central role played by his wife, Sharon. Their partnership made all of LARRY'S other accomplishments possible.

Mr. Speaker, LARRY COMBEST has been a caring mentor, an outstanding representative, a thoughtful leader and a good friend. Like so many other Members and friends, I will miss having him around Washington, but I will also know that his impact on the lives of so many people in Texas and throughout the Nation will last for many years to come. I thank the gentleman.

8:44 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his excellent statement.

At this time I am pleased to recognize the chairman of the department operations, oversight, nutrition, forestry, dairy, et cetera, et cetera, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Gutknecht).

8:44 PM EDT

Gilbert Gutknecht, R-MN 1st

Mr. GUTKNECHT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.

I am so honored to be here tonight to pay tribute to our friend, LARRY COMBEST. A lot has already been said, and I do not want to be redundant and repeat some of the things that have been said, but I would like to mention a couple of things.

One is that he is probably one of the best dressers in the U.S. Congress. I have been with him at meetings with farmers, and he is always appropriately but the best dressed person there. And I think anybody who knows LARRY knows that I am saying exactly the truth.

The other thing I should mention about LARRY is the first time I ever met him was for a retreat for Republicans at some god-awful Xerox center about 50 miles west of here. It was my first chance to spend any time with LARRY, and the one thing that was very obvious to me in our first real meeting and discussion, he is an incredibly good listener. Now, in this town that is a quality that is not developed in many of us, not the way it should be. But LARRY is an amazing listener.

He listens to what people have to say, and it is reflected in the success that he has had in his congressional career.

He came from west Texas. The district that he represents is one of the biggest energy-producing districts in the country, and yet he took the time to listen to our farmers and to other people on the importance of biofuels and ethynyl and biodiesel and came to the conclusion that it made an awful lot of sense long term for our energy policy. He did not put his own parochial interests above what was in the best interests of American agriculture.

So much has already been said, but it was because of that deep feeling that he was able to go to the Committee on the Budget a few years ago and get an unprecedented $73.5 billion out of the fiscal year 2001 budget so that we could create that farm bill. And he taught us so much about what it takes to make a farm bill, but it was his character that pushed it all the way through, and I mean that. Because passing a farm bill is much tougher than I ever thought. What he did was he demonstrated one

of those things that we need to learn more about here in Washington and that is he was firm on principle but flexible on policy; and, ultimately, it was his vision of this farm bill that really won the day.

Now, LARRY, we are going to miss you a lot. I am going to miss you more than you can even imagine. We will miss you a lot more than you will miss us. Certainly you deserve a little respite from this rat race. I can only say that I hope that you will not forget us rats.

Thank you very much and God bless you.

8:47 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Lucas), the chairman of the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research and a whole host of other responsibilities.

8:47 PM EDT

Frank D. Lucas, R-OK 3rd

Mr. LUCAS of Oklahoma. Mr. Speaker, on the last day of this month this body will lose a Member who has for almost 18 1/2 years been a critical part of several committees. The Committee on Small Business has been noted, serving as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. But for me personally his chairmanship of the House Committee on Agriculture probably provides me with my greatest memories and has had the most tremendous impacts on my legislative judgment, certainly

on my constituents in Oklahoma.

I think back to 1996 when, in the heat of debate, at one of the most critical points of that farm bill, of sitting in a room with the then-Speaker and the late Bill Emerson and the soon-to-be-Chairman COMBEST as we discussed agriculture and southern crops and watching LARRY make quite clear what the needs were of his constituents and what he felt like the needs were for agriculture in the United States and changing the course of the farm bill that day.

Then in 2002 under his chairmanship and leadership with the gavel, setting about as he said at the time to

go forth and listen to our farmers, yes, to listen to the experts and, yes, to listen to all the academic input, but to create a farm bill for the producers, a farm bill based on the things that they thought should be in a farm bill. Many at the time thought it was a pretty amazing concept, not always the way things are done in Washington, D.C. But, lo and behold, hearings across the country, hearings beyond belief here in the Nation's Capital, and the result of that was an amazing farm bill.

And, oh, yes, the chairman's patience in conference committee, dealing with the, shall we say, other side of the building and dealing with some of our own membership, patience that would make Job extremely proud. And the result of that was a farm bill that locked in a tremendous amount of resources that, had we dug around that farm bill in 2003, would not have been there. Yes, a farm bill based on what our neighbors back home told us they wanted, crafted in a way that could build almost two-thirds

majorities in both the House and the Senate placed on the books.

But, ultimately, I think when LARRY and Sharon return home to west Texas, the final observation will be that they have been good servants of their constituents; and that is what it is all about, representing those folks back home to the best of your ability in a way that they would be proud of.

That, Mr. Chairman, you have accomplished. That is a goal I think we should all work towards.

8:50 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.

At this time it is my pleasure to recognize the chairman of the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran).

8:50 PM EDT

Jerry Moran, R-KS 1st

Mr. MORAN of Kansas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me. I am delighted to be here. It is an honor to have served in this Congress these last 7 years with the gentleman from the 19th District of Texas (Mr. Combest).

Mr. Speaker, when I came to Congress I knew it was important to me to be associated with people who understood and cared about agriculture and who cared about farmers and ranchers of America; and it was my honor to become acquainted with Chairman Combest. He has been a role model and mentor for me since that time of my arrival 7 years ago.

Those of us who represent agriculture in the House of Representatives are a minority. There are not enough of us, and what it takes is people who go beyond their numbers, who more than 1 out of 435 can make a difference. And the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) has done that. He has done that because he is knowledgable and understands the issues. It is in his blood. That is where he comes from. It is who he is. Agriculture, farming and ranching is LARRY COMBEST.

It is because he is a leader, because he cares about using that information [Page: H4231]

and knowledge on behalf of those engaged in everyday activities trying to earn a living on the farms and ranches of America.

His leadership in the Committee on Agriculture is extraordinary. It is just something that we have relied upon. As we have worked our way through a farm bill in this last Congress, it is clear to me that because of his leadership things happened. He has a commitment to what he believes in, and he believes in farmers and ranchers of America. He wants to see our family farms survive and prosper. He wants that way of life to continue. He has a commitment to serving his constituents and helping American

agriculture be here today and tomorrow.

And, perhaps most importantly, he has integrity. I have never known anyone who I could trust more than Larry Combest. His word can be taken for what it was, his word. What he said is what he meant. His advice was honestly given. I have never known him to mislead anyone. And it was that character and that integrity that made it possible for us to do things in agriculture on this House floor because people trusted him, they respected him, and they honored what he was about.

As he returns home to Texas, it is with some sadness that we see my friend Larry Combest leave. We all invest in other people in this place. Oftentimes I suppose we spend too much time worrying about things that are not so important. But the thing that is important is the relationships, friendships, and understandings that we have with other Members of Congress; and I consider it a high honor to have been associated with Larry Combest during his term as a Member of Congress.

His relationships with other Members of the House will not end with his departure. His friendship with President Bush has really been beneficial to those of us who care about rural America, and we look forward to his continued involvement in issues that matter to us and to farmers and ranchers across the country.

Public service is something that we all talk about, something that we engage in as Members of Congress, but we all have a lot to learn from Larry Combest who exemplifies the role of a true public servant, who did

what he thought was right, who fought the fight and made a difference on behalf of the people of Texas and on behalf of the people of America.

Mr. Speaker, I wish LARRY and Sharon the absolute best in their future years. I thank them both for their friendship. I honor and respect them, and I hope the fish bite. Thank you, LARRY.

8:54 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight, like many others, proud of our colleague and chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, LARRY COMBEST. They say that you make a living by what you get but you make a life by what you give, and by that measure LARRY COMBEST has enjoyed a very rich life. He has given back so much to his community, to our State of Texas, and, of course, to the Nation he loves so much.

At times like this it is tempting, I think, to focus on his achievements because there are so many ways, so many ways he has made a difference for the better in this country. But I think you need to be most impressed by Larry Combest's attributes, his qualities as a man.

He has so much integrity, remarkable amount of integrity. He is so thoughtful about the issues. He does his homework so much. He is like the rural community he represents, incredibly hard working. His advice truly is honest. And he not only has principles and values, he lives his principles and he lives his values each day. He is a wonderful role model for younger Members of Congress, for his colleagues, his peers, for all who have worked with him. He is just a remarkable man.

And as much as we are going to miss him, the fact is we are overjoyed that he and Sharon will be sharing their time together. They have given so much back to America. We are anxious to give them time together. God bless.

8:56 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I thank all of those who participated in this today, and I wonder if I might prevail upon the man of the hour to say a few words to us himself.

A lot has been mentioned about the possibility that the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest) might spend some time fishing in the next few months. That will be a well-deserved recreation for he and his wife, Sharon. But I find it especially refreshing, given that he represents a district that includes, as I understand it, the town of no trees, and I do not think he has much by the way of national forestland. So I am glad he will get the opportunity to enjoy it all across the country.

So at this time I am pleased to yield to the distinguished gentleman from Texas (Mr. Combest), the former chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and my friend.

8:57 PM EDT

Larry Combest, R-TX 19th

Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Speaker, I am touched deeply by the gentleman's comments and the fact that you will take this special order to do this. One never expects to find themselves in this position, and we have seen it over the years as others make their departures, and you never know exactly how it feels until that time comes for yourself. But I appreciate so much the gentleman's kind words opening this and those of my friends and my colleagues that had very kind things to say.

It is the friendships, I think, that one can develop here that is important. It is not just the work. It is the friendships that you can develop and the growth and the years that you can watch occur to your colleagues and to your friends and to your staff.

I appreciate so much the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Thornberry) mentioning so many people that have been involved in the making of the success of the office, not my success, but the success of the office that the people of the 19th District through 10 elections gave us the opportunity to sit in because they are important. He knows them well. As he mentioned, as a former chief of staff, he is one of those that should definitely be mentioned when you think about hiring the best. You all

see that every day in the work that he continues and that he does in this House, his thoughtfulness, his integrity, his intelligence, his character.

Sharon and I fondly remember watching him and his now-wife and mother of their children when they were dating and attending their wedding and watching Mary Kemp and Will as they grew up and as they were born and as they have turned into young adults; and they are dear, dear friends and very dear in our hearts.

[Time: 21:00]

And to others, I am just sorry that when GIL GUTKNECHT was here we did not have a little Rodney Dangerfield episode. I encourage any of my colleagues who have never had the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Gutknecht) do Rodney Dangerfield that it is worth your time.

To, obviously, all of those who put in the hard work on the committee and those who came tonight that were not part of the committee, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Brady) and the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Granger) are dear Texas friends for coming and sharing with us. They are both dear, dear friends, dear people to us, and their families.

That will be the thing, I suppose, more than anything that is missed. It has been a wonderful ending to a career that we have seen an opportunity to visit with a lot of groups. I always find that the person whose name is on the letterhead is the one who gets the award or the one who gets the acclaim, but certainly not the one that solely is responsible for any of the work that is done. I think back to the most recent thing, of course that has been the farm bill, but back to the years on the Permanent

Select Committee on Intelligence, a wonderful dedicated staff of public servants. Most of their work no one will ever know.

We wrote a piece of work over a 2-year period of time that was called IC-21, the Intelligence Community for the 21st Century, and it created a lot of turf battles. It did not get far, but I told the staff as that was completed that the good news was and the thing they could rest in was that someday the intelligence community would look like that product. And following September 11, it is becoming to look more like it, because it was a work in what should be done.

Certainly the most recent effort, the farm bill, was a tremendous dedication [Page: H4232]

by a lot of people. The committee and all of the members of the committee were so dedicated to producing a product and laying aside any partisan bickering and certainly laying aside even parochial interest for the better of the whole. And it was a success. It was something that took a lot of work.

I have often said to those groups that I have had a chance to meet with that I only wish that they knew the work that was put in by the committee staff. It is something they will never have an appreciation of, the time that they spend away from family; literally the nights that were spent on the floor, on couches, in chairs, wherever they could grab a quick nap, wherever they could get a little rest and then plod on from there. They never quit. They never gave up. They did it with wonderful smiling

faces. American agriculture, I think, has never seen such a capable staff assembled, nor do I suspect they will ever see one that is more capable ever assembled in the future. They did such great work.

Bill O'Conner, chief of staff, who was in and around the committee nearly 20 years ago when I started, and who knows a great deal about the institution, about agriculture, and about the process. And it was many, many long hard hours under his leadership and direction that that staff continued to work. And everyone worked together. Tom Sell, who was the deputy chief of staff, one of the great young men that I have gotten to know over the years. It does not hurt also that his son and I share the

same birthday. Noah and GIL GUTKNECHT and I have the same birthday, and it is something we will obviously always remember.

I could tell a story about every member of that staff and the work that they put into the end product that became the farm bill. There were some, Alan Mackey, who literally was so wracked with pain that it was difficult at times for him to even get out of bed, but

was always there, every day, long, long hours every day. Dr. Elizabeth Parker was undergoing chemo at the time and set a new style for women's hair fashions in the Committee on Agriculture. She was there every day. Debbie Smith, whose home was less than a quarter of a mile away from those hit by a tornado, spent 3 days up here and never went home to see how things were because it was at a critical time here.

So many others on both the majority and the minority. There was an effort put into this in a bipartisan fashion, as my dear, dear friend CHARLIE STENHOLM said that was not for politics but for the good of the cause of American agriculture.

There are so many people over the years that I could spend a lot longer than any of my colleagues want to spend mentioning the staff and the work they do. They make us look awfully good. All of us know that. They are the ones that produce the work that really makes a difference, that keep the fires burning. I will be very remiss in not mentioning every one of them, and I could, and you are all in my thoughts; but I will particularly mention Lynn and Patty, who were there the day the door opened

and will be there the day the lights are turned out, and have just kept things going, and so many in the district.

It has reminded me a great deal over the past several months of a particular translation from Corinthians that says, ``What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if all you have is from God how can anyone boast as having accomplished anything on their own?'' And I think we have to always recognize there are a lot of others, including much more powerful than we, who direct our lives and who direct the things that we do.

And I will just close with this, Mr. Speaker, again giving my appreciation to you, Mr. Chairman, but saving the best for last, I want to thank Sharon. This is, as all my colleagues know, a family effort. This is not something we, anyone, does alone. It takes a tremendous amount of sacrifice and dedication on the part of our spouses. Mine is extra special.

I have very fond memories of this place, but one of the things that she and I have talked about is that we hope that we have spent our last night apart, as so many nights we spend apart from our families when we are in Congress. And to those of you who we will miss greatly not being here, the fact that 24 hours of every day I will spend with her, I can take missing you all a little bit. We are looking very forward to the next phase in our lives, spending it together.

It was quite ironic, I think, when we made the announcement publicly that we were going to make this move. We just simply could not quit. Everyone was just so interested, particularly the media, about what was wrong. There has to be a problem. You cannot just walk away from this. And I think she summed it up quite well when she said, isn't it really sad that people do not think you can leave that to spend more time with your wife? And it is, I guess, if people think that with all of the wonderful

opportunities that we have here, that that is more important to us than those that we care about.

And so we are looking forward to this next phase, I will assure you, as much as we were 18 1/2 years ago when we came here preparing for this phase; but it will be done in a different setting. We intend to continue in our service. It will be in an unpaid capacity, and it will be done out of dedication and love for each other and for people. But this has been a wonderful opportunity, and I am proud of the accomplishments that this House has made over the years and that I have been able to just

sit here and be a part of it.

We will continue to watch you occasionally, to see how you are doing. But come about middle of the summer, when it is really hot and humid here, we will be somewhere under the cool trees in the mountains of Colorado, maybe spending enough time there that I could almost become a constituent of my good friend Governor Bill Owens. We will not be there quite that long, we will always have a home in our beloved Texas, but we are looking forward to that adventure in our lives.

So next week, when you are out doing your Memorial Day parades, we are going to start the fishing trip. Thank you very much.

9:09 PM EDT

Bob Goodlatte, R-VA 6th

Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for sharing those wonderful remarks with us, and I thank him also for sharing nearly 2 decades of his life with the American people and with all of us here in the Congress. We thank Sharon for sharing you with us because it has been a blessing for all of us. So we wish you the best.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note that we have a large contingent of staff members of the House Committee on Agriculture and other friends and supporters of LARRY in the gallery. I mentioned earlier that the RECORD will remain open for an additional 5 days for Members to submit statements for the RECORD, and a number already have.

I would also note that the vice chairman of the committee, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Boehner), and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture, the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Hayes), the former chairman of the Subcommittee on Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture Programs, the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Everett), have submitted statements for the RECORD, and I know others have been submitted and will be in the coming days because,

LARRY, many of us want to let you know how highly we regard you and we wish you happy trails and abundant streams. May God abundantly bless you and Sharon in all of your future travels.

END

9:11 PM EDT

Mike Honda, D-CA 15th

Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on the significance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The push for designating an APA Heritage Month started 26 years ago by visionary APA community leaders and also was led from this House by retired Congressman Robert Horton of New York and the current Secretary of Transportation, Norman Y. Mineta.

This year's Heritage Month theme, a Salute to Liberty, is an especially timely theme as our Nation is faced with conflict and tension. We must remember that in the fight to protect our national security, we must also preserve our civil liberties and individual rights. During this month, it is also imperative that we utilize this opportunity to reflect upon and understand our past so we can successfully build for our future. This is a moment of teaching and learning. There have been many histories

of Asian Pacific Americans in this country, Mr. Speaker, their origins, their barriers, the barriers that they have overcome in the pursuit to seek the American Dream in this country.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment and sort of share with the community the history of the bill that was passed in 1992, eventually, to recognize the month of May as an official [Page: H4234]

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

In 1977, Representative Frank Horton, a Representative from New York, and Norman Y. Mineta, from California, introduced the Asian Pacific Heritage Week, House Resolution 540, in the House of Representatives, which called upon the President to proclaim the first 10 days of May as Pacific Asian Heritage Week. The joint resolution did not contain an annual designation, so in 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the joint resolution put forward by both Representatives Horton and Mineta.

Then, in 1990, Asian American leaders around the country gathered at the White House to witness the signing of a proclamation by President George Bush declaring May to be Asian Pacific Heritage Month. So we went from a week to a month. In 1992, President Bush signed legislation into law designating May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

[Time: 21:15]

Mr. Speaker, it is apropos since this is the month of May we do take some time to recognize those who were important in designating Asian Pacific Heritage Month.

First, why is it important? As a schoolteacher, if we do not teach our history and understand the members of our community's contributions to this country, our children, be they Asian Americans or not, will be less educated and less informed and less appreciative of not only their culture but the cultures of other people.

The growth of the Asian Pacific population from 1980 to 1990 doubled from 3.7 million to approximately 7.3 million. This increase is remarkable when compared to the total increase in the U.S. population of 9.8 percent during that same period.

Then the growth continued to rise another 43 percent from 1990 to 1999. Currently, APAs comprise 4.5 percent of the U.S. population; and by 2050 APAs are expected to comprise 9 percent of the U.S. population. However, in the State of California, the APA population already comprise 11 percent of the general population and grew 34 percent in the past decade, from 2.8 to 3.8 million. This growth, although largely attributed to immigration patterns, is also indicative of more defined data collection

methods which has always been a problem in our communities. So the last census it was critical that the census taken was accurate and was as precise as possible.

Data is a cross-cutting issue. Lack of data impacts our understanding of the health problems in our communities, as well as the problems in access and quality. Adequate data collection continues to be a challenge for the APA community.

Although we are often mistaken to be a homogeneous group and sometimes considered perpetual foreigners, APAs in this country encompasses 49 ethnicities speaking over 100 languages and dialects. Aggregating such a large and diverse group makes it difficult to understand the unique problems faced by the individual ethnicities it encompasses.

So when we aggregate Asian Americans as a population, when we look at programs and policies in this country, it is critical that we disaggregate the information so that we are able to be more precise in our policies and programs that we want to target for our communities.

Let me just share a little bit of historical time line. Historically, in 1763 the very first settlement that we know of were some escaped prisoners aboard the Spanish galleons, and they were Filipinos jumping ship in New Orleans. They fled into the bayous of Louisiana, and they established a community called Saint Malo, the first APA settlement in the United States, fleeing the Spanish galleons and seeking freedom in this country.

In 1882, this country saw fit to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act. The Exclusion Act ends most immigration from China until 1943 and denied citizenship to those already present, many of whom were drawn by the gold rush and the Central Pacific Railroad.

As a sideline, we have found out through our research that there have been many Chinese Americans who fought in the Civil War. Upon their petition to become citizens after serving in the military, they were denied citizenship because of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

In 1868, the Japanese settled in California, first in a community called Alameda in the San Francisco Bay area and secondly in El Dorado County near Sacramento. That colony was name Wahamatsu Colony.

An interesting story of the Wahamatsu Colony, the first colony in this country, was that they first came as refugees from Japan led by a gentleman who was a gunrunner in Japan, Mr. Schell. He had a choice of either facing death or being deported. So he left with his contingent of folks from Japan and established this colony. This colony did not last very long, but it is important to note that the last surviving members of the first colony in the State of California are not Japanese Americans

but families of African Americans and Chinese.

So it shows that ethnic groups in this country, when they come to this country, they may be disallowed from intermarrying with the mainstream white groups of this country, but they found ways to raise families and find their way through this country until such time that laws were passed to allow people to earn their citizenship in this country.

In 1912 at the Stockholm Olympics, swimmer Duke Kahinomoku became the first APA to win a Gold Medal. He was later credited with introducing the sport, a sport that is endearing to the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher), the sport of surfing in the United States.

In 1913, the Alien Land Act was passed, and this was specifically in California. The Alien Land Act forced immigrants, primarily Japanese and other APAs, from owning or leasing land; and similar laws were passed in other States throughout the Nation. Subsequently it was rescinded later on in the 1950s.

In 1942, the Japanese American internment occurred.

This was following the United States' declaration of war against Japan when Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the forced relocation and detention of 120,000 Japanese Americans, as well as over 2,000 Japanese Latin Americans. And also in this country it is not well-known that over 7,000 Italian Americans were affected personally, their families, and over 30,000 German Americans were affected.

In 1943, the Japanese American battalion, the 442nd, which was comprised of some 12,000 Japanese Americans, many of them from internment camps, responded to the War Department's call for volunteers for an all-Japanese combat unit. It was not unusual at that time that we had segregated combat units. We had combat units of Indians; we had combat units of blacks and African Americans. At that time around 32,000 were inducted to form the 442 regimental combat team, and we had Members of this House

who served in the Regimental Combat 442, the past Congressman Sparky Matsunaga and the current Senator from Hawaii, Mr. Inouye.

This combat team became legendary for its success, and it is probably the most decorated military men in the United States history. Their average Purple Heart that this combat unit had inflicted upon them, they had earned almost three Purple Hearts per person, meaning they had to be injured. Each member had to be injured at least three times, so close to 9,000 Purple Hearts were granted recognizing their injuries in the effort to fight the war in Europe.

In 1946, the first Chinese American, Wing F. Ong of Arizona, becomes the first APA to be elected to State office. Asian Americans, we are still looking at firsts. Some day we hope that we will go beyond the first and become a rule rather than an exception.

In 1956, after the first congressman, an Indian American businessman Dalip Singh Saund of Westmoreland, California, became the very first Asian Pacific American elected to Congress, he, however, wanted to become a citizen and could not become a citizen prior to 1952 because there was still a law on the books that disallowed Asian to become citizens. When that law was rescinded, he was able to participate in the halls of Congress.

In 1964, the first congresswoman, Patsy Takemoto Mink is the first woman of color and the first Asian Pacific congresswoman to represent Hawaii in the halls of Congress. We know [Page: H4235]

that we lost her just recently, and it was a terrible loss to not only Asian Americans but Americans throughout this country and to all those who believe that those who have never forgotten their roots and their past come to Congress making sure that the idea that equality and

opportunities for all Americans, regardless of their background, must be met and must be respected.

In 1965, a labor activist named Philip Vera Cruz organizes a successful strike of fellow Filipino grape pickers in Coachella, California. This gentleman began the movement that leads to the formation of the United Farm Workers of America where eventually Cesar Chevaz became the head leader and recognized for his work and his philosophy of peace and nonviolent activism.

In 1968, there was an ethnic studies strike. Students of color from San Francisco State University and UC Berkley organize a Third World strike. Their efforts led to the creation of ethnic studies departments at both campuses and eventually across this country.

I have to say that because of the work of folks in ethnic studies, which was a movement that did not have much support among the scholastic circles until recently, that we found all this information that would lead to children, present and in the future, being able to understand that Asian Americans are not recent immigrants and Asian Americans have contributed to the development of this country.

Further, the most valuable player in 1969 was a Filipino American. He played for the Los Angeles Rams as a quarterback, and his name was Roman Gabriel. He was recognized as the league's Most Valuable Player.

The first governor in 1974 was a Japanese governor named George Ariyoshi; and he was elected governor of Hawaii, the first APA governor in the United States.

And in 1981, a Chinese American architecture student, Maya Lin, her design was chosen for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in a national competition. She becomes one of the most widely recognized architects in the United States, and her work can be seen here in Washington, D.C., at the Vietnam Memorial.

In 1982, a young man, Vincent Chin, who was celebrating the event of his marriage, was murdered. He was murdered in Detroit, Michigan. Two white auto workers mistook Chin for Japanese and blamed him for the auto industry's woes and the downturn in the economy. He was bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat. The courts were lenient on the killers, and none of them served a day in jail. This incident became a rallying point for the national APA community. His mom went across this country seeking

justice and eventually had some justice through the civil rights law.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Scott).

9:27 PM EDT

Bobby Scott, D-VA 3rd

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for leading the effort to commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage month.

During this month-long commemoration, Americans of Asian Pacific heritage celebrate achievements and major contributions for almost 12 million American citizens of Asian and Pacific heritage. Whether we are seeking of arts, education, government, business, athletics, medicine, law, or the military, Asian Pacific Americans have not only contributed but excelled.

Several congressional organizations reflect this unique relationship between Congress and Asian Pacific Americans.

[Time: 21:30]

I recently joined my distinguished colleagues, Representative Issa, Representative Filner and Representative Rohrabacher, in founding Friends of the Philippines. The bipartisan membership comprises Members who are working to promote better relations with our longstanding ally, the Philippines. I am also a member of the India Caucus, which similarly works to promote a better relationship with India.

The bicameral and bipartisan Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus was created by Congressman Norman Mineta, who is now Secretary of Transportation, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink in 1994. Both have served as Chair of the caucus. In the 108th Congress, this Congress, Congressman DAVID WU serves as Chair and Congressman HONDA serves as vice Chair of that caucus. 115 Members of Congress have joined the caucus and work together on policies and legislation that are of concern to

Asian Pacific Americans. The caucus is working hard not only to educate other Members about the history and contributions of Asian Pacific Islanders but also to protect and advance the constitutional rights of all Americans.

My connection with the celebration begins with my maternal grandfather who was born in the Philippines. Around 1900 he immigrated to the United States aboard a naval vessel at an early age. He landed in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was adopted by a family in Raleigh. He became a pharmacist but unfortunately died before I was born.

The historic significance of this month involves two events that occurred in May which determined why this month was chosen to celebrate a week, and now a month, for Asian Pacific American heritage contributions. The first occurred on May 7, 1843, when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States. The second occurred on May 10, 1869, known as Golden Spike Day, when the first transcontinental railroad in the United States was completed with significant contributions from Chinese

immigrants.

Before Asian Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law in 1992, it began as a week-long observance of Asian Pacific Americans' contributions to this country. In 1977, Congressman Horton introduced H.J. Res. 540, legislation to authorize the President to proclaim annually the first 10 days in May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. Congressman Mineta led the efforts to enact H.J. Res. 1007, which in 1979 began as an annual celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. In

1989, legislation was introduced to convert the week into a month, and in 1992 legislation was enacted to make the annual month an annual commemoration.

Mr. Speaker, I join the gentleman from California tonight as we urge all Americans to learn the history of Asian Pacific Americans and to celebrate their contributions to the culture and heritage of our Nation. I want to thank the gentleman from California for leading the effort to make sure that this was properly commemorated.

9:32 PM EDT

Mike Honda, D-CA 15th

Mr. HONDA. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, if I may continue my sharing of information on the chronological order. After the American internment, in 1990 we had a gentleman by the name of Chang-Lin Tien who became the first APA to head a major university in the United States when he was appointed chancellor of the University of Berkeley. He distinguished himself not only because he led the campus as a chancellor but he also became known by the students on that campus, which is quite rare. He also allowed the students to feel

that they were part of a community. He was a great proponent of affirmative action. He was a great proponent of making sure that he modeled what it is that he believed by his own personal life. He also was probably the most prodigious and prolific fund-raiser that university system has ever seen. He just passed away a year ago from brain cancer. We shall miss him dearly; but his work and his model, his expectation continues to live in that system and in the State of California.

In 1992, Mr. Speaker, the Los Angeles uprisings took place. The L.A. uprisings followed the verdict in the Rodney King trial. Property loss was valued at $1 billion with Korean American businesses bearing half the damage. Relations between Korean Americans and African Americans became a focal point of community activism. Today when visiting Los Angeles, one will find that the two communities are working hand in hand to make sure that they learn from each other and can grow with each other and

that neither one is targeted in times of tension.

In 1996 there was a victory for Asian immigrant women workers. After a 3 1/2 year national campaign, APA immigrant women and Asian immigrant women advocates reached a historic agreement with clothing manufacturer Jessica McClintock to protect garment laborers.

Mr. Speaker, in 1996 something happened in the State of Washington. Not only can Hawaii boast of an Asian American Governor but also the State of Washington elected its first Asian American Governor, Gary Locke from the State of Washington. He enjoys quite a bit of leadership. Today he is the chair of the Governors association. In 1996, AIDS research reached a point of distinction. A gentleman by the name of David Ho was named Time Magazine's Man of the Year for his work in AIDS research. He

developed the protease inhibitor cocktail treatment which adds years to the lives of many AIDS patients. David Ho.

In 1997, there was a woman in space. She was an Asian Pacific American. Astronaut Kalpana Chawla became the first Indo-American and APA woman in space. She died in the breakup of the Columbia Space Shuttle returning to Earth this year, in February 2003.

The first APA man in the Cabinet was selected by President Bill Clinton when he appointed former Congressman Norman Mineta Secretary of Commerce. He is the first APA member of the Presidential Cabinet. Earlier in his career, Mineta was the first APA mayor of a major metropolitan city, San Jose. Then in the next administration under George Bush, George Bush saw fit to ask Norm Mineta to serve as Secretary of Transportation. We are enjoying his leadership currently as Secretary of Transportation.

In 2002, an APA woman legislator by the name of Wilma Chan of Alameda, California, is a State legislator but she rose to the Democratic majority leader of the California State Assembly. There are other firsts, Mr. Speaker. The first Hmong attorney. The Hmongs came from Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War. The Hmongs were scattered throughout this country but eventually assembled both in Fresno, California, and in Minnesota. Mee Moua was a young woman who was an attorney and became the first

woman and first Hmong attorney and first member of the Hmong community to be elected to the Minnesota State Senate. Shortly after that, Cy Thao became the first Hmong assemblyman in the State of Minnesota. There is also in the State of Minnesota the first Indo-American, Satveer Chaudhary. He hails from Minnesota, also.

There was the first APA woman in the Cabinet. President George W. Bush appointed Elaine Chao to be Secretary of Labor. She is the very first APA woman to hold a Presidential Cabinet post.

Mr. Speaker, in this country there are many firsts. We have John Liu who is the very first Asian American to sit on the City of New York's city council representing the 20th district.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee).

9:38 PM EDT

Barbara Lee, D-CA 9th

Ms. LEE. I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his leadership of the Asian Pacific American Caucus and our tri-caucus, actually, because it is really a privilege to belong to the tri-caucus, the Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus. We join the gentleman today in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. In my district, the Ninth Congressional District of California, the east bay of Northern California, Asian Pacific Americans have

long played a very crucial role in the life and in the history of the east bay and the region's identity has been deeply shaped by its place on the Pacific Rim. I am proud again to join him tonight in celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The contributions to

our country by Asian Pacific Americans are numerous, and we are a much better country as a result. However, today Asian Americans confront a wide variety of challenges, including access to educational opportunities, language access issues, and health problems and disparities.

Specifically, I would just like to talk this evening about health care issues, immigration and civil liberties issues and about the work being done in my own district by the Asian Health Services organization and the Asian Law Caucus. Asian Health Services is a comprehensive community health center based in Oakland, California. It provides medical care, health education, insurance counseling, and client advocacy. They reach out into the underserved Asian and Pacific Islander population in Alameda

County. Its staff members offer its services in nine languages. They provide almost 60,000 medical visits to some 14,000 patients each year. And they are doing this on minimal resources. In the process, they are helping to tear down language and economic barriers that separate far too many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from quality health care.

As we all know, there are vast health disparities in this country. Asian and Pacific Americans are disproportionately affected by cancer and other serious diseases. Asian and Pacific Americans have a tuberculosis rate that is 15 times higher than that of whites. They have cervical and liver cancer rates that are five times the national average. These disparities we must erase, and we must commit ourselves to do that tonight as we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Recent immigrants also face many challenges from language barriers to medical bureaucracy. Organizations like Asian Health Services are helping their clients conquer their challenges through community outreach, education, and patient care. In recent years, AHS has also opened a very badly needed dental clinic. As part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I want to salute the contributions tonight of the Asian Health Services. In this age of State and Federal budget deficits and Federal tax

cuts, their commitment is needed now more than ever. Immigrants are especially at risk during these perilous times.

As part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I believe that it is very important to call to the attention of the country a hero for many of us who I am privileged to say lives in my district and is a constituent, Mr. Fred Korematsu. During World War II when thousands of Japanese Americans were unjustly interned in camps, Fred Korematsu refused to go and took his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Mr. Korematsu stood up not only for his own rights but for civil liberties for all of us.

Racial profiling really was not a word or a concept in 1942, but it was practiced with vengeance. The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II represents one of the darkest chapters in our Nation's history. Tens of thousands of people were imprisoned not because of disloyalty, but because of ethnicity; and the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court all conspired in this act of fear and prejudice.

When Fred Korematsu took his case to the Supreme Court in 1944, the Court ruled in favor of the government and thus in favor of racism and oppression. But by exposing the truth, Fred Korematsu exposed for all of the world to see the utter hypocrisy of fighting for democracy abroad while rationing it here at home. And although it took many, many decades, Fred Korematsu finally won when President Reagan apologized for the internment and Congress finally offered compensation.

I am very proud to say that the Asian Law Caucus fought for Fred Korematsu as it has fought for many Asian Americans. For 31 years, the Asian Law Caucus has advanced the legal and civil rights of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Now those communities and our society unfortunately as a whole need that advocacy even more. As attorneys and as legal professionals, we need the skills and the energy and the commitment of lawyers associated with the Asian Law Caucus. Educational opportunities

and legal support services are both shrinking under this current administration.

[Time: 21:45]

The representation provided to hundreds of low-income clients and the advocacy of the caucus is really making an impact in both high-profile litigation and in the lives of families and individuals each and every day. By fighting for housing, fairness in employment, and the rights of seniors; by stopping unlawful evictions and helping immigrants navigate, and really they have to navigate, the citizenship process, the Asian Law Caucus is strengthening democracy and carrying out the legacies of

the civil rights movement of the last century.

So as a proud member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I am proud to join with the gentleman from California (Mr. Honda) tonight to make sure that our entire country understands why we are celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Let [Page: H4237]

us make sure that we represent Asian Pacific Americans every month, each and every day as we develop our policies and our legislation that ensure liberty and justice for all.

9:45 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from California (Mr. Honda), and I am very proud to stand here as a member of the Asian Pacific Caucus and as well to applaud the gentleman from California (Mr. Honda) for his vision and leadership on helping us commemorate the Asian Pacific Heritage Month, the month of May.

I am excited because as I left Houston, we were, if the Members will, embedded, if I might use that terminology, in celebrations and commemoration on the Asian Pacific Month in Houston. We are very proud as a very diverse community to be reflective of so many from the Asian community, and we are very proud of the fact that all of our citizens recognize and respect the excitement and contributions of this dynamic community. Might I applaud Mayor pro tempore council member Gordon Quan, the highest-ranking

Asian American in the city of Houston. He serves as second in the command of the city of Houston, and we are very proud of his representation.

I am also proud of the fact, if I might speak to the political process, of the number of Asian Americans who will be seeking political office and empowerment. Might I applaud the thought processes that have moved our communities to be accepting of that diversity. And as well, might I applaud the Asian American senior citizen community and senior citizens community center. We had the privilege of meeting with many of the representatives just a few weeks ago, and we have collectively made a commitment

to help them build a very dynamic community center for the very dynamic senior citizen community in Houston that happens to be Asian. The reason, of course, because there is such history, there is such a commonality, a community of interests, that we want to make sure that those individuals have an opportunity to reflect on their history and to expand on their cultural pride by having a community center designated and committed to them.

I am also proud of the work that has been done in collaboration with the Asian American community on the issues dealing with immigration. We have worked on the question of whether or not immigration equates to terrorism, and we worked on the question of civil liberties as we have moved certain bills such as the PATRIOT Act and as we formulated the Select Committee on Homeland Security. We have worked to ensure that we do not stigmatize and racially profile different ethnic groups.

This is a month to celebrate and commemorate this

outstanding community. For that reason I would like to stand and join with the very powerful and very impressive leader of this Asian Pacific Caucus in the United States Congress and suggest that his continued advocacy on behalf of expanding the opportunities of the Asian Pacific community throughout the Nation and emphasizing political empowerment, social empowerment, civic empowerment is one that I join him in and I thank him for allowing me to celebrate this very important month, and might

I congratulate the entire Asian Pacific community in Houston and all Asian Americans as we celebrate this very important month.

With that I yield back to the distinguished gentleman.

9:49 PM EDT

Mike Honda, D-CA 15th

Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee) for her words and her support not only here in the halls of Congress but also back home in Houston and Texas in general. Her work and the work of the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lee) really just show that there is power in collaboration and being able to work together not only as individuals but as a coalition for the betterment of every American in this country.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to touch a little bit on the internment story of the Japanese Americans in this country. It is a story that needs to be told over and over again because it is not a Japanese American history lesson. It is not a Japanese American experience only. It is not a Japanese American lesson, but it is really rooted deeply in what I would consider an American lesson.

Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 61st anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942; and it is the 15th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 pursuant to which 120,000 Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. Many of these families lost their property and possessions during the several years they were jailed behind barbed wire.

On February 19, 1976, President Gerald Ford formally rescinded Executive Order 9066; and July 21, 1980, became the beginning of reconciling our past to the present. Congress adopted legislation signed by President Jimmy Carter on July 31, 1980, establishing the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians to investigate the claim that the incarceration of Japanese Americans and legal resident aliens during World War II was not justified by military necessity. The outcome of that

commission, Mr. Speaker, the commission had held 20 days of hearings and listened to testimony of over 720 witnesses, and published its findings in a report entitled ``Personal Justice Denied.'' The principal finding in 1982 was that the promulgation of Executive Order 9066 was not justified

by military necessity and that the decision which followed from it, detention, ending detention and ending exclusion, were not driven by analysis of military conditions, but rather the causes that shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.

With a strong bipartisan vote, Congress passed H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act, which states in part: ``For these fundamental violations of the basic civil liberties and constitutional rights of these individuals of Japanese ancestry, the Congress apologizes on behalf of the Nation.'' President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act into law on August 10, 1988, at which time he proclaimed: ``This is a great day for America.''

In 1998, as a member of the California State Assembly, I authored the State version of the Civil Liberties Act, understanding that the work was still not done once the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 had expired.

I mention these dates and this timing, Mr. Speaker, because today it is even more important, more important than ever, to speak up against unjust policies. It is also more important than ever to educate Americans of the Japanese American experience during World War II, as well as the experience of other groups like Japanese Latin Americans who were expatriated from their country at the request of our government; and then while they were on the ships on their way to the United States to be interned

in Crystal City, Texas, they were stripped of all their papers and became people without a country. And certain German and Italian Americans in this country were also mistreated, many of whom were forced in the middle of the night to leave their homes and pledge allegiance to the Flag in the middle of the night in order to show that to their neighbors, who forced them out, to prove that they were loyal and patriotic Americans during that time.

It is also important to learn the important lessons from our own history in the resolution I introduced, H.R. 56, the Day of Remembrance resolution, which is still in the Committee on the Judiciary. Teaching the lessons of those dark days is more important today than it ever was.

By remembering, Executive Order 9066 that was signed on February 19, 1942, does not become an anniversary just on February 19 but is an anniversary that must be remembered and lived and understood every day of the year, every year for the future of this country, because the lessons that were learned were lessons that were principally rooted in the Constitution of this country, the Constitution which was a contract between our government and the people who are here in this country, a contract

that is signed on paper called the Declaration of Independence, a contract that is immutable and cannot be [Page: H4238]

changed and should not be changed, a contract that promises everyone who is in this country due process and the protection of their civil

liberties. It is a contract that has been protected. It is a contract that has been fought for and a contract which members of this country who served in the military have shed their blood overseas for, who left their limbs in the islands of the Pacific and on the European continent.

These Americans must be remembered as part of the lessons that we learned from the Japanese American experience that the Constitution is a contract worth protecting and dying for. We must remember that this Constitution was written back in 1776, but yet it is an evolving, growing Constitution that over time has included not only white men with properties but those who used to be slaves; those immigrants whose laws were passed against them which eventually were rescinded became citizens of this

country; those immigrants who came just recently after the Vietnam War, and even today people are still seeking to find refuge in this country even at times when we seem to appear to be inhospitable to the immigrants.

Mr. Speaker, the lessons learned during the internment when we thought that we were protecting Japanese Americans for their own safety was actually a myth because if it were true, then as my father used to tell me, he wondered why if we were here for our protection, why would the barbed wires be around us, the machines pointing in on us. And my father used to still tell me, though, that, as I grew up, to be 110 percent American; that we must also remember that the contributions that have been

invested in this country of our parents and grandparents are well worth it, that we must also learn that even though this country is faced with challenges since 9-11 that in spite of the war on terrorism that we still have to remember the constitutional principles by which we live.

When 9-11 occurred, the ugly head of racial prejudice appeared again as it did in 1942. Hysteria started to take over some hearts in this country, and as a result people like Balbir Singh Sodhi, an immigrant and a Sikh American from Fremont, California, moved to Mesa, Arizona to start a business there and because he looked like the enemy to the perpetrator, he was murdered and shot there in his store. And then coincidentally another year later, his brother Sukhpal Singh Sodhi was a taxi driver

in San Francisco who was shot and murdered in San Francisco merely because he appeared to be a Middle Easterner and those who murdered him thought that they were vindicated because they played upon and acted upon their prejudice and their hysteria and their hatred.

[Time: 22:00]

It did not become a wave of murders and hangings here in this country, for I believe that, because of the history that we have been able to share, that many of us checked our fears and checked our emotions and made sure that we did not respond or succumb to our base fears.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that Members of this Congress also participated in making sure that the people of our country remembered and learned from the history of the internment, that racial profiling is unacceptable, and although we are in the throes of fear and the issues of national security that we must exercise our common sense, our good sense, and exercise our understanding of the principles of the Constitution.

We know that after 9/11 and after certain acts were passed, such as the PATRIOT Act, that we must seek the critical balance between civil liberties and private liberties with national security; and the Constitution continues to be tested as we move along, looking towards a possible second PATRIOT Act.

Mr. Speaker, it is my prayer, my hope, that Members of this body remember that Asian Americans were pioneers establishing this country. The Asian Americans were laborers building this country. The Asian Americans are doctors, lawyers, teachers and politicians, providing for the health and welfare of this Nation; and we, like every other American, are red-blooded Americans.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to close with a couple of comments that became a lesson for me personally as I have been here my third year and my experience and seeing the works of the halls of Congress here in Washington, D.C.

I believe that the very basic lesson I have learned is not only from the experience that my community has had in 1942, the kinds of lessons we learned since then and the kinds of teachings that we have learned, but I also started to understand that the last century was a century of wars, a century of conflict, a century of trauma, and that the promise that we have in this new century should be the century of reconciliation and peace.

Now that the Cold War is gone, we have a challenge of facing conflicts in other ways. A wise man once said to me that peace, Mike, is not an absence of conflict, but a way, a manner, in which you can deal with conflict.

So, in closing, the primary lesson I have learned these past few years, Mr. Speaker, is that our Constitution is never tested in times of tranquility, but our Constitution is sorely tested in times of trauma, terror and tragedy, and that the very fiber of the American character and this country should be embodied and should be learned from the very words and the principles and the rights embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to utilize this time to share some of the information that we have had, share some of the information with the general public, and hopefully the records would reflect that Asian Americans in this country came with a dream, they worked hard and participated, they faced barriers and overcame them, and that can only happen over time in a country and a democracy like ours, where evolution and evolving sentiments and policies in this country only lead us

forward, that we learn from our mistakes, and that only makes us stronger and better Americans and a greater America.

10:03 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have been able to celebrate with the gentleman from California (Mr. Honda) the importance of Asian American and Asian Pacific Month.

I would like to add some additional points that I think are very important on this matter, and just add my thoughts regarding the information that we have shared this evening.

I would like to call this special order, Mr. Speaker, ``Matters Not Yet Finished, Issues Undone.''

I believe it is important to note, as we are facing challenges with respect to homeland security, that as we look to protect our Nation it is important to find the right kind of balance.

This morning I was able to join a number of my colleagues at the homeland security hearing held in the district of the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Slaughter). I thank her for her hospitality. It was a very important hearing. As we listened to the residents and Federal officials in the northern New York-Canadian area, the theme was, of course, that we should be effective and efficient and proficient, but also we need to balance the needs of that region as relates to the commerce of

people and as well goods. So there should always be a balance.

That is why I think it is important to remind this Nation of the Japanese internment in the 1940s, done by a President, of course, that thought what he was doing was the correct thing. But in many instances the Japanese that were interred did not even speak the language, did not speak Japanese, may not have had any relationship to Japan, and certainly posed no threat to the United States. They lost their jobs, their property, their family.

So as we move through society and as we begin to look at these questions, I think it is extremely important that homeland security and the securing of this Nation be balanced with civil liberties and the refusal and rejection of racial profiling.

I might also want to add just a note as we are focusing on the Asian Pacific Month, it is just to pay tribute for a moment to our former colleague, our late colleague, Patsy Mink. We truly miss her. Certainly she was the first Asian Pacific woman to be elected to the United States Congress and the first minority woman. It is clear that her leadership was not a leadership that focused solely on the issues of her heritage. She focused on issues of social justice. She is known to be the Mother of

Title IX, that opened the doors of opportunity for women athletes.

But I think it is very appropriate during this month to again compliment all of the Asian Pacific and Asian American elected officials throughout the Nation, our two Senators in the United States Senate, the many Members of this House of Representatives who serve us today. But certainly it would be remiss of all of us if we did not make mention of the fact that Patsy Mink served amongst us, and she was a dynamic and wonderful representative. [Page: H4241]

Also, Mr. Speaker, I believe that as we look at the issues confronting us there are many things that are left undone that I would like to make note of.

The first is that I would like to emphasize again a tribute to the 55 Texans that took it upon themselves to stand and be counted against a runaway legislature that wanted to do a number of legislative initiatives that were to undermine the representation of these members, 51 in Ardmore, and four others, a total of 55, a very unique and extraordinary procedure that was utilized.

I think the headline in the Washington Post on Tuesday, May 13, gave the right tone. ``GOP plan prompts a Texas exodus. Democrats stall State legislature's redistricting vote. Moving with exceptional stealth and tactical coordination, more than 50 Democratic State lawmakers in Texas packed their bags and quietly slipped out of the State under cover of darkness late Sunday and early today.''

Of course, it is alleged that the officials there dispatched various police officers and others to track them down. I do not think they reported, however, some of the abuses that occurred during that time; the fact that law enforcement, under the direction of State officials, went into hospitals, went into the homes of legislators whose children were home alone, tracked legislators' cars whose whereabouts were well-known because they were in Ardmore, simply, I believe, an inappropriate use of

the legal authority of that State.

I would hope that there will be a great study of what occurred with these 55. I hope the Nation points sunlight on that political process so that the misrepresentation that they absconded or they left in the dark of night would not be the accurate characterization

of what happened.

What happened was as important as those early settlers who threw, if you will, the tea into the Boston Harbor. It was an act of objection, defiance, in a democratic manner. It was a nonviolent defiance of a governmental process that was oppressive.

And what was the oppression? The refusal of the legislature to even allow amendments by the Democrats on any issues, amendments that would deal with the saving of children who had lost their health care, amendments dealing with fixing Medicaid, amendments dealing with fixing the pension problem with respect to teachers in Texas, amendments dealing with the fact that schools were firing teachers. There was absolutely no respect of the bipartisan process that Texans had grown used to and certainly

no respect of the balance between majority and minority.

So the Democrats did not just walk out, Mr. Speaker, on the issue dealing with redistricting, though let me share with you the plan that was supposed to be a redistricting plan. Mind you, Mr. Speaker, that not in 50 years had there been this kind of interim redistricting request by any State. So it is unfortunate that we would have the majority leader of this body to interfere with the State process on the grounds that the State of Texas is a Republican State.

This is what we would have been subjected to if the redistricting plan would have existed.

First of all, District 25, that is now an existing district in the State of Texas, would have been extinguished, moving it some hundreds of miles away from its original base. That means an incumbent Member would have been totally eliminated. Not that the incumbent Member is the question. It is the question of the people having the right to select a person of their choosing and for communities of interest to be able to be together.

When I told constituents of the 25th that their district no longer existed, and these are individuals of different political persuasions, not only were they shocked, but they were outraged that they did not have the opportunity to have a hearing in their community to be able to address the question.

Mind you, Mr. Speaker, those of us from Texas wrote letters. The legislators there requested of that body, the State House, to allow for field hearings to occur. But, lo and behold, they were totally rejected. Not rejected as elected officials, but I would like to remind Speaker Craddick of the House of Representatives in Austin that he denied the people of the State of Texas.

But this plan would totally move the 18th Congressional District that I am now representing, again a district that belongs to the people, totally away from its historic communities of interest. It means the historic homes of Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland would no longer be in the 18th Congressional District and that historic location in Houston, Texas, but would be connected hundreds of miles away to a district that would be in Beaumont, Texas, next to Louisiana. So a downtown community, downtown

Houston, would be connected under this plan that the legislators saw fit to leave town on to Beaumont, Texas.

The real key is the rights of the people, and I believe that the rights of the people have been undermined and, maybe in some instances, abused. I believe it is important as a member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security that we clarify and make sure that in the rush to judgment of last week that no Federal resources were utilized.

So I would like to offer into the RECORD language from a letter that was sent by a number of Members of Congress dated today to request formally the audio tapes and transcripts of all conversations or transmissions pertaining to any aspect of the alleged attempts to use any Federal resources of any type with regard to any member of the Texas legislature. This request includes all communications of any type to and from employees and consultants, wherever they may be located.

I would like to offer this into the RECORD at the appropriate time, Mr. Speaker.

[Time: 22:15]

The letter is joined by a letter that was sent last week by myself and a number of Members of this body to insist that this was not a Federal question. There had been no criminal acts that had been perpetrated by the legislators, and their constitutional rights protected them from their expression of opposition to the process of the Texas legislature, and that no Federal resources or no Federal intervention should occur.

Apparently, we were ignored; and already at that time inquiries were made to the Department of Justice to utilize their resources. Also, it appears that homeland security resources were used at that time and that there were trackings, if you will, of legislators.

That is an abomination, Mr. Speaker, an outrage. I hope that, out of the sense of respect and dignity for this House and the Members of this body, an appropriate response will be coming forth from the Homeland Security Department. I think it is absolutely a necessity, Mr. Speaker, that we engage in doing that immediately. Without that, I think that we are barking up a very wrong tree.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, I am here to discuss issues left unstated and matters still to be done. I want to speak to the question of the news item of last week, and we do not know how long it will continue. I do so because I am a strong believer in the first amendment and the freedom of the press. It is certainly imperative and the responsibility of the press to be accurate; I do not disagree with that. Many of us who serve in elected office have seen many instances that we have challenged some

of the accuracy of the reportings of the press.

At the same time, we hold very dear that privilege of the first amendment. In fact, the first amendment entitles us to the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and movement, and the freedom of religion, among others. So this is not a challenge, if you will, to the idea that we must protect the first amendment.

I recall working with a writer a year or two ago on the issue of ensuring that she had the right to hold her sources, a very sensitive issue. She was so convinced of this that she remained in jail for a period of months, almost a year, to protest against the grand jury demanding of her her sources. I sided with the privilege that she had to protect those sources of her particular articles that she had written and books that she was intending to write.

But this is about The New York Times and Jayson Blair. All of a sudden, it grew into a larger issue. Mr. Speaker, Jayson is an African American. The whereabouts of Jayson I do [Page: H4242]

not know if anyone knows at this point, but I would like to raise as a commentary an article by Bob Herbert written in The New York Times. It is seemingly May 19, late edition.

I believe this is an important commentary, because what we saw last week was an uproar about Mr. Blair's writings and the mea culpa of The New York Times, and the challenging of the editorial staff. I would like to support the editorial staff. I cannot support them personally in terms of their professional and management style, but certainly I believe that all heads should not roll because of an incident with an obviously unfortunate individual who has certainly deep and unfortunate problems.

But what began to happen is the trickle-up effect, that they wanted to throw the management out with the water. They also wanted to label Mr. Blair as a representative or a symbol of affirmative action. So I stand here today to take issue with all of the editorials and all of the commentary that will probably continue, that Mr. Jayson Blair's problems were because he was an African American hired on affirmative action and protected by affirmative action.

I would like to take from Mr. Herbert's commentary: ``I've seen drunks, incompetents and out-and-out lunatics in the newsrooms I've passed through over the years. I have seen plagiarizers, fiction writers and reporters who felt it was beneath them to show up for work.

``I remember a police captain who said of a columnist at the daily News, `I didn't mind him making stuff up as long as I looked okay. But now he's starting to tick me off.'

``I was at NBC when some geniuses decided it was a good idea to attach incendiary devices to a few GM pick-up trucks to show the trucks had a propensity to burst into flames. That became a scandal that grew into a conflagration that took down the entire power structure at NBC News.''

Then he refers to the Jayson Blair scandal: ``For those who have been watching nothing but the Food Network for the past weeks, Mr. Blair was a Times reporter who resigned after it was learned that his work contained fabrications and plagiarized passages on a monumental scale. The truth and Jayson Blair inhabited separate universes. If there were a blizzard raging, Mr. Blair could tell you with the straightest and friendliest of

faces that the weather outside was sunny and warm.

``Now, this story would be a juicy story under any circumstances. But Mr. Blair is black, so there is the additional spice of race, to which so many Americans are terminally addicted.

Listen up: the race issue in this case is as bogus as some of Jayson Blair's writing and reporting.'' A great comment and an important comment.

``The idea that blacks can get away with the journalistic equivalent of murder at The Times because they are black is preposterous.

``There's a real shortage of black reporters, editors and columnists at The Times. But the few who are here are doing fine and serious work day in and day out and don't deserve to be stigmatized by people who can see them only through the prism of a stereotype.

``The problem with American newsrooms is too little diversity, not too much. Blacks have always faced discrimination and maddening double standards in the newsroom, and they continue to do so. So do women, Latinos and many other groups that are not part of the traditional newsroom in-crowd''; and I might add, Asian Americans.

``So let's be real. Discrimination in the newsroom--in hiring, in the quality of assignments and promotions--is a much more pervasive problem than Jayson Blair's aberrant behavior. A black reporter told me angrily last week, `After hundreds of years in America, we are still on probation.' ''

Mr. Speaker, that is why I think this is extremely important. Thank you, Mr. Herbert, for your commentary. How striking and how truthful, to be able to highlight the fact that what we really have a problem with is not enough African Americans on editorial boards and newspapers across the Nation, or African Americans behind the camera making editorial decisions in the electronic media, whether it be radio or television.

Jayson is not the problem; Mr. Blair is not the problem. We all hope and wish for him some sort of recuperative regrouping, and certainly whatever penalties will come to him personally. But his downfall at The New York Times should not be the downfall of all reporters all over the Nation. I would just simply ask my colleagues to make sure that we are not pointing to someone who clearly has his own severe problems.

I believe that we can get past this by working very hard together on establishing what should be the right kind of attitude about affirmative action. That is, of course, that it brings about the opportunity for diversity and it brings about the opportunity for improving the access of all Americans to the great workplaces and the talents that all of us deserve to see.

I wish all of those in newsrooms around America the reckoning and the respect for all who may be there. Certainly I hope that they will encourage diversity and reach out for diversity.

To all of those who happen to be African American, Hispanic, women, Asian American and others who are in the newsroom, they should do the right kind of job, stand up and be proud, and reflect upon the wonderment of their heritage, so that as readers are reading, they can see in actuality a different perspective reflected by their uniqueness, their talent, their intellect, and their ability to write.

Might I also make note of the fact that I am very proud of my young son, Jason Lee, who just recently won a writing contest. He is in the 11th grade. I would encourage all who are involved in training young people to encourage them to write. It is one of the most important skills that I think we can have, and I would hope that we would do so.

Mr. Speaker, I think that as we look at these issues, it is important as well to continue to look at civil justice and civil rights issues. I would like to again focus on a civil rights issue by focusing on the predicament of individuals in Tulia, Texas, where tens of individuals were locked up on the testimony of an errant police officer.

Now, I have the greatest respect for law enforcement. We work a lot together. I am a member of the Committee on the Judiciary. I want to salute much of the law enforcement in the State of Texas and Houston that I have had a chance to work with, so I do not broad brush. But I know that we have had our share of enormous difficulties and racial incidents that law enforcement personnel have, unfortunately, contributed to.

We have a large problem in this country regarding racial profiling, and we have yet to pass a serious racial profiling legislative initiative in this Congress. We have a problem that we have not passed a hate crimes bill, and we have difficulties in getting that bill even to be heard in the Committee on the Judiciary. I believe that we have a lot of work to do.

In this instance, in Tulia, Texas, and I want to applaud the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel) for a briefing I

joined them in, and as well to applaud the Committee on the Judiciary of the House, because we expect to have a hearing on this very point in the very near future.

I will be authoring a resolution to condemn what occurred in Tulia, Texas, and that is tens of African Americans not only arrested but convicted on bogus drug charges. They were individuals who were charged, and they were released after they could document that they were not even in the town at the time the incidents occurred. But it was so reckless and random, and the justice was so fleeting. In fact, there was no justice, because individuals were able to be indicted and convicted on the testimony

of one law officer, or police person, who subsequently was then undermined and shown to be lacking in integrity and the truth.

It is time now to have those who are in prison released immediately. Might I applaud Senator John Whitmire for his courage and his legislation in the State senate of Texas indicating and requesting and demanding that these individuals be released.

It would be a shame if the legislature that tried to bombard a redistricting plan that had no sense and was obviously developed by a meat cutter, there would be a tragedy if there could not be some good after this incident. That would be to pass Senator Whitmire's [Page: H4243]

legislation on unanimous consent. Forgive me if I am suggesting a procedural point that is not allowed in the Texas senate.

But if it is to be considered in that manner, I would encourage my friends in Texas to take up Senator Whitmire's bill and to have those individuals released. If that is not the case, then what would be the best thing to occur? Mr. Governor, Governor Perry, why do you not do the right thing and why do you not, by executive order, ask that these individuals be pardoned and released from the prison, because it has been shown without a doubt that the sentences that they have been rendered are sentences

that are inappropriate, and that they have been convicted on false charges, and that they should be released?

It is very important that we do so, and I hope that out of the work of Senator Whitmire, out of the hearing we will have in the Committee on the Judiciary, I hope that we will find an opportunity, if you will, to release these innocent persons.

I had the opportunity to meet the mother and another individual, I believe, that had been impacted, of some of the incarcerated persons. What a sad occasion that mothers were celebrating Mother's Day without their children. Some mothers had two and three and four children arrested, convicted, and jailed. What an outrage.

Then they found out that the actual basis of this case was on one single individual's testimony. That individual, upon further hearing, when they were brought to trial on the basis of the lawyers that had been retained or chosen to help these individuals that are incarcerated, they found that his case was made of nothing but a bag of air and a bucket of water with holes in it.

I think it is time now that we address the inequity. I would say it is time we free the Tulia incarcerated persons, free them now. I would ask the Governor to do the right thing, the Governor of the State of Texas to do the right thing and release these individuals. It is outrageous.

Mr. Speaker, I might say that this has gained a lot of support in the State of Texas. This is not an isolated and, if you will, covered-up circumstance. It is appropriate for the Governor to act. I would hope that he would do the right thing and the respectful thing and allow these individuals to go free.

I want to step aside from civil rights issues for a moment and just go into, again, as I said this is a litany of issues that I think is very important. I want to congratulate the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Meek) in his work with Haitians. Preceding him was his mother, Congresswoman Carrie Meek.

I would join him in the resolution that he has filed today in celebration of Haitians, Haitian-Americans to acknowledge that there are 1.2 million Haitian-Americans in this country, 700,000 in the Florida area, and to also celebrate and commemorate with them Flag Day, May 18, and to salute the kind of friendship that Haiti has had with the United States and apologize to them for not keeping that friendship at the level it should be.

[Time: 22:30]

Frankly, I believe that we have done a disservice to our Haitian friends by not giving them parity as it relates to immigration laws and allowing them to have, because of the oppressive nature and the unfortunate economy in Haiti and over the years the oppressive nature of the government, we are now trying to work with the present government. I am not suggesting that the government is not trying, but I am saying that the Haitians live in abject poverty and there is a great need to respond to

their immigration needs as they seek opportunity. Some of them are, if you will, in jeopardy of losing their lives because of the political viewpoint they take.

I would suggest that we look closely at the legislation many of us have offered over the sessions, and that is to allow Haitians who flee because of political oppression and also abject poverty, where there is no opportunity whatsoever for them to survive, I would suggest that we look closely at providing them the kind of status that the Cubans receive when they are able to reach the shores of the United States of America.

This will of course upset many, but we have always had a disjointed immigration policy in the United States, and I think we do ourselves a disservice by not understanding that we are not gaining by having an immigration policy.

I have heard my good friend on the floor of the House day after day after day, month after month after month. I do not disagree with those who believe that we have to find a way to stem the tide of illegal immigration. I certainly agree with that. I also agree that we must secure our borders, and it certainly would be hypocritical for me to be on the Select Committee on Homeland Security and not provide the resources of increased border patrol agents, of high technology, with the kind of radioactive

equipment that can detect illegal goods and persons coming across the border. But we have to recognize as well that we are surrounded by nations whose economy is in shambles, and people look to the United States with great hope and inspiration. And, unfortunately, sometimes they have gotten a one-way ticket to death.

So as I mention the Haitians I think it is important to note that that country is in shambles. We are working with it. I hope the President of the country will be able to restore democracy and governmental procedures and law and order and the economy. That is not the case now, and so people seek opportunity. They do not come here just to do us harm. And as they do not come here to do us harm, I think it is important then that we find a sensible way to have the right kind of immigration policy,

and some of the policies that my colleagues want to project, it just makes simply no sense.

You will absolutely never close the borders of the United States in totality. Why? Because the United States benefits economically from trade with Canada and trade with its friends in the southern hemisphere.

Today we were told that the largest amount of trade comes in through Canada. So you are not going to be able to just absolutely close our borders with no punitive measures coming towards you. It is just absolutely not going to happen. So what do we do?

Well, I have filed legislation called Earned Access to Legalization, a bill that saw one million petitioners in the last Congress petition so that we could find an intelligent, reasonable, compassionate, humanitarian way to deal with individuals who are already here. And these are undocumented aliens who are working, owning homes, paying taxes, maybe even have bank accounts but are still under what we call the radar screen because we are not allowing them to access legalization. Their children

are not legal. Their extended family is not legal. What sense does that make, Mr. Speaker, when we could have these individuals documented or give them access to legalization?

My legislation does not say to bestow citizenship automatically without any other procedures in place. It does not say give them citizenship if they have a criminal record. What it says, Mr. Speaker, that if you have continuously been in the United States from 3 to 5 years we will allow you to access the process of becoming a citizen. We will pull the sheets off of those who are hiding. We will let the sunshine come down on those hard-working immigrants who are paying taxes and simply want to

make good.

I want to pay tribute to a constituent of mine who owns the restaurant Hugo. He was highlighted in the Houston Chronicle. He came across the border illegally but yet today owns one of the fastest-growing restaurants, the most attractive restaurant. He did not come to do harm. He pulled himself up by the bootstraps.

I am sure this is not going to be a welcoming sound to those who may be listening. Hugo tried five times to come to the United States, and others who helped bring him did as well. And they came illegally, no, not to do

harm but because they were living in abject poverty, but because their family needed the resources, because they were given the impression that there was a golden rainbow in the United States of America.

What are we going to do? Turn off all the televisions of those in the world who believe we live in a world of democracy, in a Nation that is rich and prosperous, and that the people have an opportunity to work? I do not believe that we are going to be able to [Page: H4244]

dispel the myth or the real story that we live in grandeur here in the United States, so we must find a way of balance.

Hugo should be celebrated for the fact that he did pull himself up by his bootstraps, and here he is providing and contributing to the economy of the United States, providing jobs to hard-working immigrants, people with legal status and working throughout the community to be someone who we are very proud of.

That is what we need to do in providing a balance with our immigration policy: Document those who are here and find a way to provide an economic engine in the countries that are to our southern border in order to ensure that people who live there have the right kind of economy, that they can live in their country in dignity.

President Vicente Fox had raised this discussion with President Bush, of course. It has been dropped like a hot potato, unfortunately. The tragedy of 9/11, of which we do not give any disrespect to, it is an enormous tragedy, and we are still working to overcome the pain of those families. We must now address again this question of immigration. We realize that the individuals who perpetrated that horrific tragedy, most of them came in on illegal visas. That is not immigration. That is a visitor's

visa. And so we must tighten the requirements.

But we must be fair as well as it relates to countries around the world and not penalize one group of countries versus another, but we must ensure that we restrict and put in place the right kind of procedures dealing with those who are seeking visas.

As I visited Doha, Qatar I was able to sit in, in India I was able to sit in on the visa procedures in our embassies, and I must say I see a new and different approach, and certainly there are those who are turned away.

As I look at that process I want to turn back to the process of illegal immigrants or aliens and I want to say, Mr. Speaker, by putting our heads in the sand we will not have a cogent immigration policy that addresses the question of the individuals who want to come here and seek an opportunity. Might I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that we utilize these individuals.

In fact, there are many Members of Congress, and I know our committee will be holding a hearing, the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims will be holding a hearing dealing with the guest worker program. We actually create vehicles for individuals to come in temporarily and work for industries that could not do without them.

So why are we trying to come to the floor of the House and bash immigrants when we know full well that this economy is churned by those who have come to work? What we must ensure, however, is that we do not eliminate the work opportunities for the many Americans who are unemployed, but we have got to get a handle around our immigration policy and make it have some sense.

For that reason, let me also bring up and raise and suggest that this past weekend Texas experienced an enormous tragedy again, Mr. Speaker, tied into the immigration issue. Individuals crossing the border, no matter what tragedies they have heard of before, what obstacles they have to overcome, what frightening experiences they have, they are still coming because they view the United States as a place of opportunity.

Well, there are ways of addressing this question; and tragically this weekend we saw this past week the deaths of 19 individuals being smuggled into the United States, including a father and son who had just been abandoned by the son's mother and were coming to the United States for a new opportunity, for a fresh look at life, and that 5-year-old boy died in that heated and horrible and horrific truck in the trailer part of the truck where people literally smothered to death, where there was

no air. A more vicious death one could not expect.

Mr. Speaker, I think it impacted the Houston area more than we could ever imagine. Memorials were held this past Sunday because so many of those individuals had relatives that lived in the Houston area. My sympathy goes out to them. For those who look in mockery saying that this did not have to happen if they had not done it in the first place, you can continue to stick your head in the sand, but I can tell you this will continue to happen. But we must stamp out the illegal aspect of what is

going on.

Mr. Speaker, I am authoring the Anti-Smuggling Prevention Act of 2003 because I believe that the participants of this terrible and horrific crime believed that this was easy money. The truck driver, I believe, thought that this was an easy deal. He did not live in the State of Texas. I understand it was a possible cash payment of upwards of $5,000. He thought that there was going to be no problem, just driving some folk over the border and into certain areas up to Houston, Texas, but not knowing

the dastardly deed that was about to occur. Certainly was not a physician, was not a medical professional, was not a scientist and did not bother to worry about whether there was air in the trailer.

So who is now counting the dollars? The smuggling ring, and that is who we need to stamp out. I believe we need to enhance the penalties, not on the issue of death, because we already have penalties that are severe if death results. But we need to enhance the penalties just on the fact that you involved yourself in smuggling human beings. The fact that you are smuggling human beings is so horrific and tragedies can occur that you should realize that your jail time is going to be painful and long.

I think also that we should reward informants who actually bring out information that will result in a conviction, and the informants should be given cash rewards.

I also believe, Mr. Speaker, that we should look at on a humanitarian case-by-case situation for those individuals who are illegal aliens who are able to smash the smuggling ring, the big guys, the guys who are counting the dollars, they are money laundering, they are smuggling human beings, they are smuggling drugs, to smash those smuggling rings on a humanitarian basis. I believe it is important that those individuals be looked upon to be able to access legalization.

It is important to note, Mr. Speaker, that this was an enormous tragedy in Houston, and I want to share just some of the description. This is taken from an article out of USA Today on May 19, 2003:

``Temperatures in Texas already reach into the 90s and 100s daily. That raises the risk enormously for those hiding in 18 wheelers and railcars which have replaced panel trucks and vans as a preferred way to smuggle larger groups.

``A trailer is not a mode of transportation for human being, says Xavier Rios, a supervisor agent for the Border Patrol in Harlingen. Neither is a train or car.''

If I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that I mentioned Hugo who now owns a restaurant, that is how he first came to the United States, I believe, in a railcar.

Until the week before the 9/11 attacks, President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox were working on a safer way for Mexicans to travel back and forth. I think this should be broadened to all immigrants because we are certainly going to face this over and over again.

It is time for a change. I would commend my colleagues to look at the Earned Access to Legalization legislation. We can reform, if you will, our immigration policy. We need to understand that people are going to continue to come no matter how much we go to the floor of the House and preach otherwise and speak against the idea of immigration. The only way you are going to beat this is to have a rational immigration policy that keeps out the terrorists and the guys that want to do bad things and

the criminals and others but allows a reasonable way to address the question of those who are simply begging to come to this country for greater opportunity.

The advocates clearly note that this was a tragedy, and this article also says, It is like a big splash of cold water on people's faces when they see and hear that a 7-year-old died because he could not get enough air and all he wanted to do, says Angela Kelley of the National Immigration Forum, but all he wanted to do was to simply be with his father and to be able to come to the United States. The victims near Victoria reportedly range from a 5-year-old boy to a man in his 90s. [Page:

H4245]

So this is a question that should be addressed immediately, and I have asked the chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims for us to have an immediate hearing so that we can address this larger question and also address the question of truckers who may think that this is easy money. I believe we have not done an effective job in getting to trucking companies and to truckers and to union halls about the tragedies that could occur.

[Time: 22:45]

And I believe also that after providing this outreach and informational campaign, that trucking companies which the trucks may belong to should lose their license along with the truck driver. This is not an attempt to penalize those persons who are simply seeking a livelihood. What it is, however, is an attempt to keep them from doing things that will harm them or to keep them from taking actions that will have them wind up in jail for a very long period of time. We failed in educating the public

about how dastardly an act smuggling is, and I think it is high time to do so.

So I hope that my colleagues will join me on the Anti-Smuggling Prevention Act to toughen prison terms for these violators. And this is to do so on a preventive basis, so that if they know they are going to be incarcerated for a period of time, if they even think about doing smuggling for someone else, if they think about doing their bidding, then they will find out they will spend a lot of time in jail. I hope that we can begin to save lives.

This was such an enormous tragedy, Mr. Speaker, that we will probably not overcome that for a very long period of time.

In looking at the world from a different perspective, I think it is also important to come home a little bit and to look at what we have to do to fulfill the promise that was made to America as relates to the Iraqi war. First of all, I think we should just restate the fact that the war in Iraq did not solve the problem of terrorism.

We do need to acknowledge, as we move this week toward commemorating and honoring those who lost their lives, that they will be forever heroes in our minds, and as well to make note of those who have recently lost their lives in Iraq in a recent helicopter crash. We mourn their lives and, more importantly, we send our deepest sympathies to their families. We will never divide this Nation on the question of supporting our troops and honoring them and their families who lost loved ones during this

period of time. That was an enormous tragedy.

But we must build on what was represented to be an effort to bring democracy to Iraq. I believe that we are not moving in the right direction. It is important that we work on the aftermath of Iraq and we do so in a way that clearly suggests to the world that the United States and Britain are still not trying to go it alone and that we draw into the understanding of the importance of rebuilding Iraq a collaborative effort.

We have to be sensitive about a U.N. resolution that only puts the names or only focuses on Spain, Britain, and the United States. We have to begin to collaborate with our long-standing allies, our European allies, allies like India. We have to recognize that it was Doha, Qatar, that allowed us to have the central command hosted there. So we must work with our other Arab allies, as well, as we seek to rebuild.

The reason is because we have a larger fight, as evidenced by the incidences that occurred in Morocco and Saudi Arabia last week, the loss of lives of Americans. We do not know when the next unfortunate terrorist act may occur. We do not stand here to promote hysteria, but reason and rationale. It is important the President realize we cannot go and do this alone. We cannot go it alone as the United States of America. It seems that we are attempting to do that.

We have to be able to draw in the United Nations and our NATO allies, and it is important that we begin to establish a stable currency that will be tied to not only the U.S. dollar but the Euros and other currency; to find an appropriate balance between debt forgiveness and debt repayment; to engage the WTO and IMF to ensure an international commitment to Iraqi success. But also, as we look to those possible support systems, we have to look to the NGOs, the nongovernmental organizations around

the world, including those smaller ones that may be located in Los Angeles; Houston, Texas; New York; Jackson, Mississippi; Paris, France; or London, England.

We must begin to formulate an NGO advisory committee. We know the Red Cross is there. The American Red Cross has done an outstanding job. But I believe it is important to draw on NGOs from around the world that may have a commonality with the people of Iraq, either by way of the faith that they are professing or the understanding of their culture, and begin to have that coalition work in collaboration to put in democratic structures in Iraq.

We can already see that there is massive disorder, lack of law and order; that there is confusion; that systems are not working. And even as Ambassador Bremer attempts to work very hard to do so, it is important to note that we cannot do it alone. I would encourage the work of Ambassador Bremer to be inclusive and to work alongside nongovernmental organizations. And, in fact, I am proposing a Marshall Plan, alongside the plan that we

need to rebuild America. We want to make sure that we have a somewhat similar focus that we had after World War II, and it worked, and we did so with our allies. I believe that is extremely important, and I hope we will pay heed to that.

Let me say also that I intend this week to denounce, if you will, the lack of urgency and speed that the administration has utilized in reaching out to small, medium-sized, minority, and women-owned businesses in helping to rebuild Iraq. One of the things that I gleaned from visiting in Doha, Qatar, is that part of the success of diplomacy is relationships, relationships with Members of Congress, relationships with members of government, of the administration. We are losing relationships in the

Arab world, with our Arab allies. I believe to ensure that we regain those relationships, it is extremely important that we include small, medium- sized, and minority-owned businesses to be able to not only do the work in helping to rebuild Iraq but to develop relationships with the people in the Arab countries and to develop relationships with the people in Iraq.

It is interesting and confusing, though certainly some of these are Texas companies, that we have these major companies, huge multiconglomerates, if you will, and large contracts with the Department of Defense; and they cannot find the opportunities for other sized companies who have the same or equal expertise, just smaller, to collaborate with or do joint ventures with. I think the Defense Department needs to respond immediately on the processes used to select Halliburton and Bechtel; and I

believe that these companies should work immediately with minority-owned businesses, medium-sized businesses, and small businesses.

I am informed that USAID has about $2.5 billion, and we are looking forward to working with USAID in using smaller minority-owned companies and women-owned businesses; but the Department of Defense has the largest share, and there seems to be some doubt that we can find minority, small, and medium-sized and women-owned businesses that can collaborate and do the engineering work, the technological work, the oil and gas work, the protecting of the oil well. But I am here to tell you I am from Texas,

and that is not true.

It is extremely important, and I encourage these small, medium-sized, minority-owned, women-owned businesses to begin to seek information from the Department of Defense. And those of us who are interested in this topic will continue to pursue that closely.

Let me quickly move, Mr. Speaker, to two very important items that have been disturbing me and have been misrepresented, I think, to the American public. First, let me say that I have the greatest respect for NASA, as a member of the House Committee on Science. The greatest respect. And I am honored to have been able to serve on the House Committee on Science since 1995, and particularly on the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. I am delighted to serve there with very esteemed colleagues,

the ranking member of the committee, the chairman of [Page: H4246]

the committee, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and the chairman. I know, in particular, that the ranking member of the subcommittee has been extremely vocal on expressing the need for a review by this Congress of Columbia VII.

Frankly, Mr. Speaker, even though the investigatory body is still proceeding, I sense an urgency that they do their job and do it well but that the Congress and the House in particular begins to have hearings. And let me suggest to you why, as I read to you some very disturbing testimony and commentary in an article from the Houston Chronicle dated May 17, 2003. And, Mr. Speaker, might I say that we have been speaking about the issues of safety now for at least 6 to 8 years, the question of whether

NASA has spent enough money.

This is not a question of Republicans and Democrats, not a question of a Democratic administration or a Republican administration. It is a question of me being outraged that time after time in putting the question on the record: What about safety? Are we funding safety? Do we have enough money for safety? Have we looked at an escape module? Even before this terrible tragedy. There are those of us from Texas who lived through the Challenger tragedy. I watched the Challenger as it exploded, and

I know the family members. I know the family members that are living through this now. If we do anything to give them homage or to pay tribute to their loved ones, it is to insist that NASA begin to address through funding needs as well by design a safety program that can make this the right kind of program.

I am an avid supporter of human space flight, Mr. Speaker. An avid supporter. And I want to see humans in space and the Shuttle reinvigorated, as well as the work we have done, the cargo we have taken, the research, the discoveries regarding diabetes, the discoveries regarding HIV/AIDS, as well as stroke and heart disease. Miracles

have occurred. But here is a commentary from Admiral Gehman:

``The safety organization sits right beside the person making the decision, but behind the safety organization there is nothing there, no people, money, engineering, expertise, analysis,'' said Gehman. ``The engineers sit right to the other side, but the engineering department is not independently funded. The engineers all have to obtain funding from the space flight program. So their allegiance is to the program. The system is so flawed that even sweeping changes in leadership would be ineffective,''

Gehman argued. ``We find the safety organization on paper is perfect, but when you bore down a little deeper, you don't find anything there,'' he said. ``You will get the same wrong answers no matter how many times you convene the boards. It doesn't make any difference who the chairman is.''

Mr. Speaker, this is indicting. Safety is there on paper, but there is nothing there? And year after year, no matter what kind of administration we had, Mr. Speaker, they kept saying over and over again, oh yes, we are funding safety. It's safe. They are well trained.

Now, I am not here, Mr. Speaker, to call any names or to castigate any unfortunate soul who happened to have been part of that launch and who will ultimately have to answer to those who will raise the questions. I am here, Mr. Speaker, to save lives and to remind my good friends at NASA that we have repeatedly questioned you about safety factors and you have repeatedly, administrator after administrator, two that I have known, said the same thing. How in the world can we do this to the brave

men and women that we challenge to go into space not for themselves but because of us?

So I am demanding, Mr. Speaker, immediate hearings to be held in the United States House of Representatives on the question of safety and the potential of an escape module, and I believe it is imperative that all of the documents that relate to this issue be presented to this body immediately. I think we fail in our job, we abdicate our responsibility if we, the Members of the House of Representatives, cannot join in having a full hearing on this matter and as well to move through the appropriations

process and actually put in a mark that has the word NASA, and then under it, safety; shuttle, and under it, safety, and a line item of funding. This is an abomination and it must stop now.

Let me, Mr. Speaker, mention, if we are talking about money, and to sort of come to a reasonable conclusion, that we look at where we are and why we have so many difficulties as relates to our funding. And that is, of course, the $550 billion tax cut that is now making its way through the United States Congress. And of course for those of us who vigorously opposed this tax cut, it seems that we are continually trying to defend ourselves.

[Time: 23:00]

Let me provide Members with a very simple explanation why I am opposed to it: because we have the largest unemployment that we have had I believe in the last 2 decades; because I believe Chairman Greenspan is hesitant about moving this Nation towards this huge tax cut; because the war on terrorism requires us to invest deeply, if you will, in homeland security and to promote terrorism as our number one issue of trying to thwart.

So utilizing this money to give the top 1 percent of our population a tax cut is not an engine that will boost the economy. Using this $550 billion to give $40 billion to those making $374,000 is not going to gain any number of jobs, nor is the cut in dividends going to infuse the economy with any great amount of activity.

In fact, those corporations say that a dividend tax cut is not going to do anything but cause them to escrow their money and those who get a tax cut on the dividends I imagine are simply going to put it in their savings accounts.

But out of the $550 billion, the number of jobs you will create are 1 million. That means it will take $550,000 to create 1 million jobs, so one job will cost $550,000. So when you spend $1 million under the President's plan, you only get two jobs. If you were to take the plan that the Democrats are offering and invest $1 million into transportation, for example, you get 13 jobs. If you invested $1 million into local passenger rail, you get 15 jobs. If you invested it into State and local health

care programs where States are seeing their health budgets implode, Medicaid going down the tube and people being thrown off Medicaid every day, 26 jobs would be created.

If we did it in public education, where in the State of Texas they are firing teachers, you would create 28 jobs. And if you invested it in fire and police, my good friends in Texas but also all over the Nation, the first responders who are still waiting for their homeland security money, they would get 27 jobs. Under the President's plan, a $550 billion tax cut, the number of jobs that it proposes to create are 1 million that cost $550,000 per job; and out of a million dollars, out of this plan,

you only get two jobs per $1 million.

Down here, and I am saying it again because it is so shocking: transportation, 13 jobs; local passenger rail, 15 jobs; State and local health care, 26; public education, 28; and, of course, police and fire, 27.

Mr. Speaker, we can do better in this Congress. I can show that the tax cuts do little for my constituents. Those average tax cuts get $136, and those who are the high income get $13,000. I am going to get a $136 check for most of my constituents, and a few will get $13,000.

Mr. Speaker, this has been an attempt to remind this Congress that we have come here not to work for ourselves but to work for our constituents. There are many grievances that we are facing around the Nation; and, unfortunately, these issues have not been solved.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to have this opportunity to present these issues, and I hope that my colleagues will continue to roll up their sleeves and address the grievances of America and realize that we have come here to represent all of America and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

END

10:13 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have been able to celebrate with the gentleman from California (Mr. Honda) the importance of Asian American and Asian Pacific Month.

I would like to add some additional points that I think are very important on this matter, and just add my thoughts regarding the information that we have shared this evening.

I would like to call this special order, Mr. Speaker, ``Matters Not Yet Finished, Issues Undone.''

I believe it is important to note, as we are facing challenges with respect to homeland security, that as we look to protect our Nation it is important to find the right kind of balance.

This morning I was able to join a number of my colleagues at the homeland security hearing held in the district of the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Slaughter). I thank her for her hospitality. It was a very important hearing. As we listened to the residents and Federal officials in the northern New York-Canadian area, the theme was, of course, that we should be effective and efficient and proficient, but also we need to balance the needs of that region as relates to the commerce of

people and as well goods. So there should always be a balance.

That is why I think it is important to remind this Nation of the Japanese internment in the 1940s, done by a President, of course, that thought what he was doing was the correct thing. But in many instances the Japanese that were interred did not even speak the language, did not speak Japanese, may not have had any relationship to Japan, and certainly posed no threat to the United States. They lost their jobs, their property, their family.

So as we move through society and as we begin to look at these questions, I think it is extremely important that homeland security and the securing of this Nation be balanced with civil liberties and the refusal and rejection of racial profiling.

I might also want to add just a note as we are focusing on the Asian Pacific Month, it is just to pay tribute for a moment to our former colleague, our late colleague, Patsy Mink. We truly miss her. Certainly she was the first Asian Pacific woman to be elected to the United States Congress and the first minority woman. It is clear that her leadership was not a leadership that focused solely on the issues of her heritage. She focused on issues of social justice. She is known to be the Mother of

Title IX, that opened the doors of opportunity for women athletes.

But I think it is very appropriate during this month to again compliment all of the Asian Pacific and Asian American elected officials throughout the Nation, our two Senators in the United States Senate, the many Members of this House of Representatives who serve us today. But certainly it would be remiss of all of us if we did not make mention of the fact that Patsy Mink served amongst us, and she was a dynamic and wonderful representative. [Page: H4241]

Also, Mr. Speaker, I believe that as we look at the issues confronting us there are many things that are left undone that I would like to make note of.

The first is that I would like to emphasize again a tribute to the 55 Texans that took it upon themselves to stand and be counted against a runaway legislature that wanted to do a number of legislative initiatives that were to undermine the representation of these members, 51 in Ardmore, and four others, a total of 55, a very unique and extraordinary procedure that was utilized.

I think the headline in the Washington Post on Tuesday, May 13, gave the right tone. ``GOP plan prompts a Texas exodus. Democrats stall State legislature's redistricting vote. Moving with exceptional stealth and tactical coordination, more than 50 Democratic State lawmakers in Texas packed their bags and quietly slipped out of the State under cover of darkness late Sunday and early today.''

Of course, it is alleged that the officials there dispatched various police officers and others to track them down. I do not think they reported, however, some of the abuses that occurred during that time; the fact that law enforcement, under the direction of State officials, went into hospitals, went into the homes of legislators whose children were home alone, tracked legislators' cars whose whereabouts were well-known because they were in Ardmore, simply, I believe, an inappropriate use of

the legal authority of that State.

I would hope that there will be a great study of what occurred with these 55. I hope the Nation points sunlight on that political process so that the misrepresentation that they absconded or they left in the dark of night would not be the accurate characterization

of what happened.

What happened was as important as those early settlers who threw, if you will, the tea into the Boston Harbor. It was an act of objection, defiance, in a democratic manner. It was a nonviolent defiance of a governmental process that was oppressive.

And what was the oppression? The refusal of the legislature to even allow amendments by the Democrats on any issues, amendments that would deal with the saving of children who had lost their health care, amendments dealing with fixing Medicaid, amendments dealing with fixing the pension problem with respect to teachers in Texas, amendments dealing with the fact that schools were firing teachers. There was absolutely no respect of the bipartisan process that Texans had grown used to and certainly

no respect of the balance between majority and minority.

So the Democrats did not just walk out, Mr. Speaker, on the issue dealing with redistricting, though let me share with you the plan that was supposed to be a redistricting plan. Mind you, Mr. Speaker, that not in 50 years had there been this kind of interim redistricting request by any State. So it is unfortunate that we would have the majority leader of this body to interfere with the State process on the grounds that the State of Texas is a Republican State.

This is what we would have been subjected to if the redistricting plan would have existed.

First of all, District 25, that is now an existing district in the State of Texas, would have been extinguished, moving it some hundreds of miles away from its original base. That means an incumbent Member would have been totally eliminated. Not that the incumbent Member is the question. It is the question of the people having the right to select a person of their choosing and for communities of interest to be able to be together.

When I told constituents of the 25th that their district no longer existed, and these are individuals of different political persuasions, not only were they shocked, but they were outraged that they did not have the opportunity to have a hearing in their community to be able to address the question.

Mind you, Mr. Speaker, those of us from Texas wrote letters. The legislators there requested of that body, the State House, to allow for field hearings to occur. But, lo and behold, they were totally rejected. Not rejected as elected officials, but I would like to remind Speaker Craddick of the House of Representatives in Austin that he denied the people of the State of Texas.

But this plan would totally move the 18th Congressional District that I am now representing, again a district that belongs to the people, totally away from its historic communities of interest. It means the historic homes of Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland would no longer be in the 18th Congressional District and that historic location in Houston, Texas, but would be connected hundreds of miles away to a district that would be in Beaumont, Texas, next to Louisiana. So a downtown community, downtown

Houston, would be connected under this plan that the legislators saw fit to leave town on to Beaumont, Texas.

The real key is the rights of the people, and I believe that the rights of the people have been undermined and, maybe in some instances, abused. I believe it is important as a member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security that we clarify and make sure that in the rush to judgment of last week that no Federal resources were utilized.

So I would like to offer into the RECORD language from a letter that was sent by a number of Members of Congress dated today to request formally the audio tapes and transcripts of all conversations or transmissions pertaining to any aspect of the alleged attempts to use any Federal resources of any type with regard to any member of the Texas legislature. This request includes all communications of any type to and from employees and consultants, wherever they may be located.

I would like to offer this into the RECORD at the appropriate time, Mr. Speaker.

[Time: 22:15]

The letter is joined by a letter that was sent last week by myself and a number of Members of this body to insist that this was not a Federal question. There had been no criminal acts that had been perpetrated by the legislators, and their constitutional rights protected them from their expression of opposition to the process of the Texas legislature, and that no Federal resources or no Federal intervention should occur.

Apparently, we were ignored; and already at that time inquiries were made to the Department of Justice to utilize their resources. Also, it appears that homeland security resources were used at that time and that there were trackings, if you will, of legislators.

That is an abomination, Mr. Speaker, an outrage. I hope that, out of the sense of respect and dignity for this House and the Members of this body, an appropriate response will be coming forth from the Homeland Security Department. I think it is absolutely a necessity, Mr. Speaker, that we engage in doing that immediately. Without that, I think that we are barking up a very wrong tree.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, I am here to discuss issues left unstated and matters still to be done. I want to speak to the question of the news item of last week, and we do not know how long it will continue. I do so because I am a strong believer in the first amendment and the freedom of the press. It is certainly imperative and the responsibility of the press to be accurate; I do not disagree with that. Many of us who serve in elected office have seen many instances that we have challenged some

of the accuracy of the reportings of the press.

At the same time, we hold very dear that privilege of the first amendment. In fact, the first amendment entitles us to the freedom of speech, the freedom of association and movement, and the freedom of religion, among others. So this is not a challenge, if you will, to the idea that we must protect the first amendment.

I recall working with a writer a year or two ago on the issue of ensuring that she had the right to hold her sources, a very sensitive issue. She was so convinced of this that she remained in jail for a period of months, almost a year, to protest against the grand jury demanding of her her sources. I sided with the privilege that she had to protect those sources of her particular articles that she had written and books that she was intending to write.

But this is about The New York Times and Jayson Blair. All of a sudden, it grew into a larger issue. Mr. Speaker, Jayson is an African American. The whereabouts of Jayson I do [Page: H4242]

not know if anyone knows at this point, but I would like to raise as a commentary an article by Bob Herbert written in The New York Times. It is seemingly May 19, late edition.

I believe this is an important commentary, because what we saw last week was an uproar about Mr. Blair's writings and the mea culpa of The New York Times, and the challenging of the editorial staff. I would like to support the editorial staff. I cannot support them personally in terms of their professional and management style, but certainly I believe that all heads should not roll because of an incident with an obviously unfortunate individual who has certainly deep and unfortunate problems.

But what began to happen is the trickle-up effect, that they wanted to throw the management out with the water. They also wanted to label Mr. Blair as a representative or a symbol of affirmative action. So I stand here today to take issue with all of the editorials and all of the commentary that will probably continue, that Mr. Jayson Blair's problems were because he was an African American hired on affirmative action and protected by affirmative action.

I would like to take from Mr. Herbert's commentary: ``I've seen drunks, incompetents and out-and-out lunatics in the newsrooms I've passed through over the years. I have seen plagiarizers, fiction writers and reporters who felt it was beneath them to show up for work.

``I remember a police captain who said of a columnist at the daily News, `I didn't mind him making stuff up as long as I looked okay. But now he's starting to tick me off.'

``I was at NBC when some geniuses decided it was a good idea to attach incendiary devices to a few GM pick-up trucks to show the trucks had a propensity to burst into flames. That became a scandal that grew into a conflagration that took down the entire power structure at NBC News.''

Then he refers to the Jayson Blair scandal: ``For those who have been watching nothing but the Food Network for the past weeks, Mr. Blair was a Times reporter who resigned after it was learned that his work contained fabrications and plagiarized passages on a monumental scale. The truth and Jayson Blair inhabited separate universes. If there were a blizzard raging, Mr. Blair could tell you with the straightest and friendliest of

faces that the weather outside was sunny and warm.

``Now, this story would be a juicy story under any circumstances. But Mr. Blair is black, so there is the additional spice of race, to which so many Americans are terminally addicted.

Listen up: the race issue in this case is as bogus as some of Jayson Blair's writing and reporting.'' A great comment and an important comment.

``The idea that blacks can get away with the journalistic equivalent of murder at The Times because they are black is preposterous.

``There's a real shortage of black reporters, editors and columnists at The Times. But the few who are here are doing fine and serious work day in and day out and don't deserve to be stigmatized by people who can see them only through the prism of a stereotype.

``The problem with American newsrooms is too little diversity, not too much. Blacks have always faced discrimination and maddening double standards in the newsroom, and they continue to do so. So do women, Latinos and many other groups that are not part of the traditional newsroom in-crowd''; and I might add, Asian Americans.

``So let's be real. Discrimination in the newsroom--in hiring, in the quality of assignments and promotions--is a much more pervasive problem than Jayson Blair's aberrant behavior. A black reporter told me angrily last week, `After hundreds of years in America, we are still on probation.' ''

Mr. Speaker, that is why I think this is extremely important. Thank you, Mr. Herbert, for your commentary. How striking and how truthful, to be able to highlight the fact that what we really have a problem with is not enough African Americans on editorial boards and newspapers across the Nation, or African Americans behind the camera making editorial decisions in the electronic media, whether it be radio or television.

Jayson is not the problem; Mr. Blair is not the problem. We all hope and wish for him some sort of recuperative regrouping, and certainly whatever penalties will come to him personally. But his downfall at The New York Times should not be the downfall of all reporters all over the Nation. I would just simply ask my colleagues to make sure that we are not pointing to someone who clearly has his own severe problems.

I believe that we can get past this by working very hard together on establishing what should be the right kind of attitude about affirmative action. That is, of course, that it brings about the opportunity for diversity and it brings about the opportunity for improving the access of all Americans to the great workplaces and the talents that all of us deserve to see.

I wish all of those in newsrooms around America the reckoning and the respect for all who may be there. Certainly I hope that they will encourage diversity and reach out for diversity.

To all of those who happen to be African American, Hispanic, women, Asian American and others who are in the newsroom, they should do the right kind of job, stand up and be proud, and reflect upon the wonderment of their heritage, so that as readers are reading, they can see in actuality a different perspective reflected by their uniqueness, their talent, their intellect, and their ability to write.

Might I also make note of the fact that I am very proud of my young son, Jason Lee, who just recently won a writing contest. He is in the 11th grade. I would encourage all who are involved in training young people to encourage them to write. It is one of the most important skills that I think we can have, and I would hope that we would do so.

Mr. Speaker, I think that as we look at these issues, it is important as well to continue to look at civil justice and civil rights issues. I would like to again focus on a civil rights issue by focusing on the predicament of individuals in Tulia, Texas, where tens of individuals were locked up on the testimony of an errant police officer.

Now, I have the greatest respect for law enforcement. We work a lot together. I am a member of the Committee on the Judiciary. I want to salute much of the law enforcement in the State of Texas and Houston that I have had a chance to work with, so I do not broad brush. But I know that we have had our share of enormous difficulties and racial incidents that law enforcement personnel have, unfortunately, contributed to.

We have a large problem in this country regarding racial profiling, and we have yet to pass a serious racial profiling legislative initiative in this Congress. We have a problem that we have not passed a hate crimes bill, and we have difficulties in getting that bill even to be heard in the Committee on the Judiciary. I believe that we have a lot of work to do.

In this instance, in Tulia, Texas, and I want to applaud the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel) for a briefing I

joined them in, and as well to applaud the Committee on the Judiciary of the House, because we expect to have a hearing on this very point in the very near future.

I will be authoring a resolution to condemn what occurred in Tulia, Texas, and that is tens of African Americans not only arrested but convicted on bogus drug charges. They were individuals who were charged, and they were released after they could document that they were not even in the town at the time the incidents occurred. But it was so reckless and random, and the justice was so fleeting. In fact, there was no justice, because individuals were able to be indicted and convicted on the testimony

of one law officer, or police person, who subsequently was then undermined and shown to be lacking in integrity and the truth.

It is time now to have those who are in prison released immediately. Might I applaud Senator John Whitmire for his courage and his legislation in the State senate of Texas indicating and requesting and demanding that these individuals be released.

It would be a shame if the legislature that tried to bombard a redistricting plan that had no sense and was obviously developed by a meat cutter, there would be a tragedy if there could not be some good after this incident. That would be to pass Senator Whitmire's [Page: H4243]

legislation on unanimous consent. Forgive me if I am suggesting a procedural point that is not allowed in the Texas senate.

But if it is to be considered in that manner, I would encourage my friends in Texas to take up Senator Whitmire's bill and to have those individuals released. If that is not the case, then what would be the best thing to occur? Mr. Governor, Governor Perry, why do you not do the right thing and why do you not, by executive order, ask that these individuals be pardoned and released from the prison, because it has been shown without a doubt that the sentences that they have been rendered are sentences

that are inappropriate, and that they have been convicted on false charges, and that they should be released?

It is very important that we do so, and I hope that out of the work of Senator Whitmire, out of the hearing we will have in the Committee on the Judiciary, I hope that we will find an opportunity, if you will, to release these innocent persons.

I had the opportunity to meet the mother and another individual, I believe, that had been impacted, of some of the incarcerated persons. What a sad occasion that mothers were celebrating Mother's Day without their children. Some mothers had two and three and four children arrested, convicted, and jailed. What an outrage.

Then they found out that the actual basis of this case was on one single individual's testimony. That individual, upon further hearing, when they were brought to trial on the basis of the lawyers that had been retained or chosen to help these individuals that are incarcerated, they found that his case was made of nothing but a bag of air and a bucket of water with holes in it.

I think it is time now that we address the inequity. I would say it is time we free the Tulia incarcerated persons, free them now. I would ask the Governor to do the right thing, the Governor of the State of Texas to do the right thing and release these individuals. It is outrageous.

Mr. Speaker, I might say that this has gained a lot of support in the State of Texas. This is not an isolated and, if you will, covered-up circumstance. It is appropriate for the Governor to act. I would hope that he would do the right thing and the respectful thing and allow these individuals to go free.

I want to step aside from civil rights issues for a moment and just go into, again, as I said this is a litany of issues that I think is very important. I want to congratulate the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Meek) in his work with Haitians. Preceding him was his mother, Congresswoman Carrie Meek.

I would join him in the resolution that he has filed today in celebration of Haitians, Haitian-Americans to acknowledge that there are 1.2 million Haitian-Americans in this country, 700,000 in the Florida area, and to also celebrate and commemorate with them Flag Day, May 18, and to salute the kind of friendship that Haiti has had with the United States and apologize to them for not keeping that friendship at the level it should be.

[Time: 22:30]

Frankly, I believe that we have done a disservice to our Haitian friends by not giving them parity as it relates to immigration laws and allowing them to have, because of the oppressive nature and the unfortunate economy in Haiti and over the years the oppressive nature of the government, we are now trying to work with the present government. I am not suggesting that the government is not trying, but I am saying that the Haitians live in abject poverty and there is a great need to respond to

their immigration needs as they seek opportunity. Some of them are, if you will, in jeopardy of losing their lives because of the political viewpoint they take.

I would suggest that we look closely at the legislation many of us have offered over the sessions, and that is to allow Haitians who flee because of political oppression and also abject poverty, where there is no opportunity whatsoever for them to survive, I would suggest that we look closely at providing them the kind of status that the Cubans receive when they are able to reach the shores of the United States of America.

This will of course upset many, but we have always had a disjointed immigration policy in the United States, and I think we do ourselves a disservice by not understanding that we are not gaining by having an immigration policy.

I have heard my good friend on the floor of the House day after day after day, month after month after month. I do not disagree with those who believe that we have to find a way to stem the tide of illegal immigration. I certainly agree with that. I also agree that we must secure our borders, and it certainly would be hypocritical for me to be on the Select Committee on Homeland Security and not provide the resources of increased border patrol agents, of high technology, with the kind of radioactive

equipment that can detect illegal goods and persons coming across the border. But we have to recognize as well that we are surrounded by nations whose economy is in shambles, and people look to the United States with great hope and inspiration. And, unfortunately, sometimes they have gotten a one-way ticket to death.

So as I mention the Haitians I think it is important to note that that country is in shambles. We are working with it. I hope the President of the country will be able to restore democracy and governmental procedures and law and order and the economy. That is not the case now, and so people seek opportunity. They do not come here just to do us harm. And as they do not come here to do us harm, I think it is important then that we find a sensible way to have the right kind of immigration policy,

and some of the policies that my colleagues want to project, it just makes simply no sense.

You will absolutely never close the borders of the United States in totality. Why? Because the United States benefits economically from trade with Canada and trade with its friends in the southern hemisphere.

Today we were told that the largest amount of trade comes in through Canada. So you are not going to be able to just absolutely close our borders with no punitive measures coming towards you. It is just absolutely not going to happen. So what do we do?

Well, I have filed legislation called Earned Access to Legalization, a bill that saw one million petitioners in the last Congress petition so that we could find an intelligent, reasonable, compassionate, humanitarian way to deal with individuals who are already here. And these are undocumented aliens who are working, owning homes, paying taxes, maybe even have bank accounts but are still under what we call the radar screen because we are not allowing them to access legalization. Their children

are not legal. Their extended family is not legal. What sense does that make, Mr. Speaker, when we could have these individuals documented or give them access to legalization?

My legislation does not say to bestow citizenship automatically without any other procedures in place. It does not say give them citizenship if they have a criminal record. What it says, Mr. Speaker, that if you have continuously been in the United States from 3 to 5 years we will allow you to access the process of becoming a citizen. We will pull the sheets off of those who are hiding. We will let the sunshine come down on those hard-working immigrants who are paying taxes and simply want to

make good.

I want to pay tribute to a constituent of mine who owns the restaurant Hugo. He was highlighted in the Houston Chronicle. He came across the border illegally but yet today owns one of the fastest-growing restaurants, the most attractive restaurant. He did not come to do harm. He pulled himself up by the bootstraps.

I am sure this is not going to be a welcoming sound to those who may be listening. Hugo tried five times to come to the United States, and others who helped bring him did as well. And they came illegally, no, not to do

harm but because they were living in abject poverty, but because their family needed the resources, because they were given the impression that there was a golden rainbow in the United States of America.

What are we going to do? Turn off all the televisions of those in the world who believe we live in a world of democracy, in a Nation that is rich and prosperous, and that the people have an opportunity to work? I do not believe that we are going to be able to [Page: H4244]

dispel the myth or the real story that we live in grandeur here in the United States, so we must find a way of balance.

Hugo should be celebrated for the fact that he did pull himself up by his bootstraps, and here he is providing and contributing to the economy of the United States, providing jobs to hard-working immigrants, people with legal status and working throughout the community to be someone who we are very proud of.

That is what we need to do in providing a balance with our immigration policy: Document those who are here and find a way to provide an economic engine in the countries that are to our southern border in order to ensure that people who live there have the right kind of economy, that they can live in their country in dignity.

President Vicente Fox had raised this discussion with President Bush, of course. It has been dropped like a hot potato, unfortunately. The tragedy of 9/11, of which we do not give any disrespect to, it is an enormous tragedy, and we are still working to overcome the pain of those families. We must now address again this question of immigration. We realize that the individuals who perpetrated that horrific tragedy, most of them came in on illegal visas. That is not immigration. That is a visitor's

visa. And so we must tighten the requirements.

But we must be fair as well as it relates to countries around the world and not penalize one group of countries versus another, but we must ensure that we restrict and put in place the right kind of procedures dealing with those who are seeking visas.

As I visited Doha, Qatar I was able to sit in, in India I was able to sit in on the visa procedures in our embassies, and I must say I see a new and different approach, and certainly there are those who are turned away.

As I look at that process I want to turn back to the process of illegal immigrants or aliens and I want to say, Mr. Speaker, by putting our heads in the sand we will not have a cogent immigration policy that addresses the question of the individuals who want to come here and seek an opportunity. Might I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that we utilize these individuals.

In fact, there are many Members of Congress, and I know our committee will be holding a hearing, the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims will be holding a hearing dealing with the guest worker program. We actually create vehicles for individuals to come in temporarily and work for industries that could not do without them.

So why are we trying to come to the floor of the House and bash immigrants when we know full well that this economy is churned by those who have come to work? What we must ensure, however, is that we do not eliminate the work opportunities for the many Americans who are unemployed, but we have got to get a handle around our immigration policy and make it have some sense.

For that reason, let me also bring up and raise and suggest that this past weekend Texas experienced an enormous tragedy again, Mr. Speaker, tied into the immigration issue. Individuals crossing the border, no matter what tragedies they have heard of before, what obstacles they have to overcome, what frightening experiences they have, they are still coming because they view the United States as a place of opportunity.

Well, there are ways of addressing this question; and tragically this weekend we saw this past week the deaths of 19 individuals being smuggled into the United States, including a father and son who had just been abandoned by the son's mother and were coming to the United States for a new opportunity, for a fresh look at life, and that 5-year-old boy died in that heated and horrible and horrific truck in the trailer part of the truck where people literally smothered to death, where there was

no air. A more vicious death one could not expect.

Mr. Speaker, I think it impacted the Houston area more than we could ever imagine. Memorials were held this past Sunday because so many of those individuals had relatives that lived in the Houston area. My sympathy goes out to them. For those who look in mockery saying that this did not have to happen if they had not done it in the first place, you can continue to stick your head in the sand, but I can tell you this will continue to happen. But we must stamp out the illegal aspect of what is

going on.

Mr. Speaker, I am authoring the Anti-Smuggling Prevention Act of 2003 because I believe that the participants of this terrible and horrific crime believed that this was easy money. The truck driver, I believe, thought that this was an easy deal. He did not live in the State of Texas. I understand it was a possible cash payment of upwards of $5,000. He thought that there was going to be no problem, just driving some folk over the border and into certain areas up to Houston, Texas, but not knowing

the dastardly deed that was about to occur. Certainly was not a physician, was not a medical professional, was not a scientist and did not bother to worry about whether there was air in the trailer.

So who is now counting the dollars? The smuggling ring, and that is who we need to stamp out. I believe we need to enhance the penalties, not on the issue of death, because we already have penalties that are severe if death results. But we need to enhance the penalties just on the fact that you involved yourself in smuggling human beings. The fact that you are smuggling human beings is so horrific and tragedies can occur that you should realize that your jail time is going to be painful and long.

I think also that we should reward informants who actually bring out information that will result in a conviction, and the informants should be given cash rewards.

I also believe, Mr. Speaker, that we should look at on a humanitarian case-by-case situation for those individuals who are illegal aliens who are able to smash the smuggling ring, the big guys, the guys who are counting the dollars, they are money laundering, they are smuggling human beings, they are smuggling drugs, to smash those smuggling rings on a humanitarian basis. I believe it is important that those individuals be looked upon to be able to access legalization.

It is important to note, Mr. Speaker, that this was an enormous tragedy in Houston, and I want to share just some of the description. This is taken from an article out of USA Today on May 19, 2003:

``Temperatures in Texas already reach into the 90s and 100s daily. That raises the risk enormously for those hiding in 18 wheelers and railcars which have replaced panel trucks and vans as a preferred way to smuggle larger groups.

``A trailer is not a mode of transportation for human being, says Xavier Rios, a supervisor agent for the Border Patrol in Harlingen. Neither is a train or car.''

If I remind you, Mr. Speaker, that I mentioned Hugo who now owns a restaurant, that is how he first came to the United States, I believe, in a railcar.

Until the week before the 9/11 attacks, President Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox were working on a safer way for Mexicans to travel back and forth. I think this should be broadened to all immigrants because we are certainly going to face this over and over again.

It is time for a change. I would commend my colleagues to look at the Earned Access to Legalization legislation. We can reform, if you will, our immigration policy. We need to understand that people are going to continue to come no matter how much we go to the floor of the House and preach otherwise and speak against the idea of immigration. The only way you are going to beat this is to have a rational immigration policy that keeps out the terrorists and the guys that want to do bad things and

the criminals and others but allows a reasonable way to address the question of those who are simply begging to come to this country for greater opportunity.

The advocates clearly note that this was a tragedy, and this article also says, It is like a big splash of cold water on people's faces when they see and hear that a 7-year-old died because he could not get enough air and all he wanted to do, says Angela Kelley of the National Immigration Forum, but all he wanted to do was to simply be with his father and to be able to come to the United States. The victims near Victoria reportedly range from a 5-year-old boy to a man in his 90s. [Page:

H4245]

So this is a question that should be addressed immediately, and I have asked the chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims for us to have an immediate hearing so that we can address this larger question and also address the question of truckers who may think that this is easy money. I believe we have not done an effective job in getting to trucking companies and to truckers and to union halls about the tragedies that could occur.

[Time: 22:45]

And I believe also that after providing this outreach and informational campaign, that trucking companies which the trucks may belong to should lose their license along with the truck driver. This is not an attempt to penalize those persons who are simply seeking a livelihood. What it is, however, is an attempt to keep them from doing things that will harm them or to keep them from taking actions that will have them wind up in jail for a very long period of time. We failed in educating the public

about how dastardly an act smuggling is, and I think it is high time to do so.

So I hope that my colleagues will join me on the Anti-Smuggling Prevention Act to toughen prison terms for these violators. And this is to do so on a preventive basis, so that if they know they are going to be incarcerated for a period of time, if they even think about doing smuggling for someone else, if they think about doing their bidding, then they will find out they will spend a lot of time in jail. I hope that we can begin to save lives.

This was such an enormous tragedy, Mr. Speaker, that we will probably not overcome that for a very long period of time.

In looking at the world from a different perspective, I think it is also important to come home a little bit and to look at what we have to do to fulfill the promise that was made to America as relates to the Iraqi war. First of all, I think we should just restate the fact that the war in Iraq did not solve the problem of terrorism.

We do need to acknowledge, as we move this week toward commemorating and honoring those who lost their lives, that they will be forever heroes in our minds, and as well to make note of those who have recently lost their lives in Iraq in a recent helicopter crash. We mourn their lives and, more importantly, we send our deepest sympathies to their families. We will never divide this Nation on the question of supporting our troops and honoring them and their families who lost loved ones during this

period of time. That was an enormous tragedy.

But we must build on what was represented to be an effort to bring democracy to Iraq. I believe that we are not moving in the right direction. It is important that we work on the aftermath of Iraq and we do so in a way that clearly suggests to the world that the United States and Britain are still not trying to go it alone and that we draw into the understanding of the importance of rebuilding Iraq a collaborative effort.

We have to be sensitive about a U.N. resolution that only puts the names or only focuses on Spain, Britain, and the United States. We have to begin to collaborate with our long-standing allies, our European allies, allies like India. We have to recognize that it was Doha, Qatar, that allowed us to have the central command hosted there. So we must work with our other Arab allies, as well, as we seek to rebuild.

The reason is because we have a larger fight, as evidenced by the incidences that occurred in Morocco and Saudi Arabia last week, the loss of lives of Americans. We do not know when the next unfortunate terrorist act may occur. We do not stand here to promote hysteria, but reason and rationale. It is important the President realize we cannot go and do this alone. We cannot go it alone as the United States of America. It seems that we are attempting to do that.

We have to be able to draw in the United Nations and our NATO allies, and it is important that we begin to establish a stable currency that will be tied to not only the U.S. dollar but the Euros and other currency; to find an appropriate balance between debt forgiveness and debt repayment; to engage the WTO and IMF to ensure an international commitment to Iraqi success. But also, as we look to those possible support systems, we have to look to the NGOs, the nongovernmental organizations around

the world, including those smaller ones that may be located in Los Angeles; Houston, Texas; New York; Jackson, Mississippi; Paris, France; or London, England.

We must begin to formulate an NGO advisory committee. We know the Red Cross is there. The American Red Cross has done an outstanding job. But I believe it is important to draw on NGOs from around the world that may have a commonality with the people of Iraq, either by way of the faith that they are professing or the understanding of their culture, and begin to have that coalition work in collaboration to put in democratic structures in Iraq.

We can already see that there is massive disorder, lack of law and order; that there is confusion; that systems are not working. And even as Ambassador Bremer attempts to work very hard to do so, it is important to note that we cannot do it alone. I would encourage the work of Ambassador Bremer to be inclusive and to work alongside nongovernmental organizations. And, in fact, I am proposing a Marshall Plan, alongside the plan that we

need to rebuild America. We want to make sure that we have a somewhat similar focus that we had after World War II, and it worked, and we did so with our allies. I believe that is extremely important, and I hope we will pay heed to that.

Let me say also that I intend this week to denounce, if you will, the lack of urgency and speed that the administration has utilized in reaching out to small, medium-sized, minority, and women-owned businesses in helping to rebuild Iraq. One of the things that I gleaned from visiting in Doha, Qatar, is that part of the success of diplomacy is relationships, relationships with Members of Congress, relationships with members of government, of the administration. We are losing relationships in the

Arab world, with our Arab allies. I believe to ensure that we regain those relationships, it is extremely important that we include small, medium- sized, and minority-owned businesses to be able to not only do the work in helping to rebuild Iraq but to develop relationships with the people in the Arab countries and to develop relationships with the people in Iraq.

It is interesting and confusing, though certainly some of these are Texas companies, that we have these major companies, huge multiconglomerates, if you will, and large contracts with the Department of Defense; and they cannot find the opportunities for other sized companies who have the same or equal expertise, just smaller, to collaborate with or do joint ventures with. I think the Defense Department needs to respond immediately on the processes used to select Halliburton and Bechtel; and I

believe that these companies should work immediately with minority-owned businesses, medium-sized businesses, and small businesses.

I am informed that USAID has about $2.5 billion, and we are looking forward to working with USAID in using smaller minority-owned companies and women-owned businesses; but the Department of Defense has the largest share, and there seems to be some doubt that we can find minority, small, and medium-sized and women-owned businesses that can collaborate and do the engineering work, the technological work, the oil and gas work, the protecting of the oil well. But I am here to tell you I am from Texas,

and that is not true.

It is extremely important, and I encourage these small, medium-sized, minority-owned, women-owned businesses to begin to seek information from the Department of Defense. And those of us who are interested in this topic will continue to pursue that closely.

Let me quickly move, Mr. Speaker, to two very important items that have been disturbing me and have been misrepresented, I think, to the American public. First, let me say that I have the greatest respect for NASA, as a member of the House Committee on Science. The greatest respect. And I am honored to have been able to serve on the House Committee on Science since 1995, and particularly on the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. I am delighted to serve there with very esteemed colleagues,

the ranking member of the committee, the chairman of [Page: H4246]

the committee, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and the chairman. I know, in particular, that the ranking member of the subcommittee has been extremely vocal on expressing the need for a review by this Congress of Columbia VII.

Frankly, Mr. Speaker, even though the investigatory body is still proceeding, I sense an urgency that they do their job and do it well but that the Congress and the House in particular begins to have hearings. And let me suggest to you why, as I read to you some very disturbing testimony and commentary in an article from the Houston Chronicle dated May 17, 2003. And, Mr. Speaker, might I say that we have been speaking about the issues of safety now for at least 6 to 8 years, the question of whether

NASA has spent enough money.

This is not a question of Republicans and Democrats, not a question of a Democratic administration or a Republican administration. It is a question of me being outraged that time after time in putting the question on the record: What about safety? Are we funding safety? Do we have enough money for safety? Have we looked at an escape module? Even before this terrible tragedy. There are those of us from Texas who lived through the Challenger tragedy. I watched the Challenger as it exploded, and

I know the family members. I know the family members that are living through this now. If we do anything to give them homage or to pay tribute to their loved ones, it is to insist that NASA begin to address through funding needs as well by design a safety program that can make this the right kind of program.

I am an avid supporter of human space flight, Mr. Speaker. An avid supporter. And I want to see humans in space and the Shuttle reinvigorated, as well as the work we have done, the cargo we have taken, the research, the discoveries regarding diabetes, the discoveries regarding HIV/AIDS, as well as stroke and heart disease. Miracles

have occurred. But here is a commentary from Admiral Gehman:

``The safety organization sits right beside the person making the decision, but behind the safety organization there is nothing there, no people, money, engineering, expertise, analysis,'' said Gehman. ``The engineers sit right to the other side, but the engineering department is not independently funded. The engineers all have to obtain funding from the space flight program. So their allegiance is to the program. The system is so flawed that even sweeping changes in leadership would be ineffective,''

Gehman argued. ``We find the safety organization on paper is perfect, but when you bore down a little deeper, you don't find anything there,'' he said. ``You will get the same wrong answers no matter how many times you convene the boards. It doesn't make any difference who the chairman is.''

Mr. Speaker, this is indicting. Safety is there on paper, but there is nothing there? And year after year, no matter what kind of administration we had, Mr. Speaker, they kept saying over and over again, oh yes, we are funding safety. It's safe. They are well trained.

Now, I am not here, Mr. Speaker, to call any names or to castigate any unfortunate soul who happened to have been part of that launch and who will ultimately have to answer to those who will raise the questions. I am here, Mr. Speaker, to save lives and to remind my good friends at NASA that we have repeatedly questioned you about safety factors and you have repeatedly, administrator after administrator, two that I have known, said the same thing. How in the world can we do this to the brave

men and women that we challenge to go into space not for themselves but because of us?

So I am demanding, Mr. Speaker, immediate hearings to be held in the United States House of Representatives on the question of safety and the potential of an escape module, and I believe it is imperative that all of the documents that relate to this issue be presented to this body immediately. I think we fail in our job, we abdicate our responsibility if we, the Members of the House of Representatives, cannot join in having a full hearing on this matter and as well to move through the appropriations

process and actually put in a mark that has the word NASA, and then under it, safety; shuttle, and under it, safety, and a line item of funding. This is an abomination and it must stop now.

Let me, Mr. Speaker, mention, if we are talking about money, and to sort of come to a reasonable conclusion, that we look at where we are and why we have so many difficulties as relates to our funding. And that is, of course, the $550 billion tax cut that is now making its way through the United States Congress. And of course for those of us who vigorously opposed this tax cut, it seems that we are continually trying to defend ourselves.

[Time: 23:00]

Let me provide Members with a very simple explanation why I am opposed to it: because we have the largest unemployment that we have had I believe in the last 2 decades; because I believe Chairman Greenspan is hesitant about moving this Nation towards this huge tax cut; because the war on terrorism requires us to invest deeply, if you will, in homeland security and to promote terrorism as our number one issue of trying to thwart.

So utilizing this money to give the top 1 percent of our population a tax cut is not an engine that will boost the economy. Using this $550 billion to give $40 billion to those making $374,000 is not going to gain any number of jobs, nor is the cut in dividends going to infuse the economy with any great amount of activity.

In fact, those corporations say that a dividend tax cut is not going to do anything but cause them to escrow their money and those who get a tax cut on the dividends I imagine are simply going to put it in their savings accounts.

But out of the $550 billion, the number of jobs you will create are 1 million. That means it will take $550,000 to create 1 million jobs, so one job will cost $550,000. So when you spend $1 million under the President's plan, you only get two jobs. If you were to take the plan that the Democrats are offering and invest $1 million into transportation, for example, you get 13 jobs. If you invested $1 million into local passenger rail, you get 15 jobs. If you invested it into State and local health

care programs where States are seeing their health budgets implode, Medicaid going down the tube and people being thrown off Medicaid every day, 26 jobs would be created.

If we did it in public education, where in the State of Texas they are firing teachers, you would create 28 jobs. And if you invested it in fire and police, my good friends in Texas but also all over the Nation, the first responders who are still waiting for their homeland security money, they would get 27 jobs. Under the President's plan, a $550 billion tax cut, the number of jobs that it proposes to create are 1 million that cost $550,000 per job; and out of a million dollars, out of this plan,

you only get two jobs per $1 million.

Down here, and I am saying it again because it is so shocking: transportation, 13 jobs; local passenger rail, 15 jobs; State and local health care, 26; public education, 28; and, of course, police and fire, 27.

Mr. Speaker, we can do better in this Congress. I can show that the tax cuts do little for my constituents. Those average tax cuts get $136, and those who are the high income get $13,000. I am going to get a $136 check for most of my constituents, and a few will get $13,000.

Mr. Speaker, this has been an attempt to remind this Congress that we have come here not to work for ourselves but to work for our constituents. There are many grievances that we are facing around the Nation; and, unfortunately, these issues have not been solved.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to have this opportunity to present these issues, and I hope that my colleagues will continue to roll up their sleeves and address the grievances of America and realize that we have come here to represent all of America and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

END