2:02 PM EDT

George Nethercutt, R-WA 5th

Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr. Chairman, the policy of the United States of America for years has been to impose unilateral sanctions against trade between our Nation and other nations with which we might disagree on policy matters. The policy of sanctions imposed on other nations with which we might disagree on policy matters is outdated. In 1980, we saw the agriculture markets that were prominent for the United States with the Soviet Union, we saw them disappear with the imposition of unilateral sanctions

against the Soviet Union. Representing agriculture as I do, we in the agriculture communities of this country have still not gotten back the markets that we lost in 1980 by virtue of the unilateral imposition of sanctions against the Soviet Union. There are today nations around this country upon which the United

States has imposed unilateral sanctions that we are not doing business with, but other countries of the world are doing business with these countries and selling [Page: H3796]

agriculture products and medicines to these countries. We cannot because of our outdated sanctions policy.

What my amendment does is, it lifts those sanctions on all countries on which we currently have sanctions for food and medicine only. There is no way in today's world that food should be used as a weapon in international relations with other countries. It is inhumane, it is improper, and what it eventually does is damage the American agriculture community. My State of Washington exports roughly 90 percent of all the wheat that it grows in our State. We are an export State, and we feed the world.

But yet our farmers, in a time of great challenge for American agriculture, are at a distinct disadvantage because we cannot sell to some of these sanctioned countries.

What my amendment does is lift sanctions on all countries on which there are currently sanctions around the world as those sanctions relate to agriculture and medicine. They involve no direct Federal subsidies, these lifting of the sanctions, but it would allow our farmers to sell directly to sanctioned nations and sell our product. We are at a distinct disadvantage because other countries, our competitors for our farmers, are able to sell to those countries and provide food and medicine to those

countries. Because of our outdated sanctions policy, American farmers cannot.

This is wrong, it is something that should be changed. The market alone, the dollar market alone for our country and our American agriculture community is $6 billion that we would be able to bring into this country by virtue of sales to those sanctioned nations. Now, I understand the politics of dealing with a terrorist like Saddam Hussein, or the North Koreans or other countries on which we have sanctions and no trade relations. But yet as to agriculture and medicine, it seems to me this is

bad policy, because it hurts our farmers. This amendment allows the President to reimpose those sanctions if for national security reasons he feels it is in the national security interests of our country to reimpose those sanctions. So there is a waiver provision in this amendment.

This amendment received consideration in the full Committee on Appropriations, of which I am a member, and I am happy to be a member of the Subcommittee on Agriculture. It was a wonderful debate. Democrats and Republicans alike debated this issue back and forth. The amendment unfortunately lost by a 28-24 vote. But it was a great debate and it is something we ought to have in this country as we decide how to help agriculture in the free market system as we are moving to under the farm bill and

from a humanitarian standpoint how we ought to be dealing with people in these other nations who have corrupt governments but not corrupt people.

This is a humanitarian amendment. I fully appreciate the point of order that is being raised against it, I understand that completely, and my friend from Florida and I have discussed this issue at length. I respect him greatly. I respect his views on this whole issue. I understand the likely success of this amendment. But I want to make the very serious point, that we in this country have to make a decision about whether we are going to continue to use food as a weapon and medicine as a weapon.

We will be faced in this Congress with the likelihood that the agriculture interests of our country, because of depressed prices, because of depressed markets, will come to this body and say, ``We need more Federal assistance.'' If that is the case, then the logical free market way to get through this is to lift sanctions to allow sales to be made abroad from a free market standpoint.

I want my colleagues to know how seriously I view this issue. I hope that the House will take this matter up at the appropriate time.

POINT OF ORDER

2:09 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, if I may at this point speak to the point of order.

I have the highest respect for the gentleman from Washington (Mr. NETHERCUTT). He speaks from conviction on this issue. As he mentioned, we have had and will continue to have very intense and serious discussions on this point. I also believe that markets that should be open to the United States at this time are not fully open, the first one being the European Union. The European Union, in violation even of accords entered into with us, continues to put up barriers on essential products

of American producers. And so this is a key issue. If there has ever been a matter where the wisdom of the rule, in this case clause 2 of rule XXI prohibiting legislation on an appropriations bill, it is on an issue such as this.

This is a very serious matter that we are discussing today. On the one hand, we all agree that all that can be done to open markets to U.S. producers, including and very especially our farmers, must be done. At the same time, we must recognize that the issue of trading with, opening an entire sector, a very important sector of the economy, of the U.S. production to sponsors of State terrorism is a very delicate matter and a very serious matter which requires great deliberation and study. That

is why the rule is wise and it is the committee process and the deliberative process that must bring to the floor legislation dealing with critical matters such as this.

When we talk about states such as North Korea, state sponsor of terrorism, or the Sudan where the President recently ordered an air strike against a medicine manufacturer, is that the only option that should be available to the United States? Military action? Or should sanctions be available to the United States in lieu of and instead of military action? This is a very serious question. Should we tie our hands so that the only action available in American diplomacy is military action? It is a

very serious question. When we deal with the issue of the dictatorship in Cuba, 90 miles away, a state sponsor of terrorism, a safe haven for international terrorists with over 100 fugitives from U.S. justice responsible, the state itself with its air force in addition to that for the murder of U.S. citizens, unarmed U.S. citizens over international waters, when we discuss opening of U.S. market, the U.S. market to that state, that regime, that is a very serious matter. And so in essence what I am saying, with

all respect to my colleague, and we will continue discussing this issue, yes, we must find ways to help America's farmers, but without helping America's enemies. And we will continue our discussions. They are intense, they are sincere, they will get to the

heart of this matter, at the same time protecting the U.S. national security, in essence the national interests of the United States. And so at this time, unless my dear colleague has an announcement to make, I would have an announcement to make myself.

2:09 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, if I may at this point speak to the point of order.

I have the highest respect for the gentleman from Washington (Mr. NETHERCUTT). He speaks from conviction on this issue. As he mentioned, we have had and will continue to have very intense and serious discussions on this point. I also believe that markets that should be open to the United States at this time are not fully open, the first one being the European Union. The European Union, in violation even of accords entered into with us, continues to put up barriers on essential products

of American producers. And so this is a key issue. If there has ever been a matter where the wisdom of the rule, in this case clause 2 of rule XXI prohibiting legislation on an appropriations bill, it is on an issue such as this.

This is a very serious matter that we are discussing today. On the one hand, we all agree that all that can be done to open markets to U.S. producers, including and very especially our farmers, must be done. At the same time, we must recognize that the issue of trading with, opening an entire sector, a very important sector of the economy, of the U.S. production to sponsors of State terrorism is a very delicate matter and a very serious matter which requires great deliberation and study. That

is why the rule is wise and it is the committee process and the deliberative process that must bring to the floor legislation dealing with critical matters such as this.

When we talk about states such as North Korea, state sponsor of terrorism, or the Sudan where the President recently ordered an air strike against a medicine manufacturer, is that the only option that should be available to the United States? Military action? Or should sanctions be available to the United States in lieu of and instead of military action? This is a very serious question. Should we tie our hands so that the only action available in American diplomacy is military action? It is a

very serious question. When we deal with the issue of the dictatorship in Cuba, 90 miles away, a state sponsor of terrorism, a safe haven for international terrorists with over 100 fugitives from U.S. justice responsible, the state itself with its air force in addition to that for the murder of U.S. citizens, unarmed U.S. citizens over international waters, when we discuss opening of U.S. market, the U.S. market to that state, that regime, that is a very serious matter. And so in essence what I am saying, with

all respect to my colleague, and we will continue discussing this issue, yes, we must find ways to help America's farmers, but without helping America's enemies. And we will continue our discussions. They are intense, they are sincere, they will get to the

heart of this matter, at the same time protecting the U.S. national security, in essence the national interests of the United States. And so at this time, unless my dear colleague has an announcement to make, I would have an announcement to make myself.

2:13 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, if I insist on the point of order, what would be the difference between the gentleman withdrawing and my insistence on the point of order with regard to how it would affect debate?

2:13 PM EDT

Jose E. Serrano, D-NY 16th

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

Mr. Chairman, let me just first say that I have the highest respect for the gentleman from Florida. He knows that. I also have quite a bit of respect for the gentleman from Washington (Mr. NETHERCUTT) and a lot of respect [Page: H3797]

for his amendment and even more growing every day for both the gentleman and all of his other policies. I think the gentleman from Florida makes an interesting point, that we should not at times do anything to help enemies we

have in foreign governments.

But on the other hand, I do not think we should hurt people that live in the countries where we may have enemies in the government. And so I think that this issue, as the gentleman from Washington has said, is one that we have to deal with. That is why I really think he has been so courageous on this issue. We may run away from this issue but we cannot hide from it. Eventually we are going to be called to answer questions as the greatest Nation on earth, as the Nation that produces the most food

in the world: Why during the period of great prosperity for us we use food and medicine as a weapon to bring people around to our political will?

This issue is not about whether we agree with a government or not. The issue is simply and it has to be repeated over and over again, whether we should deprive people in those countries whose government we disagree with the ability to have food and medicine, something that is so available to us in this country. And yes, at the same time we cannot deny that the way the gentleman from Washington and I and other people have presented this issue, it is also a good investment for this country, not

only because we come off as being what we truly are, a good country that does not do this to other people but also because American farmers can sell food and medicine.

[Time: 14:15]

I will give my colleagues an example.

The gentleman from Florida did bring up the issue of Cuba. I have a bill to do just that, to sell food and medicine to Cuba.

In the area of food alone, if my colleagues can get past, for a second, the issue of whether we should even give this food away or not and the issue of food alone, the Cuban Government has made it clear that they would purchase up to $850 million in rice from this country, that they would purchase $700 million in corn, that they would purchase over $500 million in chicken.

Now, every time I mention one of these products, I know that a certain State delegation or a different State delegation gets excited. What a wonderful opportunity to do that which is humanely right and that which is good for our farmers.

I must tell my colleagues when I first got elected 9 years ago, coming from a district in the Bronx, I never thought that I would have American farmers supporting a piece of legislation I presented, and they do, and they do because they support the fact that it is a good thing to do and a good thing to establish, Mr. Chairman.

Now, the President, as we know, very recently said that we should do this with all other countries, but he could not do it for Cuba because of the fact that this is handled by legislation, that we cannot sell food and medicine to Cuba, and so I think that while this issue obviously will not be dealt with today, while this issue obviously will not become law anytime soon, while this issue obviously is still at the center of a political debate in this House which is not one that seems for our side

to be winning, our side being those of us who agree that we should do this, the fact is that the time is coming for this.

We cannot continue to have food and medicine business, if my colleagues will, with China, with Iraq, were Iran, with Sudan and other countries in the world and continue to argue that one place 90 miles from Miami should not be allowed the same sale.

So I would hope that we do pay attention to this issue, and I would hope that in the near future the sponsorship of our bill will continue to grow. As it is, it is over 150 sponsors at the moment, and the minute we get to 218, we will talk to our colleagues about bringing it to the House.

So I would hope, Mr. Chairman, with all due respect that all Members would see this for what it is. It is something that is right, it is something that is fair, and it is something that is long overdue.

2:18 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman said that he came up with incredible numbers that I had not heard before about what Castro says he would buy from the United States. I think the gentleman said $800 million in rice and $500 million in chicken. Where does he buy that from now? Does the gentleman from New York know?

2:19 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. I know that that is a confidence, but knowing, as I do, that Castro does not make those purchases now, I was curious to find out where the gentleman says that they are made now by Castro based on the fact that he has promised to make them in theory from us.

2:22 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, I agree with the gentleman from Washington (Mr. NETHERCUTT). This is an issue that needs debate. Every single country in the world is not only geographically, but historically and sociologically and politically in a different situation and in a different moment with regard to the certainty that it will have a democratic transition the moment of that democratic transition, and to broad-brush this issue, certainly again I would reiterate the wisdom of not doing

so on an appropriations bill at the same time that I reiterate my willingness to continue discussions with those people like the gentleman from Washington (Mr. NETHERCUTT) who feel so strongly out of good-faith in this issue, not out of support for dictatorships, but out of good faith, and I [Page: H3798]

will continue our discussions because it is dangerous to broad-brush, it is indispensable

that we not and that we recognize that sending signals to countries; for example, some terrorist states that have absolutely no way that they can pay, sending signals to them that they will no longer be sanctioned, that they will be in a situation where the American market will be open to them before liberation of political prisoners or free elections are held can be very destructive at this particular time.

So I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I look forward to further discussions on this issue which must not be broad-brushed and which must remain leaving to the United States the option in particular instances of not having to have recourse to military action as the only way in which the United States can act.

2:23 PM EDT

Tom Latham, R-IA 5th

Mr. LATHAM. Mr. Chairman, I just want to make one point.

I do not think this would be as much of an issue if we did not use embargoes like we have in this recent administration, and talk about sanctions, they are embargoes. No one likes to use that term because in agriculture that has real connotations, has real effects.

We remember the Nixon embargo, the Carter embargo, how that devastated the agriculture. This, in fact, is what we are talking about, our embargoes, and in the last 80 years there have been 120 embargoes put forth by this country and other countries, and in fact over half of them have been put in place in the last 6 1/2 years.

So my colleagues can see the dramatic impact this has had on agriculture in recent years, a major reason for the decline in prices today, the fact that 40 percent of the world's population today is under some type of embargo from the United States, and it is extraordinarily destructive to agriculture, to free trade and our position in the world market.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. COBURN