1:48 PM EDT

Ike Skelton, D-MO 4th

Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Kasich amendment. This amendment would have the perverse effect of holding our national security interests in Europe, and indeed the safety and well-being of our military forces there hostage to what other nations do.

I do not believe that how we exercise our national security policy should be determined by the actions of other countries. Moreover, this amendment would be unlikely to encourage our European allies to do more burdensharing. I believe it would invalidate the trust that our allies and NATO have in us, it would undermine American leadership worldwide, and would encourage renewed ethnic tension, fighting and instability in that sad part of the world, the Balkans.

We all understand and I agree that our European allies should take on a larger share of the costs and the risks associated with the conduct of military operations and efforts to secure sustainable peace in Kosovo. And I firmly believe we should continue to press our allies to do more to live up to their commitments in the region. But we should not act precipitously and undo the gains we have made just because our allies do not quite measure up on time, though they have done a relatively good

job of doing so.

I am convinced that this amendment does much more harm than good. It sends exactly the wrong message to both our allies as well as our adversaries. By setting a specific deadline for the pullout of American forces, the amendment would signal to the Albanians the limits of national security guarantees providing for their protection. Mr. Milosevic would know that all he needs to do is wait, and after the first of April next year, he can effectively resume his campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide,

leading to an additional holocaust. The people of Montenegro, who have thus far resisted Serbian hegemony, would become vulnerable to takeover. The conflict could spread to Macedonia.

At the same time, our European allies will see this measure as a unilateral move that splits 50 years of shared efforts in NATO. There is no doubt that European stability will be compromised. While it purports to send a message that the Europeans must bear a greater share of the burdens leading to regional peace, it transmits counterproductive ultimatums. It fails to realize that our European allies already make substantial contributions to alliance security, and those contributions have significantly

increased over the last several years.

I have communicated my concerns to General Ralston, the NATO commander, and he essentially shares my views. In addition to the adverse implications this amendment would have on U.S. leadership in the region and in the world, he is concerned about the impact of this amendment on the morale of U.S. military forces who have unselfishly, under conditions of extreme hardship and personal sacrifices, contributed so much to achieve peace in that sad part of the world.

This amendment sends a message that can only undermine the confidence of our service members about our national resolve and will inevitably call into question the sacrifices that we have already asked them to make.

The simple fact is that the United States is the world's lone superpower. All over the world, nations look up to our country. We are their inspiration. We are their role model. We are their hope for the future.

The likelihood of NATO enlargement, led by the United States, and the prospect of expanding the peace and stability in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Balkans, would be gravely jeopardized by this amendment. The stabilizing force that NATO represents would be undercut by this amendment, which would effectively curtail U.S. commitment and influence in Europe.

This is an ill-conceived amendment that is not in our national interest. It should be defeated. I urge my colleagues to vote against it.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:48 PM EDT

Ike Skelton, D-MO 4th

Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Kasich amendment. This amendment would have the perverse effect of holding our national security interests in Europe, and indeed the safety and well-being of our military forces there hostage to what other nations do.

I do not believe that how we exercise our national security policy should be determined by the actions of other countries. Moreover, this amendment would be unlikely to encourage our European allies to do more burdensharing. I believe it would invalidate the trust that our allies and NATO have in us, it would undermine American leadership worldwide, and would encourage renewed ethnic tension, fighting and instability in that sad part of the world, the Balkans.

We all understand and I agree that our European allies should take on a larger share of the costs and the risks associated with the conduct of military operations and efforts to secure sustainable peace in Kosovo. And I firmly believe we should continue to press our allies to do more to live up to their commitments in the region. But we should not act precipitously and undo the gains we have made just because our allies do not quite measure up on time, though they have done a relatively good

job of doing so.

I am convinced that this amendment does much more harm than good. It sends exactly the wrong message to both our allies as well as our adversaries. By setting a specific deadline for the pullout of American forces, the amendment would signal to the Albanians the limits of national security guarantees providing for their protection. Mr. Milosevic would know that all he needs to do is wait, and after the first of April next year, he can effectively resume his campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide,

leading to an additional holocaust. The people of Montenegro, who have thus far resisted Serbian hegemony, would become vulnerable to takeover. The conflict could spread to Macedonia.

At the same time, our European allies will see this measure as a unilateral move that splits 50 years of shared efforts in NATO. There is no doubt that European stability will be compromised. While it purports to send a message that the Europeans must bear a greater share of the burdens leading to regional peace, it transmits counterproductive ultimatums. It fails to realize that our European allies already make substantial contributions to alliance security, and those contributions have significantly

increased over the last several years.

I have communicated my concerns to General Ralston, the NATO commander, and he essentially shares my views. In addition to the adverse implications this amendment would have on U.S. leadership in the region and in the world, he is concerned about the impact of this amendment on the morale of U.S. military forces who have unselfishly, under conditions of extreme hardship and personal sacrifices, contributed so much to achieve peace in that sad part of the world.

This amendment sends a message that can only undermine the confidence of our service members about our national resolve and will inevitably call into question the sacrifices that we have already asked them to make.

The simple fact is that the United States is the world's lone superpower. All over the world, nations look up to our country. We are their inspiration. We are their role model. We are their hope for the future.

The likelihood of NATO enlargement, led by the United States, and the prospect of expanding the peace and stability in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Balkans, would be gravely jeopardized by this amendment. The stabilizing force that NATO represents would be undercut by this amendment, which would effectively curtail U.S. commitment and influence in Europe.

This is an ill-conceived amendment that is not in our national interest. It should be defeated. I urge my colleagues to vote against it.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:48 PM EDT

Ike Skelton, D-MO 4th

Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Kasich amendment. This amendment would have the perverse effect of holding our national security interests in Europe, and indeed the safety and well-being of our military forces there hostage to what other nations do.

I do not believe that how we exercise our national security policy should be determined by the actions of other countries. Moreover, this amendment would be unlikely to encourage our European allies to do more burdensharing. I believe it would invalidate the trust that our allies and NATO have in us, it would undermine American leadership worldwide, and would encourage renewed ethnic tension, fighting and instability in that sad part of the world, the Balkans.

We all understand and I agree that our European allies should take on a larger share of the costs and the risks associated with the conduct of military operations and efforts to secure sustainable peace in Kosovo. And I firmly believe we should continue to press our allies to do more to live up to their commitments in the region. But we should not act precipitously and undo the gains we have made just because our allies do not quite measure up on time, though they have done a relatively good

job of doing so.

I am convinced that this amendment does much more harm than good. It sends exactly the wrong message to both our allies as well as our adversaries. By setting a specific deadline for the pullout of American forces, the amendment would signal to the Albanians the limits of national security guarantees providing for their protection. Mr. Milosevic would know that all he needs to do is wait, and after the first of April next year, he can effectively resume his campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide,

leading to an additional holocaust. The people of Montenegro, who have thus far resisted Serbian hegemony, would become vulnerable to takeover. The conflict could spread to Macedonia.

At the same time, our European allies will see this measure as a unilateral move that splits 50 years of shared efforts in NATO. There is no doubt that European stability will be compromised. While it purports to send a message that the Europeans must bear a greater share of the burdens leading to regional peace, it transmits counterproductive ultimatums. It fails to realize that our European allies already make substantial contributions to alliance security, and those contributions have significantly

increased over the last several years.

I have communicated my concerns to General Ralston, the NATO commander, and he essentially shares my views. In addition to the adverse implications this amendment would have on U.S. leadership in the region and in the world, he is concerned about the impact of this amendment on the morale of U.S. military forces who have unselfishly, under conditions of extreme hardship and personal sacrifices, contributed so much to achieve peace in that sad part of the world.

This amendment sends a message that can only undermine the confidence of our service members about our national resolve and will inevitably call into question the sacrifices that we have already asked them to make.

The simple fact is that the United States is the world's lone superpower. All over the world, nations look up to our country. We are their inspiration. We are their role model. We are their hope for the future.

The likelihood of NATO enlargement, led by the United States, and the prospect of expanding the peace and stability in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Balkans, would be gravely jeopardized by this amendment. The stabilizing force that NATO represents would be undercut by this amendment, which would effectively curtail U.S. commitment and influence in Europe.

This is an ill-conceived amendment that is not in our national interest. It should be defeated. I urge my colleagues to vote against it.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:48 PM EDT

Ike Skelton, D-MO 4th

Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Kasich amendment. This amendment would have the perverse effect of holding our national security interests in Europe, and indeed the safety and well-being of our military forces there hostage to what other nations do.

I do not believe that how we exercise our national security policy should be determined by the actions of other countries. Moreover, this amendment would be unlikely to encourage our European allies to do more burdensharing. I believe it would invalidate the trust that our allies and NATO have in us, it would undermine American leadership worldwide, and would encourage renewed ethnic tension, fighting and instability in that sad part of the world, the Balkans.

We all understand and I agree that our European allies should take on a larger share of the costs and the risks associated with the conduct of military operations and efforts to secure sustainable peace in Kosovo. And I firmly believe we should continue to press our allies to do more to live up to their commitments in the region. But we should not act precipitously and undo the gains we have made just because our allies do not quite measure up on time, though they have done a relatively good

job of doing so.

I am convinced that this amendment does much more harm than good. It sends exactly the wrong message to both our allies as well as our adversaries. By setting a specific deadline for the pullout of American forces, the amendment would signal to the Albanians the limits of national security guarantees providing for their protection. Mr. Milosevic would know that all he needs to do is wait, and after the first of April next year, he can effectively resume his campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide,

leading to an additional holocaust. The people of Montenegro, who have thus far resisted Serbian hegemony, would become vulnerable to takeover. The conflict could spread to Macedonia.

At the same time, our European allies will see this measure as a unilateral move that splits 50 years of shared efforts in NATO. There is no doubt that European stability will be compromised. While it purports to send a message that the Europeans must bear a greater share of the burdens leading to regional peace, it transmits counterproductive ultimatums. It fails to realize that our European allies already make substantial contributions to alliance security, and those contributions have significantly

increased over the last several years.

I have communicated my concerns to General Ralston, the NATO commander, and he essentially shares my views. In addition to the adverse implications this amendment would have on U.S. leadership in the region and in the world, he is concerned about the impact of this amendment on the morale of U.S. military forces who have unselfishly, under conditions of extreme hardship and personal sacrifices, contributed so much to achieve peace in that sad part of the world.

This amendment sends a message that can only undermine the confidence of our service members about our national resolve and will inevitably call into question the sacrifices that we have already asked them to make.

The simple fact is that the United States is the world's lone superpower. All over the world, nations look up to our country. We are their inspiration. We are their role model. We are their hope for the future.

The likelihood of NATO enlargement, led by the United States, and the prospect of expanding the peace and stability in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Balkans, would be gravely jeopardized by this amendment. The stabilizing force that NATO represents would be undercut by this amendment, which would effectively curtail U.S. commitment and influence in Europe.

This is an ill-conceived amendment that is not in our national interest. It should be defeated. I urge my colleagues to vote against it.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:48 PM EDT

Ike Skelton, D-MO 4th

Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to the Kasich amendment. This amendment would have the perverse effect of holding our national security interests in Europe, and indeed the safety and well-being of our military forces there hostage to what other nations do.

I do not believe that how we exercise our national security policy should be determined by the actions of other countries. Moreover, this amendment would be unlikely to encourage our European allies to do more burdensharing. I believe it would invalidate the trust that our allies and NATO have in us, it would undermine American leadership worldwide, and would encourage renewed ethnic tension, fighting and instability in that sad part of the world, the Balkans.

We all understand and I agree that our European allies should take on a larger share of the costs and the risks associated with the conduct of military operations and efforts to secure sustainable peace in Kosovo. And I firmly believe we should continue to press our allies to do more to live up to their commitments in the region. But we should not act precipitously and undo the gains we have made just because our allies do not quite measure up on time, though they have done a relatively good

job of doing so.

I am convinced that this amendment does much more harm than good. It sends exactly the wrong message to both our allies as well as our adversaries. By setting a specific deadline for the pullout of American forces, the amendment would signal to the Albanians the limits of national security guarantees providing for their protection. Mr. Milosevic would know that all he needs to do is wait, and after the first of April next year, he can effectively resume his campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide,

leading to an additional holocaust. The people of Montenegro, who have thus far resisted Serbian hegemony, would become vulnerable to takeover. The conflict could spread to Macedonia.

At the same time, our European allies will see this measure as a unilateral move that splits 50 years of shared efforts in NATO. There is no doubt that European stability will be compromised. While it purports to send a message that the Europeans must bear a greater share of the burdens leading to regional peace, it transmits counterproductive ultimatums. It fails to realize that our European allies already make substantial contributions to alliance security, and those contributions have significantly

increased over the last several years.

I have communicated my concerns to General Ralston, the NATO commander, and he essentially shares my views. In addition to the adverse implications this amendment would have on U.S. leadership in the region and in the world, he is concerned about the impact of this amendment on the morale of U.S. military forces who have unselfishly, under conditions of extreme hardship and personal sacrifices, contributed so much to achieve peace in that sad part of the world.

This amendment sends a message that can only undermine the confidence of our service members about our national resolve and will inevitably call into question the sacrifices that we have already asked them to make.

The simple fact is that the United States is the world's lone superpower. All over the world, nations look up to our country. We are their inspiration. We are their role model. We are their hope for the future.

The likelihood of NATO enlargement, led by the United States, and the prospect of expanding the peace and stability in Eastern Europe, as well as in the Balkans, would be gravely jeopardized by this amendment. The stabilizing force that NATO represents would be undercut by this amendment, which would effectively curtail U.S. commitment and influence in Europe.

This is an ill-conceived amendment that is not in our national interest. It should be defeated. I urge my colleagues to vote against it.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:53 PM EDT

Sam Gejdenson, D-CT 2nd

Mr. GEJDENSON. Mr. Chairman, in the entire time the United States has spent involved in conflicts around the world, there has never been an instance where our European allies have played as significant a role.

Our role here is among the smallest of any engagement that we have had. We are now in a position where the European forces are the overwhelming part of the military; and they are, not in every instance, not in every account, but shouldering their burden for the first time.

All of us believe in burdensharing. The question is, what is the process for the Congress to speak its will? The idea that we will choose a point in the future where there is an automatic trigger is a somewhat cowardly act. It seems to me, if we want to pull out American forces, pick the date, come to the floor, and do it.

The worst of all worlds is to tell Mr. Milosevic, if he can somehow drive out one or two of our European partners, if he can get them to back off so they fall below 85 percent, 84 percent, wherever that magic number we pick is, that Mr. Milosevic will be able to feel that he [Page: H3259]

can once again take control of the region.

The Europeans are taking up a broader share of the responsibility than ever. Not just here. They are beginning an initiative that frustrates some of our colleagues to set up a coordinated military operation in Europe, so they can play a fuller role as a partner in engagements.

We are in political season here. There are not many things the Republicans and Democrats end up agreeing on. There is one thing that both the Republican apparent nominee, Mr. Bush, and the Democratic apparent nominee, Mr. GORE, agree on; and that is that this proposal is a bad idea. They offer burdensharing. This administration has done more for getting the Europeans to increase their burden than any administration in the history of this country.

What are we doing in the midst of that? We are going to come out here with some bravado and claim that somehow we are going to force the accountants to do a better job.

Do not undermine what we have done. Reject this amendment.

1:56 PM EDT

Benjamin Arthur Gilman, R-NY 20th

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. While I do not object to the intention of the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. KASICH) to ensure adequate burdensharing between our Nation and our European allies for humanitarian and economic reconstruction and related expenses in Kosovo, I do not believe that it is appropriate to link our military mission in Kosovo to that worthy goal.

As the author of H.R. 4053, which does place a cap on our overall foreign assistance to the region of southeastern Europe, including Kosovo, of some 15 percent, I strongly believe that, given the size and scope of other commitments around the world, that our Nation's contribution to the stability in the region where Europe bears the primary responsibility needs to be fair but limited.

What H.R. 4053 does, however, in the event that our European allies fail to do their fair share, is to reduce our relevant foreign aid in subsequent years.

I believe that this is the appropriate way to leverage European contributions in the Balkans. I am concerned that by linking the issue of sharing the foreign aid burden in Kosovo to our military mission, we raise serious questions with regard to the reliability of American commitment, the quality of our leadership, and our belief in the continued value of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

We need to be mindful, my colleagues, that these kinds of debate, as healthy as they may be for educating ourselves and our constituents, do not take place in any vacuum. Europe is at an important watershed in terms of arrangements for creating its own security and its own defense policy.

We are working extremely hard to influence Europe's debate on its future defense and security policy to make certain that Europe develops increased military capabilities, to avoid discrimination against those members of NATO that are not part of the European Union, and to prevent any decoupling of our European allies from North America.

There are forces in Europe that would like to see America's role and influence weakened. Let us not let this amendment play into the hands of those forces that want to decouple the United States from our historic role in the trans-Atlantic relationship.

I am also concerned that the timetable created by this amendment requiring a key foreign policy decision by the next administration so early in the tenure would be an unfair burden on our new President, whether he be Republican or Democrat. In the event the President was unable to make this certification on burdensharing required by this amendment or to justify an exercise of the waivers it provides, he would have to begin a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Kosovo almost as soon as he took his

hand off the inaugural Bible.

Our friends in Europe have received the message, thanks to debates on measures similar to this that have already occurred in the Congress. And Europe is doing more in terms of shouldering the burden in Kosovo. Let us not saddle this important appropriations legislation with this kind of an untimely provision.

Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to defeat this amendment.

[Time: 14:00]

1:56 PM EDT

Benjamin Arthur Gilman, R-NY 20th

Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. While I do not object to the intention of the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. KASICH) to ensure adequate burdensharing between our Nation and our European allies for humanitarian and economic reconstruction and related expenses in Kosovo, I do not believe that it is appropriate to link our military mission in Kosovo to that worthy goal.

As the author of H.R. 4053, which does place a cap on our overall foreign assistance to the region of southeastern Europe, including Kosovo, of some 15 percent, I strongly believe that, given the size and scope of other commitments around the world, that our Nation's contribution to the stability in the region where Europe bears the primary responsibility needs to be fair but limited.

What H.R. 4053 does, however, in the event that our European allies fail to do their fair share, is to reduce our relevant foreign aid in subsequent years.

I believe that this is the appropriate way to leverage European contributions in the Balkans. I am concerned that by linking the issue of sharing the foreign aid burden in Kosovo to our military mission, we raise serious questions with regard to the reliability of American commitment, the quality of our leadership, and our belief in the continued value of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

We need to be mindful, my colleagues, that these kinds of debate, as healthy as they may be for educating ourselves and our constituents, do not take place in any vacuum. Europe is at an important watershed in terms of arrangements for creating its own security and its own defense policy.

We are working extremely hard to influence Europe's debate on its future defense and security policy to make certain that Europe develops increased military capabilities, to avoid discrimination against those members of NATO that are not part of the European Union, and to prevent any decoupling of our European allies from North America.

There are forces in Europe that would like to see America's role and influence weakened. Let us not let this amendment play into the hands of those forces that want to decouple the United States from our historic role in the trans-Atlantic relationship.

I am also concerned that the timetable created by this amendment requiring a key foreign policy decision by the next administration so early in the tenure would be an unfair burden on our new President, whether he be Republican or Democrat. In the event the President was unable to make this certification on burdensharing required by this amendment or to justify an exercise of the waivers it provides, he would have to begin a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Kosovo almost as soon as he took his

hand off the inaugural Bible.

Our friends in Europe have received the message, thanks to debates on measures similar to this that have already occurred in the Congress. And Europe is doing more in terms of shouldering the burden in Kosovo. Let us not saddle this important appropriations legislation with this kind of an untimely provision.

Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to defeat this amendment.

[Time: 14:00]

2:00 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I am sorry that my friend from Connecticut, the ranking member of the Committee on International Relations was unfortunately called off the floor because I am going to express my strong disagreement with him, and he is one of my closest friends in this institution. Indeed, he and I share a common ethnic heritage. It is an ethnic heritage which has an affinity for certain foods. So I would not have been surprised to have my friend from Connecticut down

here talking about pickled herring or schmaltz herring, but when he comes down here with a red herring, I am a little bit disappointed.

Certainly the suggestion that this is a means of getting us out of Kosovo is the reddest of red herrings. I only hope he will never serve it to me when we dine together.

This is not an effort to get us out of Kosovo. Some Members want us to do that. But that is not what this is. Indeed people who simultaneously tell us that they have great faith in our allies and also that they do not want to go out of Kosovo must not be talking about this amendment.

Here is what this amendment says on page 3. Our European allies have to put up 50 percent of what they said for reconstruction, 85 percent of what they have pledged for humanitarian assistance, 85 percent of their pledges, and this is just for this year and next year, and 90 percent for police. In other words, this amendment will have no effect if our European allies put up 50 to 90 percent of what they pledge.

Now, my friend from Connecticut said, well, they have been doing most of the lifting here. I guess I must have been under a misapprehension when I saw all those planes flying in Kosovo and bombing Serbia. I could have sworn they were American planes. But my eyesight is not what it has been. Maybe they were Belgian planes, maybe they were Italian and Portuguese and Norwegian planes. It is hard to tell from very far away. But my impression was that it was the United States taxpayer and the United

States Defense Department that carried most of the burden of that air war.

We are not suggesting that they do that in our stead. We do not think they can do that. We are saying once that combat phase is over and we are in the policing phase and the peacekeeping phase, Europe ought to do it.

Now, the United States is alone in South Korea with no European help. That is appropriate. The United States carries the burden in the Middle East. Does Europe not ever get the primary responsibility anywhere? This is, after all, Europe.

Now, my friends say, oh, but they are doing this, they are doing this because you have already raised it. Well, yes, every time we raise an issue about burdensharing, the establishment, the Defense Department, the State Department, and I agree, it is nonpartisan. My friend from Connecticut said it, Bush said it and GORE said it, that is true. And Albright says it and Cohen says it and Kissinger said it and Weinberger said it. They all say it. Once you become a very important foreign policy

person, with this comes the obligation to absolve our European allies of any financial responsibility. I think it is right there in your council on foreign relations membership card. But it is wrong, because we have been proven right. Every time we have come forward with a burdensharing argument, they have predicted terrible consequences. And then afterwards they take credit for the favorable consequences that resulted from our raising the argument.

The answer here is a very simple one. Europe lives up to a substantial percentage of the commitments it made. Our European allies jointly have a population and an economy larger than ours. We are not asking them to take [Page: H3260]

our difficult combat operations here. We are not asking them to duplicate American air and sea power. We are not withdrawing the 6th Fleet. We are saying that in the continent of Europe where you have such an interest as well as us, we

will do the things that you cannot do, that we can only do, the combat, but you can do the policing.

Members here have said again and again on both sides, we have overstrained our military, they are overcommitted. What we are saying is instead of sending Americans to do peacekeeping 4,000 miles, let us ask Germans, Italians, French and others to go a few hundred miles. Let us have them do what they can do. That is what this amendment calls for.

If Members believe that the allies are going to live up to what they said they were going to do, if indeed they believe they are going to live up to between 80 and 90 percent of what they said they can do, they can safely vote for this amendment because it will then have no negative effect. Everything will work out as it should.

2:06 PM EDT

Norman Sisisky, D-VA 4th

Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to the Kasich amendment. Legislating a date certain for the withdrawal of U.S. ground forces, I believe, is the worst action we as a body could do to further the goal of achieving peace and stability in the region. I for one am especially sensitive to the need for all of our allies to assume a larger share of the costs and risks for the conduct of military operations and efforts to secure a more stable international environment.

There is no question about it, NATO should do more. They have heard me and many of my colleagues here express our sentiments on this matter at every NATO forum we have participated in, and we are doing much better. Look at the current facts on NATO and allied participation. NATO and our allies are currently providing the lion's share of the military forces and funding for reconstruction efforts. I am also convinced that the Congress, in its oversight role, should continue to press NATO and our

allies to do more, but we must exercise the responsibility in a responsible manner. The amendment simply does not measure up to that standard. Can you imagine the reaction to this date certain amendment in Belgrade, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania?

No matter what is said and done, at the end of the day, we cannot afford to allow our concern about the participation of other countries harm U.S. security interests.

2:07 PM EDT

Norman Sisisky, D-VA 4th

Mr. SISISKY. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to the Kasich amendment. Legislating a date certain for the withdrawal of U.S. ground forces, I believe, is the worst action we as a body could do to further the goal of achieving peace and stability in the region. I for one am especially sensitive to the need for all of our allies to assume a larger share of the costs and risks for the conduct of military operations and efforts to secure a more stable international environment.

There is no question about it, NATO should do more. They have heard me and many of my colleagues here express our sentiments on this matter at every NATO forum we have participated in, and we are doing much better. Look at the current facts on NATO and allied participation. NATO and our allies are currently providing the lion's share of the military forces and funding for reconstruction efforts. I am also convinced that the Congress, in its oversight role, should continue to press NATO and our

allies to do more, but we must exercise the responsibility in a responsible manner. The amendment simply does not measure up to that standard. Can you imagine the reaction to this date certain amendment in Belgrade, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania?

No matter what is said and done, at the end of the day, we cannot afford to allow our concern about the participation of other countries harm U.S. security interests.

2:09 PM EDT

Gary Condit, D-CA 18th

Mr. CONDIT. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the amendment. As has been indicated, this amendment is not about whether or not the United States will do the heavy carrying or carry the heavy load. We are willing to do that. We have said that we will do that. What this is about is asking our allies to keep their promise for money and manpower.

Now, I do not believe our allies have kept their commitment on any of the promises that they have made and I am a bit surprised to come to the floor and learn that Members would not be supportive of requiring our allies to meet their commitment. It is pretty simple. We are honoring our commitment with our tax dollars, and more precious than that, we are honoring our commitment with our men and women who serve in the military. It seems to me, at a minimum, we could ask our allies to honor their

commitment which kind of makes me suspicious if we ever really intended on them keeping their commitment if we are not willing to take some action to see that they do.

Let me also say that there are broader implications for me and a lot of people in this House over this kind of issue, whether or not we are willing to put the hammer down on our allies and our partners when we make agreements. In a few weeks we will be taking up PNTR where we will be asked to look at an agreement with China. Now, what kind of message are we sending to the people who negotiate that agreement if we are not willing at some point to put the hammer down to our allies and to our partners

who do not honor the agreements they make with us?

I think that we are doing the right thing today in saying that we are going to take some kind of action or we are not going to participate with you as an ally or as a partner if you are not willing to honor your agreement. The American people are suspicious when we go into these kind of agreements that we are going to shoulder the full load and that is usually what happens.

I would ask all of my colleagues today to support this amendment. I think that we are willing to shoulder the big burden here, but we want our partners to do the same.

2:09 PM EDT

Gary Condit, D-CA 18th

Mr. CONDIT. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of the amendment. As has been indicated, this amendment is not about whether or not the United States will do the heavy carrying or carry the heavy load. We are willing to do that. We have said that we will do that. What this is about is asking our allies to keep their promise for money and manpower.

Now, I do not believe our allies have kept their commitment on any of the promises that they have made and I am a bit surprised to come to the floor and learn that Members would not be supportive of requiring our allies to meet their commitment. It is pretty simple. We are honoring our commitment with our tax dollars, and more precious than that, we are honoring our commitment with our men and women who serve in the military. It seems to me, at a minimum, we could ask our allies to honor their

commitment which kind of makes me suspicious if we ever really intended on them keeping their commitment if we are not willing to take some action to see that they do.

Let me also say that there are broader implications for me and a lot of people in this House over this kind of issue, whether or not we are willing to put the hammer down on our allies and our partners when we make agreements. In a few weeks we will be taking up PNTR where we will be asked to look at an agreement with China. Now, what kind of message are we sending to the people who negotiate that agreement if we are not willing at some point to put the hammer down to our allies and to our partners

who do not honor the agreements they make with us?

I think that we are doing the right thing today in saying that we are going to take some kind of action or we are not going to participate with you as an ally or as a partner if you are not willing to honor your agreement. The American people are suspicious when we go into these kind of agreements that we are going to shoulder the full load and that is usually what happens.

I would ask all of my colleagues today to support this amendment. I think that we are willing to shoulder the big burden here, but we want our partners to do the same.

2:11 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in very strong opposition to this amendment. I think this amendment would be counterproductive. If we have an argument with our allies, we should sit down with our NATO partners and negotiate directly with them. But to come to the floor of the House of Representatives and try to set a date certain on this matter to me is foolish and counterproductive. I also think it is a very dangerous precedent. We are there in Kosovo and in Yugoslavia because we feel it is in

our national interest to be there. And we have conducted ourselves appropriately. We have worked with NATO for stability in Europe, a very major goal, and now to say that if these European countries by a certain date do not do something, we are going to pull out and do it from the Congress is undermining the ability of the commander in chief. We only can have one President at a time. I strongly oppose this amendment and urge its overwhelming defeat.

2:11 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, I rise in very strong opposition to this amendment. I think this amendment would be counterproductive. If we have an argument with our allies, we should sit down with our NATO partners and negotiate directly with them. But to come to the floor of the House of Representatives and try to set a date certain on this matter to me is foolish and counterproductive. I also think it is a very dangerous precedent. We are there in Kosovo and in Yugoslavia because we feel it is in

our national interest to be there. And we have conducted ourselves appropriately. We have worked with NATO for stability in Europe, a very major goal, and now to say that if these European countries by a certain date do not do something, we are going to pull out and do it from the Congress is undermining the ability of the commander in chief. We only can have one President at a time. I strongly oppose this amendment and urge its overwhelming defeat.

2:13 PM EDT

Floyd D. Spence, R-SC 2nd

Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment. That might surprise some people. In the past I have opposed these types of amendments but I have worked with the sponsors of this amendment this time to the extent that they changed it, and I can support it.

I will tell my colleagues why. For years, I have been critical of the administration's use of our ground troops to keep the peace in the Balkans. The administration has failed to make a persuasive case that our involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo is in our national interest or vital national interest. On the list of real threats to this country, and our national security, these countries are not near the top of the list. We cannot today properly defend against the real threats that we have facing

us in places like Korea and the Persian Gulf. With no strategic rationale and no strategy for a timely withdrawal, our continued deployment in Bosnia and Kosovo has led to a significant and troubling decline in our overall military readiness.

[Time: 14:15]

With all these deployments, we are wearing out our people and our equipment. Three people are doing the work of five. We just do not have the people to do it.

Finally, I want to say I agree with the sponsors of this resolution that the Europeans need to do more to bolster the fragile peace that occurs in Kosovo. Our country led, not only led, but for the most part carried the war effort one year ago in Kosovo. The air war was mainly our war. They could not even participate. They did not have the technology to do it. So we expended a lot of our assets in doing that.

Now our European allies should shoulder the burden of keeping the peace that we won for them. Unfortunately, they have not done it. Some of our allies have not provided what they need to, and we call on them to do it.

2:13 PM EDT

Floyd D. Spence, R-SC 2nd

Mr. SPENCE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment. That might surprise some people. In the past I have opposed these types of amendments but I have worked with the sponsors of this amendment this time to the extent that they changed it, and I can support it.

I will tell my colleagues why. For years, I have been critical of the administration's use of our ground troops to keep the peace in the Balkans. The administration has failed to make a persuasive case that our involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo is in our national interest or vital national interest. On the list of real threats to this country, and our national security, these countries are not near the top of the list. We cannot today properly defend against the real threats that we have facing

us in places like Korea and the Persian Gulf. With no strategic rationale and no strategy for a timely withdrawal, our continued deployment in Bosnia and Kosovo has led to a significant and troubling decline in our overall military readiness.

[Time: 14:15]

With all these deployments, we are wearing out our people and our equipment. Three people are doing the work of five. We just do not have the people to do it.

Finally, I want to say I agree with the sponsors of this resolution that the Europeans need to do more to bolster the fragile peace that occurs in Kosovo. Our country led, not only led, but for the most part carried the war effort one year ago in Kosovo. The air war was mainly our war. They could not even participate. They did not have the technology to do it. So we expended a lot of our assets in doing that.

Now our European allies should shoulder the burden of keeping the peace that we won for them. Unfortunately, they have not done it. Some of our allies have not provided what they need to, and we call on them to do it.

2:15 PM EDT

Silvestre Reyes, D-TX 16th

Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend for yielding me time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to this amendment. I object to this amendment for a number of reasons, but, in the interest of time, I will address just one key point.

United States national security policy should not be dictated by the actions or inactions of our allies or other countries. I am very aware that there is a need to have our European allies assume a larger role in securing peace in Kosovo. However, this amendment places us in the situation of pursuing our national security interests literally by default.

This Easter, several of my colleagues and I visited with the soldiers in Kosovo. This was my second visit to the region and my second opportunity to talk with our service members about this difficult mission. Each of the soldiers I spoke with felt our participation was critical to reducing the instability and violence of the Balkans.

This amendment would undermine our ability to affect the future of the Balkans, and, more importantly, it would affect our ability to influence any future conflicts. I strongly urge each of my colleagues to vote against this amendment.

2:15 PM EDT

Silvestre Reyes, D-TX 16th

Mr. REYES. Mr. Chairman, I thank my friend for yielding me time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to this amendment. I object to this amendment for a number of reasons, but, in the interest of time, I will address just one key point.

United States national security policy should not be dictated by the actions or inactions of our allies or other countries. I am very aware that there is a need to have our European allies assume a larger role in securing peace in Kosovo. However, this amendment places us in the situation of pursuing our national security interests literally by default.

This Easter, several of my colleagues and I visited with the soldiers in Kosovo. This was my second visit to the region and my second opportunity to talk with our service members about this difficult mission. Each of the soldiers I spoke with felt our participation was critical to reducing the instability and violence of the Balkans.

This amendment would undermine our ability to affect the future of the Balkans, and, more importantly, it would affect our ability to influence any future conflicts. I strongly urge each of my colleagues to vote against this amendment.

2:17 PM EDT

Gene Taylor, D-MS 5th

Mr. TAYLOR of Mississippi. The gentleman yielded his time to me, Mr. Chairman. At that point I made a motion.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Mississippi will have to be recognized on his own. The gentleman from Texas has been recognized for debate only, and may proceed.

2:17 PM EDT

Gene Taylor, D-MS 5th

Mr. TAYLOR of Mississippi. The gentleman yielded his time to me, Mr. Chairman. At that point I made a motion.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Mississippi will have to be recognized on his own. The gentleman from Texas has been recognized for debate only, and may proceed.

2:17 PM EDT

Gene Taylor, D-MS 5th

Mr. TAYLOR of Mississippi. The gentleman yielded his time to me, Mr. Chairman. At that point I made a motion.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Mississippi will have to be recognized on his own. The gentleman from Texas has been recognized for debate only, and may proceed.