7:54 PM EDT

Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 8th

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

Mr. Chairman, it is a rare event indeed that a 172-acre island just off the tip of Manhattan that includes beautiful historic buildings, its own infrastructure and vistas of open space becomes available.

Since the U.S. Coast Guard left Governor's Island, thousands of New Yorkers, never short on opinions, have weighed in with proposals for its use, ranging from relocating Yankee Stadium to building an education center, to keeping an open space.

The future of the island has attracted national attention as well. In an effort to balance the Federal budget in 1997, a provision was included in the Balanced Budget Act, despite the strong objections of the New York delegation, mandating that the island be sold by 2002 for not less than $500 million, a price which even in New York's thriving real estate market is absurdly out of the question.

I rise today to reiterate the call to strip the arbitrary sales price of $500 million from the Balanced Budget Act and to voice my strong support for transfer of the island to the State or City of New York at no cost.

The island was donated to the Federal Government by New York 200 years ago, for no cost, for use as a military base; and now that the military no longer needs it, it is only right that the Federal Government return it to New York with the same courtesy and graciousness with which it was donated in 1800.

The island was used inappropriately a few years ago as collateral to help balance the budget; but now that we have extraordinary surpluses, the proposed auction of this island must be canceled.

For several years I have been working with the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. MALONEY) in trying to free Governor's Island from the chains of the Balanced Budget Act. In that vein, we were pleased to be joined recently by Mayor Giuliani and by Governor Pataki in putting forward a framework for a conceptual plan to redevelop the island.

Many of those interested in the return of the island to the public agree that this plan, if followed, is a promising first step in this process. The island would be mixed use, meaning a significant portion of it would be devoted to open space and educational facilities to teach and remember the history of the island, along with some limited commercial activities such as park concessions, a hotel and a convention center to be established in one of the existing buildings in order to pay for the

island's upkeep.

With this limited development, it is hoped the island could sustain itself financially while providing an enjoyable and educational place for everyone who visits New York. While we still have some stumbling blocks to overcome in New York in the way of local issues, we have begun a dialogue. It is a dialogue that I believe will produce an outcome satisfactory to the governor, the mayor, local elected officials, local planning and civic organizations and, most importantly, to those in New York

and throughout the United States who would want to enjoy this treasure in New York Harbor.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chairman, it is this body in which virtually no dialogue on this subject has taken place. When we were scrambling to balance the budget, Governor's Island was seen as an easy mark for a fictitious $500 million.

I would point out that this Congress is now scrambling to find new and creative ways to give the money back to Americans. I would say this is a perfect opportunity.

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

7:58 PM EDT

Carolyn Maloney, D-NY 14th

Mrs. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. NADLER) for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I strongly and firmly support his amendment, as does the mayor and the governor, and really in a bipartisan spirit, the delegation of New York State. Along with the gentleman from California (Mr. HORN), we held a series of hearings on Governor's Island in New York, and basically this bill is a reality check. In no way is this island worth $500 million; and if this price tag is attached to it, then we will not be able to develop it for the public service purpose that the governor

and the mayor and all of the citizens of New York State and indeed everyone who visits New York could benefit from the development of this island.

This island was given to the country for defense 200 years ago, and now we are celebrating really the anniversary of that time; and it is time for the Federal Government to return the island to New York with the same generosity that New Yorkers showed by returning it to us at no cost so that we can follow through with the governor's and mayor's plan for development of it in a cost-effective, balanced way with educational, cultural, and as a tourist attraction. It has many historic forts that

would benefit really the country.

[Time: 20:00]

It is an important opportunity for this Congress to really respond in a reasonable way and support the gentleman's amendment, and it is certainly in the best interests of New York State and, I would say, the country.

7:58 PM EDT

Carolyn Maloney, D-NY 14th

Mrs. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. NADLER) for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I strongly and firmly support his amendment, as does the mayor and the governor, and really in a bipartisan spirit, the delegation of New York State. Along with the gentleman from California (Mr. HORN), we held a series of hearings on Governor's Island in New York, and basically this bill is a reality check. In no way is this island worth $500 million; and if this price tag is attached to it, then we will not be able to develop it for the public service purpose that the governor

and the mayor and all of the citizens of New York State and indeed everyone who visits New York could benefit from the development of this island.

This island was given to the country for defense 200 years ago, and now we are celebrating really the anniversary of that time; and it is time for the Federal Government to return the island to New York with the same generosity that New Yorkers showed by returning it to us at no cost so that we can follow through with the governor's and mayor's plan for development of it in a cost-effective, balanced way with educational, cultural, and as a tourist attraction. It has many historic forts that

would benefit really the country.

[Time: 20:00]

It is an important opportunity for this Congress to really respond in a reasonable way and support the gentleman's amendment, and it is certainly in the best interests of New York State and, I would say, the country.

7:58 PM EDT

Carolyn Maloney, D-NY 14th

Mrs. MALONEY of New York. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from New York (Mr. NADLER) for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I strongly and firmly support his amendment, as does the mayor and the governor, and really in a bipartisan spirit, the delegation of New York State. Along with the gentleman from California (Mr. HORN), we held a series of hearings on Governor's Island in New York, and basically this bill is a reality check. In no way is this island worth $500 million; and if this price tag is attached to it, then we will not be able to develop it for the public service purpose that the governor

and the mayor and all of the citizens of New York State and indeed everyone who visits New York could benefit from the development of this island.

This island was given to the country for defense 200 years ago, and now we are celebrating really the anniversary of that time; and it is time for the Federal Government to return the island to New York with the same generosity that New Yorkers showed by returning it to us at no cost so that we can follow through with the governor's and mayor's plan for development of it in a cost-effective, balanced way with educational, cultural, and as a tourist attraction. It has many historic forts that

would benefit really the country.

[Time: 20:00]

It is an important opportunity for this Congress to really respond in a reasonable way and support the gentleman's amendment, and it is certainly in the best interests of New York State and, I would say, the country.