8:41 PM EDT

Peter Deutsch, D-FL 20th

Mr. DEUTSCH. Mr. Chairman, that is not the amendment in front of us. The amendment in front of us specifically speaks to only one country; and, therefore, it is not in order based on the unanimous consent agreement of this House today.

8:44 PM EDT

Charles W. Stenholm, D-TX 17th

Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Kansas for yielding me this time, and I rise in strong support of the amendment of the gentleman from Kansas. [Page: H6701]

To those that have argued previously and will argue again that this is not the time and the place, I would agree. It would have been much better to have had this issue freely and openly debated on the floor of the House months ago. But having not done that, it would have been next better to have had it dealt with on the Agriculture appropriations bill; but it was not to be.

No way now do I, though, endorse the type of government that has existed in Cuba for 5 decades.

[Time: 20:45]

But it should be obvious to all that sanctions, unilaterally applied, do not work; cannot work.

And the reason they cannot work, or as a previous speaker said today, what we ought to be doing is tightening the screws down on Mr. Castro. That is impossible to do when we have unilateral sanctions. When we unilaterally deny the sale of food and medicine to the Cuban people from the United States and our ``friends'' from Canada, from Europe, from Asia, from all over the world sell to that market, who are we kidding when we say we are hurting anyone other than the people of Cuba, who still like

Americans; and producers in America, who otherwise would have the opportunity to compete for those sales?

Sanctions do not work unilaterally applied. How many years is it going to take for this body to understand they cannot possibly work if they are unilaterally applied? If they are multilaterally applied, in which all countries of the world decide this is what we should do, whether it be to any country of the world, then we have a chance.

Tonight we have a clear shot, up and down, for every Member of this body to express themselves as to whether or not we should lift the sanctions on Cuba on food and medicine. That is what this vote is about.

8:44 PM EDT

Charles W. Stenholm, D-TX 17th

Mr. STENHOLM. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Kansas for yielding me this time, and I rise in strong support of the amendment of the gentleman from Kansas. [Page: H6701]

To those that have argued previously and will argue again that this is not the time and the place, I would agree. It would have been much better to have had this issue freely and openly debated on the floor of the House months ago. But having not done that, it would have been next better to have had it dealt with on the Agriculture appropriations bill; but it was not to be.

No way now do I, though, endorse the type of government that has existed in Cuba for 5 decades.

[Time: 20:45]

But it should be obvious to all that sanctions, unilaterally applied, do not work; cannot work.

And the reason they cannot work, or as a previous speaker said today, what we ought to be doing is tightening the screws down on Mr. Castro. That is impossible to do when we have unilateral sanctions. When we unilaterally deny the sale of food and medicine to the Cuban people from the United States and our ``friends'' from Canada, from Europe, from Asia, from all over the world sell to that market, who are we kidding when we say we are hurting anyone other than the people of Cuba, who still like

Americans; and producers in America, who otherwise would have the opportunity to compete for those sales?

Sanctions do not work unilaterally applied. How many years is it going to take for this body to understand they cannot possibly work if they are unilaterally applied? If they are multilaterally applied, in which all countries of the world decide this is what we should do, whether it be to any country of the world, then we have a chance.

Tonight we have a clear shot, up and down, for every Member of this body to express themselves as to whether or not we should lift the sanctions on Cuba on food and medicine. That is what this vote is about.

8:46 PM EDT

Bob Menendez, D-NJ 13th

Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment of the gentleman from Kansas, and I want to state something. This is not about lifting the sanctions on food and medicine, because the law still will exist. And any sales to Cuba, other than those that are licensed, will still be illegal. So we will not be achieving what the gentleman wishes to achieve.

Secondly, the amendment speaks of agricultural commodities and, as such, chemicals can be sold under that heading, including precursor chemicals, which I do not believe we want the Castro regime, which is still on our list of terrorist states and which harbors fugitives from the United States, to have access to. Voting for this amendment would prohibit the United States from enforcing the sale of precursor chemicals that can be used for weaponry, including bombs, biological and chemical weaponry.

Lastly, the fact of the matter is that we constantly hear that our sanctions are affecting the Cuban people, even though we are the greatest remitters of humanitarian assistance to the people of Cuba, $2 billion over the last 5 years, more than all the other countries of the world combined during the same time period. Yet it is Castro's failed economic system and his dictatorship that refuses to give the Cuban people what they deserve. He can buy from anyplace in the world. He has to have the

money to do so. He does not have the money to do so.

And I would note that this amendment, if we believe that it is going to accomplish lifting it, which it does not, lifting the sale of food and medicine, it says nothing about credits and, in fact, can be interpreted to permit credits and can be interpreted to permit government subsidies. Now, the last thing I believe that this body would want is to use subsidies to sell to a dictatorship that uses food and rations as a form of control, which is exactly what Castro does. He uses rationing as a

form of control over his people.

So this is not about selling to the average Cuban, which I probably would be for. This is about selling to the regime and then having the regime ration their own people, as they do today, as my family has to do, standing in line, because the regime does not give them the resources and opportunities in a free marketplace for them to purchase.

8:49 PM EDT

Jerry Moran, R-KS 1st

Mr. MORAN of Kansas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

In response to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. MENENDEZ), this amendment deals strictly with an agricultural commodities; does not talk about agricultural chemicals. And the issue of credit remains with the administration, as it does today with our dealings with any other country. The President has the ability, and has used it in my tenure in Congress, to defeat the opportunity to sell agricultural commodities by refusing to extend credit.

So the amendment does not in any way increase or decrease the authority of the administration, of a President of the United States, in regard to credit.

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

8:50 PM EDT

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL 18th

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.

This amendment ensures U.S. Government financing to the Castro regime. Our U.S. taxpayers would be subsidizing a dictatorship. Our country was founded on the principles of freedom, of democracy, of human rights. As the leader of the international community, this amendment means that our principles are being sacrificed. It means that we are no longer upholding, defending and, indeed, demonstrating the moral guidelines which have directed U.S. policy of helping oppressed people.

This amendment would provide funds to a regime which violates human rights, which denies its citizens the right to participate in their religious beliefs. It tortures men and women for thinking differently and for voicing their dissenting opinions despite the threat to their personal safety.

The safeguards that this amendment seeks to remove are in place so that the Castro regime does not take U.S. food and medicine and then sells it to a third country so that it can further increase its war chest, a war chest which it uses to torture, to harass, to intimidate and to oppress the Cuban people.

This amendment would allow the unbridled, unrestricted trade with a brutal dictatorship using U.S. taxpayer funds, and it would only prolong the suffering of the Cuban people.

This amendment would send a message that this pariah state is now being forgiven for their practices, despite the cost in human life and the dignity of each individual who suffers under the dictatorship.

This amendment sends the signal that the United States will no longer serve as a moral compass for emerging democracies to emulate; that the United States' sense of right and wrong is succumbing to commercial interests.

The safeguards in place through the licensing process at the Department of Commerce and the Department of Treasury ensure that the food and medicine donated to the Cuban people actually reach the men, the women, and the children that they are intended for. These safeguards ensure that they will not be diverted by the Castro regime for the use of its officials and for foreigners. This amendment seeks to remove those safeguards and has U.S. taxpayer money going to the Castro regime.

8:53 PM EDT

Calvin Dooley, D-CA 20th

Mr. DOOLEY of California. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong support of this amendment.

I would agree on one point that one of the opponents of this amendment made, and that is that none of us are apologists for the actions of Castro. Truly, he has infringed upon human rights, he has impeded religious freedoms, he has impeded the advancement of democracy. But where I absolutely disagree is what is the policy that this country can adopt that is going to advance democracy in Cuba? And it is a policy of engagement.

This simple amendment we are talking about today is one that we will [Page: H6702]

allow for the sale of U.S.-produced agricultural products and medicines to Cuba. A policy of isolation has done nothing to advance democracy over the past 40 years. It is time for us to adopt a policy that will let us flood Cuba with U.S.-produced rice, with U.S.-produced wheat, with U.S.-produced beef products. That is going to do more to achieve our objectives.

I think it is somewhat ironic that Cuba today, per capita, is probably exporting more doctors throughout the world than any other country, yet the United States, the economic power, the leader in medicine technology, is refusing to sell medicinal products to Cuba. That is outrageous. That is not a policy that this country should be proud of.

If we truly are a country that respects democracy, that understands how we can best influence the actions of a country, then we should be embracing the policy of economic engagement which we adopted with China, that we should adopt in Vietnam, and which we should adopt in Cuba to make a difference in advancing the rights of the people of Cuba.

8:54 PM EDT

Peter Deutsch, D-FL 20th

Mr. DEUTSCH. Mr. Chairman, I can agree in a sense with the gentleman from California (Mr. DOOLEY), but I want to talk a bit about specifics.

I really plead with my colleagues to think about the specifics of what this amendment does. The specifics is really selling to the Castro government. It is not selling to Cuba. It is selling to the Castro government. It is selling to Castro. It is literally propping Castro up.

As my colleague from New Jersey said, I think all of us would be in agreement if there was a way that we could sell to NGOs and get food and medicine to Cuba, which we support, but that is not what this amendment does. And, in fact, the Cuban government has restricted, in fact has prevented the ability to even give food and medicine through NGOs to the Cuban people.

Cuba is not China in any sense, where the leadership has changed. Mao Tse-tung does not exist in China today. Again, the specifics of this amendment would strengthen the Castro regime. I urge its defeat.

8:55 PM EDT

Peter Deutsch, D-FL 20th

Mr. DEUTSCH. Mr. Chairman, I can agree in a sense with the gentleman from California (Mr. DOOLEY), but I want to talk a bit about specifics.

I really plead with my colleagues to think about the specifics of what this amendment does. The specifics is really selling to the Castro government. It is not selling to Cuba. It is selling to the Castro government. It is selling to Castro. It is literally propping Castro up.

As my colleague from New Jersey said, I think all of us would be in agreement if there was a way that we could sell to NGOs and get food and medicine to Cuba, which we support, but that is not what this amendment does. And, in fact, the Cuban government has restricted, in fact has prevented the ability to even give food and medicine through NGOs to the Cuban people.

Cuba is not China in any sense, where the leadership has changed. Mao Tse-tung does not exist in China today. Again, the specifics of this amendment would strengthen the Castro regime. I urge its defeat.

8:56 PM EDT

Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA 45th

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this amendment. We are not talking about free trade, we are talking about pulling Castro's fat out of the fire right at the last minute.

We are not talking about anything that is going to promote freedom or prosperity or goodness for the Cuban people, we are talking about keeping in power a dictatorship; a country in which the jails are full and the newspapers are censored.

What is going to happen down there if we pass this? We are going to demoralize all the people in Cuba who long for freedom and democracy. We are going to cut the chances for freedom in that country in half, or cut them down to nothing if we pass this amendment.

The fact is we can trade with Cuba any time Castro permits us to. We can sell them anything that Castro will permit us to sell them. Only one stipulation: Castro has to have a free election.

What is standing in the way of trade with Cuba? One man, a dictatorship based on one personality, one guy who has thrown everybody who has ever opposed him or his system in the clink. We do not want to support that guy either. Oppose this amendment.

8:56 PM EDT

Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA 45th

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in strong opposition to this amendment. We are not talking about free trade, we are talking about pulling Castro's fat out of the fire right at the last minute.

We are not talking about anything that is going to promote freedom or prosperity or goodness for the Cuban people, we are talking about keeping in power a dictatorship; a country in which the jails are full and the newspapers are censored.

What is going to happen down there if we pass this? We are going to demoralize all the people in Cuba who long for freedom and democracy. We are going to cut the chances for freedom in that country in half, or cut them down to nothing if we pass this amendment.

The fact is we can trade with Cuba any time Castro permits us to. We can sell them anything that Castro will permit us to sell them. Only one stipulation: Castro has to have a free election.

What is standing in the way of trade with Cuba? One man, a dictatorship based on one personality, one guy who has thrown everybody who has ever opposed him or his system in the clink. We do not want to support that guy either. Oppose this amendment.

8:57 PM EDT

Randy Cunningham, R-CA 51st

Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Chairman, I think a better dialogue would be as to how both sides on this issue could come together.

I do not support the amendment. I wish we had a White House that would not walk softly and carry a big stick of candy, and that is either a Republican or a Democrat; that would force the policies that we want. I do not believe a stick of candy to Cuba is the right thing, without a State Department that will stand up for an agreement. And I think the same thing is true with China, and I supported PNTR.

We need an Intel apparatus that will let us know, because there is a national security threat with Cuba. I disagree with the gentleman that said there was not. They are a current threat, even to Guantanamo.

We need to take a look at the food and medicine distribution; make sure that someone like a Red Cross or an international group would distribute that instead of giving it to Castro and letting him sell it for money and power.

[Time: 21:00]

Those are the kind of things that could draw us together instead of just blasting each other on each side of this issue.

8:58 PM EDT

Randy Cunningham, R-CA 51st

Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Mr. Chairman, I think a better dialogue would be as to how both sides on this issue could come together.

I do not support the amendment. I wish we had a White House that would not walk softly and carry a big stick of candy, and that is either a Republican or a Democrat; that would force the policies that we want. I do not believe a stick of candy to Cuba is the right thing, without a State Department that will stand up for an agreement. And I think the same thing is true with China, and I supported PNTR.

We need an Intel apparatus that will let us know, because there is a national security threat with Cuba. I disagree with the gentleman that said there was not. They are a current threat, even to Guantanamo.

We need to take a look at the food and medicine distribution; make sure that someone like a Red Cross or an international group would distribute that instead of giving it to Castro and letting him sell it for money and power.

[Time: 21:00]

Those are the kind of things that could draw us together instead of just blasting each other on each side of this issue.

8:59 PM EDT

Roy Blunt, R-MO 7th

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

I would like to start by saying I have no better friend in the House than my friend, the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. MORAN). But I think this amendment is ill conceived. It can produce unknown results. We do not change the law, but we do not provide any funds to enforce the law.

As the gentleman from California (Mr. MENENDEZ) pointed out earlier, the whole sanctioning process, the whole way to get an ability to work around the sanctions is not available if we cannot enforce the law. It confuses the question of whether or not U.S. credit can be available to Cuba if we cannot enforce the sanction law; does that mean Cuba has access to U.S. Government programs.

On our side of the aisle, we have had good-faith negotiations to try to come up with a position that we were comfortable with where both sides gave, where we would in fact deal with the fact that Cuba is handled differently in the law than other countries and clarify that in a way that helps American farmers but does not help Castro.

I think this amendment confuses that. I urge my colleagues to vote against it.

8:59 PM EDT

Roy Blunt, R-MO 7th

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

I would like to start by saying I have no better friend in the House than my friend, the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. MORAN). But I think this amendment is ill conceived. It can produce unknown results. We do not change the law, but we do not provide any funds to enforce the law.

As the gentleman from California (Mr. MENENDEZ) pointed out earlier, the whole sanctioning process, the whole way to get an ability to work around the sanctions is not available if we cannot enforce the law. It confuses the question of whether or not U.S. credit can be available to Cuba if we cannot enforce the sanction law; does that mean Cuba has access to U.S. Government programs.

On our side of the aisle, we have had good-faith negotiations to try to come up with a position that we were comfortable with where both sides gave, where we would in fact deal with the fact that Cuba is handled differently in the law than other countries and clarify that in a way that helps American farmers but does not help Castro.

I think this amendment confuses that. I urge my colleagues to vote against it.

9:01 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, to those who support the dictatorship, I am not addressing these words but, rather, to those who think that American business is being somehow left out of Cuba at this point by not dealing with the dictatorship.

The Cuban people, since this Congress 100 years ago, stood alone in the world after the Cubans had been fighting for 100 years for independence with the Cuban people, ever since then they have had great respect and admiration [Page: H6703]

for the American people, including for American business.

Those who want to go in now and do business with the apartheid economic system and the dictatorship are, in effect, seeking to lose the good will that American business will have in the future in a democratic future if they now go in and become tainted like the Europeans and others who are participating in creating and helping to prop up the apartheid economy.

So for business sense, not for those who idealogically support the dictatorship, I am not talking to them. For those who think that American business is losing out, no, keep the good will, stand on the side of the Cuban people and against the oppressor of the Cuban people; and that will be, for those who are so interested in business, good business in the future.

Defeat this amendment. Defeat this amendment that is defeating the good will of the American people and would defeat the good will of the American business community in the future democratic Cuba.

9:01 PM EDT

Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-FL 21st

Mr. DIAZ-BALART. Mr. Chairman, to those who support the dictatorship, I am not addressing these words but, rather, to those who think that American business is being somehow left out of Cuba at this point by not dealing with the dictatorship.

The Cuban people, since this Congress 100 years ago, stood alone in the world after the Cubans had been fighting for 100 years for independence with the Cuban people, ever since then they have had great respect and admiration [Page: H6703]

for the American people, including for American business.

Those who want to go in now and do business with the apartheid economic system and the dictatorship are, in effect, seeking to lose the good will that American business will have in the future in a democratic future if they now go in and become tainted like the Europeans and others who are participating in creating and helping to prop up the apartheid economy.

So for business sense, not for those who idealogically support the dictatorship, I am not talking to them. For those who think that American business is losing out, no, keep the good will, stand on the side of the Cuban people and against the oppressor of the Cuban people; and that will be, for those who are so interested in business, good business in the future.

Defeat this amendment. Defeat this amendment that is defeating the good will of the American people and would defeat the good will of the American business community in the future democratic Cuba.

9:02 PM EDT

Jerry Moran, R-KS 1st

Mr. MORAN of Kansas. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this has been a difficult amendment for me to offer. The opponents to my amendment feel very strongly in opposition to this amendment, and it raises emotional chords within them as well as all of us.

I would tell my colleagues that I feel very strongly about the importance of this amendment and would not be on the House floor today trying to stress to my colleagues why it matters.

I have been in this Congress for 4 years. Not one step of progress has been made toward sanction relief and reform that we have been promising our farmers in Kansas and across the country since I have been a Member of this Congress.

How long do we have to wait before we can determine the will of this body on the issue of sanctions in regard to Cuba and other countries?

Let me reiterate, this amendment deals only with Cuba. Let me reiterate, it is a different amendment than the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) offered, which opens all trading opportunities from the United States. This is limited solely to food and medicine, agricultural products.

It matters to agriculture, to farmers and ranchers, who are trying to eke out a living today in this country. But it is more than just about economics. It is about our ability to export our products, our ideas.

I am a firm believer, as I was in the debate on dealing with China, that personal freedom follows economic freedom; and when people around the world see our market system, the glimmer of hope for personal freedom is enhanced, not diminished.

It is time for us to end a failed policy that improves not only our own economic livelihoods but provides an opportunity for freedom to be increased, not diminished.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.