4:06 PM EDT

Adam B. Schiff, D-CA 29th

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Chairman, I would like to commend Chairman Young and Ranking Member Murtha for forging a strong bill to fund our Defense Department and DOD entities, and I applaud them for their hard work and dedication. As we consider this important bill today, I appreciate the opportunity to address a crucial issue.

At the outset, I want to thank my colleague Mr. Inslee for all of his leadership on this issue, which has been tremendous. We have been working side by side on this amendment today. I would also like to thank Mr. Flake that I have introduced legislation along with for his tremendous leadership. This amendment is, in fact, based on legislation that I have offered with Mr. Flake. I also want to thank Mr. Van Hollen for all of his leadership.

The bill that I introduced with Representative Flake several months ago was a bipartisan bill of five Democratic Members and five Republican Members, and addresses the NSA surveillance program that almost every Member of this body learned about in the morning newspaper.

This amendment recognizes two important principles: First, that the government must have all of the tools necessary and all of the authority required to pursue al Qaeda and other terrorists who would seek to harm our country. And second, this amendment recognizes that we are a Nation of laws.

While the President possesses the inherent authority to engage in electronic surveillance of the enemy outside the country, Congress possesses the authority to regulate such surveillance within the United States, and, in fact, Congress has spoken in this area through Title III and through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

When Congress passed these statutes, it intended that they provide the sole authority for surveillance on American soil. Our amendment simply reinforces existing law that the government must obtain a court order when U.S. persons are targeted or surveillance occurs in the United States of America.

Recently when the Attorney General testified in the Judiciary Committee, I asked about the limiting principle of the NSA program; was it restricted only to international calls; what if the administration decided tomorrow it had the inherent authority to tap purely domestic calls between two Americans, did it feel it could do so without court order; and the Attorney General said that he would not rule it out. He would not rule out having the pure authority without going to court to tap the calls

between two Americans on American soil.

So what is the limiting principle if this program can change from day to day without the input of Congress? The only limiting principle is the good faith of the executive, which, when the executive shows it is infallible, might be a sufficient limiting principle, but the executive is no more infallible than we are here in Congress, and so we have a role to play.

In enacting FISA, Congress specifically sought to balance our national security interests with legitimate civil liberty concerns. In so doing, Congress expressly permitted surveillance without court order for 15 days after the declaration of a war.

Additionally, Congress provided the authority to engage in electronic surveillance for up to 72 hours without court order.

Furthermore, after the September 11 attacks, the administration came to Congress and asked us to modify FISA to respond to the new challenges in the war on terror, and Congress responded by making those changes.

Electronic surveillance of al Qaeda operatives and others seeking to harm our country must continue; it simply can and should comply with the law.

We stand ready to work with the administration if further statutory revisions to FISA or other authorities are required to meet the new challenges in the war on terrorism. Until then, we must restore the rule of law. I urge the House to do so today.

I know my colleagues Mr. Sherman, Mr. Inslee, and Mr. Van Hollen will want to strike the last word to speak on this as well.

4:10 PM EDT

Jim Saxton, R-NJ 3rd

Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, Chairman Hunter, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee is not here today due to a important personal commitment in his district, and he asked me to state his opposition to this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I think it goes without saying that this is an extremely important provision, and this amendment would do, in my opinion and in Chairman Hunter's opinion, great damage to the ability of our country to provide national security for the American people.

That is why the administration also strongly opposes the Inslee-Schiff amendment. It is a direct effort to cut off the President's ability to engage in surveillance pursuant to his constitutional authority, and the authorization to use military force as passed by the Congress.

The program has been briefed to all members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. They are fully briefed to all aspects of the terrorist surveillance program and are conducting oversight.

I would just point out NSA Director General Hayden said on January 23, 2006, at the National Press Club, ``The TSP allows interception of the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. There are no communications more important to the safety of this country than those affiliated with al Qaeda with one end in the United States. The purpose here is to detect and prevent future attacks.''

In underscoring the importance of this, on January 25, 2 days later, the President of the United States said, ``The 9/11 Commission made clear in this era of new dangers, we must be able to connect the dots before the terrorists strike so we can stop new attacks.'' And the NSA program, he said, is doing just that.

Those of us on the Armed Services Committee and other Members of Congress in various other capacities work night and day trying to provide a high level of national security for our country. This amendment would do damage to that effort. It would make that effort at least much more difficult.

To the credit of the CIA and to the credit of the administration and our government generally, we have been able to get through the years since September 11, 2001, without additional attacks.

The activities are reviewed for this program every 45 days. We are making every attempt to make sure that this program is carried out correctly and safely and doesn't infringe on the rights of the American people. The NSA's activities under this authorization are thoroughly reviewed by the Justice Department and NSA's top legal officials, including NSA's general counsel and inspector general.

Mr. Chairman, I strongly oppose this amendment.

4:16 PM EDT

Adam B. Schiff, D-CA 29th

Mr. SCHIFF. I thank the gentleman for yielding. The amendment says that there is a prohibition on using funds to fund this program unless it meets the requirements of FISA. Any part of the program that does meet the requirements of FISA, meet the existing law passed by the Congress, could continue to be funded. Those parts that don't meet the requirements of FISA, the administration will have to go back.

4:17 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. As Mr. Murtha has suggested, there is a lot that can't be said about this amendment and about this program. But what I would like to say is, let's don't tie our hands behind our back when we are fighting a vicious, cruel enemy.

Intelligence is extremely important in the war against terrorism. First of all, you don't have, in this particular war, you don't have an army against an army. You don't have a country against a country. You have terrorists attacking innocent people here in the United States on September 11, and leading up to September 11, and anywhere else in the world that they decide that they are going to attack.

One of the best defenses against these attacks is the ability to know where they might be or when they might strike or what the target might be. Don't deny the people on the front lines of this intelligence war and information war and the hot war, don't deny them every tool that they can possibly have.

As Mr. Murtha said, for those that have been briefed on this program on a regular basis, I am not aware of anyone who is concerned that the rights of Americans to their privacy have been violated. I certainly do not believe that the rights of Americans have been violated in this program. And so I think it is crucial to oppose this amendment; this is far beyond politics. It goes a lot deeper. This goes to the safety and the security of American people wherever they might be. And it is

unfortunate that we can't reveal everything that is done, how it is done, where it is done, when it is done; but believe me, it is effective and the privacy of the American people have been protected.

4:19 PM EDT

Adam B. Schiff, D-CA 29th

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your thoughts and I appreciate your yielding. And we are up against a vicious enemy, and we ought to have every power of intelligence and every tool in the tool box and I completely agree with that. I think we can do that within the laws that the Congress has passed. And the gravamen of my concern is something that took place in the Senate, when one of our GOP colleagues asked the administration, during the debate over the PATRIOT reauthorization, which

I supported, do we need to change FISA. We were making modest changes to FISA, and the Republican Senator said, Do we need to do something larger? And the administration response was no, that FISA is operating just fine as it is.

Now, if there are changes that need to be made, there is a 72-hour after-the-fact authorization. If that window is too short, it can be lengthened. If there are other problems, they be changed. And all that can be changed without disclosing to the public the nature of the program itself.

I haven't been briefed on it. I am not one of the lucky few, or maybe I am lucky. But it concerns me when the administration says we don't need to change existing law, when I think we can retain all of these tools, but the Congress can play its role in making sure that these programs are authorized by law, that they are not being conducted extralegally.

4:21 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Well, you know, that would certainly clear it up without getting into any classified information if somebody here, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee or the chairman of the Full Committee or someone can say, yes, the administration is complying with FISA, and they have taken this program to the FISA court for clearance. That is what people who support this amendment are concerned about, that Congress enacted legislation here saying that if you want to go out and gather this

kind of information, you have to first go to the FISA court to get approval and to show cause. I think that is what this really all gets down to.

4:23 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I will continue to yield in just a minute. On the legal aspects of this, I am going to Mr. Lungren. I think he is prepared, and he will probably get his own time, because I am limited to 2 minutes.

But in the minute I have left, I will yield to Mr. LaHood.

4:23 PM EDT

Ray LaHood, R-IL 18th

Mr. LaHOOD. This is highly classified information. What you all need to know is, the people that you have put your trust in, that the leadership have put their trust in, those that serve on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, those that serve on the Intelligence Committee have been briefed. Now you have to trust them that they know what is going on here.

All 435 members can't be briefed. You know why they can't be briefed, because we all love to talk and it would get out.

So what I am saying to you, the gentleman from California, the author of the amendment, you need to trust Mr. Murtha, you need to trust the chairman of the committee. You need to trust Mr. Hoekstra. You need to trust Jane Harman. These are people with the responsibility from your leadership to serve on these committees. They know what is going on.

4:25 PM EDT

David R. Obey, D-WI 7th

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

Mr. Chairman, I do not want to get into the specific debate on this amendment because I think there are equities on both sides. But I must comment on a statement that was just made by the gentleman from Illinois when he said that the reason this information can't be more broadly shared is because people in Congress like to talk.

When Mr. Negroponte was before the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and I have been an ex oficio member of that committee now for over 12 years, but when I asked Mr. Negroponte, who, after all, is the Director of Intelligence, when I asked him whether or not he could cite a single instance in which any member of the Defense Appropriations Committee had ever leaked any classified information, he indicated he could not.

I also asked him, and I think this is an accurate recollection, I also asked him if he could tell me how many times stories had appeared in the Washington Times that his own agency thought had been leaked by the executive branch of government.

And I asked him how many times he thought those leaks had been provided by the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. And his response was, to the best of his knowledge, none.

And yet, I want to make clear, not all members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee have been briefed. Now, I believe they should have, because taxpayers dollars go through the appropriations bill, and I think every member of that subcommittee needs to know what the facts are on this case.

But the fact is, let's not get into the belief that it is the Congress who routinely leaks. The White House routinely leaks more classified information than the Congress even has. And anybody who doesn't believe that doesn't know the score.

4:27 PM EDT

David R. Obey, D-WI 7th

Mr. OBEY. I am going to take back my time. I was prepared to entertain a serious question. That is not a serious question. I am not interested in what happened 200 years ago. I am interested in what is happening today and tomorrow.

4:28 PM EDT

Todd Tiahrt, R-KS 4th

Mr. TIAHRT. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I am a member of the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations, as well as the House Select Committee on Intelligence. I'd like to answer several questions that have come up with this amendment.

When questioned about the purpose of this amendment, the author said that he thought that the FISA law, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, should be rewritten. And there are some who believe that legislation should be rewritten because it was originally penned in 1978, and we have had significant changes in technology since that time. Each of us carries a phone or BlackBerry, none of which existed in that format back at the time. So there have been changes that have gone on to our

technology.

But to answer the question of the gentleman from Washington, the administration does believe that they are within the current law, and they do believe they have the authority to do what the gentleman has alleged that they are doing. I don't think that there is anything that really needs to be expressed much beyond this, except that the gentleman from California (Mr. SCHIFF) said he believes that FISA should be rewritten, if it doesn't meet the requirements of today's environment, it should

be rewritten. This amendment doesn't do that. All this amendment does is strike funds for any electronic surveillance program in the United States. And I think that would be an opportunity for putting this country in peril.

One of the reasons we haven't had an attack since September 11, 2001, is because we have used every means necessary to keep ahead of the terrorists.

[Time: 16:30]

The terrorists have used videos to advance their ideals. They have used the Internet. They have used Web sites. They have tried to raise money and reach out and touch Americans in a negative way again and again and again. And this country has done everything possible to prevent that from happening, and they have done it successfully, and they have done it by using technology. And this amendment appears to be tying hands on our ability to use technology, and I think that is wrong.

4:30 PM EDT

Adam B. Schiff, D-CA 29th

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Very quickly, the only thing the amendment provides is that surveillance on American soil cannot be funded if it is not in compliance with FISA. So if you are in compliance, if this program complies with FISA, it could go on.

Just to address the chairman's point, and this is on the same point you are making, too, which is we should not be debating this on the House floor, that you should introduce the bill, and it should be heard in committee. Mr. Chairman, we have introduced the bill. I along with Mr. Flake, Mr. Inglis, Mr. Leach, and others have introduced the bill. We have not been able to get a hearing in committee, and so the only opportunity for us to raise this issue is on the House

floor

4:30 PM EDT

Adam B. Schiff, D-CA 29th

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Very quickly, the only thing the amendment provides is that surveillance on American soil cannot be funded if it is not in compliance with FISA. So if you are in compliance, if this program complies with FISA, it could go on.

Just to address the chairman's point, and this is on the same point you are making, too, which is we should not be debating this on the House floor, that you should introduce the bill, and it should be heard in committee. Mr. Chairman, we have introduced the bill. I along with Mr. Flake, Mr. Inglis, Mr. Leach, and others have introduced the bill. We have not been able to get a hearing in committee, and so the only opportunity for us to raise this issue is on the House

floor

4:31 PM EDT

Todd Tiahrt, R-KS 4th

Mr. TIAHRT. Reclaiming my time, I suggest you pursue your bill then, because what you are doing here absolutely ties the hands of the Federal Government from protecting us, and it does not rewrite FISA.

Now, let me also make this argument that FISA is a very narrow portion of our law. There is a much broader scope that is applicable to the situation necessary to protect this country. So focusing on one portion of the law is tying our hands and trying to make the whole world comply with this one narrow segment of law, in my view, it ties our hand, and I don't think we should do it.

What I would suggest is that you withdraw this amendment, pursue your bill, along with the Republican cosponsors, because this does tie our hands. It gives us an opportunity to be less safe, and I suggest the gentleman withdraw his amendment.

4:32 PM EDT

Jay Inslee, D-WA 1st

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

Mr. Chairman, there are times where the Constitution needs to be considered, and this is one of those times. Those of us who support this amendment, I hope that both Republicans and Democrats will do so because I think Republicans and Democrats ought to agree on one central proposition, and that is the proposition that our government ought to protect our citizens aggressively, assertively. We need electronic surveillance to be doing it to the full extent of the law, and that intelligence should

be done in compliance with the American way.

There is an American way to do intelligence, and there is a Chinese way to do intelligence. There is a Turkish way to do intelligence. There is a Russian way to do intelligence. And there is an American way to do intelligence. And the American way to do intelligence is to do a very simple thing: Comply with the law that has been passed and signed by Congresses and Presidents.

And all this amendment does is say a very simple proposition: You don't spend taxpayers' money to do illegal acts by the Federal Government. That is all it says. And when it passes, we will do assertive, aggressive intelligence of these scoundrels by doing a very simple thing: Get a warrant. And if you do not have time to get a warrant, get it 72 hours after you do the intelligence, because the FISA Court allows that to happen. That is the simple proposition here.

Now, why is that important? It is important because the people who fought the Revolution realized that no American is perfect, and that includes no American President. To the proposition that all men are created equal, you can add the proposition that no [Page: H4279]

man is created perfectly. And that is why we demand some judicial oversight on this.

And, by the way, the central argument I have heard about this is that a few Congressmen have said it is okay, apparently. Well, calling a few Congressmen is not enough under the law. Why? Because the law is very specific. It says that each application for an order approving electronic surveillance under this subchapter shall be made by a Federal officer in writing, upon oath or affirmation, to a judge. To a judge. And we are great Congressmen. I have eminent respect for all the people who were

briefed on this. But not a single one of them wears a black robe, and not a single one of them was given authority by the United States Constitution to make this decision. Calling Ray or Norm or any of my great colleagues and saying, ``Does this sound okay to you,'' is not enough in American democracy.

Now, we have had other occasions in our democracy where we have been challenged by fear, and I do not want to see us succumb to that again. And for those of us who think it shouldn't bother us, the President is not going to bug us, other nations have lost their liberty because of that attitude, because some Supreme Court Justice said loss of liberty does not come like a curtain coming down like a thunderclap. It comes the way the twilight comes, gradually, and you do not notice.

Do not wink at this potential violation. Say that we are going to do intelligence the American way. For those people in Iraq and Afghanistan who are risking their lives for democracy and the liberties we enjoy, don't we have enough gumption to send a simple message to the executive branch of the United States from the U.S. Congress, a very simple message that we expect the law to be fulfilled, that our personal protection to be fulfilled by getting a warrant the way the law requires? That is

all that we require.

4:43 PM EDT

Jay Inslee, D-WA 1st

Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, I want people to understand the sweeping scope of Mr. Lungren's argument. What he argues is that the President of the United States, during a time of fear and war that we are now in, has the unchecked, unfettered, unlimited authority to ignore not just FISA, but any law passed by the Congress of the United States and signed by any President. His argument here means that no law restricts this President or any other President to do anything else. Not just intelligence.

Torture, false imprisonment; you go as far as you want.

4:46 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I think President Carter had it right. He said all electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purposes in the United States has to come under the FISA Court. That makes sense. That is, I think, the purpose of this amendment, is to make certain that the money is being expended in compliance with FISA.

The gentleman is a cosponsor of this amendment. Is that your understanding?

4:46 PM EDT

Jeff Flake, R-AZ 6th

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

Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman, the main sponsor of this amendment, and I am pleased to be a cosponsor of it.

I would love for the President to have this authority, as he should have it. I would love to give him this authority, but I think unless he is going to go under FISA, he ought to come ask for it. I think that he needs it, I think it is proper.

But when we are told, as we have been on the Judiciary Committee by the Attorney General, that he feels that any domestic surveillance could be okay, he wouldn't rule it out, what isn't allowed? Why does the President need FISA at all if he can simply go around it? What purpose does FISA serve? Why did we go through what we went through for months and months with the initial PATRIOT Act and then for a year to reauthorize it?

In the end, we had to ask ourselves, after hearing the testimony of the Attorney General, why did we do this? Why are we so specific and so careful about the powers that we give to the executive when they can simply ignore it and go on their own? It simply begs the question if you are not going to use FISA, why not just run amuck?

I submit that the acid test for Republicans on this has to be, would we be comfortable if a Democrat were in the White House using this authority? I have to say I wouldn't be. But nor am I comfortable with a member of my own party having it.

There is a separation of powers argument here. We are a coequal branch of government, and I think it is our constitutional obligation to say if you are not going to use FISA, tell us why. Tell us what we need to do to make it more applicable.

We have offered that numerous times in the Judiciary Committee, yet we are told, no, you don't need to change it. Of course we don't need to change it if they can simply go around it. So I think the gentleman's amendment is perfectly proper.

Believe me, if this amendment passes, and the administration feels compelled, they will come directly to Congress and ask for the authority, but they will do it right, and I think the Congress will be glad to give it to them. But there has to be bounds here.

We are the elected representatives. It struck me when one of the Members in opposition to this amendment said a lot of people in the executive branch know about this program. That ought to be disturbing to a lot of us, that far more people in the executive branch know about this program than the elected representatives of the people. Does that not disturb anybody around here that many people over in the executive know about it and we don't?

We are told in the National Security Act that the President is supposed to inform the committees of jurisdiction. It doesn't say a few members of those committees, the committees of jurisdiction.

I think we simply ought to follow this. This is a reasonable amendment. I would urge those in my party and the other party to support it.

4:52 PM EDT

Chris Van Hollen, D-MD 8th

Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, absolutely. If it complies with FISA, it is fine.

Now, what is troubling is the Attorney General was asked way back why he didn't come to Congress to seek changes to the law to accommodate this program, and he said he considered that possibility, but then he didn't think Congress would pass it. Well, if that is your conclusion, you don't get to just say, well, I am going to ignore the law and circumvent it. You have to work with Congress.

What is really troubling is I think all of us here, if we heard the same information that members of the Intelligence Committee say they have access to, would also conclude it may be a necessary program. But if it is, let's put it within the confines of the law. That is all this amendment does.

Yes, it authorizes electronic surveillance. We want it to authorize electronic surveillance. But we want to authorize electronic surveillance within the confines of existing law, and if existing law can't accommodate that program, let's come back here, let's pass a statute and change it.

Those who say FISA hasn't been changed, it is outdated, the fact of the matter is we have made eight changes to FISA since its enactment in 1978. We can make more changes to FISA right now to accommodate this program.

But let's just make it clear: If you don't think you can get a law passed by the Congress, you don't get to choose to ignore it. It is not an a la carte system. Our Constitution is based on the rule of law. We can protect the American people, we can intercept al Qaeda communications, and we can do it in accordance with the rule of law.

I urge my colleagues to adopt this amendment.

4:53 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the requisite number of words.

Mr. Chairman, I congratulate the authors of this amendment. The debate here and potentially the outcome confirm a very important point: We do not suffer in this country from a problem of the Presidential usurpation of power. We suffer from congressional dereliction of duty. It is not a case of the President overreaching. It is a case of us ducking and dodging and letting him do all the tough issues.

This amendment is a very simple one. Now, Members have said on the other side, I heard the gentleman from Kansas say, why don't you bring in a bill? Two reasons: First of all, if we brought in a bill, it would never see the light of day. How can a majority party which has specialized in strangling legislation at its birth complain when we don't think that is a good way to debate important issues?

But there is another reason. This is one that can sustain a veto. The Supreme Court has made it very clear: It will not referee disputes between the executive and legislative branches. The only way you can put some restraint on a President who is acting without restraint is by an amendment that says there are limits on what he can do with the money.

Now, we have heard selected quotations from John Jay. Poor old John Jay hasn't been mentioned in years. I am glad his spirit has been invoked. But nobody much cares about John Jay most of the time.

We have had some Supreme Court cases cited. Youngstown Sheet and Tube against Sawyer, which restricted the President in a time of war, was not mentioned.

Let's be very clear: History does not dictate the answer. This calls on every Member of this House to say what kind of Constitution do you want? Do you want one in which the President can have unchecked executive power, not just in time of war, but any time?

We are in what the President now says is a war against terrorism that is unlikely to have an end. So we are not talking about temporary wartime powers. We are talking about what kind of Constitution do you want?

We have a President who has asserted his right to do whatever he thinks necessary to protect the country, including, remember, arresting American citizens and having them incarcerated indefinitely with no chance to present a case. The Supreme Court said, whoa, that goes a little too far. But this is what the President has asserted with regard to FISA.

One gentleman said, well, remember what Griffin Bell said. I will be honest with you, I have found that as a general principle, ignoring Griffin Bell is a good idea. I have always done that in important cases. But what Griffin Bell said or didn't say doesn't tell us.

And this is the question, not what John Jay said or this one said, because you can quote each other to death. What kind of Constitution do you want? Do you want one where the President of the United States without any check can do what he thinks best? Because, by the way, the courts won't be involved here, because they can avoid a court decision by never prosecuting based on this evidence.

So the only potential check here is if we say no. Yes, you can wiretap, as long as you can get a warrant. And getting warrants under FISA is not hard. But we do not like the principle of an unchecked Presidential power.

I will yield to my friend from California if he will begin by answering this question: Conservatives tell me they like to be textual with regard to the Constitution. Would he cite for me, I thought maybe the Constitution got changed while I wasn't looking, so I went and read article II, it took about a minute and a half, it is a pretty small article. I am glad to see the President can get paid. It is right there in the Constitution.

But would he cite for me the text of the Constitution, article II, which empowers the President to do this, even if Congress tells him not to?

I will just add this. With regard to Youngstown Sheet and Tube, as I recall the analysis, it was there are three situations. I will ask for additional time, because I would like to have a colloquy. The President acting alone, the President acting with Congress, and the President acting in contradiction to what Congress has said.

The analysis has always been acting with Congress, the President is at the peak of his powers. Acting alone, it is unclear. Acting in contravention to what Congress has said, he is at his weakest. Here, since we have FISA, this is in contravention to what Congress has told him to do.

So I would now yield to the gentleman. Would he begin just by citing the parts of the Constitution that are relevant, and then, obviously, he is free to say what he wishes.

4:58 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Please read it. I would ask the gentleman literally to please read it, because I think it doesn't say what he says it says. Please read it.

4:58 PM EDT

Dan Lungren, R-CA 3rd

Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. It is the vesting clause of the Constitution, vesting in the President [Page: H4282]

the executive authority, coupled with his authority as Commander in Chief.

Now, let me just say to the gentleman, so we can make it clear, I have never argued that the President has this authority in all things, as some have suggested, to kill people, to do this, to do that. I have cited authority which suggested in the area of gathering foreign intelligence, which is about what we are talking.

Secondly, I would just say that the gentleman is right that we do have the power of the purse.

4:59 PM EDT

Dan Lungren, R-CA 3rd

Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. I don't argue at all that this is an inappropriate amendment to be considered, because this is the proper exercise of our authority to the power of the purse. What I have suggested is the arguments that the President is acting illegally or unlawfully are not appropriate, because he is acting under the Constitution, in my judgment.

4:59 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I take back my time. So the gentleman then agrees with this point. There is nothing inappropriate about this amendment. So while he believes the President is within his power to do this, does the gentleman agree that if this amendment is adopted by a majority, the President would be bound by it?

4:59 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. So that if he can find, I thank the gentleman and I appreciate that. I take back my time. The gentleman knows the rules. The gentleman knows the rules. He may not know the Constitution, but he knows the rules. I take back my time just to say, so we understand----

5:00 PM EDT

Dan Lungren, R-CA 3rd

Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. This doesn't cover all expenditures of the President under all circumstances. This is limited to the funds that are contained in this bill, as you know, because it is an appropriation bill.

But could I mention one thing, because there has been some question about this. The FISA court of review issued an opinion in 2002 which stated: all the other courts that have decided the issue held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information.

5:01 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. I just want to say, stop hiding behind varying degrees of constitutional interpretation. By hiding behind them, I mean this: I don't think that people sat and said, oh, geez this is what John Jay told me and this is what I am bound by. I think we are talking here about what we think public policy ought to be. Should the President or should not the President have to get a warrant through FISA? That is the text of this amendment. Let us debate the public policy.

I yield first to the gentleman from Washington.

5:01 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. I just want to say to the gentleman, I agree with that. I also think that the American Bar Association looked at this. They came to the conclusion that the President had to comply with the FISA law.

5:02 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Let me just say this. Here is the constitutional text that my friend from California invoked, and pretty accurately. Good memory the gentleman has. Article II, section 1: The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America, period.

Now, he says that gives him the power. This is circular. Why does the President have the power? Because he has the executive power. But we are precisely here defining for ourselves, as Americans today, what the executive power is and has meant to be. All this says is that he has the executive power. Does the executive power mean he can lock somebody up without a trial as he has said it does? Does the executive power mean he can ignore an act of Congress and wiretap when he wants to? That is the

question. Saying that the executive power is vested in him simply is a way of putting the question. The question is, What is the executive power?

I yield to the gentleman from California.

5:02 PM EDT

Adam B. Schiff, D-CA 29th

Mr. SCHIFF. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I just want to get to one question that has I think not been answered to the opposition to this amendment. And that is, the suggestion is by those who know the program better than I do that parts of it don't meet the requirements of FISA. And my question is, Why can't this program be authorized by law? Why can't we change the law to authorize it?

5:03 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Reserving the right to object, and I will not object, but we are talking in circles. We are not even talking about some of the main issues that are before us. The sponsor of the amendment just admitted that we are talking about an authorization. This is an appropriations bill. This should be done at an authorization committee where you all are.

5:03 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Just a minute. It is under my reservation.

Let us bring this to a close. We can repeat our arguments so many times. I withdraw my reservation.

5:04 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. In my remaining minute, I understand, I will say that my good friend from Pennsylvania I think is probably not distressed that we are talking about something that is not the heart of the bill. But the fact is, I will close by this, we are talking about it here because this is the only enforceable way to put restraints on the President. And I will tell you why I think it is important. Chaplain Yee at Guantanamo, Burton Mayfield in Oregon, Wen Ho Lee under the Clinton

administration, there are, sadly, cases of entirely innocent individuals who were prosecuted and gone after.

I don't think the President is ill intended here. And I think the law enforcement people are the good guys; I just don't think they are the perfect guys. So I want to give them power, but I want to subject that to some check beforehand and some process afterwards. And that is what we are [Page: H4283]

saying here. We are fully in favor of empowering law enforcement, but we do not want them to be exclusive in the exercise of that power. And asking that they go before

a judge to justify it when they are going to be wiretapping an American seems to us to be reasonable and to do no harm to America.

And to repeat my answer to the gentleman from California: the opponents of this amendment are the proponents of the view that the President's power should be entirely unchecked, and that is dangerous.

5:05 PM EDT

Peter Hoekstra, R-MI 2nd

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

I thank the Chair, and I appreciate the discussion and the debate that we have had on this amendment. I join with the chairman of the subcommittee and the ranking member of the subcommittee in opposing this amendment.

It would jeopardize one of the most critical abilities to detect and prevent terrorist attacks on the United States. In addition, it would interfere with an ongoing course of oversight that has been conducted on a bipartisan basis by the leadership in the authorizing committee since the inception of this program.

It is the day after 9/11 and the President has asked NSA, other parts of the intelligence community, the military: What is the threat? How do we most effectively respond? And what is the threat to the Nation? And he has asked the intel community and the military to come back with various options as how best to protect the United States in that time of uncertainty, and the executive branch and the various agencies come back with a series of proposals as to exactly what they believe can be done

and should be done to keep America safe.

The President doesn't act unilaterally; the President acts in a collaborative basis. It is not an overreaching of an Executive.

To my colleague from Arizona, if a President of the other party went through the same processes that this President went through and exercised these authorities would I support that President? My answer would be different than my colleague from Arizona; the answer would be, yes, because the process was very straightforward. Four times within the first 8 months after 9/11, it was a collaborative process between leaders of this House and the U.S. Senate who sat down with the executive branch and

reviewed this program in detail. Do you know what they said? This is a program that is necessary in a time of uncertainty. We support this program, and it needs to move forward.

We have had some discussions and disagreements as to the extent of the number of people that should have been briefed on the authorizing committee. We have worked through that process, and now every single person who has the desire to be briefed on this program is briefed on the program and have had the opportunity or will be given the opportunity when they get new questions to have every single one of their questions answered.

We have a way ahead on our authorizing committee. The ranking member has introduced legislation that she thinks may address some of the issues. But we know that FISA and electronic surveillance is a very, very difficult issue because technology has changed significantly since FISA was originally developed. And so we are going to move forward, and I am thrilled that within the Intelligence Committee we are going to continue a bipartisan way ahead. It doesn't mean we are going to agree, but it

does mean that we have laid out a process as to what the needs are of the intelligence community to keep America safe, what the legal framework is, and evaluate the changes in technology and the environment so that we can do the necessary oversight and protect and balance civil liberties with the needs of America's security.

5:10 PM EDT

Jane Harman, D-CA 36th

Ms. HARMAN. I appreciate it that you mentioned bipartisanship and mentioned our committee. I had not been planning to speak during this debate. I have great admiration for the bipartisan sponsors of this amendment. I also agree with their point, which is that the total program must comply fully with FISA. But my view is, as the chairman has stated, that we should deal with this issue in the legislative committee. And the reason we should deal with this issue in the legislative committee is that

it is, as everybody here fully understands, very, very complicated. A number of us, 50 of us, are supporting H.R. 5371, The Listen Act.

5:10 PM EDT

Jane Harman, D-CA 36th

Ms. HARMAN. I would like to ask our chairman: Will you agree that that bill and perhaps others will be the subject of the committee oversight and the subject of a legislative hearing in our committee at a reasonable future date?

5:11 PM EDT

Peter Hoekstra, R-MI 2nd

Mr. HOEKSTRA. Reclaiming my time, absolutely. And as we have talked about it, and I appreciate the patience of my colleague as we have worked through the briefings of the entire committee and as we move forward, the legislative hearing on H.R. 5371 and other legislative initiatives that some of our colleagues are developing that address both the FISA issues which may apply to the current program but also which will be further reaching in terms of taking a look at different technology and those

type of things as that has evolved is something that I think we can do on a bipartisan basis, and I am committed to doing.

5:11 PM EDT

Jane Harman, D-CA 36th

Ms. HARMAN. And if you would yield to me again, first, to note that the American Bar Association and numerous civil liberties groups support H.R. 5371. But my further question is, Do you agree that the entire program should be covered by law? The President may have inherent authority to do things, but eavesdropping on Americans in America must be covered by the law that Congress passed. I am not asking you to agree to that point because you may not, although I feel strongly about it. But I am

asking you whether you agree that it is the Congress that should determine the legal basis for the President's actions and not the White House acting unilaterally.

5:12 PM EDT

Peter Hoekstra, R-MI 2nd

Mr. HOEKSTRA. Reclaiming my time. I thank the gentlewoman for her comments. From my perspective, it is very, very important that Congress create the legal framework by which the President exercises his authority. And the only thing that could overrule our legislative box that in our case we put the intelligence community in would be the overriding authority of the Constitution.

I thank my colleagues.

5:13 PM EDT

Maurice Hinchey, D-NY 22nd

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

Mr. Chairman, I want to thank my colleagues for bringing this issue to the floor in the form of this amendment today. I think that they have done the country a great service. If this House had been doing its job properly, this issue would have been out here on the floor of the House of Representatives quite some time ago.

The fundamental principle that we are dealing with here is simply this: we are a Nation of law. All of our law is based upon the Constitution. There is nothing in the Constitution that gives the President of the United States the authority to violate the law. The President of the United States has violated the law.

This is not the first administration that has sought to govern the country on the basis of the creation of a climate of fear. As one of our colleagues pointed out earlier in this debate, that can be traced all the way back to the Adams administration, the first Adams administration. But that attempt eventually was overthrown, and it didn't take a long time.

[Time: 17:15]

The last time we had a President of the United States who wanted to engage in illegal surveillance on the American people, the last time we had a President like this one who was engaging in that kind of activity, was the Nixon administration. President Nixon engaged in illegal surveillance on the American people. As a result of that and other things, he was forced out of office.

Subsequently the Congress developed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, in 1978. There are some of us who believe that FISA itself is a compromise of the fourth amendment of the Constitution. The fourth amendment of the Constitution guarantees [Page: H4284]

independence and privacy to every single American citizen, and there are some of us who believe that the FISA Act compromises that. Nevertheless, it is the law.

So what do we have now? We have a President who has gone beyond the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, who has engaged in illegal surveillance against the American citizens.

ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN

5:15 PM EDT

Maurice Hinchey, D-NY 22nd

Mr. HINCHEY. Mr. Chairman, I intend to speak in the way that I believe is appropriate, and I will continue to do so.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was set up to ensure that the President did not violate the law and go beyond it. This administration has violated the law. We have not addressed that. The House of Representatives, the Senate has not addressed this issue.

Now we have an opportunity to address it by virtue of the fact that we have this amendment before us. This is an important vote today. Every Member of this House should act in accordance with the law and accordance with the Constitution and vote for this amendment.

5:16 PM EDT

Adam B. Schiff, D-CA 29th

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I will be very quick. Two final points in response to what the chairman and the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee had to say.

First, there is legislation on this subject, bipartisan legislation, that was introduced on March 16. We have had no oversight hearing on it, no markup on it, nothing, zero, zilcho, nada, which is why we are on the appropriations bill, the only vehicle in which we could raise this issue.

Second, both Members have said that this amendment would somehow jeopardize an existing NSA program. What that means is that far from my colleague from California's point, that the program does not comply with FISA. Otherwise, how could it be jeopardized? So there is an admission by the chair of the committee that the existing program does not meet the requirements of FISA.

What still has gone unanswered is why can we not make changes to FISA and the existing law? If this is such a vital program, why does it have to be done outside of the law?

5:17 PM EDT

Norm Dicks, D-WA 6th

Mr. DICKS. Mr. Chairman, the major point here that the opposition to this makes is the President has inherent authority. That has not been tested at the Supreme Court because once FISA was enacted, that was enacted to limit unbridled Presidential authority. I believe FISA is the only way that you can proceed; that the President must go to FISA if he is going to conduct these kind of foreign intelligence activities.

5:18 PM EDT

Maurice Hinchey, D-NY 22nd

Mr. HINCHEY. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, the gentleman is exactly right. That is the law currently. Whether that law violates the Constitution is an open question. Nevertheless, because it has not been contested, it is the law, and the President, the administration, all of us have to live by that law.

There is nothing that gives the President of the United States or anyone in this administration the authority to engage in surveillance of the American people, not a single American citizen, outside of the definition requirements within the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

5:21 PM EDT

Dave Weldon, R-FL 15th

Mr. WELDON of Florida. I understand that I want them to keep listening. I want the information, and this is what the debate is about. You want to stop. You want go to a judge. I do not think we should.

5:22 PM EDT

Dan Lungren, R-CA 3rd

Mr. DANIEL E. LUNGREN of California. Mr. Chairman, that begs the question as to whether or not you can, in fact, effectively do that with the 72-hour limitation. There are those running the program that suggest that that is not possible, not because necessarily the limitation on going to court, but all of the work that needs to go forward before you get to the court to get the approval. That is what we ought to be talking about.

5:22 PM EDT

Dave Weldon, R-FL 15th

Mr. WELDON of Florida. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, as I understand it, what you all have laid out is not that easy to do basically; that you have to make a case in front of a judge, and if it is a known al Qaeda operative, I think we should be listening to all of their conversations.

5:22 PM EDT

Jay Inslee, D-WA 1st

Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Chairman, if you will yield just for a moment, I just want to make sure members understand what we are voting on.

If this amendment passes, the President of the United States and his executive authority will be able to continue [Page: H4285]

to listen to these conversations unimpeded, unimpeded, as long as they go to a judge 72 hours after.

5:23 PM EDT

Dave Weldon, R-FL 15th

Mr. WELDON of Florida. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I think they should be able to do that. If you have a known al Qaeda operative, we should be listening to all their conversations. We should be listening to all conversations from all al Qaeda operatives.

5:25 PM EDT

Peter Hoekstra, R-MI 2nd

Mr. HOEKSTRA. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for yielding.

As the gentlewoman knows, we have worked through this very much in a collaborative process. We followed on the heels of the former chairman and the former ranking member in trying to make sure that we do this in a bipartisan basis.

We have had a number of briefings on this program to fully understand how FISA works both from the NSA, from Justice and a number of place. It is interesting for those people who are not part of the committee, who make categorical statements that nothing has happened, and we know that we have had a way forward, where we have done things.

But in terms of your simple question, I just had to take the shot, the opportunity to respond to just what I thought were some unfair characterizations as to what you and I have been doing in the committee.

I commit that we will have a legislative hearing on this and other proposals that will create a framework that hopefully can move out of committee, but there will be a legislative hearing, yes.

5:26 PM EDT

Jane Harman, D-CA 36th

Ms. HARMAN. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, are you prepared following the legislative hearing or hearings to report a bill to the House floor? Will you personally agree not to block any bill from being reported to the House floor?

5:26 PM EDT

Peter Hoekstra, R-MI 2nd

Mr. HOEKSTRA. I will not use my position as chairman of the committee to block a consensus of the Intelligence Committee to move a bill to the floor.

5:27 PM EDT

Jane Harman, D-CA 36th

Ms. HARMAN. Mr. Chairman, I want to clarify this for myself and others who are listening.

You are prepared to consider this bill, H.R. 5371, which would force this entire program to comply with FISA. Actually much credit for the construct of H.R. 5371 does go to Mr. Schiff and Mr. Flake. I just want to clarify, and then I would like to yield, H.R. 5371 says the entire program must comply with FISA, and we will hold a legislative hearing on this bill and other bills, the committee will then report legislation to the House floor; is that correct?

5:27 PM EDT

Peter Hoekstra, R-MI 2nd

Mr. HOEKSTRA. We will hold a legislative hearing, and we will determine whether there is a consensus in the committee that will enable us to move a bill that would reform FISA and move it to the floor.

5:27 PM EDT

Barney Frank, D-MA 4th

Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Chairman, we are further along than we were, but the phrase ``consensus,'' consensus is nice, but nothing in the House rules or the Constitution or the writings of John Jay say that it is a prerequisite for moving legislation.

I would hope that the gentleman would say on an issue that we all agree is important, a bill will come to the floor, the majority will decide, but I do not think those of us not on the committee ought to only get an opportunity to legislate on this if there is a consensus.

Now, if you are telling us do not do it as an amendment to the appropriations bill, Mr. Chairman, because the bill is going to come forward, we need to know that a bill is going to come forward, consensus or not, and then the House can decide what it wants to do.

5:29 PM EDT

Jane Harman, D-CA 36th

Ms. HARMAN. Mr. Chairman, I wish the Judiciary Committee would also act. Mr. Conyers is a lead author with me of the bill I am talking about. But I think it is critical that the Intelligence Committee act because we have the membership that is briefed on the program, and if we report a bill to the House floor for action, I would hope that the House would respond to that promptly.

[Time: 17:30]

5:30 PM EDT

Jerrold Nadler, D-NY 8th

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

Mr. Chairman, I must confess I am a little ambivalent about this amendment because the amendment seems to say that we should obey the law, and some people might get the implication if we don't pass the amendment that we are free not to obey the law.

The amendment says that ``funds are prohibited from being used to engage in electronic surveillance in the United States except as authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or title III.'' Well, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act says that. It says that this title and title III shall be the exclusive, exclusive, that is the word used in the law, the exclusive authority for domestic surveillance, for domestic wiretapping. Anything outside of that is illegal. Anything the

administration is doing outside of FISA and title III, by the terms of FISA, is illegal.

Certainly we should obey the law. I will vote for this amendment because I can't imagine the House saying we shouldn't obey the law, although I hear some of that from the other side. The fact is that this entire program, insofar as it is done outside of FISA or title III, is by definition illegal because the law says so, period.

Now, I just came from the airport, and I heard a little of the debate, with people saying, well, maybe it is too hard to get a warrant. Maybe the work that has to go on beforehand is too [Page: H4286]

hard and takes too long to get a warrant, even 72 hours after the surveillance begins, which is what FISA says. Well, if that is the case, let the administration make that case and let us amend FISA.

Remember why FISA was passed. FISA was passed because of tyrannical, illegal conduct by the FBI and by prior administrations that was considered by the Congress. After hearings and after revelations, they said, my God, we curtailed liberty in this country. We invaded the liberty of law-abiding, peaceful citizens under the cover of law, and we should never do that again; we are going to enact some safeguards. And Congress enacted FISA to be that safeguard.

And to say if you want to do domestic surveillance, if you think someone is a Communist agent, in those days, or an al Qaeda agent today, here is the procedure by which you get the authority to wiretap that person. Should a known al Qaeda agent be wiretapped all the time? I would say, yes, but a court would say, yes, too. In fact, we provided in that law for a secret court. You can go get an exparte order on secret evidence in a secret proceeding, and you can even do it after the fact, 72 hours.

Now, maybe it should be 96 hours or 5 days. Maybe someone could make a case for that. Let Congress change the law for that. But simply to say, the FBI tells us, the administration tells us that obeying the law is too difficult?

I remember a few years ago hearing ringing phrases from Henry Hyde and a lot of other people about the rule of law. We should impeach a President because he allegedly violated the rule of law. And now we come to this floor and say ignore the law? The administration, if it is too hard, can ignore the law?

The law says that FISA and title III are the exclusive authority for wiretapping in the United States, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. All this amendment does is repeat it.

As I said, I am ambivalent about it because I don't know that we should have to repeat it, but apparently we do. So I urge the adoption of this amendment, and I would remind everybody that to vote against this amendment is to say we are endorsing the violation of the law. We don't care about the rule of law. We endorse the administration's illegal and extraconstitutional action and we are making ourselves complicit in that and there is no protection, because the President now claims the power

to disobey any law under his inherent authority under article II as Commander in Chief.

That is a power even George, III, didn't claim, to just disobey the law when he judges it necessary because of his being Commander in Chief of the armed services. He is Commander in Chief of the Armed Services, not of the United States. He is not Commander in Chief of the United States. He is not a monarch.

No President should have the power to disobey the law or to set aside the law when he thinks it necessary. If he thinks changing the law is necessary, come to Congress, change the law, enact a change in FISA. I might support it; I might not. But Congress will work its will. Enact a change in FISA.

Simply to say, as this amendment does, that no funds shall be used except in accordance with law, because the law says no electronic surveillance shall occur, that is the words, no electronic surveillance except as provided in this act or in title III. That is the law. That is what this says. If we have any shame at all, we should adopt this amendment.

5:37 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. The gentleman from Connecticut has made a strong and convincing policy argument for building two submarines each year sooner than the year 2012, and we have discussed this off and on for the last several weeks. He is very, very persuasive. So I can assure him that I will continue to work with him as we prepare to go to conference and go to conference to address the shortage of submarines in our Navy.

I am a very strong advocate of our submarine capability. I think that is one of the best deterrence systems that we have, one of the best military systems, and I appreciate the work of the gentleman from Connecticut on this issue. As I said, we have had many conversations about this. I know of no better champion of submarines in the House than Congressman Simmons.

But as we have discussed, the 302(b) allocation for this subcommittee was $4 billion less than the administration requested, so that made a shortage of funds. Anyway, Mr. Simmons has made a very strong case and I do intend to work with him because I also believe that we should have a larger submarine fleet.

I go back to the days of President Ronald Reagan, who thought we should have a 600-ship Navy, which we don't have today, but I supported that as well. And I certainly support increasing the size of our submarine fleet. So I thank the gentleman for raising the issue and doing the good job that he has done in making this case.

5:38 PM EDT

Rob Simmons, R-CT 2nd

Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the chairman for his commitment and applaud him and the rest of the committee for their hard work on this legislation under consideration today, and I look forward to working with him in an appropriate fashion as the Congress moves forward with this important spending bill.

5:39 PM EDT

Stephen Buyer, R-IN 4th

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

Mr. Chairman, the issue I bring before my colleagues is that we have done a very good job in protecting the soldiers on the battlefield, and I want to compliment Mr. Young and Mr. Murtha for all you have done. And you have done that to protect them against ballistics. So we have given them the body armor. They have the side plates, the shoulder plates, throat plate, groin plate, and they have this helmet on them and it protects them against the ballistic and crash.

But we have a problem. The problem is now, when these IEDs go off, we have blast injuries. Where before you would be close to a blast and the body or the torso would absorb part of that blast, now that blast hits all that armor that we have put on them, and part of that goes up the face where the helmet is strapped onto the chin, and when it goes up into the helmet there is no place for the force to be released. So you get a concussion, and as the force [Page: H4287]

then

comes back down you get a precussion. So we have traumatic brain injuries.

We need to examine this, and I want to work with Mr. Young, with Mr. Weldon, and Mr. Murtha. We need for the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics to conduct a series of comprehensive, nonballistic and ballistic tests and an evaluation of the Marine Corps light combat helmet and Army combat helmet with all qualified sling, pad, and suspension systems available in accordance with the operational requirements applicable to such helmets.

5:41 PM EDT

Curtis Weldon, R-PA 7th

Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. I thank my colleague for yielding.

Last week, on Thursday, I chaired a hearing in my subcommittee looking at this very issue with helmets, and we have a dilemma right now, Mr. Chairman.

We have all of our Army being outfitted with modern helmets thanks to the good work of the appropriators. 500,000 of these helmets are on order and in place with cutting-edge technology inserts that the soldiers are very happy with. We have the Marines Special Ops units deployed with similar helmets with the inserts the Army is using.

But we have 20,000 marines in theater, and 6,000 of those marines have requested an updated insert that the marines are unwilling to provide. So we have a private nonprofit, headed by a former Navy surgeon, who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy inserts to give to our soldiers in theater, including the 6,000 marines.

It is a very confusing issue. General Catto last week said, well, we are not going to stop them from using these inserts, but he won't order them for the rest of the marines. What this language does is it says complete this study within 60 days and buy immediately the helmets and the inserts, especially for the Marine Corps that the marines in theater are in fact requesting and using.

5:42 PM EDT

Bill Young, R-FL 10th

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. For those of us who have visited our wounded soldiers and marines in the hospitals understand the importance of the type of injury you are discussing. Sometimes it is very obvious, very evident, and sometimes it is not obvious at all, but it is there.

I believe we can help with what you want to do here. I believe as we write our conference report that will come with the conference product. I think we can direct what it is that you want to see directed, and I am prepared to offer that as we go into the conference.

5:42 PM EDT

Stephen Buyer, R-IN 4th

Mr. BUYER. I thank the two gentlemen and look forward to working with you as we go to conference.

AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR.

FLAKE