8:32 PM EDT

Jim Kolbe, R-AZ 8th

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

Mr. Chairman, let me just advise Members that might be listening that we are coming to the close of the end of the discussion here this evening and to the amendments, and I believe that we will be having votes in a very short period of time. I think the discussion that we have had here today, this evening, has been one that has been productive and I think has highlighted a number of the issues in foreign policy.

The foreign operations legislation appropriation bill is one which uniquely allows us to cover a broad range of foreign policy issues and allows the Congress of the United States to have its input on issues and give direction to the administration, as well as to other agencies, about how foreign policy should be conducted.

I think that some of the amendments which have been accepted here tonight have helped to strengthen the legislation that we have, and I think that the others that have not been accepted and will be voted on are ones that I hope will be defeated on the floor when it comes time to cast votes on these amendments.

So I would urge my colleagues to restrain themselves here at this late hour, and I believe that we can very quickly come to a conclusion on the bill and be able to conclude deliberations of this bill very quickly.


8:40 PM EDT

Jim Kolbe, R-AZ 8th

Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, I am not at all sure what the gentlewoman is attempting to accomplish here, what the purpose of offering this amendment is. The only funds that would be affected by this, the only funds that we have in the bill that affect refugees is that we provide for the UNHCR, that is, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. [Page: H5347]

I think it is quite apparent that when it comes to Darfur and the Sudan, the UNHCR would not support any kind of program of resettlement of refugees that had been, not displaced, but they are refugees that go from one place to another. Refugees that fled from Sudan into Chad, they would not support any program of resettling them back in Sudan if there were not a comprehensive peace settlement that would allow them to be resettled.

The effect of the gentlewoman's amendment would be to stop assistance for such an important program if there was to be a peace settlement that was to be achieved and everybody in Darfur and Sudan were to agree on it. I cannot believe that is what the gentlewoman really intends, because what she would be doing is taking a terrible human tragedy and simply compounding it and making it a much worse human tragedy.

Mr. Chairman, I would hope the gentlewoman would reconsider this amendment, because I do not believe that its intent is what she intends to do. Let me just make it clear, it would limit all money going to UNHCR for resettlement if there were a peace agreement in Darfur. If there were a peace agreement, we would want nothing more than to be able to return those refugees from Chad back to Darfur. I cannot believe that is what the gentlewoman intended.

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

8:43 PM EDT

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-TX 18th

Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Chairman, I thank the distinguished gentlewoman very much for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, if I might engage the distinguished gentleman from Arizona, I think the amendment can be interpreted in the way the gentleman has offered, but I think it can be interpreted in the way I have offered it. The problem is as we visited, first of all I want to thank Chad for what it has offered to the refugees and, of course, refugee resettlement efforts with the United Nations, where Chad is hosting the United Nations and welcoming them for the many refugee camps that are there.

But there is a terrible economic burden on Chad as well, and this is simply language that suggests that we are monitoring or ensuring that our funds are being used to, in fact, provide for those refugees who are in fear of their lives.

Now, I would be happy if the gentleman would work with me to include this in report language, so that we would have at least that protection from what might happen or what might be thought of or what might cause, if you will, some sort of pressure to return those refugees because of the economic imbalance. When we were there, though Chad was very hospitable, and all of us have gone to Chad and gone through Chad to go to Sudan, but if, for example, the financial burden became so extensive, then

there might be some pressure, Mr. Chairman.

[Time: 20:45]

So I would hope that we find common ground to realize that it is a concern. I would not have brought it to the floor if it was not. I think it is an important point to make, that we understand the brutality that these refugees have experienced, and because they have experienced such devastation, we want to cross the T's and dot the I's.

So that was the explanation I wanted to make. If I can work to get a commitment on precise report language, which I think answers the concern, then I think that that is a way of addressing a definitive concern that I saw, and I think it is real, and I think my interpretation clarifies that it is not in any way undermining the funding for the U.N. Refugee Resettlement Program, but it is to make clear that even if there is an economic burden on the host country; in this instance, Chad, and again,

I repeat, I thank them for their hospitality to these refugees. They should be, as we have supported their efforts, but there would not be that intent to resettle these refugees beyond the time of them wanting to go back, or for those who do not want to go back.

8:46 PM EDT

Nita Lowey, D-NY 18th

Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I know the chairman's clear concern and commitment to focus on the severe issues in Darfur, and I certainly would be delighted to work with the chairman to see if we can come up with some report language that would clarify the intent of the gentlewoman from Texas' concerns as expressed in this amendment.