|5:11 PM EDT||
Phil Crane, R-IL 8th
Mr. CRANE. Mr. Chairman, clause 2(b) of rule XXI states that no provision changing existing law shall be reported in any general appropriation bill.
However, this provision would prevent the use of appropriated funds to allow the placement of diamonds from certain countries into foreign or domestic commerce.
Specifically, the provision imposes a new administrative burden on the U.S. Customs Service not authorized under existing law by requiring Customs to enforce a new certification requirement which would be based on the place of mining of the diamonds.
Under current law, no certification at all is required. In addition, Customs never examines the place of mining but makes origin determination based on cutting and polishing. This certification requirement places an extensive burden on Customs both in terms of procedural documentation requirements and substantive origin determination.
It clearly violates clause 2(b) of rule XXI, which prohibits legislating on an appropriations bill.
However, I would like to assure the gentlemen that have spoken this evening that I agree that the diamond trade in Africa is of grave concern to me. I plan to hold a hearing in the subcommittee of the Committee on Ways and Means in September to examine this issue. I hope to work with the gentlemen, as well as the administration, to find a viable means to deal with this issue.
I do not support the use of trade sanctions, but recent action by the United Nations affirming the use of multilateral trade sanctions makes this an issue well worth considering.
In the meantime, however, I must insist on my point of order, and I urge the Chair to sustain the point of order.