10:32 AM EDT
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL 18th

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time and also for the great leadership that he has shown on the Committee on Rules.

I rise in support of the rule, Mr. Speaker, to the conference report on the agriculture appropriations bill. I applaud the work of the conferees in submitting a clean bill and one which upholds U.S. law and furthers U.S. domestic and humanitarian priorities.

As the gentleman from Florida (Mr. DIAZ-BALART) pointed out, the lifting of sanctions would not have really helped American farmers, but would have helped to extend the suffering of people by providing a lifeline to their oppressor.

As it stands now, the bill before us strengthens the position of human rights dissidents and the expanding political opposition by telling them that the world's remaining superpower supports their struggle for freedom and that it stands firm in its commitment to see democracy flourish; that it defends the human, political and civil rights of all oppressed people, and that [Page: H9214]

dictators should not use food as weapons.

This bill underscores the humanitarian concerns enshrined in U.S. law which allows for the donations of food and medicine, rather than promoting the perception of greed at the expense of slave labor.

We look forward to the day when freedom reigns eternal and a democratic government is in power everywhere. Then we will be proud to trade and have relations with those in leadership.

This bill promotes America's interests, it helps America's farmers, it helps the poor who are on food stamps, and I am proud to support it.

I thank the gentleman for his leadership. I especially thank the gentleman from New Mexico (Chairman SKEEN), the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DELAY), and so many who have worked in the conference committee to bring this agriculture appropriations rule and bill to the floor.