EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND HURRICANE RECOVERY, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - March 15, 2006)
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, we are on the floor tonight to discuss a supplemental emergency appropriation, supplemental meaning that we are adding to something to complete it or to bring it to fruition. An emergency, just ran out and grabbed the dictionary, meaning an unexpected serious occurrence or situation urgently requiring prompt action.
Well, unfortunately, the language in the bill in this area of additional foreign aid is not an unexpected situation or emergent. That is just not my opinion. That is actually the opinion of the committee itself.
The language that we seek to strike is approximately $15 million in additional foreign aid, $5 million to expand public diplomacy information programs relating to Iran, and $10 million in democracy funds for the promotion of democracy, governance, human rights, independent media, and the rule of law in Iran.
Iran is certainly not an ally of this Nation that we are here tonight to seek assistance of $15 million. Again, not my opinion, that it is not an ally of this country. This administration itself called Iran part of the Axis of Evil. Iran, who wants to wipe Israel off the map of the world; Iran, who wants to assist Hamas in any way they possibly can; Iran, who neglects and fails to listen to the world's heed and continues to expand its nuclear program. And yet tonight we have a supplemental program of approximately $15 million to assist that nation.
Again, I say that this is not my opinion, that this is not an emergency situation. The committee in its report says that it is disappointed in the Department of State's failure to provide adequate and timely justification of the emergency nature of these funds.
If the State Department then cannot supply us and cannot supply the committee with the very information that it needs to say that this truly is an emergency situation, why then is this House considering providing an additional $15 million to support Iran?
The rest of the supplemental obviously has worthwhile programs in it. We are trying to assist our men and women overseas who find themselves in harm's way as we speak here tonight with military assistance. We are trying to assist those people down in the gulf coast to rebuild their lives with Katrina aid.
But, at the same time, we have articles such as this added to this Christmas tree list, if you will, of programs to the supplemental bill that do not meet the criteria of an emergency situation.
So, Mr. Chairman, I would say that we should strike the language in the bill that would delete $5 million for public diplomacy and $10 million for economic support fund for Iran.
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I have come to the floor tonight to address the issue of an emergency supplemental in which we are spending upwards of $15 million more in essence on what I call foreign aid. I am here tonight on this particular amendment to strike approximately $5 million of that foreign aid.
As I stated before and as people look to this program and what we do here tonight, one must wonder what makes this situation an emergency. Well, the committee itself raised that same question when they said, ``The committee is disappointed in the Department of State's failure to provide adequate and timely justification for the emergency nature of these funds.''
What are these funds going to? These funds are going to the country of Iran. An ally of ours? Not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, Iran has been called by this administration part of the Axis of Evil. Iran is a country that wishes to wipe Israel off the face of the map. In fact, the President of Iran has even said that they wish to wipe the United States off the face of the map.
So one wonders who at the State Department was looking at this situation in the past and did not know that there was a need for funds in this particular area, either in the past budget which we have already gone through or in the budget process that we are going through as we speak now. Apparently no one knew at the State Department that Iran is a problem country that we have to deal with and needed additional funding for, and so they come to us at the last minute with a supplemental emergency appropriation.
With all of the problems that we have today in this country, now is not the time to be adding more to our Nation's debt for foreign aid. Other portions of this bill certainly have merit to them. Portions, for example, for aid to our soldiers. Our men and women who find themselves in harm's way as we speak here tonight need the additional dollars and cents to get the job down there.
We have heard also the issues with regard to the folks down in the gulf coast, and there is additional funding for that program as well, to assist those people in New Orleans and elsewhere as far as their needed relief.
But do we need to spend additional emergency funds tonight for foreign aid in essence for diplomatic and consulate programs for Iran, not by any stretch of the imagination an ally of this country?
Mr. Chairman, I would suggest we should not. This is not a program that we will be putting on the burdens of today's taxpayers. No, we will be putting this burden on our children and our children's children. Why is that? It is because we are already in deficit spending in this Nation, and the emergency supplemental we are debating tonight will simply add to that debt and add to that burden.
I encourage my colleagues to support this amendment, to strike this additional foreign aid which is not an emergency by any stretch of the imagination.
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