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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2004

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004

AMENDMENT NO. 1270

    Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, this amendment strikes funds for the canola oil fuel cell initiative, Shakespeare in American military communities project, control of brown tree snakes, hangar renovation at the former Griffiss Air Force Base, and the Academy for Closing and Avoiding Achievement Gaps.

    First, I would like to address the Senate concerning the 2004 Defense Appropriations Act. With each and every appropriations act, I come down to the floor of the Senate to point out many of the special interests and pet projects Members add to the legislation each year. Today I have the opportunity to speak on H.R. 2658, the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2004.

    I remind my colleagues, the responsibilities of authorizers and appropriators are supposed to be distinct. The role of the Senate Armed Services Committee is to establish policy and funding levels and to oversee the Department of Defense and its programs. The role of the Appropriations Committee is to allocate funding based on policies provided by authorization bills.

    The appropriators' function today, as we all know, has expanded dramatically and the Appropriations Committee now engages in significant policy decisionmaking and micromanaging, clearly usurping the role of the authorizing committees.

    The chairman of the Rules Committee was kind enough, a week or so ago, to have a hearing on a proposal I have to change the rules so that a point of order can be more easily lodged against an unauthorized appropriation. I will not bore my colleagues with further details because I have already introduced the rule and explained it.

    But during that hearing, chaired by my friend from Mississippi, Senator Lott, there was discussion of the process. This situation, this imbroglio in which we find ourselves, is not entirely the fault of the appropriators. I know it sounds strange for me to make that statement, but the fact is that there are holds on bills which are authorizing, which are done anonymously in many cases, and prevent the authorizing aspect of the process to be carried out, thereby forcing the appropriators to act in a policy fashion. Many times these holds are permanent and, really, there are some occasions where the Senators themselves do not know that those holds have been imposed.

    Additionally, there is the process that, unfortunately, results that many programs and important agencies of Government even are not reauthorized. The Federal Communications Commission, which falls under the responsibility of the committee I chair, has not been reauthorized since 1993. So then it is understandable why the appropriators would act in such fashion.

    I preface my remarks with the full acknowledgment that the system itself has broken down to a great degree.

    As I came to this floor before and pointed out, the process of earmarking and outrageous appropriating has increased in a dramatic but reasonable fashion when you consider that any evil unchecked is going to rise.

    According to information compiled by the Congressional Research Service, which examined earmarks for fiscal years 1994-2002, the total number of earmarks has grown from 4,126 in fiscal year 1994 to 10,540 in 2002—an increase of over 150 percent. The level of funding has risen from $26.8 billion in 1994 to $44.6 billion in fiscal year 2002, an increase of over 66 percent.

    We are talking about real money.

    We now see on the front page of the Washington Post this morning that the budget deficit may surpass $450 billion.

    I might remind my colleagues that there is a little chart on the other side.

    In 2000, we had a surplus of $236 billion; $127 billion in 2001; a deficit of $157 billion in 2002; and, in 2003 it is estimated to be $450 billion.

    My dear friends, if you believe it is only going to be $450 billion, I have some land in the Arizona desert I would like to sell you.

    This does not take into account, as recently admitted by the Secretary of Defense, $4 billion a month just for our operations in Iraq, which I support.

    My point is we can't afford to do this anymore. We can't afford to continue to spend money like drunken sailors. I never knew a sailor, drunk or sober, who had the imagination to spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars on the Shakespeare in American Military Communities Project—$1 million. Shakespeare in America Communities Project? Come on. Out of the Defense appropriations bill?

    The hangar renovation at the former Griffiss Air Force Base—the Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, NY, was closed in 1995. It has been reopened to civilian flight operations. In 1999, the airbase hosted Woodstock. Yet we are going to spend money to renovate the hangar there. We are going to spend $2 million. On a closed Air Force base we are going to spend $2 million. Meanwhile, we still have men and women, wives and husbands and family members who are fighting in Iraq on food stamps.

    I don't know what the Canola Oil Fuel Cell Initiative is. Canola is grown in the Western United States and Canada. Forty percent of each seed can be produced into canola oil. Prices for canola oil have dropped, I am sorry to say. But we are spending money for a Canola Oil Fuel Cell Initiative.

    What does that have to do with defense?

    Let me just add an additional comment. The very highly respected, I believe, Concord Coalition came up with a study in the last couple of days which is excoriating in its comments. I think it is right on the mark.

    The Concord Coalition Report on Fiscal Responsibility:

DEFICITS, DECEPTION AND DENIAL RATE A FAILING GRADE

    The first six months of the 108th Congress were the most fiscally irresponsible in recent memory. The crux of the program was the schizophrenic pursuit of small government tax policies and big government spending initiatives. Following the lead of the Bush administration, Congress made no attempt to reconcile the cost of new tax cuts on spending initiatives within the framework of a realistic long-term balanced budget plan. Instead, policymakers took a deteriorating budget outlook and made it worse. To add insult to injury, Congress used deceptive accounting gimmicks that would land a corporate CEO in jail. It is hard to say which is worse, the sunset gimmick used to hide the cost of an unaffordable tax cut, the doughnut hole gimmick used to hide the cost of an unaffordable, new Medicare entitlement, the shell games used to hide the appropriations of the disingenuous budget resolution that led to such in the first place. Then there was denial. Policymakers simply closed their eyes to the inevitable cost of reforming the alternative minimum tax and the growing cost of the war against terrorism at home and abroad.

    I commend the Concord Coalition report to my colleagues which gives a grade of a D and an F.

    You know what we are doing. We are heading for a train wreck. Everybody knows it. I don't know whatever happened to the old lockbox. Do you remember the old lockbox where we were going to take everybody's money for Social Security and put it in a lockbox so it couldn't be touched? You know what we are doing with the lockbox. It is simply because we are paying the retirement benefits of people who are retired. Those who are working have no money in accounts bearing their names. It is unfortunate.

    The summer blockbuster is not showing on your local movie screen but rather on the floor of the Senate. I am alarmed about a large green monster, and it is not the "Incredible Hulk." I am talking about the exploding national deficit, and it should make the blood boil. We are now learning that the irresponsible tax cut and spending binge in Washington is resulting in this huge deficit. Even "The Terminator" can't stop the river of red ink that is endangering our fiscal future. It is like the "Pirates of the Caribbean" stealing our children's and our grandchildren's financial future.

    I thought that was pretty well written.

    I recognize the failure. I want to tell my colleagues that I recognize that the failure of the authorizing committees to pass authorizing legislation contributes to the broken system.

    I want to work together with the appropriators to try to solve this issue because often the appropriators have no choice but to fund unauthorized programs and take it upon themselves to make policy determinations.

    The fiscal year 2002 Defense Appropriations Act not only contained $3.7 billion in pork but also the dubious Boeing tanker lease. The conference report for the fiscal year 2002 Defense appropriations bill contained $8.1 billion in pork. The Senate version included $5.2 billion. This year's bill contains well over $4 billion. This number is less than last year's Senate version of the legislation.

    This is real money.

    The projects that appear in the Defense appropriations Member-add-ons are items requested by Senators and not included in the President's budget request. They do not appear on the Joint Chiefs unfunded priority list. They are not authorized in the Defense authorization bill.

    This criteria is used by many organizations. And it has been useful in ferreting out programs of questionable merit and determining the relative priority of projects requested by Members for parochial reasons.

    The fact remains that in the years I have created these lists no offsets have been provided for any project.

    At a time when some of our soldiers and sailors still receive food stamps and live in inadequate housing, we find a way to provide over $4 billion in unnecessary spending through the Defense appropriations bill.

    For example, the Joint Chiefs provided a list of critical requirements above what was provided for in the President's budget request. That list totaled nearly $18 billion for fiscal year 2004. We should provide additional funding for defense for items and programs which the Joint Chiefs need, and we need to set that as a priority.

    I point out once again that the bases in Alaska stand to benefit a great deal in this legislation. Alaskan bases alone will receive $214 million in unrequested spending for improvements, renovations, and upgrades.

    Looking back at my career in the Navy, I wish I had been so fortunate as to be stationed in Alaska.

    Some of the more egregious examples of pork in this year's legislation include, as I mentioned, $1 million for Shakespeare in American Military Communities.

    What is wrong with Ernest Hemingway? I wonder why Shakespeare was the greatest writer in the English language. But there may be a difference of opinion as to who the greatest writers in the English language were. Why not Chekhov or Ibsen?

    Forty-nine million dollars for the Maui Space Surveillance System. Arizona is home to an observatory. But we are going to earmark $49 million to Maui while there are many observatories in the United States that offer many of these same benefits.

    Two million dollars for miniature autonomous vehicles.

    There is $5 million for the bug-to-drug program. It is not often I bother the distinguished chairman but perhaps he can tell me what the bug-to-drug program is. There is an appropriation of $5 million for the bug-to-drug program. While he is looking it up, I will continue.

    There is $1.5 million to educate the 21st Century Information Operations Workforce, $2.5 million for the Hawaii Undersea Vehicle Test and Training Environment.

    I mentioned there is $2.5 million for the canola oil fuel cell initiative. I would think the only canola oil the Department of Defense should be investing in should be used for salad dressing for our troops, not inventing batteries.

    Mr. STEVENS. Will the Senator yield?

    Mr. McCAIN. I would be interested in the bug-to-drug program.

    Mr. STEVENS. The so-called bug-to-drug program has an official name. The official name is the Engineered Pathogen Identification Program. Its goal is to identify and protect soldiers from both unknown and genetically engineered pathogens, such as anthrax, plague, and Ebola. Currently, there are no pathogen vaccines. It would take 7 to 15 years to develop one.

    This program is an attempt to shorten the time from drug development to its release for use as some type of an antigen to these pathogens which are very dangerous to our service men and women worldwide.

    Mr. McCAIN. I thank the chairman for that explanation. It makes it much more clear. I appreciate that.

    There are a number of them. One of them that is interesting is $9 million for SensorNet. SensorNet is developed by a company in Modesto, CA. They obviously make hardware and software because that is in their advertisement. In researching this earmark on the Web site, I found this 10- to 15-percent-off coupon on the Internet.

    Now, I would ask my colleagues, if they are going to give average Americans 10 to 15 percent off, and we are going to give them $9 million, could they give us 10 to 15 percent off? Maybe we could save over $1 million. They are giving everybody else 10 to 15 percent off. Maybe they could give us 10 to 15 percent off as well.

    This is the advertisement:

10-15% 0FF—ORDER NOW AND SAVE

    At AccuLab Products Group, we understand the difficulties of integrating science applications into the classroom. That's why we developed the SensorNet Science Program—the friendliest system on the market! Its ease of operation and flexibility offers the user wide ranges of applications without requiring a degree in computer technology. Our precalibrated, precision engineered probes offer the accuracy and reliability needed to perform in the toughest of situations and are backed by a 1 year guarantee.

    So they are going to give 10 to 15 percent off. I would hope we could negotiate 10 to 15 percent off on our appropriation to them.

    The hangar renovation at the former Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, the site of Woodstock 1999. Perhaps unintentional damage was done during Woodstock that requires that hangar to be renovated.

    Of course, we are back to the old smart truck for the auto industry, and $12 million for the 21st century truck. It would be fun to drive one, I am sure.

    Here is an interesting one: $4 million for the Ernest Gallo Clinic & Research Center. I love a fine wine as much as the next guy, I think, but do we need to fund Ernest Gallo or his research center with defense dollars?

    Here is another: $8 million for the New England manufacturing supply chain. This is above and beyond the $6 million earmarked for them in last year's legislation. There is $9 million for the medical free electron laser, $1 billion for the brown tree snakes.

    The Senator from Hawaii and I had a discussion about this item and the following items. The brown tree snake may be a serious threat to the Island of Hawaii. The question remains—and the Senator from Hawaii has never satisfactorily answered, at least not to my satisfaction—why this money has to come out of defense, why the brown tree snake should not be addressed by the Department of the Interior or the appropriate branch of Government. Why do we have to take it out of the hides of the men and women in the military to fight the brown tree snake? Shouldn't it come out of the appropriate agency of Government?

    We have $150 million for breast cancer research, $85 million for prostate cancer research, $50 million for the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program, $24 million for the Hawaii Federal Health Care Network, $3 million for tribal colleges-science lab and computer equipment, $3 million for Pacific Island health care referral, $1.5 million for neurogenetic research and computational genomics—this is on top of $650,000 included in this year's omnibus appropriations.

    These are all worthy causes. The cause of breast cancer research is worthy. The $85 million for prostate cancer research, it has no place in the Defense bill. When we are spending $3.9 billion a day just to take care of our operations in Iraq, we cannot take much needed defense dollars and put it for other programs that are not related to defense.

    So I want to talk about one other area that is of concern, and that is the potential impact on readiness because of our restrictive trade policies with our allies.

    From a philosophical point of view, I oppose these types of protectionist policies. I believe free trade is an important element in improving relations among all nations and is certainly essential to economic growth. From a practical standpoint, "buy America" restrictions could seriously impair our ability to compete freely in international markets.

    I would like to point out something else to my colleagues. We impose these "buy America" provisions while we buy from our allies and friends overseas a much smaller amount than they buy from us. If we keep restricting the ability of our Government to buy products that are made in other countries, sooner or later those countries will stop buying equipment, military equipment and others, that are built in the United States unless there is a compelling national security interest.

    "Buy America" provisions include these items: anchor chains, carbon, alloy, or armor steel plate, ball and roller bearings, computers, diesel engines, and propellers.

    There is a seafood waiver as a provision in this legislation in which we dictate we can buy only American seafood. I wonder if there is a 3-mile limit or a 10-mile limit or a 100-mile limit. Or does it have to be just caught by Americans, the same fish but caught by Americans, not by somebody else?

    Why does the Department of Defense need to protect the American seafood industry? Why is the entire industry singled out for protection? Why not protect the American dairy product industry? Why aren't they covered?

    Believe it or not, I do not enjoy coming to the floor on this issue. But I would argue—I would argue strenuously—that with a budget deficit—and it is in the headlines of every major newspaper in America: $455 billion—we cannot afford to spend additional billions on unneeded and unwanted projects.

    There are many projects on this list that I will submit for the RECORD which are very badly needed and are legitimate but it is hard to know the difference when all we know is it appears in an appropriations bill. All of a sudden it just appears.

    Was there a hearing on the issue of allowing the Department of Defense to only buy American seafood? That is a pretty significant measure that only American seafood can be purchased by the Department of Defense. Was there ever a hearing on it? Was there ever any discussion or debate on it? No. It shows up in this appropriations bill.

    Do we really have to not allow other countries to sell us things as simple as anchor chains? What are we protecting? Could we save money by buying somebody else's anchor chain and spend that money, perhaps, on upgrading the lives of the men and women in the military?

    In case you haven't heard, my friends, we have a problem in the military today, and it is keeping people in the Reserves and the Guard, and it is keeping people on active duty. I think if you watch television tonight you will see interviews with a number of men and women serving in the military who have just been told they will be extended for another 6 months on duty in Iraq because there are not sufficient troops to replace them.

    So instead of perhaps expanding the size of the military to meet these new requirements, we are going to spend $1 million on the canola oil fuel cell initiative, brown tree snakes, the Shakespeare in American Military Communities project, and an Academy for Closing and Avoiding Achievement Gaps. The Academy for Closing and Avoiding Achievement Gaps is a grant to the Timbuktu Academy located in Baton Rouge, LA to conduct research on academic achievement gaps between students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds. It sounds like a very worthy cause to me. But why again should this come out of defense dollars?

    I appreciate the indulgence of my colleagues. The amendment I proposed will eliminate the canola oil fuel cell initiative, the Shakespeare in American Military Communities project, the brown tree snake funding program, hangar renovation at the former Griffiss Air Force Base, and the Academy For Closing and Avoiding Achievement Gaps.

    I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Galleries will refrain.

    The Senator from Alaska.

    Mr. STEVENS. Mr. President, we had a time agreement and the Senator from New Jersey and the Senator from Arizona have spoken. I will make a few brief remarks and yield to my colleague. Then it is my intention to move to table these two amendments. Let me state why.

    First in regard to Senator McCain's amendment, I state this sincerely, I think Senator McCain provides a very useful function for this Congress and this Senate with regard to the process we are involved in, the appropriation of money from the Treasury, spending the people's money. I am very sincere. We have checked every one of the amendments we have agreed to by unanimous consent with the Senator's staff before getting that agreement. That is a process we didn't use before. At times they make comments that lead us to change the amendments. And the Senator has, through this process, picked out some he would like to take out of the bill or put in the bill before we pull it out of committee. Let me comment on a couple of those.

    The Senator mentioned the brown tree snakes. We have provided $1 million for control of these snakes. That primarily is to continue a very successful program so far that has been carried out on military planes to Hawaii from Guam. These snakes are carried inadvertently on military planes to Hawaii from Guam. The snakes are endemic to Guam and come on the military planes at Anderson Air Force base in Guam and then go into Hawaii. We hope we can prevent it. It will have an enormously adverse impact on the agriculture sector of the economy. But it is a military function. It is trying to eradicate or control these brown snakes where they come from, as they have been a menace to Hawaii because of their ability to crawl on to military planes as they come to Hawaii from Guam.

    I commend the Senator for raising the question, but clearly we have examined it. It is an ongoing program.

    The canola oil fuel cell initiative is an existing program between the Department of Defense and the Department of Interior. It is funded in this bill for $2.5 million. Both Departments put money into it. This project will extract and convert technologies, transforming agriculture materials into bio-based fuel. Specifically, it is the rapeseed-based biodiesel fuel, and the underlying goal is to convert bio-based fuel into a hydrogen-rich gas stream to use with fuel cells and micro turbines and other power generation systems. It does have a legitimate defense interest, and it is a program for the Department of the Army, primarily in research and development.

    Shakespeare in American Military Communities is a very interesting program. This is being done in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts. It is a partnership with the Department of Defense. The goal is to bring the arts to military personnel and their families as they are brought to other communities and high schools throughout the country. The proposal for this year is to perform "Macbeth" on 16 military bases in conjunction with educational programs. This is one of the programs the military is very pleased that we are trying to make available to them to improve the cultural activities on military bases, particularly for young children. We are looking into the prospect of taking some of these cultural programs overseas to meet the needs of the people stationed there. We have under consideration Fort Huachuca and Davis Monthan Air Force Bases. I know them both very well.

    Further, the Senator raised the question of the Griffiss hangar renovation. This is part of a hangar that is used for the ongoing work and research of the Air Force research laboratory in Rome, NY. Damage to the hangar increases the heating, utility, and other fixed costs of the laboratory facility to its detriment. It is a renovation of a former Air Force base, but it is used by the Air Force research laboratory.

    I regret to say I disagree with my good friend. I do note that what he is doing is trying to make certain we know what we are doing. On this amendment, I am sad to say I disagree with him, and I will move to table it in just a moment.

    With regard to the amendment offered by Senator Corzine, I have a problem, a decided problem with this. There is an ongoing investigation or series of hearings—I don't know whether you want to call it an investigation yet—of the items covered by this proposed amendment, creating a national commission on the development and use of intelligence related to Iraq.

    Iraq is still ongoing. To create a commission now to look into Iraq primarily based upon the problem related to the President's statement in his State of the Union Message—which, by the way, was true, but not really totally accurate in terms of the interpretation people gave to it—in order to start the campaign of 2004, at a time when we have men and women in uniform over there now, their commanders, Ambassador Bremer, all of the people who participated in the process of this intelligence activity, including the CIA and the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, all of them will be involved in hearings before the commission. They are already in hearings before the House and the Senate, and they have unknown involvement in the internal investigation also going on in the Department.

    As I said previously, almost all of us heard the Secretary of State, my great friend Colin Powell, tell us about his involvement and how this train of circumstances developed with regard to how that statement was in the President's State of the Union Message. We all know Presidents don't write their own State of the Union Message. They review drafts, and they rely on their subordinates to see that they are absolutely accurate. In the process, a statement was inserted that could be interpreted in a way that could mislead people.

    Already the Director of the CIA has admitted his system made a mistake. He has taken responsibility, as he should, for something that should have been taken out by the CIA reviewer. It was not. It was taken out of a previous statement at another time. No question was raised about its being taken out. In this instance, it was not taken out and Director Tenet said it should have been taken out. He takes the responsibility himself because of the failure of his Agency, just as I make a policy when any member of my staff makes a mistake, I treat it as my mistake. George Tenet didn't make the mistake. The process in the CIA made the mistake. The President didn't make a mistake. In the process of preparing that statement, there was a mistake made.

    I am tired of making a mountain out of a molehill on this one. I am particularly disturbed with the fact that people want to create another commission. This is not a time for a commission like the commissions we have known in the past. This is not Watergate. That is the impression. This is not a Watergate. It is not even a "truth gate."

    The President read a speech that was prepared for him. We all clapped at it, and we all approved of it. It was one part of it, one tiny part of it that should have been taken out in the process of review.

    Now to create a commission primarily for that and all the rest of the garbage in this thing—pardon my French—all the statements in here as to what is going to be investigated with regard to the possession of mobile laboratories, with regard to an attempt to procure aluminum tubes—it wasn't an attempt; they were procured. But the concept of whether or not Iraq possessed delivery systems for weapons of mass destruction—we had 17 resolutions of the United Nations that were not complied with. Why were they passing 17 resolutions if there was nothing to investigate?

    But the main thing, why should we create a commission now to look into something that is ongoing? Once this is all tied down and we have our people home and Mr. Bremer is residing in the U.S., and the people involved in all of the intelligence activities that led to the statement are in the United States again, we can have some form of commission to review it. This Senator would not oppose that.

    But this is an ongoing operation, and this is an attempt to smear the President of the United States. I shall not permit that if I can possibly avoid it.

    As I understand it, there is no further time agreement. I have the floor. I intend to keep the floor until I make a motion to table this amendment.

    I am happy to yield to my friend from Arizona for a question.

    Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I will ask my colleague from Alaska a question. I will preface it by saying I do appreciate the cooperation that has been displayed while addressing this bill. I tell my friend from Alaska also that it has been very helpful for us to have the information and to be able to look at these amendments as they have come up. I hope next year we will see Hemingway, Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others of my favorite authors included in this program.

    I also ask the Senator, concerning the Corzine amendment, isn't it true that the Senate Armed Services Committee is holding, and will be holding, hearings concerning the entire conflict, including friendly fire casualties, including the enormous success, including the issue of weapons of mass destruction; and those will be held openly and in a systematic manner, which Senator Warner and Senator Levin have been working on in a bipartisan manner? Didn't the chairman of the Intelligence Committee hold a closed hearing today, and will he not hold a public hearing next week? Aren't we going through an orderly process of hearings concerning the conduct of the war?

    The American people, of course, want to know about the friendly fire tragedy, and they also want to know how we did so well, how our equipment performed in such a magnificent fashion. It was one of the most rapid military victories in history.

    Isn't it true that we are going through an orderly process of hearings concerning this conflict, in a very appropriate manner? If at such time those hearings are not satisfactory to the American people, or they don't cover enough information, or something like that, wouldn't sometime later be more appropriate to say a commission should be appointed rather than at the time when the appropriate committees, as far as I can tell, are carrying out their responsibilities and reviewing the conduct of the war and the oversight policies dictating our military? Does the Senator agree with that?

    Mr. STEVENS. The Senator is absolutely correct. What is more, Senator Inouye and I went to the CIA and we talked to the Director, and he informed us that he sent a stack of material this high to the committee already for its review. It is going to take some time to review all that. It is ongoing. This would have us appoint a commission to review the same thing that we are already investigating in the Senate Intelligence Committee and that the House is investigating. I presume the Armed Services Committee has some jurisdiction on this matter, also. The Foreign Relations Committee has jurisdiction.

    Why should we appoint a commission to do what we should do—to do our work, particularly when it is not on a timely basis? As the Senator from Arizona stated in his question to me, the time may come when the public will question the results of our activities as Members of Congress. If they do, then the right thing for us to do—or the time may come when they develop such a conflict within Congress that it cannot be resolved, and that would be an appropriate time to perhaps look at a commission outside of the Congress. But right now is not the time.

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