TAX EXTENDERS -- (Senate - December 08, 2006)
Mr. DeWINE. Mr. President, I will be very brief. I have spoken a lot in the last week, but I want to talk very briefly about the bill that will be before the Senate in a few minutes, and speak about one particular provision, the antitrade bill.
I thank Bill Thomas, I thank Bill Frist, Senator Grassley, Senator Baucus, Charlie Rangel, Kendrick Meeks. I thank the Chair, I thank Senator Durbin, the leadership in the House and the Senate of both parties, for including this provision in the bill.
Bill Thomas told me a moment ago, as I congratulated him and thanked him, that this should have passed 4 years ago. I think it should have. We worked on it for a long time.
The good news is that it will make a difference. It will create many jobs in Haiti, a country that has about 70-percent unemployment, gross underemployment, a country that Fran and I visited again last week, where we saw Paul Farmer's hospital in the central part of Haiti, with children who were grossly malnourished, children who do not have enough to eat, children who would have died but for getting into Paul's hospital, children whose hair was turning orange because of malnutrition. When we went to Sisters of Charity in Port-au-Prince, we saw twins who had been brought in by their dad who did not have enough to eat; they were clinging to life. That is replicated all over Haiti.
This bill will not solve all the problems of Haiti, but it will begin to do the one thing that is needed: Create jobs. The Haitian people are an industrious people. They are hard working. They line up for jobs. Jobs in Haiti are what the country needs. It is what the new Government, that has been duly elected, needs--to be able to show some progress, to be able to give the people of Haiti some hope.
I thank my colleagues. I thank all of them for including this provision. I thank my friend Lindsey Graham and others who represent textile interests. I know they had problems with this bill. We tried to work out some of those problems. They represented their constituents well. But they also had the heart for the people of Haiti.
This is not just a question about humanitarian concern; it is also about our national interests. It is about our foreign policy. Haiti, as the Presiding Officer knows, being from Florida knows, is very close to Miami. It is probably an hour and 20 minute flight from Miami. Boat people come up there time and time again. We have had United States Marines, United States troops in Haiti twice in the last decade. It is a country that we need to care about. It is very important to us.
I thank the Chair. I thank my colleagues for including this provision. It is a provision that will make a difference. It is a provision that will save lives. I thank my colleagues for this.