EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN SECURITY AND RECONSTRUCTION ACT, 2004
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I rise in support of the Landrieu amendment. The amendment would require the President to direct the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to establish, in consultation with the Iraqi Governing Council or a successor entity in Iraq, an Iraq Reconstruction Finance Authority. The authority would be required to obtain financing for the reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure from three sources: First, issuing securities or other financial instruments; second, international loans; and third, collateralizing this debt with revenue from future sales of Iraqi oil.
This amendment does not require a single dollar of Iraqi oil revenue to be paid to the United States to reimburse us for the substantial costs we have already paid and will continue to pay to stabilize and rebuild Iraq. Instead, it establishes a body in Iraq that would be designed to use future oil receipts as collateral to fund Iraq's reconstruction after the $20 billion in this bill is expended. That is a critical distinction and it is why I am supporting this amendment.
Because of the huge investments that will be required to increase Iraqi oil output beyond pre-war levels of 2.5 to 3 million barrels per day, we should not expect that collateralizing future oil receipts will significantly impact the huge investments that we will continue to have to make even after we pass this bill. Iraqi oil is not the bonanza that it was advertised to be by some in the administration prior to the war.
I would have preferred to give the President the option to set up the Iraq Reconstruction Authority rather than requiring him to as the amendment does, and I would have preferred giving the authority the option to collateralize oil rather than requiring it to do so. However, I believe that the Senator from Louisiana has written her amendment in such a way that it meets my fundamental concern that we not be perceived as attempting to "steal" Iraqi oil.
I yield the floor.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, let me say at the outset that I am an original cosponsor of the Byrd amendment. I seldom have disagreements with my friend from Arizona on these issues. But I argue that this is a place where reasonable men and women can differ.
At the outset, I wish to be clear that I am going to support final passage of this bill. I announced that when the President announced his initiative. I am sorely disappointed that the President failed to tell us how we were going to pay for this, other than adding to the debt of my grandchildren, and we are approaching a debt of $600 billion. I think that is a terrible abdication of responsibility. I do believe that, notwithstanding the fact that I am not going to get what I want out of this legislation, we have no choice. To paraphrase President Clinton: We went in; we broke it; we paid for it; we own it; we have to fix it.
Let's get to the reality. I voted to go in. It was the right vote, the correct vote. I did not count on the incompetence of the administration in handling the aftermaththeir failure to anticipate what many of us on both sides of the aisle, most think tanks, and the State Department warned we would have to face. Nonetheless, that doesn't absolve me of the responsibility for trying to make sure it works.
What Senator Byrd and I and others are doing here is what is the Congress's responsibility: we are overseeing whether the money asked for by a President is being spent in the most appropriate way. That is our job. I say to my friend from the State of Virginia, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee who asked my friend from Arizona the question about whether or not this amendment would enhance or diminish in the minds of the average soldier over there their security.
I can tell you, having been the first Senator to go over there, that it will enhance them. If you give them a choice of whether they agree with Senator Byrd and me, that we should redirect the money from garbage trucks to securing those stockpiles of weapons, I guarantee what they will say.
Mr. McCAIN. Will the Senator yield for a question?
Mr. BIDEN. Sure.
Mr. McCAIN. I noticed the Senator was talking about how the money would be spent in the amendment. It includes $200 million available for relief in Liberia, and $50 million should be made available for Sudan. What in Sudan would this money go for, I wonder.
Mr. BIDEN. I will be happy to respond to all of that in my statement.
Mr. McCAIN. While you are at it, if I may continue my question, not to exceed $50 million to support the Government of
Afghanistan. Of course, not surprisingly, there is specific money for Fort Monroe, VA.
Mr. BIDEN. I am happy to respond.
Mr. McCAIN. My question is, Why is $50 million made available for Sudan and $50 million to support the Government of Afghanistan, which was not requested by the administration in any way, not scrutinized? Congratulations; hello, Sudan; here is $50 million.
I ask my colleague, if he is concerned about how some of the money is being spent, should he not justify how the amendment would like to have that money spent?
Mr. BIDEN. If the Senator will allow me to continue my statement, I will be delighted to. I was responding to the comment of the Senator from Virginia, at the outset of my statement, as to what he thought the average soldier on the ground in Iraq would think of this amendment. My answer to that is, I believe because of how the money is redirected to be spent, that portion is redirected to be spent in Iraq, most soldiersif you walked up to them and told them Senator Byrd and Senator
Biden had this idea that, instead of paying $35,000 per pickup truck, we should pay $19,000; instead of building the following $499 million worth of prisons, build $199 million worth of prisons now; instead of going out and spending thirty-some thousand dollars per unit of housingwe don't know who is going to live in it and how it is going to be paid forwould you rather have us do those things or go and secure those arms depots that are now not being secured because our administration tells us they don't have the manpower or the money to do it?
The New York Times article that I have lays out in detail what we all know. It says:
The compoundpart factory, part warehouse, with several reinforced bunkers sprinkled about the groundsis rubble now, demolished by American bombs. But missiles are everywhere. There is a 30-foot missile with Russian markings, still on its trolley, on a sidewalk. The propellant appears to have been removed, but the nose cone is intact.
Two Exocet missilesclearly labeled as such and stamped "Aerospatiale"lie on the ground several hundred yards away.
They seem to have been rendered largely useless by the bombing, but parts may be of some value.
The best-preserved missile, the 15-footer, appeared to be another Exocet
Et cetera, et cetera.
All I am saying is I believe it is totally legitimate for us to sit here and do what we do on every appropriations billjust as the distinguished chairman of the committee does when the Pentagon says we want to build a certain aircraft. You may come along and say we studied it, we know as much as you do about it, and we don't think you should build it.
The chairman and I have been here a long time. I have been here 31 years, and he has been here longer than that. I know as much or more about this than Bremer. I have more experience than he does. So I am not going to sit here and, because Bremerand he is a great guysays, this is what I think, say, yes, sir, Mr. Bremer, lord high counsel, you are right. I am not going to do that. I know as much as he knows.
I may be wrong. I used to tell the old joke about the Texan. I don't say "Texan" now because people think I am talking about the President. The old joke used to be: I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. Well, I may be wrong, but I know what I think.
I think in terms of prioritiesand I am voting for this $87 billion, and I voted against raiding Iraqi oil, and I voted against many of the amendments my Democratic colleagues have put forward. But the idea that our reallocating $1.7 billion out of a total of $21 billion is somehow going to ruin thishey, if you want to go back and look at the record at who is more likely right in predicting what will happen in IraqBremer, the Defense Department, CHENEY, or meI will take that bet.
These guys have an incredibly lousy track record on judging what was going to take place after Saddam fell.
The only point I want to make is, we are not doing anything radical. We are saying: Hey, look, don't pay 30-some thousand bucks a pickup truck. Pay 19 like you do at home. Some of us think, and I am one of themclearly, no one speaks for the
Senator from West Virginia ever, so I am not pretending to speak for him. He may not wish to associate himself with the remark I am about to make. But the fact is, I think there is some padding in this request. I think they padded this request because they don't want to come back to us again.
Remember, I said this on the Senate floor, and I hope I am proved to be wrongthis is a dangerous thing to do, to make a prediction before all the world on the floor of the Senatebut the prediction I made and many others made, not just me, 9 months ago was this was going to cost us billions of more dollars. Guess what. It is costing billions of more dollars.
I was not, nor was, I suspect, my friend from Arizona, surprised the President came along with an $87 billion request.
Guess what, folks. He is going to have to come back again, even with international support. I think part of this was padded. Pad a little bit more of another several billion dollars so we get through the next election and don't have to come back. They are going to have to come back, whether it is a Democratic President or a Republican President.
We should level with the American people. This is not done. This is nowhere near done, and the $87 billion will not do it.
Even if we don't put an extra penny in reconstruction from this moment on, it is still going to cost us 4 billion bucks a month to keep our troops there. So they are going to come back for that. I don't hear anybody, I say to the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, suggesting we are not going to have 100,000-plus troops there a year after this.
Look, all I am saying is, this is our responsibility. Senator Byrd and I and others have looked at this very closely. I had a bill that was slightly different than Senator Byrd's. We have a slight disagreement on what we would cut and wouldn't cut.
It is called compromise. I wouldn't have cut as much out of the prisons. I didn't do it that way, and I would have put more money in other places.
The bottom line is this: There are very serious problems that warrant our attention. Yesterday, the World Bank and the United Nations released their assessment of Iraqi needs. They anticipate the total cost of reconstruction through 2007 will be on the order of $56 billion. That is $35 billion above what we are about to vote on.
From where is it going to come? Based on what we were told by Ambassador Bremer, if all goes well, Iraqi oil will generateand I appreciate his candor$5 billion to $6 billion a year above and beyond the operating expenses through the year 2005. That still leaves you $20 billion short.
I remember talking with the chairman of the Armed Services Committee when I came back from my trip. He is an incredible gentleman, I must say, and straight as an arrow. He said: Joe, what did you think? Is there enough oil there? I think he will remember this.
I said: Our folks over there said, Mr. Chairman, no; oil can't pay for this, can't get it done.
Guess what. We all acknowledge oil can't get it done.
I have joined Senator Byrd, Senator Durbin and others, not because I oppose the underlying request, but because I think it needs to be improvedit seems that this request was not adequately vetted by the Office of Management and Budget.
In addition to that, as my friend from Virginia remembers, we sat in a leadership meeting with the three leading Iraqi members of the council from Iraq. We asked them: Did anybody vet this with you? He will remember, they said no.
We said: You want the $21 billion for reconstruction, but would you do it this way?
They said no.
Then they said: If you let us do it, we could do it more cheaply. And they said: You are wasting money.
That is what they said.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, will the Senator yield?
Mr. BIDEN. I will not yield at this moment. I want to finish.
Mr. WARNER. I am not asking the Senator to yield the floor, but the other part, in fairness
Mr. BIDEN. I will be happy to yield to my friend.
Mr. WARNER. I do add the fact that I was present and I recall being somewhat concerned, I say to my distinguished colleague, but they had only been in office several weeks. The head of the electricity board, a magnificent woman, very well-skilled in technical matters, and the head of water and sewage, a gentlemanI was so impressed with them, but they said: We have only been in office 2 or 3 weeks.
We ought to add that fact to the Senator's point. I am somewhat concerned when you say Bremer padded. Do you have any evidence on this?
Mr. BIDEN. Yes, if my colleague will let me speak, I will be happy to show you. I have not spoken once on this entire legislation since it has been on the floor. The answer is yes, not padding in the sense they think this is some nefarious scheme, but I can't fathom how you can justify spending $34,000 for a pickup truck. We are not talking Humvees. We are not talking armored personnel carriers. We are talking plain old Ford pickup trucks. Where the heck do you get that? That may not be padding in the senseand I am not suggesting there is some nefarious activity going on here. I am saying it is better for them to err on the side of having this a higher number than a lower number now, and the reason is because they know they are going to have to come back. They know this is not going to get the job done.
As the predecessor to my friend JOHN MCCAINand I do consider him a great friendhis predecessor, Barry Goldwater, with whom I served, used to say: In your heart, you know I'm right, John. In your heart, you know I'm right.
This is not going to be enough. They are going to have to come back again.
I can't understand some of the earmarks in this request. I don't deny the good intentions, but as I said, and I know my colleagues are not saying this, but for me not to have the right to question their judgment on what is right for Iraq would be a little like my saying the Armed Services Committee has no right to question the judgment of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when they make a recommendation as to what they need.
The point I am making here is, we are talking about essentially redistributing, reallocating, as we do on every single bill, $1.655 billion of this money to other purposes. We are not even cutting it. We are not eliminating it. We are not building housing in Dubuque, which we should, or Wilmingtonwherever. We are just saying we don't think a portion of what you are asking for is appropriately allocated.
Let me tell you what we want to do. Among the items in our amendment, we cut $100 million that is going to be used to build 3,258 housing units. Do they need housing units in Iraq? Yes, they do. Should the international community go along with that and help rebuild the Government? Yes, they should. But this seems to be a disproportionately large sum relative to the small number of units that will be built.
It is also unclear for whom these units are being built and whether the residents are going to be paying for housing when it is built. We just need some facts. It doesn't mean we are never going to come back and help people with housing. While we cut $100 million from, I think, this dubious purposedubious in the sense that in terms of prioritieswe have left intact $130 million for government buildings and other construction projects, as well as $240 million for roads and bridges.
We also cut $200 million from the American Iraqi Enterprise Fund. Enterprise funds can be very effective in places where there is no prior expertise or entrepreneurship. As we heard repeatedly in the Foreign Relations Committee from witnesses of this administration for the last year and a half, the Iraqis are very sophisticated folks. They need capital; they don't need enterprise funds. They are good businessmen.
This is not like going into Liberia and trying to get a business class educated. That is what we do with enterprise funds.
This is an established, educated business class. Businessmen are not in short supply in Iraq. The country has a strong business community, even if it was squeezed under Saddam's rule. In fact, we might be able to learn a thing or two about Middle Eastern commerce by working with Iraqi businessmen, not to mention getting more value out of our assistance fund.
That was one of the things said by the Iraqis who came to see us from the Iraqi Governing Council. They said: Let us get in on these contracts. Let Iraqi businessmen build some of this stuff. We will employ more Iraqis. We will do it more cheaply.
We know the business.
Again, keep in mind what we are talking about here. Out of $21 billion, we are talking about reallocating $1.655 billion of it.
The savings we think should be obtained by these and other cuts we apply to critical programs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Liberia.
Now I hope I can answer some of the questions my friend from Arizona raised. First, we have redirected $600 million in savings to the Army to accelerate securing and destruction of Iraqi's vast stockpiles of conventional weapons.
I ask unanimous consent that an article entitled "At Iraqi Depot, Missiles Galore And No Guards" by Mr. Bonner and Mr. Fisher of the New York Times October 17, 2003, be printed in the RECORD.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
[From the New York Times, Oct. 17, 2003.]
AT IRAQI DEPOT, MISSILES GALORE AND NO GUARDS
(By Raymond Bonner and Ian Fisher)
MUSAYYIB, IRAQ, Oct. 16.It weighs more than a thousand pounds, so carting it away could present a few logistic problems for the average looter. But the fact remains that there is a very nice 15-foot-long missile, in mint condition, there for the taking, at one of Saddam Hussein's defense factories a few miles west of here.
The missile, along with a dozen ready-to-fire 107-millimeter antitank rounds, just a few feet away, is part of a problem that the American military has only begun to grapple with: as much as one million tons of ammunition is scattered around Iraq, much of it unguardedlike the armaments heresimply because the United States does not have the personnel to keep watch.
On Thursday in Baghdad, an American brigadier general, Robert L. Davis, acknowledged the scope of the problem, saying that there are 105 large ammunition dumps as well as scores of smaller sites, not all of them guarded regularly. But General Davis, who is overseeing the cleanup, sought to give assurances that the Pentagon is working as fast as possible.
In the past three weeks alone, he said, recently deployed private civilian contractors have destroyed more than 2.5 million pounds of ammunition, whereas American soldiers were able to destroy only a million pounds in the last six months.
"It's a very high priority," General Davis told reporters.
But on Thursday, not a single soldier or guard was to be seen at this compound in the desert 40 miles south of Baghdad. A few Iraqis wandered about, and vehicles drove on the roads in the compound; one man drove off on his three-wheeled motorcycle with a bounty of long sections of pipe.
Evidently, American soldiers were here during the war. Their graffiti attests to that"Saddam Free Zone," "Go Team USA #1." Apparently, they left before thoroughly searching the site, or perhaps they simply lacked the time or expertise to clean it up.
The compoundpart factory, part warehouse, with several reinforced bunkers sprinkled about the groundsis rubble now, demolished by American bombs. But missiles are everywhere. There is a 30-foot missile with Russian markings, still on its trolley, on a sidewalk. The propellant appears to have been removed, but the nose cone is intact.
Two Exocet missilesclearly labeled as such and stamped "AEROSPATIALE"lie on the ground several hundred yards away. They seem to have been rendered largely useless by the bombing, but parts may be of some value.
The best-preserved missile, the 15-footer, appeared to be another Exocet, though because of the container's position against the wall, only the cone could be seen. The writing on the shipping tube, in French and English, was inconclusive.
Outside in the rubble was a shoulder-fired SA-7, a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, caked with dirt.
It is impossible to know how much has been looted from this factory. In the desert about five miles away is the shell of a truck. Bedouins said the truck had belonged to looters who were captured several weeks ago by Americans.
The desert sand around where the truck was found is littered with mounds of mortar and artillery shells. Most of them appeared to have been defused, but a few live, small rockets, as well as several hundred live large caliber rounds, were found among the litter. It is not clear how the munitions got here.
The issue of unguarded Iraqi ammunition dumps has taken on greater urgency recently as the pace of bomb attacks against
American forces and other targets has increased. Military officials say much of the explosives being used in the attacks come from ammunition sites like this one, which had once belonged to Mr. Hussein's army.
As if to underscore the threat, six rockets were fired on Wednesday into the green zone in Baghdad, the heavily guarded cocoon that protects senior American officials, including L. Paul Bremer III, the top civilian administrator. No one was hurt.
It was the second such attack.
After American troops took over in Iraq, they were confronted with an astonishing number of obvious weapons caches: in schools and mosques, and in houses in neighborhoods where the residents had apparently been moved out before the war.
Sometimes those dumps exploded, killing and wounding people and stoking Iraqis' anger against the Americans.
Soldiers are finding more dumps every day. General Davis said that in one military zone in northern Iraq, commanders first reported 730 weapons caches. More recently, the number climbed to 1,089, though General Davis said all but 12 had been destroyed.
General Davis said the military had not ignored the problem. He said that the Pentagon had hired private contractors, but that they had only been working about three weeks and were still not here in full force.
"I don't think we've been slow to recognize the problem," he said. "You can already see the difference in what we could do in about a six-month period and what they can do in a three-week period at partial mobilization."
While he said the job of guarding the dumps was not under his command, he said many of them were either protected by American soldiers or at least patrolled regularly.
But he conceded that some were not. "I don't know why we could not guard them all," General Davis said.
Another military official said that 6,000 American soldiers had been assigned to manning the dumps, but that more were needed.
General Davis said $285 million had been allocated in the next year to clean up the ammunition, a job that he said would take several years.
Right now, there are 160 civilian contractors from four private companies, with another 120 in Kuwait. In total there will be 430 people dedicated to destroying the ammunition when the operation is at full capacity in December, he said.
Mr. BIDEN. I would ordinarily read it, but I know a lot of my friends want to head home, and I do not want to hold them up very much longer in terms of keeping us late today.
No one doubts this is a critical issue, dealing with and securing this stockpile of conventional weapons, which our military tells us on the ground is now being used in more sophisticated ways by the old Fedayeen, by the thugs, by the old Iraqi Army, by the people attacking us. The need in this area is enormous.
Consider these facts: The head of the central command, General Abizaid, testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 24:
There is more ammunition in Iraq than anyplace I've ever been in my life.
And it is all not securable.
He goes on to say:
I wish I could tell you that we had it all under control but we don't.
General Abizaid estimates Saddam Hussein amassed 650,000 tons of ammunition. That is about a third of the entire United States military stockpile. Take all of the amassed ammunition the United States of America has stockpiled, with our close to $400 billion military budget, and Saddam has amassed about a third that much, and 650,000 tons is sitting in Iraq right now.
Now, of that 650,000, only 70,000 to 80,000 tons have been secured by the American military. Why? They do not have the manpower. CENTCOM has estimated it will take 5 years to destroy those weapons already confiscated.
I say to my friends, as important as housing is, that is more important. General Abizaid, and these are his words, not mine.
According to a front-page story in USA Today of September 30:
Coalition forces had uncovered 102 large caches of small arms throughout Iraq and hundreds of more smaller caches. A large cache is defined as requiring at least 10 tractor-trailer loads to remove. Of the several hundred arms caches, 50 remain unguarded, monitored only by cameras. Easy access to arms and explosives poses the most immediate threat to coalition troops.
That is what I meant when I said to my friend from Virginia I believe he asked the coalition troops what they are most worried about, if they are worried about whether Senator Byrd and I are cutting housing money and garbage trucks and adding it to getting these arms caches, or whether they would rather have us build the housing and the garbage trucks.
Experts estimate there are enough guns in these stockpiles to arm each and every one of Iraq's 25 million people. The same USA article says: An AK-47 with ammo can be bought on the street, as we both know, having been there, for 10 bucks.
People are walking around after going to these caches and saying, I have a little AK-47 with all the ammo, 10 bucks will get it for you.
A story last Wednesday in the New York Times:
U.S. can't locate missiles once held in arsenal of Iraq.
They related that coalition soldiersthat is basically American soldiers, although there are brave Poles and brave Brits, but we are the bulk of ithave been unable to locate possibly hundreds of shoulder-fired missiles, which as all of us who pay a
lot of attention to what is going on in Iraq know is why the Baghdad Airport is not open.
We are going to get all this commerce going in Iraq. We have the Secretary of Commerce over there saying invest in Iraq; it is a good deal. The airport cannot even be open. Why? Because we cannot account forand this is not a criticism; it is an observationshoulder-fired missiles that have gone missing from these stockpiles.
In case someone thinks I am exaggerating, the coalition put the word out on the street, we will pay 500 bucks to anybodyit is like a gun retrieval program in Richmond or Wilmingtonwho brings in that shoulder-held missile and gives it back to us. Three hundred Iraqis have walked up to coalition soldiers with a shoulder-held missile and said, here is a missile. Where is my 500 bucks?
These weapons can fetch as much as $5,000 on the black market. Do I need to explain to anybody on this floorI clearly do nothow porous the Iraqi border is? Every day the administration is talking about Iranians crossing the border, about al-Qaida, about terrorists. Here we are unable to account for hundreds of shoulder-held missiles that are selling for $5,000 on the black market.
Again, to make the point, do my colleagues think our soldiers would rather have us be able to confiscate those missiles and not let any more get out or spend $30,000 for a pickup truck? Given Iraq's porous borders, this is a disaster.
Second, our amendment redirects $386 million of the $1.655 billion from what we believe to be nonemergency spending to Afghanistan in areas where every dollar counts. That is less money than I would like to see devoted to Afghanistan, but it is nearly a 50 percent increase in the funds the President requested.
We held a hearing yesterday with the administration in our Foreign Relations Committee. They are pointing out to us they do not have the money, I say to my friend from Arizona, to train up the ANA, the Afghan National Army, because, as we both know, the President announced after he came back from Tokyo the new Marshall plan for Afghanistannot Biden's words, not McCain's words, not Warner's words, but Bush's words. He announced the Marshall plan for Afghanistan, God love him. Well, guess what. The Marshall plan is the Marshall without the general, because the money is not there.
So what is Karzai saying? We have this new plan to train up immediately the ANA, the Afghan National Army. There is not enough money. So we say we are going to take $386 million of this and give it to spend in Afghanistan.
Now, why Afghanistan? Look, there are bookends around a little country called Iran, with 40 million people, which is seeking a nuclear weapon. It is now run by an oligarchy made up of ayatollahs who control the military and all the security apparatus. You have a failed state on your east and a failed state on your west. You have an incredibly emboldened Iran.
Kiss goodbye modernitythe fancy word we like to use for modernizing the Arab world. Kiss goodbye democracy.
We cannot afford to let Afghanistan fail.
So, just as in Iraqand my friend from Arizona and I agree we need more forces in Iraq, not fewer. I am getting my brains kicked in for that and he is, too, but we are right. We have General Abizaid saying we don't need more forces. Guess what.
We can't secure these depots. Come on. If you can't secure the depots, why can't you secure them? Because you don't have the forces.
Oh, I get it. Then you don't need the forces because you don't think these 650,000 tons of ammunition matter. Is that what you are saying to me?
Mr. WARNER. Will my colleague yield?
Mr. BIDEN. I will not yield. I will not yield. I am almost finished, and you can have the floor, and I will be happy to discuss it in any way.
To keep the continuity of the point I am trying to make here, the same thing exists in Afghanistan. They don't have the money to do what this administration says it wants to do. So guess what. We are trying to help them. We are trying to help them. So we are reallocating $386 million of the $1.655 billion, out of $21 billion. We are reallocating it where we thinkwe may be wrong, but we have a right to think itto allocate it where we think it is needed.
Where will it go in Afghanistan? Mr. President, $75 million of that $366 million will go to the Afghan National Army, which currently pays, I might adddo you know how much they pay? Let's everybody remember this. I know we know it, but sometimes there are so many facts it is easy to forget.
We are trying to get an army in Afghanistan that is made up of Tajiks, made up of Pashtun, made up of all the ethnic groups. That is what we are trying to do. You know, that is our objective. But right now the war lords, who historically control them all and have armies bigger than the national army, are paying their armies that they have made upthey are paying them a fair amount of money. They are also the biggest opium traders, now, in the world.
Do you know what we are paying the Afghan Army, what Karzai gets to pay them? It is $50 a month$50 a month. We went back and looked, Senator Lugar and I. That is less money than we are paying the guy to clean the latrines in the army barracks where we are training them.
Look, I am not a businessman, as is often pointed out to me by my Republican friends. But let me tell you, if I am trying to attract from the warlord in Herat, Ismael Kahn, some of his folks to come and join the Afghan National Army, then it seems to me I have to be able to compete in the marketplace for them. Fifty dollars?
So what do we do? We follow through. We follow through with what the administration says it needs. We give them the money. We give them, of this money, 75 million more dollars to train up an Afghan National Army.
Again, why is that important? The reason that is important is, as long as we do not have an Afghan National Army, we have to have American forces there. I don't want American forces to stay there, which is the administration's rationale. I agree with the rationale, just as we are saying in Iraq, train up an indigenous force as quickly as you can.
What are we trying to do here? What we are trying to do here is meet the objective stated. The objective stated is train up, as fast as you can, an army. So we give them $75 million more. We take $50 million, I say to my friend from Arizonaand there is accountability under the existing legislationfor more police.
The one thing everybody says in Afghanistan, which I have also visited, is that we don't have enough police, especially outside of Kabul. The local Governors and mayors cannot control Kandahar, cannot control all the various cities. We already have a program for police. We say: We are going to give you $50 million more for that program.
We also increase schools.
You say: OK, Biden, now you get the fuzzy stuff, $55 million for schools. You just got done saying you don't want housing in Iraq, but you take Iraqi housing money and use it for schools? Simple reason: The Saudis and the Wahabi extremists have built 7,000 madrasahs, 7,000 hate-spewing institutions in the country of Afghanistan.
President Karzai says: Help me.
My friend, the Presiding Officer, is a very well educated guy. He remembers why so many people in the Middle Ages sent their kids to monasteries. It wasn't because they wanted them all to be priests. It was because they had a roof over their heads, three square meals, and clothes on their back. They were ready to trade for that, in their view, to have them indoctrinated or otherwise. That is why the people are in madrasahs.
Karzai saidlisten, I spent hours with him, as many of you haveI need more schools. How can I get you to take your kid out of that madrasah unless I have someplace to put him? Guess what; $20,000 will hire you a schoolteacher for a year and build you a rudimentary school in Afghanistan.
Then we take $38 million for public health and $15 million for road construction.
I will not go into any more detail. I apologize for taking this long, but it is the first time I have spoken on this entire matter.
We heard testimony in the Foreign Relations Committee about one of the major projects. I ask staff to correct me if I am wrong here, but I believe a road project from Herat to Kabul, being built by the international community with U.S. funds, is considered essential but they don't have enough money to finish it. So guess what. We are helping out. We think it is a higher priority to build that road than it is to reestablish the swamps now in Iraq.
This is all about, as my dad, who just died, used to say:
Joey, if everything is equally important to you, nothing is important to you.
You have to prioritize. We are prioritizing based on what Senator Byrd, who views Iraq very differently than do I, and I know is the best bang for the buck in United States interests.
It provides $41 million for more support for human rights, free elections, and the day-to-day functioning of the Karzai
Moreover, this amendment provides funds for priorities that are completely omitted from the Administration's request.
It provides $45 million for projects targeted to women and girls.
It gives $50 million for drought relief and other urgently-needed water projects. It directs $25 million to help internally-displaced people, most of whom had returned from squalid refugee camps abroad only to find that their homes were scarcely less horrific.
Finally, our amendment also adds $200 million for Liberia.
The Administration made a glaring oversight by not including a request for Liberia funding in its request. Our amendment corrects that deficiency.
There is a glimmer of hope for a lasting peace in Liberia after nearly 14 years of civil war. President Charles Taylor has been forced out of the country, and the UN has begun to deploy a 15,000 person peacekeeping force.
We're not part of that force, but we should be a part of the effort to help Liberia recover from over a decade of violence and misrule.
Over the course of the war, Liberia's development has taken a quantum leap backwards. There is no running water or electricity in the capital.
The current generation of school-aged children in Liberia is less literate than the preceding one.
Nearly one hundred thousand people have been forced out of their homes and are living in make-shift camps.
Sickness and hunger have affected much of the population.
The State Department has estimated that $200 million in assistance will be needed from the U.S. to assist Liberia over the next year. Our amendment provides the State Department with the full amount that it says will be needed.
I am about to conclude, believe it or not, folks. The fact is, we are not eliminating this fund. We are not in any way fundamentally altering what this administration is asking.
We are saying that the Congress, based on priorities, sends the wrong message with $1.5 billion of the $20 billion. That is an oversight responsibility of the Congress, whether it is Iraq, whether it is a missile system, or whether it is a leave-no-child-behind proposal for education.
I want to emphasize again that I intend to vote for this supplemental bill, notwithstanding the factbecause I have nothing left but a Hobson's choice herewe are not paying for it the way we should. We are just sending it to the deficit column.
I believe we have a responsibility to scrutinize the bill before us, decide on priorities, and to cut spending that is not the highest priority and direct those funds to efforts which we think have been shortchanged. That is precisely what our amendment does. It is precisely what our Republican colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee have done.
I will conclude by saying the reason I amended my legislation to conform with that of my friend from West Virginia precisely is because he is a smarter parliamentarian and legislator than anybody here. He knows the chances of this becoming law are increased in direct proportion to the degree to which it matches with the House. What we have done is take the House language, which I would like to modify in the marginsand I expect maybe Senator Byrd would even like to modify in the margins. But as an old bad joke goes, it is close enough for government work. What will happen is it gets us on the same page and will not slow up, if this passes a conference, reporting out this entire bill and the money getting to where it needs to be.
I know no one, particularly the four leading Senators on this floor, including myselfthe Senator from Alaska, the Senator from Virginia, the Senator from West Virginia, the Senator in ArizonaI know them. I have watched them for years and years. None of them believes we should be a rubberstamp. I am not about to be a rubberstamp, nor are any of them. This is our honest assessment of what we should do to make this $21 billion go further with greater priority, more rapidly, and enhance our chances at success in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember: The President's proposal covers both Iraq and Afghanistan.
I yield the floor.
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Mr. BIDEN. I will be very brief.
Senator McCain raises an important point about the Sudan. Why are we all of a sudden sending money to the Sudan? The answer is that this amendment does not send funds to Sudan. I know of no one other than Senator Howard Metzenbaum who scrutinizes legislation more precisely than my friend from Arizona. The legislation which the committee reported out and which we are about to vote on$21 billionand which we are debating right now contains an additional $150 million for new complex emergency funds in addition to the $100 million already in the bill. That is what is in the legislation. If this amendment passes there will be an additional $150 million available for complex foreign emergencies and these funds shall be available for the Sudan. Notice I didn't say these funds are for the Sudanthey are available to the Sudan. The reference in the Byrd amendment will allow these funds to go to the Sudan.
That is what the administration said they are working on: to spend part of this complex emergency funding. They have already said as it came out of the committee that they want to spend some of this $100 million$250 million if our amendment passesin the Sudan. We didn't make this up out of whole cloth. We are giving them more money than they are likely to want to spend on the Sudan. It is not like all a sudden we picked out Northern Ireland, and, by the way, why don't we help them, too. That is a generic point.
Mr. McCAIN. I think the Sudan is important. I don't think it is as important right now, to be honest with you, as the projects the Senator from West Virginia cuts out: Iraqi national community network, maximum security prisons, traffic police, water pipelines, treatment plants, on and on. These are cut out so we can send money to the Sudan.
We have taken a long time here. Our colleagues are getting restless in their offices all over the Capitol. I don't want to continue this. We have a difference of opinion as to this amendment and to how the money should be spent. But to take money from Iraq and send it to Fort Monroe, VA, which is a worthy cause, is not appropriate for the way this bill was designed.
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, on that one point, there is a compromise. It is a good one. We essentially reprioritize and stand by those priorities.
Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, if I could direct a question to my colleague, first, I hope in the course of this debate we have
not impugned in any way the integrity of Ambassador Bremer.
Mr. BIDEN. Just his judgement; I mean that sincerely.
Mr. WARNER. That is an important addition the Senator just made because this is a man who uprooted himself from a difficult situation here at home, volunteered to go over there, and, as the Senator knows, those living conditions are not the best.
Mr. BIDEN. Absolutely.
Mr. WARNER. The point being, he is on the scene 14 hours a day. He is working.
Mr. BIDEN. Agreed. Agreed.
Mr. WARNER. When the Senator says he has experience and he understands things, I defer to that. I have a great deal of experience, and he does, too. I admire him. He knows that. But my point is we certainly have to have a degree of confidence in those who render their best judgment on the various items.
The Senator raised the question, and I have a document here to refer to. If I could just pose a question, the Senator pointed out the seriousness of these vast ammunition depots. No matter how great Saddam Hussein may have been with his militaryfrom the debriefings, they have no explanation why he put in every corner of Iraq these enormous caches of ammunition. The Senator from Delaware brings out the necessity to go in and eradicate those in various ways as quickly as possible so they do not fall into the hands of those who are acting against us.
The point I wish to make is, in the document and carefully buried in the $67-plus billion for the Department of Defense is the specific item of $300 million for initiatives for battlefield cleanup. It is in there. You don't have to take it out of other portions. That is in addition to $24 billion for the Department of the Army which they are going to expend for those purposes.
Has the Senator examined in detail to know that some of the items he is asking for, such as the cleanup of the battlefields, is already included?
Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, I have. I have looked in great detail. That is not just for ammunition dumps. That is across the board.
I also point out the military said there is no explanation for why Saddam would have these caches all over the country. I suggest we look to history. It is for the same reason Tito had the same kind of caches all over the former Yugoslavia. He trusted no one anywhere, and he wanted to be certain that if he was ever deposed or moved, he would have access to a cache sufficient to keep him in the game. That is why it is done. Read history.
Lastly, we have looked at that. We do know there is money for battlefield cleanup. This goes well beyond the depots. Assume that the Senator is right, that it is sufficient; it is not sufficient to do the whole job.
Lastly, in response to my questioning, Paul Bremer is a fine man. I have come back praising him. However, you are entitled to question a person's judgmentI am not questioning his motivejust as the Secretary of Defense was entitled to question the judgment of General Shinseki. He did not say he was not an honorable man. The day a U.S. Senator, particularly one with 30 years of experience, can not question the judgment of an ambassador is the day we should close up this shop. He may be right; I think he is wrong. I am just questioning his judgment.
I do not think these are the priorities. To state it another way, $19.5 billion of this we are not even talking about.
I yield the floor.