Mr. HUNTER. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for his sponsorship of this bill and also the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) for doing so much work on it, but also just to comment that this is not just for the recruiters, that people go to institutions of higher education to avail themselves of thousands of choices for career paths. As we think about the officer corps that is performing right now in theater in Iraq, for example, and we look at the leadership which not only has fought a war and now is working an occupation but is also standing up governments, people who have never talked, who have never voted together, who have never worked things out in a peaceful fashion, bringing them together and standing up governments and introducing the idea of democracy to those who have not entertained it before, that is an exciting occupation. Bringing the prospects for that occupation to be a leader in the Armed Forces of the United States, to be what most American citizens feel are our finest citizens, is a great opportunity. This bill, the Rogers bill, will ensure that those people have that choice. I thank the gentleman for bringing it up.
Mr. ROGERS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Cantor).
(Mr. CANTOR asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the gentleman from Alabama. I rise in support of H.R. 3966. This bill is about the war on terror. It is about the obligation that we have to sustain a viable Armed Forces. It is my understanding that the judge in the
FAIR case did not disagree with the Secretary of Defense's obligation to build up our Armed Forces and did not disagree that there should be equal access and treatment of our recruiters, but I think that the findings were that there was not explicit statutory direction or authorization to do so, and that is why we are here.
As the gentleman from California previously stated, this is about abandoning the Vietnam-era rejection of the values associated with service in the military. I find it ironic. There is a lot of discussion today on the floor about these institutions of higher learning that enjoy such a worldwide reputation and a lot of talk about their enjoyment of their freedom of expression and protection of free speech, and at the same time what they are doing is trying to advocate a specific position and denying choice to our students. I commend the gentleman and urge the passage of this bill.
Mr. ROGERS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Wilson).
Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, it is an honor for me to be here today with the gentleman from Alabama. I appreciate very much his leadership to promote the ROTC and Military Recruiter Equal Access to Campus Act of 2004. I have heard the comments by the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, the gentleman from California; and I agree with him that this is about providing choices. It is also about providing opportunities.
I know firsthand. I had the opportunity to experience a career of 4 years of ROTC at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. From that it led to my ability to serve in the National Guard for 31 years. I am very grateful for what ROTC did for me. Additionally, my oldest son is a graduate of Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, ROTC. He went on to law school and now is serving in Iraq. I am very proud of his service because of ROTC and the opportunities it has provided. And in 5 weeks I am looking forward to attending the graduation of my third son from Clemson University. He is in Army ROTC, as one might expect. I am just really proud of his service and the opportunities that he will have to serve in the military.
I also am aware of opportunities for minorities in the State of South Carolina. A classic case is someone who is known here in Congress, General Abe Turner. General Turner is a graduate of South Carolina State University, which is one of our historically black colleges which is very distinguished. I was with General Turner. He is now the commanding general of Fort Jackson in South Carolina. These are opportunities that have been provided to young people to go to college and have the ROTC experience.
Finally, I want to point out that particularly for law schools, I think it is important to have access. I served in the Judge Advocate General Corps for 29 years. There is no better way to get trial experience, to learn about the law and the laws of the United States than to serve in the JAG Corps. I urge that this bill be passed, that indeed we have access for law schools. I am just grateful for this and urge my colleagues to support this act for ROTC recruitment.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan), who is a member of the Committee on Armed Services.
Mr. MEEHAN. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, this bill was rammed through the Committee on Armed Services 2 weeks ago without a single hearing. Without a single hearing. I guess it should not be a surprise because it seems that time and time again the leadership has forced votes on the floor without holding committee hearings. We did not have a committee hearing on the bill with the Medicare prescription drug language that came before this Congress, so I guess it should not be a surprise that we did not have a hearing on this particular piece of legislation.
This bill is designed to force universities to violate their own policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and will undermine pending lawsuits that challenge the so-called Solomon amendment.
We all strongly support efforts of the United States military to recruit on our Nation's campuses, especially in a time of war. But the gentleman from Alabama would agree at the time that we debated this in committee, only one educational institution in the country was brought before us that denies access to military recruiters and that school received no Federal funding to begin with. Furthermore, every campus on which the Department of Defense elects to have ROTC currently has an ROTC presence.
This is because universities are already forced to compromise their nondiscrimination policies in order to receive most of the Federal funding they compete to obtain under the Solomon amendment.
So why are we introducing a bill that would broadly expand the prohibition on Federal funding to schools that do not allow access to military recruiters when only one institution, at least at the time that we dealt with this bill that was available, that prohibited this? I have serious concerns about restricting additional funding such as grants for homeland security, intelligence programs to universities, particularly when the authority to define "equal access" lies solely in the hands of the Secretary of Defense.
This bill is a drastic solution to a problem that I do not think even exists. In fact, there is no crisis in military recruiting on student campuses or anywhere else in the country. The Defense Department has reported to our committee that they are exceeding all of its recruitment and retention goals in each of the active duty services since 2001 and is actively downsizing certain specialties requiring advanced degrees.
In 2003, the Army surpassed its recruiting objectives for new contracts by 9.1 percent and new recruits by 0.4 percent, while the quality of new recruits have increased dramatically.
So if we are going to pass such a drastic piece of legislation, it seems to me we should at least have a hearing, have an opportunity to debate. I thought the gentleman from Hawaii said it best in committee. It is like trying to deal with a little problem of a fly with a sledgehammer. It does not make any sense. We should send this bill back into the committee and have a hearing on it and discuss these issues so that we know what the consequences of the language in this bill are.
Mr. ROGERS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
This bill attempts to correct a situation wherein a military ROTC recruiter seeking access would, in essence, be sent to the basement or to another building where corporations such as General Motors and the like recruiting would have the first floor and easy availability to the young Americans. So I do support this bill, and I intend to vote in favor thereof.
Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the ROTC Campus Access Act. This bill is wrong. It isn't about promoting military recruiting, its about punishing institutions that promote equal access to opportunity.
The fact is this bill will prohibit colleges and universities from applying their same non-discrimination policies to the military that they apply to other employers. And, if they try to do so, it will bar them from receiving federal funding.
Passage of this legislation is not only wrong, it's unnecessary. Current law already provides the federal government the ability to deny federal funding to colleges and universities that refuse to allow military recruiters or ROTC programs access to their campuses.
This bill takes that law a step further by requiring that such access be equal to the access provided to other potential employers seeking to recruit new employees on college campuses.
The problem with taking this extra step is that it would require many colleges and universities to explicitly ignore their own non-discrimination policies or lose their federal funding.
Many colleges and universities require employers to sign a non-discrimination pledge before they recruit on campus.
That means employers cannot discriminate against prospective employees on many bases-including sexual orientation. Yet, our Military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy is straight-forward discrimination and in direct conflict with college policies of this nature.
If this bill becomes law, and a college or university attempted to downplay the prominence of the ROTC recruiting effort by placing them in a not-so-central location for their recruiting efforts, they could lose all federal funding. This is draconian, extreme, and wrong.
We ought to be voting today to overturn the military's don't ask don't tell policy and instituting a policy that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. But, this Congress is unwilling to take the right step. They're putting the wrong foot forward on this one.
I urge my colleagues to join me in standing up to oppose discrimination and vote "no" on this bill.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I voted against this legislation as it does not seem fair to cut off federal funds to institutions that have policies against allowing recruiters on campus from employers that have an open policy of discrimination. We should not be punishing universities that have legitimate policy differences. As long as the military continues its ill-advised policy of prohibiting service by openly gay members (although it's interesting that, in times of war, gays and lesbians are considered valuable to our country and not forced out of the military) we should not force them to break their non-discrimination policies for the military.
Mr. BOEHNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this measure, which shows our Nation's unwavering commitment to both higher education and providing a strong national defense. At no time in recent memory has the United States placed more responsibility on our men and women in uniform. We are fighting a war on terrorism on multiple fronts, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it is essential, if we are to be victorious in defending our freedom and protecting our homeland, that we promote military service as an option to college students across the U.S.
It is important to acknowledge that when this Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, the No Child Left Behind Act, the bill made it easier for military recruiters to inform America's high school students about their options to serve their country, while also giving parents a choice about whether or not they want their sons and daughters to be contacted individually by military recruiters.
Now, in the ROTC and Military Recruiter Equal Access to Campus Act, again we are giving choices to institutions of higher education. The Solomon Act, passed in 1996, grants the Secretary of Defense power to deny federal funding to institutions of higher learning if they prohibit or prevent ROTC or military recruitment on campus. This law recognizes the importance of having a capable, educated and well-prepared military-one that is ready to defend American liberties such as freedom of speech and higher education.
As the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. ISAKSON) and I wrote in a letter to colleagues last year, if we deny armed forces recruiters the opportunity to actively recruit in schools, we not only disrespect the sacrifices of military men and women who have made our freedom possible-we also rob our students of the valuable opportunities that military service to our Nation can provide. There is no reason to not allow our Nation's armed forces to make their best case to college students and to do so in the same fashion as many of the private sector employers
colleges and universities seem to relish having on campus with equivocation.
Denial of access and equality to ROTC chapters and military recruiters by colleges that receive federal funds is an insult to the taxpayers in our 50 states who help subsidize higher education in this country. Many nations have mandatory military service for their citizens. We don't. The very core of our system of homeland security and national defense depends on young men and women deciding, on their own volition, that they wish to serve their country. Successful recruitment of the best officers in our military relies heavily on the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
In 2003, ROTC produced 70 percent of the newly-commissioned officers who entered the U.S. Army, allowing military recruiters to be barred from federally-funded campuses could have direct consequences for our national security. As the UCLAW Veterans Society said in a recent legal brief: "A shortage of military lawyers would affect military commanders' ability to train their soldiers on the law of war," and "a lack of military lawyers could increase the likelihood of law of war violations soldiers and unacceptable civilian collateral damage during military operations."
This measure should not be politicized. It is straight-forward and benefits both our students and armed forces. H.R. 3966 does not violate a college's Constitutional rights to free speech or protest. Congress doesn't force colleges and universities to accept federal funding. If an institution of higher-learning wishes to bar ROTC chapters from forming or military recruiters from recruiting, it is free to do so-but it should not expect that decision to be endorsed and subsidized by the taxpayers of the United States. This legislation reaffirms our commitment to that principle. I commend the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. ROGERS) for offering it, and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting it.
Mr. FARR. Mr. Speaker, the bill we are debating today, H.R. 3966, purports to provide military recruiters entry to college campuses, and access to students that is equal to what any other employer has. However, the military is actually seeking special access that is not afforded to other employers that practice discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Equality was not a concern for the military in 2002 when they discharged 16 Arabic linguists from the Defense Language Institute in my district. Despite the high demand for Arab linguists, the military discriminated against these service members based on nothing more than their sexual orientation.
Schools should not be forced to choose between federal funding and their commitment not to endorse discrimination. The schools' standards of non-discrimination should apply to any organization, be it private sector or public that is seeking access to a campus and its students.
One of the Congressional findings that is incorporated in this bill states that "the presence of ROTC programs on college campuses benefits even those students who are not enrolled by making them aware of the presence and role of the United States military."
I wonder what the benefit is to the gay and lesbian students whose talents and skills are utterly disregarded by the military, simply because of their sexual orientation.
I encourage all of my colleagues to vote against this bill and for true equality.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. ROGERS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Bass). All time for debate has expired.
Pursuant to House Resolution 580, the previous question is ordered on the bill, as amended.
The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was read the third time.
MOTION TO RECOMMIT BY MR. ABERCROMBIE
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, I offer a motion to recommit.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman opposed to the bill?
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I am, Mr. Speaker.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to recommit.
The Clerk read as follows:
Mr. Abercrombie moves to recommit the bill H.R. 3966 to the Committee on Armed Services with instructions to report the same back to the House forthwith with the following amendment:
Page 7, line 7, before the close quotes insert the following: ", determined, in the case of a law school, by the Association of American Law Schools, and, in the case of any other institution of higher education (or subelement thereof), by the appropriate regional accrediting entity".
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Hawaii (Mr. Abercrombie) is recognized for 5 minutes in support of his motion.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, as was indicated by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan), the previous speaker, I think all we would like to have here and the reason for recommittal motion is to have some hearings. As the chairman, and I do not if he is still on the floor or not, the chairman of the Committee on Armed Services Committee knows, I have the greatest respect for him and the greatest respect for the bipartisanship that exists on the Committee on Armed Services.
The issue here and the only reason this bill is on the floor is that a court determined that the Secretary of Defense did not have a basis in law for being able to make some of the kinds of decisions which the bill in front of us allows the Secretary to make. The issue involved here is one of access. It is one of equal treatment. The arguments of whether one accepts them or do not accept them have been made that the armed services, I suppose by extension of the bill, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, are not allowing equal access to every American and at least in some instances on the basis of their sexual orientation. There may be other issues that are raised in that regard, too. That is worthy of discussion, surely. Whether or not then this bill constitutes a proper response to that difficulty to the degree that it exists is the issue.
The reason I am asking for a vote on recommittal with instructions is not because I oppose or anyone else, I believe, opposes equal access either for recruitment purposes or other purposes of discussion and dialogue but rather that this bill does not address that fundamental issue and, in fact, will only engender a new series of lawsuits and it will fail to accomplish that which is really the bottom-line, fundamental issue here before us, which is how do we appropriately address the first amendment in the context of recruitment, whether it is for a Federal Government agency of any kind, let alone whether or not the Secretary of Defense should be the arbiter in that regard.
So, Mr. Speaker, with that I am asking that the body vote to recommit with instructions so that we can properly address this serious issue.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Does the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Rogers) wish to control the time in opposition to the motion to recommit?
Mr. ROGERS of Alabama. Yes, Mr. Speaker.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Rogers) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. ROGERS of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the motion to recommit.
This motion is simply an effort to empower those who would oppose fair access to military recruiters to our colleges and universities with the authority to treat recruiters as second-class citizens.
H.R. 3966 would ensure nothing more than fair and equal treatment of recruiters. This amendment would put the fox in the hen house, so to speak, by giving the Association of American Law Schools the authority to judge if the recruiter has been provided equal treatment with other employers. This is the very group which has fostered the attitude among law schools to resist compliance with the law. We, the Congress, must make the decision, not the people who would oppose any form of military presence on campus. It is up to Congress to decide the level of access that should be granted. We must reject this motion.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit.
There was no objection.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to recommit.
The motion to recommit was rejected.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the passage of the bill.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
A recorded vote was ordered.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XX, this 15-minute vote on passage will be followed by two 5-minute votes on motions to suspend the rules considered earlier today:
H.R. 3104, by the yeas and nays;
H. Con. Res. 386, by the yeas and nays.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were-ayes 343, noes 81, not voting 9, as follows:
[Roll No. 101]
Davis, Jo Ann
Johnson, E. B.
Sánchez, Linda T.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Bass) (during the vote). Members are advised there are 2 minutes remaining in this vote.
Messrs. HONDA, FATTAH, BLUMENAUER, HOLT, CLAY, GUTIERREZ, and RANGEL changed their vote from "aye" to "no."
Mr. PETRI and Mr. INSLEE changed their vote from "no" to "aye."
So the bill was passed.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
The title of the bill was amended so as to read: "A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to improve the ability of
the Department of Defense to establish and maintain Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps units at institutions of higher education, to improve the ability of students to participate in
Senior ROTC programs, and to ensure that institutions of higher education provide military recruiters entry to campuses and access to students that is at least equal in quality and scope to that provided to any other employer.".
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.