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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

And, Mr. Speaker, I say to the gentleman that the belief on our side is the purpose of the war funding bills should be to provide our troops with the support they need, not this controversial global bailout money. Mr. Speaker, I would say more than that, what we believe is--currently from the reports is that the bill would eliminate $5 billion from the defense spending directly for our troops and provide that $5 billion credit towards the guarantee that the United States would have to provide to the IMF.

Mr. Speaker, even further, we understand that in this provision in the bill, in essence we would be providing for more money for foreign countries in terms of a global bailout than we would be for our own troops.

And the even more troubling part to many of us, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that the IMF program allows eligibility for countries like Iran, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Burma and others. And that these countries, Mr. Speaker, are not necessarily in pursuit of policies that help the national security of this country. And given the fact that our President has said we don't have the money, how is it, Mr. Speaker--and I would ask the gentleman--does he think that we ought to be delaying the funding of our troops by including the provisions that we've just spoken of?

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.

And first of all, there is obviously a delay in this bill. We were expecting to see the bill and the war supplemental for our troops to come through tomorrow, and I would ask the gentleman, number one, does he know the amount of support given to the IMF back when Ronald Reagan made those quotes? That's number one.

And is it appropriate in a war-spending bill for the taxpayers of this country to be guaranteeing $108 billion dollars to the IMF when we're only providing our troops $80-some billion? So that's more than we're providing our troops for a global bailout. And that is the first line of questioning, Mr. Speaker.

Secondly, does he expect to produce more than the 200 votes that the gentleman's side produced on the first go-round on this supplemental bill? Because if not, then he would need to have some support from this side of the aisle. And Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman, the New York Times has pointed out May 27, Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group, has talked with the IMF and the European Union about continued financial support.

So is he aware that this money that we are affording the IMF to extend to countries who are in need would include countries where Hezbollah would have some impact on the disbursal of those funds?

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.

I just say to Mr. Speaker, he points out the difficulty that the U.S. taxpayers will have in holding accountable this Congress and the IMF for the direction of that spending. And given the unprecedented economic situation this country and its taxpayers are facing, it is a belief on our side of the aisle that we ought not be extending the ability to the IMF to extend $108 billion when the primary purpose of this particular piece of legislation is to provide support for our troops. And let's get on with it, Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would also say to the gentleman that today, the Speaker of the House acknowledged that she is continuing to receive national intelligence briefings from the CIA. Now, Mr. Speaker, as the gentleman knows, the Speaker has made serious allegations about the CIA's truthfulness to Congress in the briefings. As the gentleman also knows, the Speaker of the House is one of only four Members of this body who receives the highest level of briefings from the CIA in accordance with the practices of this body in our oversight capacities. These briefings, Mr. Speaker, are an essential part of the House's oversight responsibility of the Nation's intelligence, and in fact, our national security.

So I ask the gentleman that, in accordance with the custom of this House, shouldn't the House temporarily designate a replacement for the Speaker in these briefings to maintain the integrity of our oversight?

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I would respond to the gentleman and say, what has changed? Because the Speaker has made very serious allegations about the veracity of the briefings that are given by the CIA, and if we are to believe that she is correct, shouldn't we be either having an investigation of those allegations, or is it that she has now changed her mind and believes that the briefings are worthwhile because we can count on the veracity of the information given in those briefings? And I yield.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman for his patience and would say, again, that we have still not given the American people the transparency on this issue that they deserve. The Speaker of this House has made allegations in a very serious way about our intelligence community. This House is given the oversight responsibility for our Nation's intelligence structure and operation. We all are here sworn to uphold our duty in that respect and the paramount duty of this body, to ensure this Nation's security. It is our belief that we should get to the bottom of this. We should have some sense of an investigation that can ensue to understand why the Speaker made such allegations. That is our position, Mr. Speaker. And if the gentleman doesn't agree that there needs to be something to shed some light on this on behalf of the people, then I guess we agree to disagree.

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Mr. CANTOR. I reclaim my time, Mr. Speaker.

Again, the gentleman and I can have a discussion here without such allegations being made on the floor. The position that we have taken is in response to direct statements made by the Speaker. There is no partisan accusation here. This is in response to direct statements made by the Speaker. We have a situation that we need some type of independent third party to intervene here. If there is ever an analogous situation in a court of law when one party accuses another of not being truthful, there must be some way, some independent mechanism to determine whether and what was the truth. This is my question again, and the gentleman may continue to be confounded.

My question again is, what has changed? If the Speaker doubts the veracity of the information she receives from the CIA but continues to receive that information, how is it that that process doesn't harm the national security of this country?

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