REMOVING NAME AS H.R. 1673 COSPONSOR -- (Extensions of Remarks - March 23, 2004)
HON. MARK UDALL
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, MARCH 23, 2004
Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I want to explain why I sought and obtained unanimous consent to have my name removed as a cosponsor of H.R. 1673, the bill to establish a Department of Peace.
I joined as a cosponsor of a similar bill in the 107th Congress. That bill was introduced in July 2001, a year after the observance of UNESCO's International Year for the Culture of Peace in 2000 and in the context of a UNESCO resolution declaring an International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children 2001-2010.
I cosponsored H.R. 2459 in the spirit of these events and at the urging of a very persuasive group of young high school students from my district because I wanted to underline the symbolic importance of promoting justice and democratic principles to expand human rights and developing policies that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict. I do not believe these ideas require the establishment of a new bureaucracy.
After careful review, I have determined that while the bill's goals are idealistic and worthy, its specific provisions and practical application are problematic. In particular, I think that endorsing the establishment of a new bureaucracy-even if only symbolically-would not be appropriate at a time when the federal budget is in deep deficit. The recent recession and the urgent need to spend more for national defense and homeland security, combined with excessively large and unbalanced tax cuts have brought us to the point where both the entire Social Security surplus and massive borrowing-which will have to be repaid with interest-are required to cover the shortfall.
Under these circumstances, I think proposals for further expansion of the federal government must be subject to even more strict scrutiny. In that light, I have reviewed the legislation that I have supported and have concluded that it is no longer appropriate for me to remain as a cosponsor of H.R. 1673.