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Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2005 - Part I

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

AMENDMENT NO. 7 OFFERED BY MR. PAUL

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The Chairman. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 7 offered by Mr. Paul:

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

TITLE VIII-ADDITIONAL GENERAL PROVISIONS

SEC. 801. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for the American Community Survey.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the order of the House today, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul).

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, this is an amendment that denies all funding for the American Community Survey. And if anyone has been listening to the debate early on, the Census has come up numerous times already, and much of what I have to propose here has in many ways has been debated. But I do want to bring it up one more time dealing specifically with the American Community Survey.

One of the reasons why it came to my attention is just recently I received this survey in the mail here in my temporary residence in Virginia. It is rather intimidating and it is rather threatening when you receive this in the mail. And I have the envelope here and right up on the front they have warned me. They said "The American Community Survey form enclosed. Your response is required by law."

This was the second time. Evidently, I missed it the first time, so the second time around I have been threatened by the census police that I better jolly well fill it out or the police will be knocking on the door. And that does happen because I have known other individuals who have not filled out the long form, and they come to the door, the police are there deciding they want this information.

It was stated earlier in the discussion about the census that this was certainly the law of the land. The law of the land is very clear that the Congress gave the authority; the Census Bureau certainly does not do this on its own. We, the Congress, gave it the authority to do this. But it just happens to be an authority that we had no right to give. We have no right to give this authority to meddle into the privacy of American citizens.

Article 1, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution mandates a national census every 10 years. I am in support of that, and I vote for funding for a national census every 10 years for the sole purpose of congressional redistricting. But, boy, this is out of hand now. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars and it is perpetual. The argument earlier was, we have to have to survey continuously because we save money by spending more money. Ask people a lot of questions, personal questions about bathrooms and incomes and who knows what.

This survey I have got here, here is a copy of it. It is called the American Community Survey. And it says the Census Bureau survey collects information about education, employment, income, housing for the purposes of community uses so that they can do community economic planning.

How did we ever get involved in all of this? It is almost sacred now that we fund these programs and they are going to be perpetual, perpetual meddling in the personal lives of all American citizens, 24 pages here.

I got to wondering, I did not fill it out the first one. I got the second one, and they are threatening me. I know I did not vote for it, but you who did means, you are ready to send the census police out to get me.

I am getting worried about this. I mean, what is the penalty? So I looked it up, and it is not insignificant. Do you know what my colleagues have done and threatened me with? A $1,000 penalty for every question I do not answer. Wow, that is scary stuff. I had a friend that he did not answer the long form, after a couple of requests, the census police came and knocked on his door and said you better, you better answer all these questions or you are going to be penalized.

So that is the kind of thing that we do and everybody talks about all these wonderful advantages, but it is stuff we do not need. I mean, if we want this information, if people need this information in the communities, they ought to get it themselves. This whole idea that we have to collect all this information for the benefit of our communities to do all this economic planning, I mean, it is just so much more than we need, and we are not talking about 10 or $15 million. We are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars, and it is not just every 10 years.

It is continuous with this perpetual threat, you tell us what we want to know and we are going to put it into the record, and if not, for every question you do not answer, we can fine you $1,000 if you do not tell us your age and where you work and how far you have to go to work and how long it takes you to go to work.

I mean, this is way too much of Big Brother. Let me tell my colleagues, I think the American people cannot be very happy with all this meddling.

So my proposal is let us at least get rid of the American Community Survey, which is the ongoing nuisance that we put up with, and limit what we do here to what the Constitution has told us we can do and what we should do, and that is, count the people every 10 years for the purpose of redistricting. But big deal, who cares. For all we do around here, how often do we really pay attention to the details of the Constitution?

So I ask my colleagues to support this amendment and cut this funding.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

AMENDMENT NO. 8 OFFERED BY MR. PAUL

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 8 offered by Mr. Paul:

Insert before the short title at the end of the bill the following title:

TITLE VIII-ADDITIONAL GENERAL PROVISIONS

SEC. 801. (a) None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used-

(1) to take any legal action against a physician for prescribing or administering a drug not included in schedule I of the schedules of controlled substances under section 202© of the Controlled Substances Act for the purpose of relieving or managing pain; or

(2) to threaten legal action in order to prevent a physician from prescribing or administering such a drug for such purpose.

(b) None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used-

(1) to take any legal action against a person for acts relating to the prescribing or administering by a physician of such a drug for such purpose; or

(2) to threaten any legal action against a person in order to prevent the person from engaging in acts relating to the prescribing or administering by a physician of such a drug for such purpose.

The CHAIRMAN. Points of order are reserved.

Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul).

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, what this amendment does is it denies funding to the Department of Justice to prosecute doctors for prescribing legal drugs.

The reason I bring this up is to call attention to the Members of a growing and difficult problem developing in this country, and that is, that more and more doctors now are being prosecuted by the Justice Department under the laws that were designated for going after drug kingpins, for illegal drug dealers; but they are using the same laws to go after doctors.

It is not one or two or three or four. There are approximately 400 doctors who have been prosecuted, and I know some of them, and I know they are good physicians; and we are creating a monster of a problem. It does not mean that I believe that none of these doctors have a problem. As a physician, I know what they are up against and what they face, and that is, that we have now created a system where a Federal bureaucrat makes the medical decision about whether or not a doctor has prescribed too many pain pills. I mean, that is how bureaucratic we have become even in medicine; but under these same laws that should be used going after kingpins, they are now being used to go after the doctors.

As I say, some of them may well be involved in something illegal and unethical; and because I still want to stop this, this does not mean I endorse it, because all the problems that do exist with some doctors can be taken care of in many different ways. Doctors are regulated by their reputation, by medical boards, State and local laws, as well as malpractice suits. So this is not to give license and say the doctors can do anything they want and cause abuse because there are ways of monitoring physicians; but what has happened is we have, as a Congress, developed a great atmosphere of fear among the doctors.

The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, a large group of physicians in this country, has now advised their members not to use any opiates for pain, not to give adequate pain pills because the danger of facing prosecution is so great. So the very people in the medical profession who face the toughest cases, those individuals with cancer who do not need a couple of Tylenol, they might need literally dozens, if not hundreds, of tablets to control their pain, these doctors are being prosecuted.

Now, that is a travesty in itself; but the real travesty is what it does to the other physicians, and what it is doing is making everybody fearful. The other doctors are frightened. Nurses are too frightened to give adequate pain medications even in the hospitals because of this atmosphere.

My suggestion here is to deny the funding to the Justice Department to prosecute these modest numbers, 3 or 400 doctors, leave that monitoring to the States where it should be in the first place, and let us get rid of this idea that some bureaucrat in Washington can determine how many pain pills I, as a physician, can give a patient that may be suffering from cancer.

I mean, this is something anyone who has any compassion, any concern, any humanitarian instincts would say we have gone astray; we have done too much harm; we have to do something to allow doctors to practice medicine. It was never intended that the Federal Government, let alone bureaucrats, interfere in the practice of medicine.

So my suggestion is let us take it away, take away the funding of the Justice Department to prosecute these cases, and I think it would go a long way to improving the care of medicine. At the same time, it would be a much fairer approach to the physicians that are now being prosecuted unfairly.

And let me tell you, there are plenty, because all they have to do is to be reported that they prescribed an unusual number of tablets for a certain patient, and before you know it, they are intimidated, their license is threatened, their lives are ruined, they spend millions of dollars in defense of their case, and they cannot ever recover. And it is all because we here in the Congress write these regulations, all with good intentions that we are going to make sure there is no abuse.

Well, there is always going to be some abuse. But I tell you there is a lot better way to find abusive doctors from issuing pain medication than up here destroying the practice of medicine and making sure thousands of patients suffering from the pain of cancer do not get adequate pain medication.

AMENDMENT NO. 9 OFFERED BY MR. PAUL

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I offer amendment No. 9.

The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment No. 9 offered by Mr. Paul:

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following:

TITLE VIII-ADDITIONAL GENERAL PROVISIONS

SEC. 801. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to pay expenses for any United States contribution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The CHAIRMAN. Points of order are reserved. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) and a Member opposed each will control 5 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul).

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

This amendment denies funds to UNESCO, and it is an amendment that is identical to what I brought up last year and got a recorded vote on and had a debate on last year.

Last year, I brought it up because we were just getting back into UNESCO. President Ronald Reagan, in 1984, had the wisdom of getting us out of UNESCO because of its corrupt nature, not only because it had a weird, false ideology, contrary to what most Americans believed, but it was also corrupt. He had the wisdom to get us out of it, yet last year we were put back in UNESCO, and I was hoping that we would not fund it.

Last year, the Congress approved $60 million for this purpose, which was 25 percent of UNESCO's budget. Does that mean we have 25 percent of the vote in UNESCO? Do the American people get represented by 25 percent? How much do we get out of it? What is the American taxpayer going to get? The American taxpayer gets a bill, that is all. They do not get any benefits from it.

And there is one part of UNESCO that is particularly irritating to me, and it is called the Cultural Diversity Convention. This is an organization that actually is very destructive and will play havoc with our educational system. It also attempts to control our education through the International Baccalaureate Program, and that, too, introduces programs and offers them to our schools. It is not forced, but there are already quite a few schools that have accepted these programs.

Now, let me just give my colleagues an idea of the type of philosophy they are promoting, but what we as the Congress promote with what the American taxpayers are paying for. Here it is:

"The international education offers people a state of mind, international mindedness. We are living on a planet that is becoming exhausted. And now listen to this, this is what the U.N. UNESCO people are saying about education in the various countries, including ours. Most national educational systems at the moment encourage students to seek the truth, memorize it and reproduce it accurately." Now, one would think that is not too bad of an idea. "The real world is not this simple," so says UNESCO. "International education has to reconcile this diversity with the unity of the human condition."

I mean, if those are not threatening terms about what they want to do, and yet here we are funding this program and the American taxpayers are forced to pay for it. Now, there are a few of us left in the Congress, I see a couple on the floor tonight, that might even object to the Federal Government telling our States what to do with education, and of course there is no constitutional authority for that. We have the Leave No Child Behind, but it looks like everyone is going to be left behind before we know it.

But here it is not the Federal Government taking over our Federal education system; this is the UNESCO, United Nations, taking over our educational system. It does have an influence. Sure, it is minimal now, but it will grow if we allow this to continue.

So I ask my colleagues to please vote for my amendment, and I sure hope they allow a vote on this amendment. It was permitted last year, so it surely would be permitted this year.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I claim the time in opposition to the amendment, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, when we had a vote on the floor, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) offered the amendment to not join UNESCO. I supported the amendment. I did not believe that we should have joined UNESCO. The decision was made by the Bush administration. Also, on that vote, if my memory serves me, I was on the losing side. I think it may have been Lantos v. Hyde. I voted with the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), and we were on the losing side. History will have to check the exact timing of that vote.

The bill includes $71.9 million for the U.S. share of funding for membership in UNESCO, and I have had serious questions about UNESCO. UNESCO was rife with corruption and problems. The Bush administration, who wanted to join, has a very good and a very tough ambassador, a kind of a no-nonsense person. I have met her and think highly of her. The President announced 2 years ago at the United Nations, and I remember seeing the speech, that the U.S. would rejoin UNESCO. The First Lady, Mrs. Bush, addressed the UNESCO plenary session in Paris, France, last year.

The U.S. withdrew from UNESCO in 1984 when the organization was rife with corruption and anti-Western bias, and I think the current ambassador, I have spoken to her, is going to make sure they do not go back to the corruption and anti-Western bias. It was mismanaged, and she has pledged that she would stay after that.

Since that time, they have undergone reforms and the current leadership is committed. They say it stands for fundamental human rights and democratic principles; and participation in the UNESCO, many say, will allow us to be engaged as international partners in a number of issues. This year, the U.S. was elected to the UNESCO legal committee, the intergovernmental biotechnics committee, and other committees.

I think now, although I do tend to agree with the gentleman, I think it is a fact and I think he raises some very, very valid points, but to strike funding for UNESCO just after the Bush administration has joined, just after President Bush's wife, Mrs. Bush, has spoken at a plenary session, I think would send a wrong message. So I reluctantly rise in opposition to the amendment out of respect to the Bush administration, having been on the losing side.

But we are going to watch this. We are going to watch and see what UNESCO does, and I am glad this issue was raised by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul). But in light of the vote on the floor and in light of the Bush administration request and the President's speech, and in light of the First Lady attending and addressing the plenary session, I would ask defeat of the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have?

The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Texas has 1 minute remaining.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time and conclude with another statement from a director of UNESCO, who further explains exactly what they are up to. He said in June that "the program remains committed to changing children's values so they think globally rather than in parochial national terms from their own country's viewpoint". So if we talk about an attack on national sovereignty starting at the lowest level through an educational system, it is right here.

The chairman, obviously, is not very enthusiastic about this. But my job as a representative is not to follow what other people tell me. My job is to read these bills and to know what they say and to represent my district. Because somebody asks us to finance this and our instincts tell us there is something very sinister about this, I would say that that is not a very strong reason to oppose this amendment.

The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul).

The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) will be postponed.

Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.

Mr. Chairman, I, too, am a physician from Texas, but I have a little different opinion about Marinol. No doctor that I know of ever prescribes Marinol.

I think marijuana is a helpful medical treatment for the people who have intractable nausea. I would like to point out this is not something strange that we are suggesting here. For the first 163 years of our history in this country, the Federal Government had total hands off, they never interfered with what the States were doing. They interfered only after 1938 through tax law. So this is something new.

The States' rights issue is almost a dead issue in the Congress, but we ought to continue to talk about it, and I am delighted somebody has brought this up.

But if you do have compassion and care for patients, they ought to have a freedom of choice. I think that is what this is all about, freedom of choice.

I would like to point out one statistic. One year prior to 9/11 there were 750,000 arrests of people who used marijuana; there was one arrest for a suspect that was committing terrorism.

Now, that, to me, is a misdirected law enforcement program that we could help address here by at least allowing the States to follow the laws that they already have on the books.

END


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