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Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Chairman, I thank very much Mr. Young of Florida and Mr. Dicks of Washington for the fabulous work they've done working together and developing this measure, which is something over $500 billion. And the public certainly will know that that's no small amount of money. But certainly, also they'll know it is the reason for us to have a Federal Government--funding available to preserve our Nation.
And as we leave this weekend to celebrate the 4th of July and the history of our country and the history of freedom, not just here but also available around the world, we know it's the work of this subcommittee and people like these leaders that have allowed us to continue to be on the point of the spear for freedom around the world.
Indeed, if there's a reason for us to have a Federal Government, it is to be able to preserve our freedom and to provide opportunities for others elsewhere in the world.
Having said that, Mr. Chairman, it's also very, very important for me to point out that we are about serious and difficult challenges, especially in the Middle East at this moment.
A while ago, my friend Norm Dicks mentioned 1989 and Afghanistan and the challenges there. At that point in time, the Soviet Union was attempting to take over all of Afghanistan as a way of taking over the Middle East and to extend their desire to take over the world. A stop to that came by way of this committee's work and leadership from this committee.
If you have not taken the time to read about Charlie Wilson's war, you should, and recognize that that war led to the chants for freedom in Afghanistan.
The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I yield the gentleman an additional 1 minute.
Mr. LEWIS of California. If one would recognize, as of Charlie Wilson's war's time, we were successful at stopping the Soviet Union. But as we had that success, America did what it often does overseas: We walked away and left a vacuum in Afghanistan. And it was that vacuum that allowed the terrorists, al Qaeda and others, to extend themselves and train themselves and put us in the pressure box that we are in today in the country.
America must constantly be aware that we are the force for freedom and, working together, we will continue to help freedom in the world.
Having said that, Mr. Chairman, I want to extend my deepest congratulations to these two gentlemen, these two leaders of this committee, Bill Young and Norm Dicks, extremely talented people who are bringing our committee and the Congress back to regular order so that we can work with one another and make changes in bills like this with free debate on the floor. Indeed, that is the strength of our Congress.
If the people will be patient with us, we'll actually accomplish some things. Indeed, freedom will continue to be a force in the world because of the work of these gentlemen. And our congratulations, as well as our best wishes, go out to their continued work and success.
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