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Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. MALONEY. I thank Congressman Sablan for yielding and for his hard work in so many areas and his leadership.

I rise to express my opposition to the Indian Tribal Trade and Investment Demonstration Project Act, H.R. 2362.

This bill is unnecessary and seeks to give special consideration to one country--Turkey.

As a country that has shown both negative and aggressive actions toward a number of our allies, Turkey should not be given investment preferences in Indian tribal lands through this bill. And they should not be given preference over 154 allies, members of the World Trade Organization. Nor should they be given preference over American businesses that wish to invest in Indian tribal lands. This bill would reward a country with a record of human rights and religious freedom violations. It has been on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's watch list for 3 consecutive years.

Just this last Friday, many of us marked the 38th anniversary of Turkey's illegal occupation of the northern third of the island Republic of Cyprus. Throughout this occupation, Turkey actively seeks to alter the heritage and demographics of Cyprus. It has systematically destroyed the island's Christian heritage and colonized the area with more than 200,000 settlers and 40,000 troops.

Furthermore, Turkey maintains an economic blockade against Armenia, sealing its borders to all trade, and continues to deny the Armenian genocide, during which over 1.5 million Armenians perished. I have with me the Armenian Assembly and the Armenian National Committee of America's letters in opposition to this legislation.

Also, Turkey has challenged Israel by arguing against Israel's right to develop energy sources. Turkey has also threatened American businesses by saying it would use force to stop a Texas-based company, Noble Energy, from drilling for oil and gas off the shores of Cyprus. Turkey has said it will blacklist any business that assists Cyprus and Israel in their efforts to jointly develop their country's natural resources.

The preferential treatment given to Turkey in H.R. 2362 is unnecessary given the previous passage of the HEARTH Act, which passed this body 400-0, passed the Senate, and is now awaiting the President's signature. That bill allows domestic and foreign companies to engage in leases for housing construction, clean energy, and business development. Unlike the HEARTH Act, the bill before us today does nothing to support these domestic businesses.

Last November, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Michael Black, testified before the Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Subcommittee, stating that the HEARTH Act ``fosters the same goals identified in this bill but on a broader, larger scale.'' Through the HEARTH Act, domestic and foreign entities have already been granted an expedited route to invest in Native American lands and help their economic development.

Given the redundancies in the bill and the favored treatment it gives to one country that has shown threatening and discriminatory action toward a number of American allies, I urge my colleagues to join Ranking Member Berman and Ranking Member Markey and vote ``no'' on H.R. 2362.

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