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Expressing Continued Support of Congress for Equal Access of Miliary Recruiters to Institutions of Higher Education

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 59, I call up the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 36) expressing the continued support of Congress for equal access of military recruiters to institutions of higher education, and ask for its immediate consideration.

The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.

The text of House Concurrent Resolution 36 is as follows:

H. Con. Res. 36

Whereas section 8 of article I of the Constitution commits exclusively to Congress the powers to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

Whereas the Nation's security interests demand high levels of military personnel readiness, which in turn demand cost-effective military recruitment programs;

Whereas military recruiting on the Nation's university campuses is one of the primary means by which the Armed Forces obtain highly qualified new military personnel and is an integral, effective, and necessary part of overall military recruitment;

Whereas a lack of cooperation by institutions of higher education with the legitimate pursuit of the Federal military recruiting function carries with it the harmful effect of increasing Federal spending to achieve the required outcome, while at the same time compromising military personnel readiness and performance, which in turn conflicts with Federal responsibilities to provide for the Nation's defense;

Whereas military recruiting will be significantly harmed if military recruiters are denied access to campuses and students that is at least equal in quality and scope to the access provided to any other employer;

Whereas on-campus recruiting and ready access to students are key components of recruiting highly qualified new employees for any enterprise and are recognized as such by both institutions of higher education and employers and requiring the Armed Forces to rely exclusively on alternative recruiting methods would adversely affect the ability of the Armed Forces to attract the most qualified applicants;

Whereas any reduction in performance by the Armed Forces amidst the present national emergency declared by the President on September 14, 2001, operates against the national interest;

Whereas the Congress has chosen over time to appropriate funds for a variety of Government programs to be provided to institutions of higher learning, but those taxpayer funds are not an entitlement to any college or university and can be provided subject to conditions and criteria placed on those funds by Congress.

Whereas acceptance of Federal funding carries with it an expectation of support and respect for the laws of the Nation, including section 983 of title 10, United States Code, relating to the support of military recruiting and Reserve Officers Training Corps functions by certain educational institutions;

Whereas Congress has acted to legislatively craft a safeguard for military recruiting in section 983 of title 10, United States Code, by linking Federal funding of educational institutions to the willingness of those institutions to abide by a rule of access by military recruiters to campuses and students that is at least equal in quality and scope that is provided by any other employer;

Whereas the Government suffers irreparable injury any time it is prevented by a court from effectuating statutes enacted by Congress, the representatives of its people, and any obstruction against enforcement of section 983 of title 10 of the United States Code will not only divest the Department of Defense of a legislatively crafted recruiting safeguard but also will inflict grave harm on the Nation's military readiness and the military's ability to recruit sufficient numbers of high-quality personnel; and

Whereas the consequences specified in section 983 of title 10, United States Code, relating to a denial of certain Federal funding for failure to offer support of military recruiting and Reserve Officers Training Corps functions, are instrumental to the achievement of military performance in satisfaction of the national interest and the Constitutional duties of the Congress: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That -

(1) Congress remains committed to the achievement of military personnel readiness through vigorous application of the requirements set forth in section 983 of title 10, United States Code, relating to equal access for military recruiters at institutions of higher education, and will explore all options necessary to maintain this commitment, including the powers vested in it under article I, section 9, of the Constitution;

(2) it is the sense of Congress that the executive branch should aggressively continue to pursue measures to challenge any decision impeding or prohibiting the operation of section 983 of title 10, United States Code; and

(3) Congress encourages the executive branch to follow the doctrine of non-acquiescence and not find a decision affecting one jurisdiction to be binding on other jurisdictions.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 59, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Kline) and the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Butterfield) each will control 30 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Kline).

Mr. KLINE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, while the men and women of our Armed Forces serve bravely throughout the world, the ability of our U.S. military to recruit highly qualified candidates is being put in jeopardy. As was stated so eloquently by the late Representative Gerald Solomon, barring military recruiters is an intrusion on Federal prerogatives, a slap in the face to our Nation's fine military personnel, and an impediment to sound national security policy.

The legislation bearing his name, the Solomon Amendment, formerly protected the ability of the U.S. military to reach the most highly qualified candidates by denying Federal funding, denying Federal funding to colleges which refused to permit on-campus recruiting by the U.S. military. However, on November 29 of last year, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia overturned this legislation, enabling universities to receive Federal funding despite barring military recruiters from campus.

This decision threatens to severely damage the ability of the military to recruit the highly qualified candidates necessary during a time of war. Harvard Law School and now Yale Law School have already implemented the unjust policy of denying the military access to their campuses for recruiting purposes. Without the threat of lost funding, sadly, many other schools are expected to follow suit. The Department of Defense intends to appeal this ruling, but in the interim the military risks losing access to a vital source of highly qualified recruits. Our desire is to ensure this does not happen.

Under Article I, section 8 of the United States Constitution, Congress has the exclusive power to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make the rules for the Government and regulation of the Armed Forces. Congress has not only the right but the responsibility to use its power to protect the ability of our U.S. military to recruit the best and the brightest young men and women. We cannot be silent while this ability is put in jeopardy.

The citizens of the United States, all citizens of the United States, and I would argue the world, benefit from the protection of the most highly qualified and well-trained military in the world, and I am hopeful our actions today will put an end to the injustice of banning recruiters and will restore the ability of the U.S. military to serve its citizens most effectively.

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

Mr. BUTTERFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of this resolution. The 103rd Congress determined that Federal funding should be denied to institutions of higher learning that prohibit military representatives from having student access while permitting access to other employers.

The Solomon Amendment was passed by this body in 1994 after vigorous debate by a vote of 271 to 126. The amendment was simple, ``You cannot receive Federal funds for your institution if you impair the military from recruiting on your campus, yet allow other employers access to the students.''

It is essential that our military be prepared to defend our country. Cost-effective recruiting is the key to an all-volunteer Army. Many of our institutions recognize Congress's intention and immediately complied with the intent and spirit of the Solomon Amendment. Other institutions have taken offense to the amendment by insisting that this measure offends the first amendment's provision that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.

The question of whether the Solomon Amendment violates the first amendment is now being litigated in our courts. The District Court for the District of New Jersey denied a request for injunctive relief which permitted this law to stand. The district court was of the opinion that the plaintiffs were not likely to prove a first amendment infringement. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in a 2 to 1 decision reversed the district court and concluded that the plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success on their contention that the first amendment claim had merit and directed the district court to enter a preliminary injunction which has the effect of permitting these universities to deny access to military recruiters.

Mr. Speaker, I was a trial judge in my home State of North Carolina for 13 years and a State supreme court justice for 2 years. I can tell Members there is a presumption in our law to favor congressional enactments that are intended to support our military. There is a high burden on a plaintiff to overcome this presumption. No court has ever declared unconstitutional on first amendment grounds any congressional statute designed to support the military.

If this law in any way offends the first amendment, the courts are then required to balance the interests that are involved and determine whether the violation trumps the articles relating to the spending power and support of the military.

I need not remind my colleagues of the perilous times the American people now face. Like never before, this Congress must ensure that we have the best military on the planet and this includes having unimpeded access to our colleges and universities for the purpose of recruiting.

It seems illogical to me that an institution desires Federal resources but wants to restrict access to military recruiters. Acceptance of Federal funding carries with it an expectation of support and respect for the laws of this Nation. I therefore join with the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Kline) in support of this resolution and urge its adoption. This matter needs to be put to rest. It is imperative that the executive branch take this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court to urge the court to give deference to the Congress and uphold this statute. This resolution makes it clear that the Congress intends to continue to support our military by ensuring equal access for military recruiters on college campuses, and it should be the sense of this Congress that we want judicial review of this matter by our highest court.

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

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Simpson). Pursuant to the order of the House of today, further proceedings on this concurrent resolution will be postponed.

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