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Conference Report On H.R. 2346, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill. America has the best military in the world. I think all of us who have traveled and who have seen the commitment of our Armed Forces are overwhelmed by their patriotism. The success of our military has much to do with the character and the courage of the men and women in uniform who fight every single day for our freedom.

And what we can do, as Members of this Congress, to speak to that courage and that commitment on the part of those men and women is to stand up and to remove politics from bills affecting their ability to execute on their mission to protect us.

Mr. Speaker, we can pass a bipartisan bill. This House has shown several weeks ago, we passed a bill with a 368-60 vote, clearly, a bipartisan bill sending the message that this Congress stood for our troops and nothing got in the way.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, we now find a conference report that will make its way to this House that is vastly different from the bill approved in a bipartisan way.

Number one, Mr. Speaker, the provisions in the conference report that will make its way to this floor seem to put the rights of terrorists before the security of Americans. When we see that this body somehow wants to remove language prohibiting the transfer of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to U.S. soil, when this House allows for that transfer, what that says is we are willing to take on untold risk at the expense of the security of the people that our troops are trying to protect.

Next, Mr. Speaker, we have seen the conferees take out language that would prohibit the release of photographs that we know will endanger the lives of our troops. Our commander on the ground in Iraq, General Odierno, was very clear in his admonition several weeks ago when he said our troops will be put in greater harm's way, and specific units will have enhanced danger immediately, if these photographs are allowed to be released.

And I know that the majority says that we've got protections, that the White House will stand up and not allow for their release. But at the end of the day, we have the ability to stop it and to act now.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. LEWIS of California. I yield the gentleman another 1 minute.

Mr. CANTOR. And I ask that this House stand up, act now, and make sure that these photos don't make their ways to brochures for recruitment of al Qaeda or make their way on to Internet sites to help attract more terrorists in the fight against our troops.

And lastly, Mr. Speaker, to burden our troops with $108 billion of a loan guarantee to a global bailout is not putting our troops first. That's putting politics before our troops, and that's unacceptable to the American people.


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