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Public Statements

African Growth and Opportunity Amendment Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC


Mr. COATS. Mr. President, first of all, I commend all the Republicans and Democrats who have worked so hard together--nearly one-fifth of us in this Congress--hour after hour, meeting after meeting, and flexibility has been provided to both sides by Senator Lieberman, Senator Collins and their bill and Senators Chambliss, McCain, Hutchison, and others in terms of trying to reach a consensus. Those who listened to the Senator from Maryland yesterday know we are given the unclassified version of the nature of this threat. Add to that the classified version, and it is truly a threat that needs to be addressed.

It is despicable that the majority leader of the Senate, when we were so close to putting together something to bring joint support of what everybody knows we need to do and want to do--so close with agreements from Democrats and Republicans, ranking members and chairmen of the relevant committees, and presenting a package which would grant limited time and limited germane amendments--to deny us that opportunity.

Yet here we are faced with a dilemma of an imminent threat facing the people of the United States of America and a vote whether to continue the process, continue to work with something that potentially could kill this for the rest of the session and maybe even next year or something that grants to the White House an abuse of executive power to mandate things through executive order, which we have seen on a number of other occasions. Maybe that is the motive, maybe it is not; I don't know.

Nevertheless, we are faced with a critical choice in terms of an imminent threat to the security of the United States and the American people. I hope my colleagues will take that into consideration when we decide what to do. I thank people on both sides for their tremendous efforts, and we should not point fingers of blame at each other.

That is a real effort to join and address this very serious threat to the United States.

I thank my friend and yield back to him.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.


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