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Public Statements

Extending Certain Trade Programs

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CROWLEY. I thank my friend and colleague from Washington for yielding his time, and I want to thank all those involved in bringing this important legislation to the floor and doing it, albeit maybe a little late in some components, but getting it here all the same. And I understand it was not necessarily the House of Representatives that was the reason for the holdup, but I am very pleased to be here today.

I also want to make note of the baby steps we may be taking here in terms of bipartisanship, Chairman Camp, as well as my colleagues on my side of the aisle. I think those watching today may see a little glimmer of hope that more can be accomplished in the weeks to come before the elections. I, for one, am not necessarily holding my breath, but I want to make the offer that I'm interested in seeing that happen. But even though they are baby steps, it should not diminish the importance of the legislation that we have before us today.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this

bipartisan measure. Part of the legislation is a provision that I introduced to maintain the ban on imports from Burma for 1 additional year. Its passage will demonstrate America's ongoing commitment to the advancement of human rights.

When I traveled to Burma last January, I was the first Member of Congress to officially travel to that country in 12 years. I saw the possibilities for change with my own eyes. I saw the families of political prisoners hoping for a genuine and permanent freedom. I saw ethnic minority leaders expressing the belief that reconciliation was possible. And I saw the tremendous courage of Aung San Suu Kyi, a leader so dedicated to her people that she was undeterred for nearly two decades of house arrest.

No, she did not demand that this bill be passed into law. In fact, Aung San Suu Kyi has urged a decrease in international pressure.


Mr. CROWLEY. Aung San Suu Kyi has urged a decrease in international pressure on Burma. But by renewing this bill today and keeping this measure on the books even as we are open to new flexibilities, we will help send a strong signal to those in Burma that the United States will continue to focus on the need for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, an end to violence against all minorities, including the Kachin and the Rohingya, and the adoption of genuine democratic reform in Burma.

I stand in strong support of this bill, and I urge its immediate adoption.


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