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Public Statements

Repeal an Old Relic

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, 20 years ago this week then President George H.W. Bush signed the FREEDOM Support Act into law. This law gave money to the countries of the former Soviet Union to help them build democracies from the rubble of failed communism.

That is, except one. Wrapped up in this big bill was a tiny provision, called ``Section 907,'' that forbid any money from going to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is a strong partner of the United States. After 9/11, Azerbaijan allowed our planes to fly in its airspace and contributed troops to Afghanistan. With 7 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, it will be an important player in increasing Europe's energy security. The country is also a predominantly Muslim country that is a friend of Israel and the free market system, unlike its tyrannical neighbor Iran. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama recognized the importance of our alliance with Azerbaijan and waived Section 907 via Executive Order every year since 2001.

In fact, from Secretary Albright to Secretary Powell, Secretaries of State from both Republican and Democrat administrations over the last 20 years have supported the repeal of Section 907. Congress should do away with this archaic and obsolete relic of the past and repeal Section 907. And that's just the way it is.

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