Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 179 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:
Resolved, That at any time after the adoption of this resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 1(b) of rule XXIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 1775) to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 1998 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, the Community Management Account, and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, and for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. General debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. After general debate the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. It shall be in order to consider as an original bill for the purpose of amendment under the five-minute rule the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence now printed in the bill. The committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be considered by title rather than by section. Each title shall be considered as read. Points of order against the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute for failure to comply with clause 7 of rule XVI or clause 5(a) or clause 5(b) of rule XXI are waived. No amendments to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute shall be in order unless printed in the portion of the Congressional Record designated for that purpose in clause 6 of rule XXIII. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the House with such amendments as may have been adopted. Any Member may demand a separate vote in the House on any amendment adopted in the Committee of the Whole to the bill or to the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida [Mr. Goss] is recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to my friend, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Frost], pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for purposes of debate only on this issue.
(Mr. GOSS asked and was given permission to extend his remarks and include extraneous matter.)
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I am honored to be in the somewhat unique position of serving the House and my constituents as a member of the Committee on Rules and as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. I certainly feel in very good company, following the footsteps of our former colleague, Tony Beilenson, who in the 101st Congress served in both capacities, and did so in great distinction from the other side of the aisle.
I am proud to be able to fulfill obligations to both committees in bringing forward to the House Resolution 179, making in order H.R. 1775, the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 1998. I believe this rule is without controversy.
With the approval of this rule by the House later today during a debate on the bill itself I will be describing in more detail the specific provisions of the unclassified portions of H.R. 1775. All Members have been advised that the bill's classified provisions are and have been available for review in the Committee on Intelligence spaces.
For the purpose of this rules debate, I would simply like to point out to the House that this measure reflects several months of very hard work and bipartisan cooperation by the Members of the Committee on Intelligence and its staff. It is a bill which I think is solid, professional, and necessary, and a bill which I believe faithfully fulfills our obligation to the American people to conduct vigorous oversight of our Nation's intelligence programs and activities. We are the line of defense in that area for the people of this country. We take our job seriously.
Mr. Speaker, as to this rule, House Resolution 179 is a fairly traditional rule for this type of legislation. As in past years, the rule is a modified open rule providing for 1 hour of general debate equally divided between the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Intelligence. My friend, the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks], will take care of that part for the minority.
The rule makes in order as an original bill for the purpose of amendment the committee amendment in the nature of a substitute now printed in the bill which shall be considered by title and as read.
In addition, based on consultation with the parliamentarian, the rule waives points of order against the committee amendment for failure to comply with clause 7 of rule XVI, which is the germaneness section, and clauses 5(a) and 5(b) of rule XXI prohibiting appropriations on an authorization bill and prohibiting the consideration of tax or tariff measures which have not been reported by the Committee on Ways and Means.
These waivers are quite technical, but I would like to briefly explain them so Members understand what we are doing. The germaneness waiver is necessary because the committee mark which comes in the form of an amendment in the nature of a substitute is broader in scope than the bill as originally introduced.
This will come as no surprise to most Members. The rule XXI clause 5(a) waivers pertain to three specific sections of H.R. 1775: sections 401, 402, and 603. On those specific sections, as on many of the issues in this legislation, the Committee on Intelligence staff has been in close contact with the staff of the Subcommittee on National Security of the Committee on Appropriations which has not, to my knowledge, objected to these waivers. In fact, we have worked closely with the appropriations staff on this point.
Regarding the 5(b) waiver that pertains to the Committee on Ways and Means, I submit for the Record correspondence between the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Rules.
The provision in question, which is section 305 of H.R. 1775, is a 1-year extension of the deferral of sanctions provision in current law. Section 305 continues, until January 6, 1999, the President's current statutory authority under the National Security Act to delay imposing a sanction upon his determination that proceeding with the sanction could compromise an ongoing criminal investigation or an intelligence source or method. This subject matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means and within the scope of the prohibition outlined in clause 5(b) of rule XXI.
So by way of history, this deferral authority was in fact first included in the fiscal year 1996 Intelligence Authorization Act, was extended for 1 year in the fiscal year 1997 intelligence authorization bill and here we have it again. Through the exchange of correspondence, the Committee on Ways and Means and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have reached an accommodation to allow the 1-year extension provided by section 305 to remain in H.R. 1775, as reported, and to coordinate future activity on this subject.
I understand, therefore, that there is no objection to granting the waiver and I understand further that there will probably be some colloquy during the debate time on the rule on this point.
Mr. Speaker, the rule allows for consideration of all germane amendments, but in the interest of ensuring that sensitive classified information is protected, the rule has required that Members have their amendments preprinted in the Congressional Record prior to consideration of the bill. This has proved to be a prudent and helpful and nononerous requirement in past important intelligence authorization bills, and we have made every effort to ensure that Members have had ample time to consider and to file their amendment and to receive appropriate staff assistance from our committee, if desired.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, the rule provides for the traditional motion to recommit with or without instructions. Thus I believe this unanimously supported rule in the Committee on Rules is fair, appropriate, and noncontroversial. Accordingly, I urge support for the rule.
Mr. Speaker, I include for the Record the following correspondence:
PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE
Washington, DC, July 8, 1997.
Hon. Bill Archer,
Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.
Dear Bill: I am writing to you concerning your objection to the inclusion of section 305 in this Committee's Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998 (H.R. 1775). I understand that staff have consulted on this issue and resolved the matter to our satisfaction.
To that end, it is important that for future purposes we set out our agreement that this provision falls squarely within the scope of Clause 5(b) of House Rule XXI, which provides that no tax or tariff provision may be considered by the House that has not been considered by the Committee on Ways and Means. We appreciate your authority over tax and revenue provisions and in no way seek to undermine that jurisdiction. I will work to defeat any additional tax or revenue increasing provision that any other Member may seek to attach to this bill, both during floor consideration of this bill by the House and during Conference Committee meetings with the Senate.
This provision is of critical importance to the protection of intelligence sources and methods whenever a proliferation violation has been identified and sanctions are deemed to be the appropriate method of discipline. This provision supplies the President with the necessary flexibility to address the competing interests of punishing the violators and protecting our national security interests at the same time. I appreciate your recognition of this important aspect of this section of our bill.
I will also offer any modification of this provision in future Intelligence Authorization bills, beyond a mere reauthorization for additional periods of time, will be subject to consultation between our Committees, and subject to points of order pursuant to Clause 5(b) of House Rule XXI.
Based upon this understanding, I would ask that you withdraw your request to the Committee on Rules to strike section 305 from H.R. 1775 prior to consideration by the full House.
Thank you for your cooperation in this regard and I look forward to your support for H.R. 1775.
With all best wishes, I remain
Committee on Ways and Means,
Washington, DC, July 7, 1997.
Hon. Gerald B.H. Solomon,
Chairman, Committee on Rules, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Gerry: I am writing to you regarding further consideration of an import sanction provision included in H.R. 1775, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1998, as reported by the Committee on Intelligence.
As previously indicated, section 305 of H.R. 1775 would amend section 905 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 441d) to extend through January 6, 1999 the authority of the President to stay the application of import sanctions contained in certain laws outlined in 50 U.S.C. 441c. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has now acknowledged that this provision falls within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means, and he has agreed to oppose the inclusion of any other provisions within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means during further consideration of this legislation. Based on this understanding, and in order to expedite consideration of this important legislation, I will not object to consideration by the House of H.R. 1775 in its present form. However, this is being done only with the understanding that this does not in any way prejudice the Committee's jurisdictional prerogatives on this measure or any similar legislation, and it should not be considered as precedent for consideration of matters of jurisdictional interest to the Committee on Ways and Means in the future. I reserve the right to request that the Committee on Ways and Means be named as conferees on any provisions of jurisdictional interest should the need arise during further consideration of the bill.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, the Democratic members of the Committee on Rules support this rule. We do, however, share a concern about the provisions of the rule, and it is the same concern we had last year. The rule allows only for consideration of those amendments to the bill which have been preprinted in the Congressional Record prior to consideration of this legislation.
Mr. Speaker, our concern with this requirement to preprint amendment centers around the fact that this is not a particularly controversial bill. Consequently, we are not convinced that the preprinting requirement is necessary. We understand that preprinting may ensure that debate on this legislation does not inadvertently disclose classified materials. The ranking minority member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has no objection to the inclusion of the requirement in the rule. But the Democratic members of the Committee on Rules are concerned that a precedent has now been established with regard to the construction of the rule for the consideration of this legislation. I want to take this opportunity to voice our concern.
The rule also contains a number of waivers against the committee amendment including germaneness, appropriations on an authorization bill, and consideration of tax or tariff matters not reported by the Committee on Ways and Means.
While the Democratic members of the Committee on Rules do not oppose these waivers, we would simply like to point out to the House that these waivers are included in the rule.
Mr. Speaker, the funding levels for intelligence activities authorized in H.R. 1775 are contained in the classified annex to the report issued by the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. The committee reported the bill by a vote of 15 to nothing, and there are no areas of major controversy in the bill.
Mr. Speaker, as I stated at the outset, I do not oppose this rule. I would urge my colleagues to support the rule so that the House may proceed to the consideration of this vitally important legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my distinguished colleague from Texas for his wise words and support on this matter.
Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from California [Mr. Lewis], a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank very much my chairman for yielding me this time.
I rise to express my support not only for the rule itself but also for the bill that will be before the House shortly.
Mr. Speaker, as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence now for some 4 years and presently having the privilege of serving as chairman of the Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, I can say that this is a very, very finely crafted bill. I am speaking to the bill briefly at this moment before I have to go to the full Committee on Appropriations during the time of general debate, but I wanted to share with the Members my thought that in crafting this bill, it is most impressive to see that the chairman and our ranking member, the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks], have very carefully gone about scrubbing the numbers here to make certain that we are spending as little as possible for very, very important interests of the American public and our national strategic interests as well.
I would point out that in the final analysis, there are some very significant cuts to a number of unmanned aerial vehicle programs and other technical programs in spite of the high priority given by my subcommittee. At the same time the funding that does go for technical assistance is critical to our future and I think the committee overall has done a very fine job.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not point out to my colleagues that the President's request for some of those tactical intelligence systems and operations supporting our men and women in both activities and reserve military components is significantly less than the Congress authorized last year.
Mr. Speaker, this bill increases the President's request for intelligence support to the military by only 1.3 percent, and despite this increase, the bill's authorization in this area is 4 percent below last year's.
The men and women who serve and who indeed have to fight and sometimes die for this country when in difficult circumstances deserve the best weapons we can provide but they also deserve the best intelligence systems that can be made available. It is our effort to meet that challenge as well as we can provide. This bill is a very well developed and finely balanced bill.
I urge support for the rule as well as for the bill's final passage.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Vermont [Mr. Sanders].
Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the time.
I speak in strong support of the rule which allows for a number of serious amendments. I think the main point that I would make, as we proceed in this discussion, is that it is imperative for the U.S. Congress to get its priorities straight.
There are proposals that we are going to be debating here within the next couple of weeks which call for massive cuts in Medicare, massive cuts in veterans programs; we have experienced major cuts in housing, programs for our kids. And it seems to me that those Members who are concerned about national priorities, those Members who are concerned about deficit reduction have also got to take a hard look at the intelligence budget.
It is wrong to say to the elderly, we are going to cut home care service to you; say to low income people, we are going to cut back on Medicaid for you; allow a situation to continue by which we have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world; and then say, well, despite the fact that the cold war is over, despite the fact that the Soviet Union does not exist, that international communism is basically dead, that despite all of that, we can allocate more money to the intelligence community despite the fact that the record shows that in area after area after area, the intelligence community has been extraordinarily wasteful and not costeffective.
I would remind Members that last year the New York Times reported, and I quote, May 16, 1996,
In a complete collapse of accountability, the government agency that builds spy satellites accumulated about $4 billion in uncounted secret money, nearly twice the amount previously reported to Congress, intelligence officials acknowledged today.
And the article continues:
To put the $4 billion in perspective, the National Reconnaissance Office, what the National Reconnaissance Office did was to lose a sum of money roughly equal to the annual budgets for the FBI and the State Department combined.
John Nelson, appointed last year as the reconnaissance office's's top financial manager and given the task of cleaning up the program, said in an interview published today in a special edition of Defense Week that the secret agency had undergone, and I quote, a fundamental financial meltdown. End of quote.
Let us get our priorities straight. We cannot cut for the kids. We cannot cut for the elderly. We cannot cut for the homeless, and in fact even make over the years significant cuts in military spending and then say to the intelligence community, hey, we treat you differently than any other aspect of government.
I rise in support of the rule because it enables us to have a serious debate on a major issue.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks].
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the rule and also urge my colleagues to support this bill.
Our good friend, the gentleman from Vermont [Mr. Sanders], has made a few comments in the well. I want my colleagues to know it was the Democratic staff of the Committee that uncovered the problem at the NRO. I want you also to know that both the authorizers and the appropriators have taken the money, the excess money that was there and utilized it for other programs. So we have dealt with that problem. In fact, I worry a little bit that we may have been a little too harsh on the NRO, but I will report to the House in my judgment we have solved the financial problems.
Mr. Deutch, before he left, brought in new financial people at the NRO. I think they are doing a very fine job. I think the problems that were there have been corrected. It is part of the process of oversight. We found the problem. We corrected it. We made sure that whatever reserves are there are only those that are necessary to keep the program going.
Now, this committee operates on a very bipartisan basis and I think this bill is a good bill. The gentleman is correct, we are going to have some very serious debate here on amendments. I urge my colleagues to support the rule. But I also would remind every one that we have cut defense by over $100 billion between 1985 and 1995. Of course, the intelligence budget is part of the defense budget. And it has received cuts as well. So to say that this area has not received reductions simply is inaccurate. Anyone who wants to come up and see the numbers in the committee is welcome to do so.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Maryland [Mr. Cardin].
Mr. CARDIN. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I hope my colleagues will support the rule and support the underlying legislation.
The intelligence community is in a very difficult position. Because of the classified nature of their work, it is difficult for them to respond to some of the public criticisms. I hope that this House will not only support the underlying legislation but will oppose the amendment that would make it difficult for the intelligence community to be able to carry out their work. They do outstanding public service. I have had an opportunity to visit some of the facilities. I hope more of my colleagues would take the opportunity to visit and see firsthand the type of work that we are doing. We had the best intelligence operation in the world. It is in our national interest to make sure that it is adequately authorized and funded.
I want to congratulate the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Goss] and the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] for their work. They have worked in a bipartisan manner to bring this legislation forward. It deserves the support of this body. I thank my colleague from Texas for yielding me the time.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time. I urge adoption of the rule, and I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.
The previous question was ordered.
The SPEAKER pro tempore [Mr. Rogan]. The question is on the resolution.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Evidently a quorum is not present.
The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 425, nays 2, not voting 7, as follows:
So the resolution was agreed to.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.