Mr. WEXLER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume, and I rise in opposition to this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this amendment is certainly meritorious. Nobody wants Russia to transfer antiship cruise missiles to China. That is for certain. But this amendment would also cut off all assistance to Russia if those arms transfers in fact take place. There is always a question of balance. We provide assistance to Russia because it is in the national security interest of the United States to promote economic reform, promote democracy and help prevent future Chernobyls.
The gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde], as the gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman] stated earlier, made these points eloquently during our committee markup of the bill. The gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde] offered a waiver to the Rohrabacher amendment to allow the President to make a judgment whether continuing assistance to Russia was in the national security interest of the United States. The Hyde position prevailed. The committee bill included an amendment with the waiver.
There is no such waiver in this amendment before us now. The amendment gives the President absolutely no flexibility and raises one issue above every other priority in United States.-Russian relationships. The amendment distorts United States policy toward Russia, and in fact what it is saying is there would be absolutely no circumstance in which there would be a valid security interest of the United States to provide aid for Russia once the transfer of such an antiship cruise missile was made. I do not believe that that is a plausible policy for the United States. This is a veto item for the President, and I strongly urge defeat of the amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.