Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 476, I call up the resolution (H. Res. 463), to establish the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns With the People's Republic of China, and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The resolution is considered read for amendment.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) each will control 30 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon).
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Today the Committee on Rules brings to the floor this resolution establishing a Select Committee of the House on United States National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns With the People's Republic of China.
Beginning in April of this year, Mr. Speaker, the New York Times has focused on the somewhat sordid history of the transfer of American satellite technology to Communist China. These press accounts have asserted, Mr. Speaker, that American national security has been severely damaged, and campaign contributions may have been a factor in the decisions made.
Mr. Speaker, there has been bipartisan commentary in this Congress and in our national public debate agreeing that there is a pressing need to get to the bottom of this matter that does affect the national security of our country.
The resolution before the House will establish a select committee to answer, among other things, did the transfer of technology contribute to the enhancement of the accuracy of nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missiles of the People's Republic of China, missiles that right this minute are aimed at the United States of America?
Did these transfers contribute to the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction by the People's Republic of China?
What effect did these transfers have on U.S. national security?
Was there any effort by the People's Republic of China or other person or entity to influence these matters through political contributions, commercial arrangements, or bribery, influence peddling or other illegal activities?
Keep in mind, Mr. Speaker, we ought to remember the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, because it may very well be involved in this situation here today.
Mr. Speaker, every Member of this House would agree that these are critical and serious questions which deserve to have truthful answers.
Mr. Speaker, this resolution is brought forward in a bipartisan spirit, a development which brings great credit I think to this House. I applaud the work of the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) sitting to my right, the proposed chairman of this select committee, and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks), again, one of the most respected and admired Members of this House, the proposed ranking member of the Select Committee.
These two honorable gentlemen worked out a package of bipartisan improvements to the legislation that I introduced several days ago, which the Committee on Rules was pleased to incorporate during the markup. We have taken all of their suggestions so that there is nothing controversial in this resolution before us right now.
Now, Mr. Speaker and Members, every American citizen is deeply concerned about nuclear proliferation around this world, whether it be in India, whether it be in Pakistan, in North Korea, in other rogue states like Iran, Iraq and Libya. Mr. Speaker, they are concerned that in the People's Republic of China, that in the last decade has been able to develop and now deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles, according to our estimates and that of the press, 13 of the 18 are aimed at the United States of America.
Mr. Speaker, as we all know, President Clinton is fond of defending his `commerce-at-any-cost' policy toward China by saying that he is merely continuing the policy of previous Republican Presidents. Mr. Speaker, last Tuesday we heard from Richard Allen, who knows a little bit about previous Republican policy. He was in the Nixon administration during the opening of China in 1972, whether that was right or wrong, and was National Security Adviser to President Reagan during the early years of his presidency.
Mr. Allen said that given today's changed context, and this is very, very important, given today's changed context, it is patently obvious to him that President Nixon or President Reagan or President Bush would have caused this policy to study the cumulative impact of these massive transfers of technology to a country like China.
Mr. Allen also offered this common-sense piece of wisdom that has so far eluded the Clinton administration. He said, quote, `If a policy does not work any longer, you reevaluate it, you adjust it according to those new circumstances.'
Also, and this is terribly, terribly important, we heard from Jim Woolsey, who was President Clinton's first CIA director. What I found stunning about his testimony, Mr. Speaker, was the array of different materials and technologies that we have recently begun selling to China. This was his testimony: `In addition to satellites, we are now giving China aircraft machine tools that can be used to construct military aircraft; we are giving them supercomputers that can be used to build and test nuclear weapons with more accuracy than they even have today. We are giving them high-temperature furnaces that also have nuclear uses. We are giving them encryption technology and cruise missile technology,' all of which is very ominous, Mr. Speaker, to the future of this country. This is absolutely incredible in light of what is going on in the world today with nuclear proliferation around this world.
Just 2 days ago a headline appeared noting that China not only continues to help Iran, but also Libya. Here is the article. This article is from the Washington Times and was repeated in the New York Times and in the Washington Post. It says, `China Assists Iran, Libya on Missile Sales.'
Mr. Speaker, Libya, as Members are well aware, has nuclear weapons programs, and the assistance continues after innumerable promises by the Chinese that they have stopped these transfers.
Mr. Speaker, another headline recently was that North Korea has thumbed its nose at the Clinton administration and at this country and said that it too would continue to export its military technology, much of which has been provided by China, to its rogue friends around the world.
Mr. Speaker, we know our technology transfer policies, our nonproliferation policies, and our overall China policies are bankrupt. They have to be changed. What we do not know, Mr. Speaker, at this point is exactly how we got into this mess and whether and how all of these developments are connected.
We also do not know the full extent of the national security damage done to the United States of America. And I pointed out, this is not just me standing here saying so, Mr. Speaker.
Here is a cartoon that appeared in a local newspaper and these are typical of cartoons appearing around the country. It is a picture of the White House and up in the corner it is President Clinton saying, `Relax, Hillary, I have convinced the Chinese to return the technology.' Well, Mr. Speaker, then there is a picture of an intercontinental ballistic missile; that is the technology that is being returned to the United States of America at the White House. That is how serious this matter is.
Mr. Speaker, all of these revelations that I have alluded to have appeared in mainstream press accounts across this country and, Mr. Speaker, at this point I insert in the Record a series of articles from the New York Times and other publications that document what we know so far.
Mr. Speaker, the House should heed the advice of former CIA Director Jim Woolsey who testified before the Committee on Rules that, quote, this is what he said, `I can think of no subject that more closely would require a careful and thorough investigation by a select committee of Congress, and I could think of few that would even be in the same league.' That is what the former CIA director said, that was appointed by President Clinton.
Mr. Speaker, I would urge all Members to support the creation of the Select Committee so that Americans can have some answers to the questions about the formulation of United States security policy with regard to Communist China.
Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss).
(Mr. GOSS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SOLOMON. 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 gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) and I had a discussion about an hour ago on the rule, and at that time I urged the gentleman to not engage in a public hanging before the facts are in. And I would repeat that at this point.
Mr. Speaker, it is a foregone conclusion that the House will vote today to create a new Select Committee to investigate the allegations that a U.S. company transferred sensitive technology to the People's Republic of China that could endanger national security and that campaign contributions played a role in obtaining the licenses necessary for U.S. companies to launch their satellites on Chinese missiles. I support the creation of the Select Committee. But I do so with some reservations.
Mr. Speaker, my reservations are shared by my Democratic colleagues on the Committee on Rules which has original jurisdiction to create this Select Committee. In our committee report minority views, we have laid out our concerns about the structure of the Select Committee and the decision-making process that is provided for by the enabling resolution.
We are heartened that the designated ranking minority member, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks) feels that he has reached an understanding with the designated chairman of the Select Committee on several matters that are vitally important to assuring that the Select Committee's work product is viewed as fair and that the rights of the minority have not been ignored.
However, Mr. Speaker, there are matters which I do feel compelled to bring to the attention of the House. The Committee on Rules majority states at the outset that they have used the Iran-Contra Select Committee as a model for this Select Committee. While this model bestows extraordinary powers on the chairman, Iran-Contra also stands as a model of bipartisan cooperation and the joint leadership of that committee acted jointly on all matters of procedural concern.
The Democratic members of the Committee on Rules hope that the model of bipartisanship on the Iran-Contra Select Committee holds true on this Select Committee.
Our fears of abuse, while tempered by the reputation for fairness of the designated chairman of the Select Committee, are based on the experience of the past year and a half. Granting unilateral powers to the chairman of such a serious investigation gives us serious concern, and we hope, for the sake of the integrity of this body and for the finding of truth in this matter, that the assurances that we have been given that the rights of the minority will be protected in this investigative process and that the minority will be consulted on all important matters coming before the Select Committee.
This happened during Iran-Contra, and if that Select Committee is to serve as a model for this one, we hope that the same level of bipartisan cooperation would exist over the course of this investigation.
Mr. Speaker, we are concerned about the unilateral subpoena power, unilateral deposition power, as well as the ability of the Select Committee to gain access to 10 years' worth of tax returns of individuals and entities under investigation by the Select Committee. We are concerned about how this information will be handled, and under what circumstances it will be released to the public.
These are all legitimate concerns, but we remain hopeful that the participants in this investigation will realize that if it is tainted by accusations of partisan high-handedness, that any findings and recommendations that may be made will be tainted as well.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, my Committee on Rules Democratic colleagues and I are particularly concerned about the breadth and scope of this investigation. This resolution rightfully empowers the Select Committee with the authority to make a full and complete inquiry into not just technology transfers which may have contributed to the enhancement of the offensive capabilities of the People's Republic of China and its effect on the national security concerns of the United States, but other issues relating to export policies and the influence of campaign contributions. These are legitimate areas of investigation, but I am concerned that the authorities granted in this resolution are so broad that the Select Committee could go on working well into the future.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the designated ranking member of the Select Committee, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks), has asked that the many other investigations now ongoing suspend their investigations of those matters under the jurisdiction of the Select Committee while it is in operation.
This is necessary, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that the Select Committee can get its work done and not find the need to go on ad infinitum, and I hope the other committees of the House will cooperate in this matter. We need to find out what has happened and the Select Committee needs to go on about its business and report back to the House as soon as possible.
Mr. Speaker, I support the creation of the Select Committee, but I do so with an important caveat: If this investigation wanders from the focus of determining the answers to the questions at hand and if some of my colleagues insist upon demagoguing this issue, they risk damaging not only the legitimacy of any of the findings of the committee, they risk damaging the integrity of this institution. I urge the Select Committee to ensure that its investigation is fair and thorough.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. FROST. I yield to the gentleman from New York.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the gentleman, because I know the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit) brought this up, worrying that this might go into another Congress and may run up costs of up to $5 million, I would just point out that the language speaks specifically for this Congress and this Congress only. It would take a further action by this body. So I wanted to call that to the attention of the gentleman.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, I appreciate the comments of the gentleman. There is an underlying question here which may well drive this investigation into the next Congress, which of course would have to be authorized by the next Congress. The underlying issue is the concern that the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon), who is the chairman of the Committee on Rules, has raised for many years about whether we ought to be doing any of this.
Of course, the gentleman who is the chairman of the committee has objected to and opposed the transfer of technology which began during Republican administrations. And my concern is that if this committee goes to the fundamental issue of whether we ought to be doing business with China, that is a bottomless pit and that is a matter that could go on for a very long time.
There are legitimate differences within the Republican Party on this issue, as there are legitimate differences within the Democratic Party on this issue. So there is the potential for this investigation, even though it must be renewed at the beginning of the next Congress, to go on for a very long time if we go into the underlying foreign policy question of whether we ought to be doing any business with China.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman would continue to yield, I think it might help to clarify. The gentleman is absolutely right. He and I were around during the Iran-Contra debate and I have here the final report of the Iran-Contra Committee. The last paragraph says, `The President cooperated,' and this is talking about President Reagan, `cooperated with the investigation. He did not assert executive privilege. He instructed all relevant agencies to produce their documents and witnesses, and he made extracts available.'
Mr. Speaker, I wanted to point out if we do get full bipartisan cooperation, I do not expect this to go any further because of the narrow scope.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, while the scope of the matter under discussion today is fairly narrow, the resolution itself is very broad. It is possible that this resolution could be used in a future Congress as a means for examining the entire foreign policy of the United States as it relates to China, regardless of whether there was any wrongdoing found by this investigation.
I only raise that cautionary flag, as I did in the Committee on Rules, because that is really a legitimate matter to be determined by our foreign policy committees of this Congress, perhaps even by our Select Committee on Intelligence, perhaps by our Committee on National Security, but not necessarily by this Select Committee. Because the gentleman and previous Republican Presidents have a philosophical difference on this issue, and I would hope this Select Committee does not go to that philosophical difference of whether we ought to be engaging China, but simply limits itself to the matters at hand which raise the question of whether there was improper conduct in terms of the implementation of that policy.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New Jersey (Mrs. Roukema), an outstanding veteran Member of this Congress from Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Mrs. ROUKEMA. Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) yielding me this time at this point in this debate.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this proposal. It is essential and timely. There is a compelling need for this committee. New evidence has come to light that against the recommendations of the Defense Department and the State Department, how conditions were waived and national security considerations were waived, and Loral Space and Communications transferred sensitive satellite and missile technology to China.
Mr. Speaker, I must also say that the technology, as we now know, allowed the Chinese to greatly improve their ballistic missile and guidance capability. We have recently learned about proliferation of nuclear weapons in India and Pakistan. That may or may not have any relationship. But in any case, the timeliness has been proven and these are important national security issues at hand.
But I must say we must put politics aside. As the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss) said during the earlier debate, this is not about fault-finding. I would therefore call upon all of us, Republicans, Democrats, to put politics aside and proceed with a strong interest and fairness to find the truth in this matter. The national security ramifications of this investigation are too important to become mired in politics.
Then I must feel compelled to say that I am so pleased that we have as chairman the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox). We all have utmost faith in the gentleman's ability to lead this investigation. He has the experience, he has the knowledge, and above all, he has the trust, based on that experience, of all of his colleagues because he is known as the essence of honesty, fairness and tact.
In conclusion, I want to be very clear. This is not about a real estate deal. We must, we must approve this and get on with the business of the security interests of our country.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Fazio).
Mr. FAZIO of California. Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed listening to the debate thus far where we have been asked on the one hand to put politics aside, and on the other hand we have heard the alarm sounded about all these terrible transgressions that have occurred supposedly in China. Prejudging the case as we create the jury system seems to be in vogue these days.
But Mr. Speaker, I support this resolution for a couple of reasons. One, I do not want to miss the opportunity to congratulate the Republicans on finally investigating something in the proper manner.
We have had 50 separate investigations in this Congress, 38 of them continuing. Not one of them has been brought to the floor in this manner so that all the Members could hear the evidence and decide whether they want to spend the public's money to conduct them. The rest of them are funded by the slush fund, we used to call it the Speaker's slush fund until we got a new Speaker. But it is really operated out of the Committee on House Oversight with a partisan majority and no input from the minority. They make the decisions as to whether or not we are going to pursue an investigation.
So I support this one because it is done at least intentionally in the right manner. I support the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks). I think they are honorable people.
I have confidence that, even though this may be somewhat too broad in its basic premise that the two of them working together as they have thus far will make sure that it does not go too far, does not really go from what I think is the consensus need we have in this institution to look at our policies in regard to technology transfer and exports to China.
There has been a lot of Clinton bashing, and I think unfortunately so. There has been a certain amount of unwarranted China bashing, the purple rhetoric I guess is expected in a campaign year.
But what is most important here is that we review American policy, policy that began with President Reagan, was implemented by President Bush, and this President. The same debates that we have had on export administration acts, on the armed services authorizations is occurring on this issue.
Those kinds of debates that we have had frequently on this floor the 20 years that the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) and I have served in this institution are the very subject that ought to be looked at by this Select Committee.
There is no question that we do have some policies that may need to be changed, but the implication that somehow we have acted here because of campaign funds flowing in one direction or another is I think a little bit hard to take from a Congress that refuses to even consider whether or not we are going to do away with soft money or reform the campaign finance system that we all, like it or not, have to live with.
I think this committee has been given the power to really move toward a solution to all the rhetorical debate that we have heard, some of which may really warrant policy changes.
I hope this committee's leadership will be given the membership that will focus on the details and on the issues that really need to be addressed and not the politics of election 1998. With that caveat, I support this effort and wish them well.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 7 minutes to the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks).
(Mr. DICKS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, for several months, no less than seven committees of the House of Representatives have been investigating issues relating to the transfer of technology between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
The resolution now before us would vest primary responsibility for the conduct of these inquiries in a select committee. Given the complex and contentious nature of these matters, many of which involve highly classified information, consolidating the current investigations in one committee with the authority to consider matters which cross jurisdictional lines is, in my judgment, appropriate.
The technology transfer matter raises important questions of national security. The House deserves to have these questions addressed in a manner which is thorough and which focuses on substance rather than seeking to maneuver for partisan advantage.
Based on my discussions as the perspective ranking Democrat over the past week with the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), prospective chairman of the Select Committee, I believe we share a commitment to make sure that the investigation is conducted, and the Select Committee operates, in a manner which brings credit to the House.
I want to commend the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) for his willingness to consider my views on ways in which the rights of the minority to participate in the work of the Select Committee can be better ensured. We have begun to forge the kind of working relationship which will increase the likelihood that H. Res. 463, the rules which the Select Committee will adopt, and the understandings which the two of us have reached and will reach are implemented fairly.
The Select Committee would have a limited amount of time to review some complex and potentially contentious issues. At this point, I believe the inquiry needs to examine the following matters:
First, the Select Committee must review the policy devised under President Reagan and continued in the Bush and Clinton administrations to permit U.S.-owned satellites to be launched on foreign rockets, particularly those of the People's Republic of China. Is this a sound policy which appropriately balances potential economic, technological, and national security risks and benefit for the United States?
In this context, we need to examine changes in that policy and its implementation over the past decade. We must also look at the proposed sale of satellites containing sophisticated communications equipment to the People's Republic of China.
The second matter arises from the failed launch of a satellite undertaken pursuant to that policy and concerns whether, in assisting the People's Republic of China in determining the causes of that failure, information harmful to the national security of the United States was transferred to the Chinese by representatives of U.S. companies.
I would note that any information transferred which might have had negative national security implications was apparently done without the approval or knowledge of Executive Branch officials.
Was there an enhancement of the reliability of the ballistic missiles of the People's Liberation Army as a result of these transfers; and if so, how did that happen? This is an area in which we must proceed carefully, because legal proceedings are under way, but I believe the American people deserve as clear a determination as possible on the national security implications of these transfers.
The fact that the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency apparently reached different conclusions on this question underscores the difficulty of the Select Committee's task.
Finally, the Select Committee must examine whether money flowed into the political process in the United States from either domestic or foreign sources in an effort to influence Federal decisions on technology transfers. Were any decisions made to benefit a company, whether it be Loral or any other firm, because of campaign contributions? In this matter, as well, pending legal proceedings may affect our work.
As I noted, the Select Committee would have a relatively short life, and there is much to do. If it is the will of the House that a Select Committee be formed to conduct this inquiry, I would hope that the permanent committees which have had aspects of these matters under investigation will follow precedent and defer to the new committee.
It will not assist the Select Committee, nor will it justify the considerable amount of taxpayer funds to be authorized for this effort if it is to be but one of many investigations of these matters involving the same documents and the same witnesses. I hope the Select Committee can get the cooperation of the House in this area and in all others which may affect its ability to do its job.
Mr. Speaker, I urge the adoption of this resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to enter into a colloquy with the distinguished chairman designee of the committee.
To the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), in the discussion of section 7, `Procedures for Handling Information,' the Committee on Rules' report on H. Res. 463 makes clear that classified information may be disclosed publicly only pursuant to a vote of the Select Committee. Section 7, however, discusses the making public of any information in the Select Committee's possession, not only classified information.
Is it the gentleman's interpretation of section 7 that the Select Committee will vote to disclose publicly any information whether the information is classified or unclassified?
Mr. COX of California. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from California.
Mr. COX of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me. That interpretation is the correct interpretation. As the gentleman knows, that section of this resolution, section 7, is taken essentially verbatim from the rules of the House concerning the procedures for the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of which the gentleman is the ranking member. Our procedure on the Select Committee will be the same as it is on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. DICKS. I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) for that answer. In its discussion of section 10 of H. Res. 463, `Tax Returns,' the report of the Committee on Rules notes the committee's intention that the authority granted by section 10 extends to the Select Committee `acting collegially.'
Is it the gentleman's interpretation of sections 10 and 4 of the resolution that the act of `naming' an individual or entity under section 10 for purpose of inspecting and receiving tax information about that individual or entity shall be done pursuant to a vote of the committee?
Mr. COX of California. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield to me?
Mr. DICKS. I yield to the gentleman from California.
Mr. COX of California. Mr. Speaker, that is, again, the correct interpretation. As the gentleman and I have discussed privately, this is a very important power that the Select Committee will possess. It should be used sparingly, not only after a vote, but after consultation and I would hope deliberation not only of the chairman and ranking member but all of our members.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I would also say, as the prospective ranking Democrat on this select committee if the House approves this resolution, we will be very careful and judicious about the use of this authority.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado Springs, Colorado (Mr. Hefley), one of the most knowledgeable Members of this House on national security and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Installations and Facilities.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. As a member of the Committee on National Security, I believe it is imperative that we form this investigative committee. We need to find out whether or not America's national security has been or is being harmed by current policies which govern the transfer of dual-use missile and satellite technology to China.
Presently, the Committee on National Security and the Committee on International Relations are holding a joint hearing on this very subject. One thing we are consistently being told by the Clinton administration officials is that the current policies are no different than the policies under President Reagan and President Bush. Mr. Speaker, that is simply not true.
Under Presidents Reagan and Bush, all military sensitive technology was licensed by the State Department. This licensing authority was further backed up by the veto power granted to the Department of Defense if they felt our national security could be compromised by a particular transfer.
Under President Clinton, the licensing authority has been taken away from the State Department and given to the Department of Commerce. The Commerce Department's goal is to promote business, not to protect national security. Additionally, the veto power of the Department of Defense has been removed. Clearly, economic and commercial benefits have become the most important factor in this administration's licensing determinations.
But all of that aside, that is not why I support this resolution. This committee is not to serve as a political witch-hunt, but instead a bipartisan investigation into whether or not we should be more worried about our national security today than we were yesterday.
We are dealing with the only Communist country in the world with nuclear capability. I urge the support of all Members on this resolution, because we are talking about the safety of our Nation. We are talking about the safety of our families.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Foley). The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) has 11 minutes remaining. The gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) has 17 minutes remaining.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Edwards).
Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, four years ago now, Speaker Newt Gingrich said this as quoted in the Washington Post, `Clinton Democrats should be portrayed as, quote, the enemy of normal Americans.' He then goes on to say, `Republicans will use the subpoena power to investigate the administration.'
Some 4 years later, 50 investigations later in this House, some $17 million later of taxpayers' money, recently in the Congressional Quarterly, a senior Republican leadership aide was quoted as saying this, `It has been very expensive, and it has not amounted to much.'
In light of the use of taxpayer dollars and duplicative and, in many cases, dead-end investigations, my original intent would be not to support with taxpayers' money one more investigation. But I think, because of the quality of the leadership of this committee and because of the importance of this issue, many of us, if not all of us, in this House want to support this resolution.
But I must express one reservation. I would imagine what an appeals court would say in reviewing a previous judge's decision in a case if, in the first statement in that court, the judge stood up and said in reference to the defendant in the case, talked about his sordid history, sordid history. Those were the words used in the very first statement by the gentleman from New York, the chairman of the Committee on Rules, in opening up what I thought was intended to be an investigation to get the facts first and then make the judgment what those facts can be concluded to say.
I would hope that perhaps I misunderstood, and I would be very happy to yield time to the distinguished chairman of the committee. I hope perhaps I misunderstood the context of his statement.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. EDWARDS. I yield to the gentleman from New York.
Mr. SOLOMON. Since 1988, under Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton, I have opposed this policy. So there is no politics involved.
Mr. EDWARDS. So, to clarify for the record, the reference to `sordid history' refers to multiple administrations' policy in regard to technology transfer to China, and those remarks were not focused on this administration's particular actions that we are supposed to be reviewing in this matter?
I think this is an important point. If the first statement on the floor of this House is to say we are now going to review the sordid history of the person we are supposed to be investigating before we draw a conclusion, then a reasonable person in or out of this House must conclude that perhaps this will be somewhat like the Burton investigation, where the chairman of the committee was quoted as saying he wants to `get' the President before he has even concluded the investigation.
Again, I would hope to work with the distinguished chairman and others in reviewing all of the facts, listening to the committee before we determine whether this administration has been part of a sordid history or not. And, again, perhaps the chairman could better put in context the meaning of those words. I think that would be helpful to get this investigation started on a bipartisan, objective basis.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds to say to the gentleman, I do not know of any previous administrations where there were sordid facts, as far as companies like Loral that were involved. This is what we were referring to, that we want to get to the bottom of it; which has nothing to do with administration politics.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Dallas, Texas (Mr. Sam Johnson), a very distinguished Member and former prisoner of war for 7 long years, and a great American.
(Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, according to this administration, the President's trip to China next week marks a new high in U.S.-China relations. I am not sure that is true. The national security of this Nation is at serious risk today due to actions taken by this President and his administration regarding missile technology transfers. It is not a reason for celebration. It is not a high point.
The transfer of U.S. missile technology to China, with the direct approval of the Clinton administration, raises some rather significant questions:
One, why the authority over the waiver program was shifted from State to Commerce; two, why an American company was granted a second launch waiver when it was already being investigated by the Justice Department; three, why the Clinton administration tried to shield China from sanctions; and finally, what military benefit did China gain as a result of that technology transfer?
Mr. Speaker, today we have the opportunity to set up a committee that will search for the honest answers, and I think the honest answers are going to be forthcoming. We have a minority leader and our own majority chairman that are going to get the answers, for our national security is not a partisan issue.
I urge my colleagues to demand the truth and support this resolution today.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Edwards).
Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, following up with my exchange with the chairman of the Committee on Rules, it seems to me that one of the serious subjects of discussion and review of facts for this committee is, what was the role of the Loral Corporation in this process.
The chairman of the Committee on Rules, on the floor of the House in response to my question, referred to Loral's sordid history and its involvement in this process. Once again, I would point out that for a judge, or one of the judges, in this basically being a court case or investigation, to say in the very first remarks that there has been a sordid history of involvement by one of the groups being reviewed by this investigation seems to me to be drawing conclusions before we get the facts. It seems to me to sound more like the Burton committee, which had a chairman that wanted to draw the conclusions before he even had the hearing.
So, in the midst of this discussion, my intent is not to question the motives of the chairman of the Committee on Rules; my intent is to try to start out this process on a bipartisan, objective, fair basis. And I hope the distinguished gentleman would make clear what he means by referring to the `sordid history' of Loral or any others in this case.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to quote from my opening statement. It says, `Beginning in April of this year, the New York Times has focused on `the somewhat sordid history,' repeating exactly what they say. The gentleman should read the newspapers.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Traficant), a very admired Member of the other side of the body, and I wish I had more time to yield to him.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute. The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Traficant).
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Foley). The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Traficant) is recognized for 2 minutes.
Mr. TRAFICANT. Mr. Speaker, I thought I would just rise to tell it exactly like it is.
Last week North Korea threatened Uncle Sam. I want to quote what North Korea said. They said they will not only continue to build ballistic missiles, but they will sell ballistic missiles to the enemies of Uncle Sam or to whomever they choose. And if Uncle Sam does not like it, they can compensate us for it. They can compensate us; that is unbelievable.
Intelligence sources said North Korea is taking this bold stand because they see the way China and Communists are being treated around the globe, and that there is a weakening of resolve in Washington.
Now, there is nobody that opposed Reagan's economic policies more than I, maybe right or wrong. But one thing about Ronald Reagan, North Korea would have never made that threat to Ronald Reagan. Never. And Ronald Reagan was firm in his resolve about Communists. But if Communist China can get $50-plus billion a year in trade surpluses, get free missile technology, have access to the Lincoln bedroom, why cannot all the other Communists do it? In fact, why cannot communism make a comeback, colleagues?
It is time to question the White House. We have put China on the back page because of Monica. Let me tell my colleagues, the time now is to look at China. What did they do, and did they attempt to influence our national security? I do not think President Clinton sold our country out, but I believe they have been damn casual with China and with Communists.
And I would just like to say that we have had brave military that gave their lives fighting in foreign wars to defeat communism and to secure America. And I will be damned if I am going to be a part of any situation that is going to weaken or threaten our national security because of some political partisanship here. We should investigate and find the truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Because I will tell my colleagues what, it sounds awfully stinky to me.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I would ask about the remaining time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) has 6 minutes remaining, and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) has 13 1/2 minutes remaining.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Jacksonville, Florida (Mrs. Tillie Fowler), a member of the Committee on National Security, who is so very knowledgeable about this issue.
Mrs. FOWLER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. As a member of the House Committee on National Security, I cannot overstate the significance of the mission we are undertaking with the creation of this Select Committee.
More than 1 year ago, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Henry Hyde) and I wrote to the Attorney General, asking her to investigate the loosening of export controls on a host of sensitive dual-use equipment and technology.
We asked the Attorney General to investigate the questionable decision to allow McDonnell Douglas to sell sophisticated machine tools to the PRC. Just last week `60 Minutes' reported that those machines have ended up in a Chinese Silkworm missile plant.
The Loral incident is what has brought us to this point today, and for good reason. According to press reports, the Defense Technology Security Administration concluded that, `United States national security has been harmed.' And an April 9th, 1996, Air Force Intelligence report reached a similar conclusion.
Clearly, the questionable actions of both Loral and the administration have serious implications for our national security. But so do the questions surrounding transfers of sophisticated machine tools, supercomputers, hot section technology and telecommunications technology.
The Select Committee we are creating today faces a daunting but critical task. In a nutshell, it must answer the question: Did the United States provide technology to China that will benefit its military? And, if so, why did this administration allow it to happen?
I urge my colleagues to vote `yes' on the resolution so that the American people can find out the answers to these questions.
Mr. Speaker, the letter to the Attorney General referred to earlier is provided for the Record as follows:
May 22, 1997.
Hon. Janet Reno,
U.S. Department of Justice,
Dear General Reno: We are writing to request that the Justice Department's investigation of alleged illegal foreign campaign contributions to the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee include an investigation of the possible link between contributions from various Asian donors and the Clinton Administration's loosening of export controls on sensitive dual-use equipment and technology, which has specifically benefited the military and intelligence services of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
The PRC makes no secret of the fact that it is attempting to acquire a diverse, highly flexible, strategically dispersed and survivable military production capability, with force projection a key goal. The administration's pattern of decontrol and failure to enforce existing law with regard to both export procedures and punitive sanctions has substantially benefited the military goals of the People's Republic of China and presented serious new challenges to the security interests of the United States.
In our minds, there are a number of cases that raise serious questions about whether improper outside influence was brought to bear on Administration officials--including the President--and if that influence has resulted in decisions and policies that have liberalized the transfer of defense-related technologies, something which is clearly incompatible with the interest of our nation.
Sales of sophisticated machine tools to the PRC: A U.S. company, McDonnell Douglas, was allowed to ship an almost complete intact missile and strategic bomber factory to the PRC, despite strong opposition from specialists at the Department of Defense and evidence that the equipment was going to be diverted to military production facilities. Prior to the issuance of the original export licenses, the case was discussed with concern at the highest levels of the government, yet it was approved in the end.
News stories and a GAO report requested by the House National Security Committee (HNSC) all show that before the equipment was shipped, U.S. officials were aware that the conditions placed upon issuance of the export licenses were unenforceable, and that the Chinese possibly intended to divert the equipment they had purchased for civilian use to a military production facility.
During the period immediately before the sale--and before the export licenses had been approved--McDonnell Douglas officials showed officials from CATIC (China National Aero-Technology Import-Export Corporation) through the plant during operating hours, allowing them to videotape classified production lines in operation--a violation of current export law, which was brought to the attention of Administration officials and ignored.
Finally, once it was determined that the diversion had occurred, political appointees at the Departments of Commerce and Defense approved new licenses with different end-use conditions and destinations rather than expressing displeasure with the Chinese or exercising their legal obligation to sanction the PRC.
While aspects of this case are now under review by a grand jury in the District of Columbia, it is imperative that this matter receive full scrutiny in the context of the Justice Department's investigation of campaign finance improprieties.
Supercomputers: The extraordinary loosening of controls on militarily-sensitive supercomputers, which began in 1994, has resulted in the sale of 46 supercomputers rated at 2,000 MTOPS and above to China in the last 15 months. According to a former Under Secretary of Defense who testified before the HNSC Procurement Subcommittee, these sales may have given the PRC more supercomputing capacity than the entire Department of Defense. Uses for supercomputers include: design and testing of nuclear weapons; sophisticated weather forecasting; weapons optimization studies crucial for the efficient use of chemical and biological weapons; aerospace design and testing; creating and breaking codes; miniaturizing nuclear weapons, and finding objects on the ocean floor, including submarines.
The decision to loosen U.S. controls on supercomputers was made in spite of the opposition of a number of Defense Department staff experts, senior military and intelligence officials, and Members of Congress. It was justified by a report commissioned and paid for by the Department of Commerce using outside consultants supplied by political appointees at the Department of Defense. The contract for the report was awarded noncompetitively to a well-known opponent of export controls. Viewed in the context of recent revelations about Chinese efforts to influence the U.S. political scene, the significant policy changes that have been pursued in this area bring into question the Administration's motives for decontrol.
Hot Section Technology: The Administration's decision to change the jurisdiction on so-called `hot section' technology from the Department of State, which had guarded it jealously, to the Department of Commerce, which is in the business of making it easier for foreign entities to purchase U.S. products and technology also raises serious concerns. Hot section technology allows U.S. fighter and bomber aircraft to fly for thousands of hours longer than those produced by less sophisticated manufacturers, providing our military forces with significant cost and readiness advantages over those of other nations. Again, serious questions arise with respect to policy changes in light of Chinese efforts to influence Administration actions.
Telecommunications: In 1994, sophisticated telecommunications technology was transferred to a U.S.-Chinese joint venture called Hua Mei, in which the Chinese partner is an entity controlled by the Chinese military. This particular transfer included fiber optic communications equipment which is used for high-speed, secure communications over long distances. Also included in the package was advanced encryption software.
Both of these transfers have obvious and significant military applications, and, again, this transfer was accomplished despite opposition from technical experts at the NSA and within the Pentagon.
The administration's actions in the above-mentioned cases, and others, have resulted in a significant increase in indigenous Chinese military production capabilities. Given China's willingness to sell weapons and technology to the highest bidder--including rogue nations such as Iran, Iraq, and Libya--these transfers could represent a profound threat to U.S. military personnel. Moreover, the increased capabilities that China has gained portend a regional arms race and increase the possibility of conflict in a region ion which the United States has major interests.
Under the circumstances, if flies in the face of common sense for us to provide the PRC with the means to achieve their military and strategic goals. The administration's decision seem very suspect to us, and we strongly believe they should be investigated.
In closing, we would note that this letter does not reflect a change in our belief that a special counsel should be appointed to investigate allegations of improper fund-raising and campaign contributions, but rather an acknowledgement of the investigation as it presently exists.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. We look forward to your timely response.
Tillie K. Fowler,
Committee on National Security.
Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is vitally important that this matter be approached on a bipartisan and objective basis. The two people who are involved, the designated chair and the designated ranking minority member, clearly are fair-minded and will proceed in a reasonable and forthright manner. I would urge other Members on the other side of the aisle to give the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks) the opportunity to conduct a fair and bipartisan examination into these vital questions.
We will support this resolution. We would urge that this investigation be done promptly and fairly and in a bipartisan manner.
Mr. Speaker, I have concluded my remarks. I urge adoption of the resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to, first of all, just concur in exactly what the gentleman from Texas has just said.
Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) to conclude for the majority. We have heard a lot of praise heaped on this gentleman. I only wish I had his demeanor and his calmness in the way that he approaches measures on this floor. He would make a great Supreme Court Justice some day, as well as a great Congressman.
Mr. COX of California. Mr. Speaker, I certainly thank the chairman of the Committee on Rules for those generous comments and, obviously, all of us being in politics here know that at this point I should sit down, because never will people say nice things like this about me again and I am enjoying the opportunity.
But I want to begin by saying exactly the same kinds of things about my colleagues who have brought us to this point, the threshold of investigating in exactly the right way a very serious matter. In particular, the ranking member on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks), with whom it has been my pleasure to work for the last several days in a very serious and urgent way; and, as well, the minority leader of the House, who made this his priority, exactly as did the Speaker of the House.
As a consequence, I can thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost), who has conducted the debate on the minority side today, for his recommendation of an `aye' vote. And I can thank my colleagues for what I believe is the collective and considered wisdom of the House in proceeding in this way.
Much of what we will undertake, much of what we will look at in this Select Committee will be secret information, and we will keep it to ourselves. Much of the reason that we are here, frankly, rests upon classified information. But the reason that we are here is also largely a matter of public record, and so what I would like to do now is begin with what is publicly known about why it is important for us to proceed in this way with this Select Committee.
In 1996, the People's Republic of China's Long March rocket, carrying a Loral satellite, exploded shortly after lift-off. It was at least the fifth Long March rocket to fail in the last 7 years. On April 4th, 1998, the New York Times, in a story by Jeff Gerth, first reported that a Federal grand jury was investigating whether, during the investigation of that 1996 launch failure, Loral and Hughes provided any information to the Chinese People's Liberation Army without the necessary State Department approval, and whether such illegal actions may have advanced the Chinese People's Liberation Army nuclear missile capabilities.
According to the April 4 New York Times article, since this proposed export could involve the transfer of the same kind of expertise that prompted the Justice Department to investigate in the first place, some Clinton administration officials claimed that the February waiver undermined the investigation.
The Justice Department made these very concerns known to the White House prior to the February 1998 waiver.
On April 5, 1998, Ronald Ostrow and Jim Mann reported in the Los Angeles Times that missile guidance technology transferred to the People's Liberation Army may have gone beyond China's own nuclear arsenal. They quoted a Defense Department official, who stated, `Guidance for missiles seems to be a critical factor for Iran and North Korea. And they are getting it from China.'
On April 13, the New York Times reported further that in May 1997, the Pentagon issued a classified report which concluded that Loral and Hughes provided information that `significantly improved China's nuclear missile capabilities.'
The New York Times reported on May 15, 1998, that a Chinese military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Liu Chao-Ying, funneled nearly $300,000 to Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung. Lieutenant Colonel Liu is an officer of China Aerospace, a state-owned company directly involved in China's satellite launching program. Lieutenant Colonel Liu was previously an officer of China Great Wall Industries, the manufacturers and sellers of M-11 missiles components to Pakistan.
On May 23, the New York Times reported that on February 18, 1998, while the Justice Department investigation of Loral was ongoing, President Clinton issued another waiver for Loral to export a satellite to China.
On June 1, 1998, the New York Times reported that the State Department also advised the White House prior to the February 1998 waiver that Loral's actions in 1996 appeared to be `criminal' and `knowing' and that U.S. law might prohibit satellite exports to the People's Republic of China in any event due to the PRC's transfer of missile technology to Iran.
The June 1 article also reported that the administration was aware of the Defense Department's concerns over possibly aiding the People's Liberation Army's nuclear missile program, citing a February 12 memorandum to the President from National Security Adviser Samuel Berger.
Also, according to the June 1 article, and again citing internal White House and State Department memoranda, National Security Adviser Berger and the President were made aware of the fact that Loral stood to lose the contract and to incur a financial penalty if the waiver were not granted soon.
The waiver was issued shortly after the supposed deadline. The launch project was kept on schedule for November 1998, and Loral did not incur any penalties from the Communist Chinese Government.
The press has also reported that the CEO of Loral, Bernard Schwartz, has become a close personal friend of the President and was the largest single donor to the Democratic Party in 1996.
On June 10, the General Accounting Office testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that President Clinton's March 14, 1996, decision to transfer ultimate control of satellite exports from the State Department to the Commerce Department diminished the ability of the Defense Department to block satellite exports for national security reasons.
Until that 1996 decision by the President, the Department of Defense was routinely deferred to by the Department of State and national security was paramount when waivers were sought. Now, however, the Commerce Department, whose mission it is to promote exports, is the agency in control.
In testimony before the House Committee on National Security in November of 1997, Commerce Department official William Reinsch acknowledged that while some 47 supercomputers have been sold to the People's Republic of China, the United States Government was unaware of their whereabouts. These supercomputers may be used for, among other purposes, simulating testing of nuclear weapons.
60 minutes, on CBS, reported on June 7, 1998, that the People's Liberation Army illegally diverted enormous McDonnell Douglas aeronautics machine tools, approaching the length of a football field, for use in People's Liberation Army military aircraft production. McDonnell Douglas is now the subject of a grand jury investigation of the diversion.
All of these media reports give rise to a number of unanswered questions that will be the object of the Select Committee's focus. There is no more important question before the Select Committee than the one with which we will begin. `Has the reliability or accuracy of nuclear missiles in the arsenal of the People's Liberation Army been enhanced; and, if so, how did this happen?'
I agree with all those who have spoken that this Select Committee is the most effective means to inquire into these matters. There are some 8 committees of the House of Representatives, with nearly 300 members, that properly have jurisdiction over these committees. Consolidating this investigation into a Select Committee whose members have been chosen by the Speaker of the House and by the minority leader, who are expert in the matter, who can consult collegially with one another, and who can maintain discretion and confidentiality, will reflect credit upon this House.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution, to support the creation of the Select Committee, and to answer this serious question in the serious manner that it deserves.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman).
(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New York for yielding.
I rise in strong support of this measure to establish a Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns of the People's Republic of China. I commend the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) for his statement.
I want my colleagues to know, we have just concluded 2 days of extensive hearings on this measure, which underscores the importance of moving ahead with the Select Committee. I urge my colleagues to support the measure.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Foley). Pursuant to House Resolution 476, the previous question is ordered on the resolution, as amended.
The question is on the resolution, as amended.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. SOLOMON. 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 SPEAKER (during the voting). The Chair will remind Members that it is their responsibility to be in the Chamber when a vote is underway.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 409, nays 10, not voting 14, as follows:
Mr. OBERSTAR, Mr. NADLER and Ms. FURSE changed their vote from `yea' to `nay.'
Ms. CARSON changed her vote from `nay' to `yea.'
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.