Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 476 and ask for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gillmor). The gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon) is recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, for the purposes of debate only, I yield 30 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost), pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. Of course, during consideration of the resolution all time yielded is for debate purposes only.
Mr. Speaker, this resolution is a rule providing for consideration of House Resolution 463 to establish the Select Committee on United States National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China.
This rule provides 1 hour of debate on the resolution, divided equally between the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Rules. And right now, that is being filled in by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost).
The rule provides that the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the Committee on Rules now printed in the resolution shall be considered as adopted. The rule further provides that the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the resolution.
Mr. Speaker, this rule passed by voice vote in the Committee on Rules, as did the underlying resolution, and I would hope that we can dispense with the rule expeditiously and proceed with the debate on the resolution itself.
Mr. Speaker, the debate over the next several hours will revolve around one question and that question is how seriously do we in the House take the national security of the United States?
This Select Committee proposed to be created by this resolution will address an issue over which I have had many concerns for at least a decade, and that is the transfer of technology which has military value to Communist China.
I have opposed this policy since it began during the Reagan administration under my hero, Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the Challenger disaster. But until recently, my differences with Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton have been strictly policy differences. And naturally people can disagree.
Now, over the past few months, we have seen startling revolutions that have brought us to this unfortunate point where we need this Select Committee to sort out what appears to be both a national security fiasco threatening the very security of this Nation of ours and our American citizens, and of course, a potential scandal. I will elaborate on and document those revelations during the next debate after we finish this rule.
Mr. Speaker, it suffices to say that we now know that the United States' national security has been harmed and indeed it has been breached by this policy. And that despite knowing this, and despite a Justice Department investigation of the Loral Company's actions vis-a-vis China, the Clinton administration allowed this policy to continue in February by granting a waiver to Loral to export yet another satellite to China. My colleagues ought to pay attention to this and just how important that is.
We also know that Loral has connections to the White House and that a Chinese military officer, listen to this, a Chinese military officer involved in the satellite launch business in China attempted to buy influence with the United States Government. That is reported in every newspaper across this country. The New York Times, the Washington Post, all newspapers.
Mr. Speaker, also in the next debate I will elaborate on some testimony we heard in the Committee on Rules last night from Jim Woolsey, who is President Clinton's first CIA director, now retired. Members are going to be shocked at what we are giving to the Chinese in the name of business, or should I say `business as usual.'
The bottom line is that our technology store is open and the Chinese have been buying it. They have been buying the future security of this Nation. We need to find out how and why this happened and what damage has been done to this country. Is this simply a policy failure of massive proportions or is there more to it?
This is what we have to consider in this legislation. Mr. Speaker, the subject matter of this inquiry is of such grave importance that it warrants treatment outside the existing committee system which continues to serve this House well.
But there are eight standing committees involved with some 295 Members. You would never be able to get to the bottom of this if you left it up to each individual standing committee. There is no way that we could perform. That is why the need for this Select Committee that we propose to establish here today.
The proposed resolution defines the scope of the inquiry and it sets forth the methods, the procedures, and the budgetary components of the Select Committee's work. The resolution does not represent an open-ended commitment. The Select Committee must wrap up its work by the end of the 105th Congress and report to the House.
That, again, Mr. Speaker, is one of the reasons for forming this Select Committee now. We all know that, after next week, the House will break and go home for a work period over the 4th of July for a couple of weeks. We will then come back and work the remainder of July. Then after the first week in August, we will be off, back in the district again. When we return after Labor Day, there will be about 1 month left before Members have to return to their districts to finish their campaign for reelection or election this coming November.
Mr. Speaker, I urge Members to support the rule so we can get on with the debate and on whether we should create a special panel to answer what I think are very, very alarming questions. Every other Member should think so, too.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, we are here today to establish a Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China.
A variety of allegations about our relations with China have surfaced in the press in recent months. These include the illegal transfer of missile technology to China by an American company, a substantial campaign contribution to the Democratic National Committee from a Chinese military officer through an intermediary, and the question of the effect of the political contributions by the CEO of an American company which manufactures satellites launched on Chinese missiles.
At this stage, these are allegations and not proven fact. The purpose of this Select Committee is to determine the facts to the extent that this is possible. There are some Members on the other side of the aisle who would presume that every allegation ever printed or ever aired by the media is true. To do so does injustice to our colleagues who will serve on this committee and to the individuals whose names have appeared in the American press.
The Democratic National Committee denied that it ever knew any funds received by it came from a Chinese military official and returned the funds promptly. The Justice Department has an ongoing investigation into the question of the possible illegal transfer of missile technology by the Loral Corporation and has not yet reached a conclusion.
Mr. Speaker, the entire practice of licensing the export of satellites, manufactured by several U.S. companies, to be launched on Chinese missiles was initiated in the Reagan administration and was implemented and continued during the Bush administration. I would like to make perfectly clear that this practice did not originate in the Clinton administration, although the manner in which sanctions waivers had been granted is a legitimate matter for investigation.
Further, Mr. Speaker, the CEO of Loral, Bernard Schwartz, who has made substantial contributions to the Democratic party has denied that there was ever any quid pro quo for contributions for sanctions waivers involved.
On all these matters, Mr. Speaker, we should not presume a conclusion before the Select Committee has been authorized, its members named, and before it ever meets.
Clearly, there is a valid reason for the establishment of this committee. We need to get to the bottom of all these questions. Hopefully, it will be done in an objective and fair manner and will not become a partisan witch-hunt.
Mr. Speaker, I am particularly concerned that the mandate of this Select Committee is very broad, and I intend to discuss this issue when we debate the resolution creating the Select Committee. I am concerned as well about some of the unilateral authorities that have been granted to the chairman of the Select Committee.
But right now, we are considering the rule for debate on the resolution creating the Select Committee. I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will refrain from engaging in a public hanging of anyone involved in this very important matter until such time as a Select Committee has met and made its findings and recommendations to the House.
Mr. Speaker, while I support this closed rule, I note that my Republican colleagues chose not to allow for the consideration of a very sensible amendment relating to the funding of the Select Committee which was proposed by the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit). Consequently, it is my intention to oppose the previous question in order that I might be able to offer a substitute rule which would make the Condit amendment in order.
That being said, Mr. Speaker, I have confidence that the designated chairman of this Select Committee, the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), and his designated ranking member, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks), will conduct themselves and the proceedings of this Select Committee with the greatest degree of integrity and bipartisan spirit.
They are both known as faithful to the principles of the political parties to which they belong, but more importantly, they are known for their fairness and their ability to work for the best interests of our great Nation.
Mr. Speaker, as I have said, the Democratic members of the Committee on Rules, based on what has happened in the House during the past year and a half have a number of concerns about the provisions of H. Res. 463. I will address those concerns when we begin the debate on that resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume just to briefly comment on what was said by my good friend, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost).
The gentleman mentioned something about a public hanging, and let me assure him and everyone else there will not be any public hanging from this side of the aisle on this matter. This is an extremely important matter.
I think what we need to be concerned about are cartoons like this one that are appearing across this Nation. It is a picture of the White House, and it has a slogan here that says: `Relax, Hillary. I have convinced the Chinese to return the technology.' The return of the technology is an intercontinental ballistic missile, one of 13 that the Communist Chinese have today of 18 that they have aimed at the United States of America.
That is how serious this whole debate is. I for one will not try to hang anybody here today, especially since we have gone to great lengths with the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), who will speak in a few minutes, and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks); I do not see him over there, but both of these gentlemen are two of the most respected and admired Members of this body.
They are not partisan Members. Certainly, they are excellent selections by the majority, by Speaker Gingrich, and by the minority leader, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Gephardt) to head up this committee on this vital, vital issue.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the former mayor of Charlotte, the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Mrs. Myrick), a very important and distinguished member of the Committee on Rules.
Mrs. MYRICK. Mr. Speaker, in the past month, we have learned that the President may have turned a blind eye to an issue that caused harm to our national security by helping the Chinese improve their ballistic missiles. We have also learned that he may have ignored the Secretary of State and the Director of the CIA and the Pentagon. Also, the President may have accepted campaign donations from the Chinese Red Army at the same time he changed the U.S. policy to benefit China's missile program.
Mr. Speaker, there may be an innocent explanation for this chain of events, but the American people have not heard it yet. These are serious matters, because China has 13 missiles aimed at U.S. cities. It would be shocking if this is the problem that we believe it is with national security.
So far, the administration has avoided answering even the most basic questions about its China policy. So today the House will take the bipartisan and necessary step of creating a Select Committee to look into these matters.
I hope and pray we will simply discover an unfortunate set of circumstances that involves no illegality. But both Republicans and Democrats in this body recognize that these national security questions deserve a careful look from a serious, bipartisan panel. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution to create a Select Committee on China.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks).
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today just to make a few brief comments. The gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Gephardt) asked me to be the ranking Democratic member on the Select Committee.
I have had a chance over the last couple of days to sit down with the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), who is going to be the chairman of this endeavor, and I basically support what we are doing. I think there are serious questions that need to be investigated, and we need to have the facts.
I would ask all of my colleagues to try to see if we cannot lower the rhetoric on this subject. This is not a policy that started under the Clinton administration. As the chairman of the Committee on Rules appropriately pointed out the other day in the Committee when we were discussing this resolution, this policy started under Ronald Reagan and was continued by George Bush and by Bill Clinton.
Both President Bush and President Clinton granted a number of waivers to allow our commercial satellites to be launched on Chinese boosters. I know much has been made about the question of whether there was some improvement in the overall military capability of the Chinese. Let me remind the House that the Chinese Communists possess only a handful of nuclear weapons aimed at the United States. Obviously we worry about that. It is their effort to have a strategic deterrent.
I would remind my colleagues that we still have 18 Trident submarines and 700 land-based missiles. We have the B-2 bomber and the B-1 bomber, which are capable of delivering nuclear weapons. So I find the idea that somehow the People's Republic of China has gained some military superiority over the United States as a result of these transfers not to be accurate.
What I hope we can do is to lower the rhetoric and get at the facts. Let us look at the facts and find out what happened. The administration has said that they made these decisions without any concern about political contributions. We will need to look at that.
We also need to see what the People's Republic of China has been up to. There are some concerns about that. We also need to look at this policy. Today, on the front page of the New York Times, there is a story that the administration is now reviewing a sale of commercial satellites that is to be made to the People's Republic of China. This is different from our policy of allowing Chinese launchers to be used to launch US-owned satellites.
This is another, and I think a very serious issue. I hope that, out of this, we will go back and look at our policy. Is our policy correct? Is the policy that President Reagan started and Bush and Clinton have continued the right policy for the United States? I think that is the most important issue. We may want to revisit that. I think that is certainly something that we will look into in this investigation.
I want to thank the chairman of the Committee on Rules and my Democratic friends on our side of the Committee for all the work that they have done to try and help and cooperate. I feel very sorry for my good friend and colleague the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit) because his amendment was not made in order. He is going to speak on that.
I would say one final thing. Some people use the Iran contra model as the way we should proceed. Remember, in the Iran contra model, once the Select Committee was created, all other investigations in other committees stopped.
We have too many committees now looking into this subject. I hope once we create this Select Committee which will have outstanding Members who are going to do a highly professional job, the House will let the Select Committee do its job. That is why I share the concern that we may be spending too much money on too many different investigations. Let us do one and do it well and do it in a way that will be of use to the House and of use to the American people.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
Mr. Speaker, I urged at the beginning of the consideration of this resolution that people on the other side not engage in any public hanging at this point. These are serious matters. They deserve to be debated. They deserve to be resolved by this Select Committee in a serious bipartisan manner.
My colleague from the State of North Carolina, when she got up to speak, talked about a contribution to the President from a Chinese official. There was no contribution ever made to the President from a Chinese official. There was a contribution made to the Democratic National Committee, which the Democratic National Committee said it had no knowledge of and returned.
Let us lower the rhetoric and let us go on to the policy questions involved in this matter.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit).
(Mr. CONDIT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. CONDIT. Mr. Speaker, first of all, let me say I agree with the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) and the chairman, this is a very important committee, and I support every effort to take a serious look at the allegations. I think it is serious for this country and we ought to take it seriously.
But saying that, I would like to speak just a moment to my amendment that was in the Committee on Rules yesterday that was denied. And I am really surprised that it was denied, particularly because the other side of the aisle, on a regular basis, makes statements that they are interested in saving taxpayers money, and that is what my amendment did, was try to save some money.
It takes money that this Congress has already set aside for investigation and transfers it to the Select Committee without changing the focus, scope or intent of the Select Committee.
The Select Committee is asking for $2.5 million for 6 months. The Committee on Government Reform and Oversight has spent approximately $3 million during an 18-month period. This year the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight has allocated $1.8 million. It shows approximately $1.5 million remaining in the unspent fund category. Additionally, of the original $8 million in the special reserve fund, more than $1.3 million is still uncommitted.
What my amendment simply does is put some attention on this Congress to pay attention to the money that we spend on these multitudes of investigations that we do around here; that we ought to pay attention about duplication, and we ought to have some interest in how we invest the taxpayers' money.
There is no dispute over here. These are serious allegations. I have the utmost confidence that the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks) will do everything in their power to get to the bottom of the issue and, hopefully, resolve this. But I also want to caution us, it is $2.5 million in 6 months, then we go to a year and it is another $2.5 million, then we are up to 5, and who knows where we are going. We need to be mindful of this.
And that is why I encourage my Members, the Members on this side of the aisle as well as the other side of the aisle, to vote for the recommit. The recommit simply says, let us take the money that has already been allocated to investigations and put it toward this special committee that we are putting together today. It is a reasonable proposal.
It is not a partisan proposal, Mr. Chairman. It is a sincere proposal for us to pay attention to how we spend money and to be responsible for how we do investigations around here.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to respond.
The gentleman would seem to infer that maybe some people on this side of the aisle do not care about fiscal responsibility, and I would just like to remind the gentleman that about 5 years ago I authored a book, it is called The Balanced Budget, a Republican Plan. It was long before its time, but it told us how we could balance the budget in 1 year, not in 7, or 6, or 5, or 4, or 3, or 2.
My colleagues ought to read it, because that is actually the bill that I introduced back on June 22nd, 1995, that actually did that, and that is what the Congress finally came around to doing. And, boy, we had to bite the bullet to vote for those kinds of cuts to get the welfare spending under control and put this House back in fiscal order.
Let me just say to the gentleman, the gentleman's amendment was not made in order for, among other things, technical reasons, because it is not germane; it is an attempt to micromanage another committee, and we do not allow that.
Secondly, if this resolution were brought to the floor as a privileged resolution, which it normally would be, and it is how we have brought other resolutions creating select committees to the floor, as privileged resolutions, it would be unamendable. So this amendment would not be considered anyway.
Third, I just want to point out again, and again commend the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks), and the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Moakley), on the other side of the aisle, as well as the Democrat minority leadership and our leadership, because we have worked diligently on a bipartisan basis to take away all of the partisanship out of this bill.
The question of funding did come up, and we worked with both sides of the aisle, with anyone that was raising a question, anyone, and we came up with the language that is in the bill today. At the very last minute, my good friend, the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit), brought an amendment up to the floor, after the bill was already finished and after we had already made all the decisions.
So I think the gentleman does protest too much, and that is why the gentleman's amendment was not made in order.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Thomas), the very distinguished chairman of the Committee on House Oversight, who waived jurisdiction on this measure so it could come to the floor in a timely and expeditious manner, and we will let him explain the funding level.
(Mr. THOMAS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the chairman for yielding and affording me an opportunity, having waived the committee's jurisdiction on the funding, to respond to an amendment that is not in order.
And, frankly, I am pleased that the Committee on Rules did not make the amendment in order, because as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) said, after all, these are serious matters and it should be debated seriously, he then yielded to the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit) who, as part of his appeal on his amendment, brought up the question of funding in a context which, if anybody objectively examined his discussion, was to impugn other investigations or the expenditure of money in this particular Congress by the majority for efforts that apparently they believe do not fit the profile of serious matters debated seriously.
I am sorry the gentleman from California felt it necessary to inject that, because this gentleman from California would love to remind him, since he was a member of the majority in the 103rd Congress, at that time, the committees, in totality, spent more than $223 million.
Now, that is not adjusted for inflation, because, frankly, constant dollars look good enough, two Congresses later in the 105th we are not spending 80 cents on the dollar. We are only spending $180 million.
So if the gentleman is looking for savings. The new Republican majority has provided it both in the 104th and in the 105th. We are not spending at the level my colleagues on the other side of the aisle spent.
In addition to that, the amendment that was rejected said that the money should have to come from another committee in its unobligated and unexpended context. That money would nowhere near meet the needs of this particular committee, if that was where the `not more than $2.5 million' would be found.
Let me say that the $2.5 million that we are discussing is nowhere near, when the gentleman was in the majority, the $2.9 million in adjusted dollars that the Iran contra hearings cost, which produced absolutely nothing. Our hope is that we get a serious resolution of what we believe to be a serious matter that will be discussed seriously.
And finally, let me say this, as the gentleman leaves. In all of those other previous select committees, not once, whether it was Iran contra, whether it was the Select Committee on Aging, whether it was the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, whether it was the Select Committee on Hunger, not once in those previous Select Committee creations was there a distribution of the resources, in terms of staff, two-thirds, one-third, not in any of those instances. Iran contra, for example, was 80 percent majority, 20 percent minority.
I want to underscore that the chairman of this committee, working with the ranking member, has committed that outside of those joint staff, which they will agree to jointly, that the majority will use two-thirds of the resources and the minority will get one-third. So that this Select Committee, thank goodness, will not be in the tradition of the select committees that had been created in previous Congresses by the previous majority, which hogged all the resources and did not produce results.
What we have here will be a fair, equitable distribution. We will have a serious discussion of serious matters.
So I want to compliment the chairman of the Committee on Rules and the other members of the Committee on Rules who saw the wisdom of voting down this very poorly drafted and constructed amendment, which would not only invade the prerogatives of another committee, but frankly, would not provide near the resources that I believe will be used wisely by this particular committee.
When we begin the discussion of funds and how and where they are going to be used, if it is necessary to remind the now-minority of their previous transgressions, we will be more than willing to do so. If my colleagues provide time on their side to go beat dead horses, we will keep the record straight. They did not create a fair funding mechanism under previous select committees, and they spent more money than this Select Committee. This Select Committee will spend less than Iran contra, and it will be fairly divided. That is the difference with the new majority.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Hall), a member of the Committee on Rules.
Mr. HALL of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman for yielding me this time. I rise in support of the motion that will be offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost), the Condit amendment.
I share the concerns that many people have said already today concerning the possibility of U.S. companies providing expertise to China for use in its ballistic missile programs. I have been concerned about this kind of technology being transferred for a number of years, under the last two Presidents as well. However, I have concerns about the cost of this investigation. This resolution would spend $2.5 million more in additional funds. I believe it should use existing funds.
In 1993, the House of Representatives had four select committees, and the Select Committee on Hunger was allocated for a year, every year, about $600,000. The most expensive of the four select committees in those days was the Select Committee on Aging, and I believe they spent somewhere between $1.2 and $1.4 million.
While we need to get to the bottom of this issue on China, I believe the existing funds in the current legislative branch appropriation should be used. There is enough money there.
I just want to correct the gentleman from California (Mr. Thomas) in what he said when we had the other select committees, that there was not a fair and equitable distribution of the money. And the fact is, that is not true. When I was chairman of the Select Committee on Hunger, we were very fair in our distribution of the money. Two-thirds of the money went to the majority, a third went to the minority. So the statement he made was not correct. We were very fair.
I would hope that we would look at the funding of this. This is far too much money to spend on a select committee. We should go with the motion that will be provided to the amendment offered by the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit).
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to point out to another very distinguished Member, that I respect more than most, and that is the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Tony Hall). He is one of the most sincere Members that we have.
But I would say to the gentleman that that is exactly what we are doing. If the gentleman will look at page 5, it says not more than $2,500,000 is authorized for expenses of the Select Committee for investigation and studies. And it goes on to say, out of applicable accounts of the House of Representatives, which comes out of the legislative branch appropriations.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier), the very distinguished vice chairman of the Committee on Rules.
Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Glens Falls, New York, the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Rules, for yielding me this time.
I rise in strong support of both the rule and the resolution, and to say that I am very pleased that in a bipartisan way there has been an agreement on both the establishment of a Select Committee and on the funding levels for the committee, and the fact that they will be coming out of the already appropriated legislative branch measure.
I rise as a very strong proponent of what has been known as the Reagan-Bush-Clinton policy of engagement with the People's Republic of China. I still feel very strongly about the need to ensure that we do maintain contact and engagement and, among other things, normal trade relations with the People's Republic of China, because I believe the power of the free market is very, very great, and we should not do anything that would possibly diminish it.
Having said that, Mr. Speaker, I joined with several of my colleagues when this issue first came to the forefront, colleagues of mine who have joined with us over the years, working to make sure that we have maintained normal trade relations with the People's Republic of China and we sent a letter to the President, which I would like to share with my colleagues. And I do so not trying to in any way raise the level of rhetoric, which I think appropriately both the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Frost) and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks) have said that we ought to keep on a balanced level, but to remind our colleagues why it is that we are here dealing with this issue.
In the letter that was dated May 22nd, we wrote, Mr. President, each of us has been deeply involved in supporting the policy of engagement and maintaining Most Favored Nation status with the People's Republic of China. We support a strong and stable relationship that is bolstered by free market reforms and the seedlings of democratic progress in that country.
The first and foremost responsibility of the Executive Branch is to protect national security. Therefore, we are deeply disturbed by the very serious charges regarding the transfer of rocket technology to China. These charges call into question the fitness of your administration to carry out a sound China policy. We have questions regarding the apparent decision of the administration to place narrow commercial considerations over national security concerns. The fact that large campaign contributions were accepted from firms that stood to gain from such decisions is even more troubling.
Our greatest concern is that your administration has undermined its own ability to carry out our Nation's foreign policy toward China. Absent the ability to command respect both at home and abroad, your administration will not be able to move this critical relationship forward.
Therefore, we implore you to work quickly with the appropriate Congressional committees to make available all relevant information related to the matters in question. It is in our national security interest to resolve these questions so that we can build support for a policy of engagement in China that is firmly rooted in our national security interests.
I strongly support the establishment of this committee, and I support the efforts that I believe can be addressed and put together in a bipartisan way.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Waxman).
Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California for yielding.
I support the creation of this Select Committee. I think we should have a thorough investigation of the issues surrounding the possible transfer of sensitive technology to China. What I am opposed to is the use of Congressional investigations for partisan political purposes and the waste of taxpayer dollars. It does not serve the American people to have multiple Congressional committees spending millions of dollars investigating the very same issue over and over and over again.
Unless we reject this rule and adopt the Condit amendment, we will have redundant investigations that are wasting millions of dollars investigating the very same issue.
In March of this year, the Burton committee was given $1.8 million to continue its investigation of the influence of foreign contributions on U.S. policies. That was the mandate to the Burton committee. I want to point out to my colleague the gentleman from California (Mr. Thomas) that, notwithstanding all his complaints about what the Democrats did not do and how he is doing better in the allocation of money, on that Burton committee the Democrats were given 25 percent, not the third that we were all promised by the Republican Party.
But that committee, nevertheless, was given $1.8 million to do this investigation. A major focus of it was to have been whether contributions from China influenced U.S. foreign policy and national security. Now we are going to create a Select Committee and we are talking about giving it $2.5 million to investigate the very same issue.
The resolution authorizing the Select Committee specifically directs the Select Committee to investigate, and I quote, any effort by the government of the People's Republic of China or any other person to influence any of the foregoing matters through political contributions.
That is what this Select Committee is going to investigate. That is what the Burton committee was investigating. It does not make sense to have a Select Committee investigating the same issues and then to have the Burton committee investigate it as well.
The $1.8 million given to the Burton committee to investigate these issues should be transferred to the Select Committee and let the Select Committee do this job of investigating this matter. We should have one thorough, credible bipartisan investigation, not multiple, redundant investigations and use of taxpayers' money for partisan purposes and wasting that.
One investigation will save the taxpayers millions and prevent this investigation from being used for partisan political purposes.
Mr. CONDIT. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. WAXMAN. I yield to the gentleman from California.
Mr. CONDIT. Mr. Speaker, I just want to respond to my colleague from California (Mr. Thomas) with respect when he makes reference to when we were in the majority and Iran Contra investigation. I want to let him know that I voted with him, I voted with him to reduce the cost of investigations. I voted with the chairman to reduce the cost of investigations to bring a halt to that. Welfare reform, a significant group of Democrats voted with the chairman and with the gentleman from California (Mr. Thomas) to try to save money to try to reform the welfare proposal.
I am not a Johnny-come-lately on this issue of saving money on investigations. I have brought this issue up time and time again in the committee, asking the chairman not to duplicate, not to spend money twice to get the same information.
When we had the other body doing the investigation, I asked them not to duplicate. When the other body was doing their investigation, I consistently asked the chairman of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight not to duplicate.
So I tell my colleagues and I tell the gentleman from California (Mr. Thomas) I am not someone who just comes here today at the last minute to bring this up. I brought this up consistently. It is a sincere attempt to try to change the way we investigate each other around here.
Let me tell my colleagues, if they think our side of the aisle did it wrong so they are going to do it wrong, that is not a good enough reason. We need to put a stop to this. We need to try to save money when we can. And we need to not duplicate.
There are a lot of people whose lives are destroyed because we duplicate and we ask them to do things over and over again and spend money, and I think we need to be more mindful for the American people than that.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire of the time remaining on each side?
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gillmor). Both Members have 10 minutes remaining.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 1/2 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi).
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding and his hard work on this very, very difficult issue.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express some concerns about the resolution that we will have before us soon, a resolution to establish a Select Committee on National Security and Other Concerns with China before us today. It is a troubling one to me.
The concerns presented here are serious and they are important. Congress has not only the right but the responsibility to exercise oversight of policy decisions. Indeed, the Committee on National Security and the Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on International Relations are the appropriate venues for such oversight.
When there is a connection between campaign contributions and policy decisions, that investigation is being done by the Justice Department. Over the years, I have been proud to work very closely in a bipartisan fashion with my Republican colleagues on the China issue, including the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Wolf), the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon), whom I respect very highly and will miss very, very much when he is going on to happier things. The gentleman from California (Mr. Cox), who will chair this committee, is one of the finest Members of this body. I respect his intellect, his sense of fairness and appropriateness in dealing with these issues. It is not anything against him that I have the question, but concerns about the nature of this committee.
I have worked closely with the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith) and others who have consistently opposed the current U.S.-China policy. These people that I mention and others on the Republican side have real standing in criticizing the consequences of the policies.
As my colleagues know on both sides of the aisle, I have pulled no punches in criticizing the President, whether he was a Republican President or a Democratic President, for what I think is the wrong China policy. But as one who has consistently joined with some of my Democratic and Republican colleagues in raising concerns about the Chinese military for many years on this floor, I see today's action as a move by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Gingrich) and the Republican leadership to exploit the China issue.
As I say, as one who has worked very hard and long on this issue, I regret to see that the Republican leadership has just walked lock step with the Clinton administration on China and, as responsible as President Clinton is and his administration is, on the consequences of that China policy.
Allowing U.S. satellites to be launched on foreign rockets is a policy started under President Reagan, continued under President Bush and President Clinton. So if there is a criticism of the consequences of that policy, then the blame should be laid at the feet of both parties in a bipartisan way.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, again this year the Speaker could not move quickly enough to support the President's request for a special waiver to grant Most Favored Nation status to the People's Republic of China. He sent a letter of support to the President almost before the request for the special waiver reached Capitol Hill.
I see this Select Committee as an attempt by the Speaker to seek cover for his affiliation with the President on the China policy. Do they think we have no memory? Do they think we do not know what we say on the floor year in and year out by the proliferation and the Chinese mobilization and their interest in acquiring U.S. technology and then all of a sudden the obvious, predictable consequences of that policy, obvious and predictable to many of us, is all of a sudden being investigated by a Speaker who, day in day out, time and time again, and at every opportunity has supported ignoring those concerns?
And so, I see this as an attempt to set up this committee as venue hopping. There have been investigations. I can show my colleagues a stack of reports on committees investigating this issue.
As I say, I believe, and I do not deny Congress's right to oversight, to investigate, and to be relentless in doing that in terms of the consequences of policy.
Establishing this Select Committee to me, after all the sweat and strain and work that we have put in trying to educate Congress to the dangers of the policy that the Republican leadership has supported year in and year out, looks to me like a cynical and hypocritical act which does a disservice to the debate about U.S.-China policy, cost the taxpayers money, and wastes Congress' time.
For that reason, I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question so that the proposal of Mr. Condit can be considered to fairly fund and fairly consider how we should go forward with this.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to thank the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi) for the flattery and to return that flattery twofold, because we have great admiration and respect for her, as well, especially on the issue of human rights around this world.
I would just point out to the gentlewoman, though, that I, for one, have been a critic of previous administrations as well as this administration, even back in 1988, when Congressman Solomon, Congressman Kemp, Congressman Bob Walker, Congressman Lewis wrote to then President Reagan pointing out the serious problems that might occur from military technology transfer and know-how.
On June 13, 1989, that happened to be, I think, 9 days after Tiananmen Square, which the gentlewoman has certainly done everything in her power to try to focus attention on, I introduced legislation that would prohibit the export of satellites intended for launch vehicles from China.
This House adopted that language in the form of an amendment. It went to the Senate. The Senate washed it down; and, consequently, it never became law in its present form. And today the result is that we have 13 intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at the United States of America, and that is so serious.
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SOLOMON. I yield briefly to the gentlewoman from California because I am running out of time.
Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and, heeding his admonition about the time, I want to say, I said in my remarks that he has standing to speak on this issue. I am very glad that he put on the record the fact that Republican Presidents supported this policy, which he opposed consistently under Republican and Democratic Presidents. It is with admiration for him, the gentleman from California (Mr. Cox) and the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Dicks) who will represent the Democrats very well on that committee, indeed the American people on that committee. It is not about personalities. It is about the policy.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, let me just further say if she had been in the Committee on Rules when we had the former CIA Director under President Clinton, Mr. Woolsey, and the former National Security Adviser under President Reagan; they both pointed out that under Presidents Reagan and Bush that the Secretary of Defense did not raise warnings at that time, the Secretary of State did not, the National Security Adviser did not, because of the situation at the time.
Today the times have changed and we all know that the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisers both have raised warnings, and yet President Clinton did not heed those warnings, for whatever reason, and that is what we really want to look into.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica).
Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, let me just clear up a couple of points. First we have heard that this is a question about granting waivers and others have granted waivers. That may be the case. But never before in the history of the Republic have we had the question of the influence of foreign money into the process. That is one of the key issues here. Never before have our intelligence, our Department of Defense and our defense process and our national security been so threatened or questioned by allegations that have been made about intrusions into the system.
Let me also say to the gentleman from California (Mr. Waxman) who spoke about 25 percent of the staff being given by the majority to the minority. When I came here in the first Congress, from 1993 to 1995, they gave us five investigative staffers for their 55 staffers. That is the record. That is the fact. As a matter of fact, the Burton committee has operated efficiently and at lower cost, assuming the responsibilities of two additional committees and done all their investigations in an administration that has been plagued with more scandals than any in the history of, again, the Republic.
It is somewhat like it is the Republicans' fault that we have had Filegate, Travelgate, campaign contributions and now this very serious matter. They make it look like it is our fault. It is not, and the American people need to know the facts.
Mr. FROST. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
Mr. Speaker, I would ask the gentleman who just spoke, does the name Warren Harding mean anything to him? Does the name Grant mean anything to him? Does the name Nixon mean anything to him? He made the blanket statement that this is the most scandal-ridden administration in the history of the Republic. I think the gentleman needs to consult some history books.
Mr. Speaker, this vote on ordering the previous question is not merely a procedural vote. A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote against the Republican majority and a vote to allow the opposition, at least for the moment, to offer an alternative plan. It is a vote about what the House should be debating.
The vote on the previous question on a rule does have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only available tools for those who oppose the Republican majority's agenda to offer an alternative plan.
Mr. Speaker, I include for the Record the amendment by the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit).
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Page 2, line 3, strike `resolution shall be considered as adopted.' And insert `resolution, modified by the amendment specified in section 2 of this resolution, shall be considered as adopted.'
At the end of the resolution add the following new section:
`Sec. 2. The modification described in the first section of this resolution is as follows:
Page 17, line 3, after `paid' insert the following: `, first, out of amounts provided to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight from the reserve fund for unanticipated expenses of committees under clause 5(a) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives pursuant to an allocation approved by the Committee on House Oversight on March 25, 1998, which remain unobligated and unexpended as of the date of the adoption of this resolution, and, second, after exhaustion of such funds,'.
Page 17, after line 6, add the following new paragraph:
(3) Upon the adoption of this resolution, the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight may not obligate any amounts provided to such committee from the reserve fund for unanticipated expenses of committees under clause 5(a) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives pursuant to an allocation approved by the Committee on House Oversight on March 25, 1998.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to defeat the previous question on H. Res. 476 and allow the gentleman from California (Mr. Condit) to offer his amendment to consolidate funding on these parallel investigations.
Mr. Speaker, I include the following material for the Record:
This vote, the vote on whether to order the previous question on a special rule, is not merely a procedural vote. A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote against the Republican majority agenda and a vote to allow the opposition, at least for the moment, to offer an alternative plan. It is a vote about what the House should be debating.
Mr. Clarence Cannon's `Precedents of the House of Representatives', (VI, 308-311) describes the vote on the previous question on the rule as `a motion to direct or control the consideration of the subject before the House being made by the Member in charge.' To defeat the previous question is to give the opposition a chance to decide the subject before the House. Cannon cites the Speaker's ruling of January 13, 1920, to the effect that `the refusal of the House to sustain the demand for the previous question passes the control of the resolution to the opposition' in order to offer an amendment. On March 15, 1909, a member of the majority party offered a rule resolution. The House defeated the previous question and a member of the opposition rose to a parliamentary inquiry, asking who was entitled to recognition. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon (R-Illinois) said: `The previous question having been refused, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Fitzgerald, who had asked the gentleman to yield to him for a amendment is entitled to the first recognition.'
Because the vote today may look bad for the Republican majority they will say `the vote on the previous question is simply a vote on whether to proceed to an immediate vote on adopting the resolution . . . [and] has no substantive legislative or policy implications whatsoever.' But that is not what they have always said. Listen to the Republican Leadership `Manual on the Legislative Process in the United States House of Representatives,' (6th edition, page 135). Here's how the Republicans describe the previous question vote in their own manual: `Although it is generally not possible to amend the rule because the majority Member controlling the time will not yield for the purpose of offering an amendment, the same result may be achieved by voting down the previous question on the rule . . . When the motion for the previous question is defeated, control of the time passes to the Member who led the opposition to ordering the previous question. That Member, because he then controls the time, may offer an amendment to the rule, or yield for the purpose of amendment.'
Deschler's `Procedure in the U.S. House of Representatives', the subchapter titled `Amending Special Rules' states: `a refusal to order the previous question on such a rule [a special rule reported from the Committee on Rules] opens the resolution to amendment and further debate.' (Chapter 21, section 21.2). Section 21.3 continues: `Upon rejection of the motion for the previous question on a resolution reported from the Committee on Rules, control shifts to the Member leading the opposition to the previous question, who may offer a proper amendment or motion and who controls the time for debate thereon.'
The vote on the previous question on a rule does have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only available took for those who oppose the Republican majority's agenda to offer an alternative plan.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from Sanibel, FL (Mr. Goss), a very valuable member of the Committee on Rules. He is also the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and probably one of the most informed Members of this body.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gillmor). The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 5 1/2 minutes.
(Mr. GOSS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from Glens Falls, NY, the honorable chairman of the Committee on Rules, for bringing forward what I think is a very worthwhile resolution. I urge Members to vote `yes' on the question of moving the previous question, I urge a `yes' on the rule and I urge a `yes' on the underlying resolution. So it is yes, yes, yes, is what we have got in front of us here.
Mr. Speaker, my colleagues are talking about fault. I have been hearing from the other side of the aisle fault in the way we went about our business; that we could have done it better if we had done this or that. There has been a lot of fault-finding going on. I can assure the minority that a very strong effort has been made to provide a workable, efficient, bipartisan approach to the task at hand.
Is there a task at hand? You bet there is. There is a task at hand because every day you can pick up the paper and read some new saga unfolding in this area. And if the media is ahead of Congress doing its job of oversight, we have got a problem. I am willing to say that the media is ahead just on the basis of the Jeff Gerth story today in the New York Times alone. So we have got to do something about this.
Now, we have heard some noise about the cost. This is going to cost too much money because we have not limited it the right way or done it exactly the right way. I remember the October Surprise. We went out, we did the job, it cost about a million and a half, something like that. Democrats were very eager to try and prove something. They were unable to do it. We had a good October Surprise event, we closed it down when there was nothing there, and it cost $1.3 million. I am not saying it was money well spent because I never thought there was anything there, but at least we satisfied ourselves. So I think we are very definitely in the ballpark when we look back at October Surprise in how we are approaching money.
Mr. Speaker, the problem with the money is it is virtually impossible to tell how much we are going to spend until we find out how much cooperation we are going to get from the dozens and dozens of witnesses who are not in the United States. That is going to require some expense to get those people who are material to what we are finding out, trying to find out about the truth. Of course, we are going to hope for more forthright cooperation from the administration than we have had to date, because in truth, factually, the administration has not been fully forthcoming to date. So the cost could go up a bit if we fail to have the cooperation of the witnesses and the administration.
We have been challenged about whether or not a select committee is the way to go. We are actually cutting across the jurisdiction of eight standing committees. I do not see any other choice except a select committee. Some say the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence could do it. Yes, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence could do it if we enhanced our staff and we got into what is likely to be the partisan question of campaign finance. Frankly, as chairman of the committee, I do not want to take the nonpartisan Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence into an area that is so sharply partisan and likely to cause partisan question.
With regard to the policy of President Reagan, let me point out, the issue before us is not the policy of President Reagan. It is the change from the policy of President Reagan and President Bush. What caused President Clinton to change the procedure? We have a `why' to ask and an answer to find. The minority report before us, as this is reported today, talks about this is a resolution of routine occurrence and that is a bad thing.
Mr. Speaker, there is nothing routine about the restarting of the nuclear arms race that is going on, which I believe is a result, in part, of the policies that have failed in China. That is certainly the testimony of the Indian Government. We have clearly got exploiters in North Korea who are taking advantage of this proliferation opportunity. We read it in the New York Times. I have not had the chance to talk to North Koreans about this. I would like to. They are exploiting us. So we have something here that is hardly routine facing the United States Congress and our responsibility to the citizens of this country in exercising appropriate oversight about policy and other activities that are happening that are indeed troublesome by admission on both sides of the aisle.
I therefore think we are going in the right direction and doing the right thing.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. GOSS. I yield to the gentleman from Washington, my ranking member.
Mr. DICKS. Does the gentleman think once we set up the Select Committee that we ought to let the Select Committee conduct this investigation in the House and that the eight other committees that he mentioned should let us have the field and do the job?
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, I strongly believe that the scope of the resolution takes care of that problem. I am not going to forgo my responsibilities as chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and I am sure the gentleman is not as the ranking member to discharge the things that we have responsibility for. I would hope for very close working cooperation between the Select Committee and the other committees. And I would hope we could avoid any possible redundancy that way.
Mr. DICKS. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I think he has a good answer.
Mr. GOSS. Mr. Speaker, I urge a `yes' on the previous question vote, a `yes' on the rule, and a `yes' on the resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I include the following material for the Record about the previous question vote:
The previous question is a motion made in order under House Rule XVII and is the only parliamentary device in the House used for closing debate and preventing amendment. The effect of adopting the previous question is to bring the resolution to an immediate, final vote. The motion is most often made at the conclusion of debate on a rule or any motion or piece of legislation considered in the House prior to final passage. A Member might think about ordering the previous question in terms of answering the question: Is the House ready to vote on the bill or amendment before it?
In order to amend a rule (other than by using those procedures previously mentioned), the House must vote against ordering the previous question. If the previous question is defeated, the House is in effect, turning control of the Floor over to the Minority party.
If the previous question is defeated, the Speaker then recognizes the Member who led the opposition to the previous question (usually a Member of the Minority party) to control an additional hour of debate during which a germane amendment may be offered to the rule. The Member controlling the Floor then moves the previous question on the amendment and the rule. If the previous question is ordered, the next vote occurs on the amendment followed by a vote on the rule as amended.
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I move the previous question on the resolution.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on ordering the previous question.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. FROST. 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.
Pursuant to clause 5 of rule XV, the Chair will reduce to a minimum of 5 minutes the period of time within which a vote by electronic device, if ordered, will be taken on the question of agreeing to the resolution.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 226, nays 197, not voting 11, as follows:
Mr. EDWARDS changed his vote from `yea' to `nay.'
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania and Mr. KASICH changed their vote from `nay' to `yea.'
So the previous question was ordered.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gillmor). The question is on the resolution.
The resolution was agreed to.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.