Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. McIntosh:
At the end of the bill (immediately before the short title), insert the following new section:
Sec. . None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for participation by United States delegates to the Standing Consultative Commission in any activity of the Commission to implement the Memorandum of Understanding Relating to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems of May 26, 1972, entered into in New York on September 26, 1997, by the United States, Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Ukraine.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to the order of the House today, the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. McIntosh) and a Member opposed will each control 10 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. McIntosh).
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 1/2 minutes.
How quickly we forget, or fail to learn the most important lessons of history. It was just 60 years ago when Winston Churchill struggled mightily to build a defensive air radar system in Britain to protect against Nazi threat. The British establishment, the appeasers, as he called them, mocked and scoffed him for this effort. They said there was no threat. How wrong they were. Because Churchill persevered, they did build a radar system and beat the Nazis.
Today, we are engaged in a similar debate. The cosponsor of this amendment, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), has worked to bring to our attention since 1995, and the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Livingston), for many, many years, that there is a real threat of a ballistic missile attack on the United States. Yet the State Department establishment, like that of Britain in the 1930s, ignores or ridicules those who recognize a missile threat, but they do so at each of our peril.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) and I are introducing this amendment because the American people deserve to have a choice in this decision. The Clinton administration is trying to negotiate a new antiballistic missile treaty with the four successor states to the Soviet Union and to implement it without sending it to the Senate for ratification.
Now, a complete, fair and open debate is needed on renewing this ABM Treaty, and the Senate should have the opportunity to act properly and ratify any such treaty.
The fact is, today we do not have the ability to intercept a single missile fired at us by an enemy or a madman. Americans would be shocked if they found this out, but it is the truth. What is even worse about this new ABM Treaty is not only will a national missile defense system not be possible, but there are new restrictions on a theater missile defense program that could protect our troops overseas.
My amendment, quite simply, would say the bureaucracy responsible for implementing the ABM Treaty cannot spend any funds for further implementing the new treaty or any policies consistent with a new treaty.
Mr. Chairman, I finish by asking my colleagues a rhetorical question. What would they do the day after a missile attack from Iran, Iraq, Libya, or North Korea destroyed one of our cities? The very next day we would all be on this House floor demanding there be construction of such a missile protection system repelling such an attack.
Why wait for the tragedy? Let us do something now and spare the lives of the innocent Americans that would be lost. Please join me in approving this amendment to the bill.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment, and I yield myself 5 minutes.
Mr. Chairman, I want to state from the outset that the intent of this amendment is a blatant attempt to negate the United States' obligation to continue to adhere to the antiballistic missile treaty so that proponents of deployment of additional missile defense systems in the U.S. can justify their campaign to deploy just such a system.
In my view, the deployment of such additional systems would not only violate U.S. treaty obligations with Russia but, more importantly, would destabilize our national security by setting back ongoing arms control negotiations with Russia and other former Soviet republics, and by encouraging newly emerging nuclear states to proceed without restrictions.
Many of the proponents of this amendment continue to be critical of this administration's policies to restrain India and Pakistan from conducting nuclear tests. Now, their efforts may have fallen short of their goals and, indeed, the world has become less secure today as a result. But the question is what is the next step?
The proponents of this amendment would have us throw out a standing arms control treaty that has been in place since 1972 so that they can pursue an expensive and widely premature plan to deploy an elaborate missile defense system that is years away from being able to work.
The administration's intentions with respect to the Memorandum of Understanding on the ABM Treaty's succession have been made abundantly clear and are enunciated in a letter of May 21st from the President to the chairman of the authorizing committees. That letter says plainly that the administration `will provide to the Senate, for its advice and consent, the Memorandum of Understanding of the ABM Treaty's succession.' The letter further clarifies that, `Despite the breakup of the Soviet Union, the ABM Treaty is still in force with Russia and notification of the MOU is necessary to remove any ambiguities about how the treaty applies to other countries.'
It is also clearly the understanding that the administration intends to submit the MOU on the ABM Treaty's succession after the Russian Duma has ratified START II. The timing of the submission to the Senate is based on the orderly progression of arms control regimes and was, in fact, developed in cooperation with the relevant parties of the U.S. Senate.
This amendment stops all activity to bring the Memorandum of Understanding on the ABM Treaty's succession to reality. I wonder how the passage of this amendment will affect the Russian Duma and the prospects of their action? I wonder what signals it sends to India and Pakistan, who are on the verge of war in Kashmir, both armed with nuclear weapons?
A vote for this amendment is a vote to unilaterally abrogate the ABM Treaty on the basis of 20 minutes debate in the middle of the night. That is what this supposedly modest amendment tries to do. A vote against this amendment is a vote to recognize that Congress should not take such irresponsible actions without clearly thinking out the consequences.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Livingston), the chairman of the Committee on Appropriations.
(Mr. LIVINGSTON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. LIVINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the gentleman's amendment.
I think about the ABM Treaty that was implemented between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1972 in an entirely different political world and in an entirely different technological world. Those were different times. They threatened to blow us up, we threatened to blow them up.
The Soviet Union does not exist any more, but the ABM Treaty is here, notwithstanding the fact that the technological developments of the computer age have totally transformed this dangerous world of ours.
Look at the headlines: May 1st. China targets nukes at the U.S. June 16th. China assists Iran, Libya with missiles. June 17th. North Korea admits missile sales. Then we see the Indian and the Pakistani bombs blow up.
We are living in a nuclear age and the arms negotiators are still negotiating a 1972 treaty with the old Soviet Union that does not even exist.
We have to give up this arms negotiation. It does not work. Let us defend Americans. Let us start deploying missile systems that intercept their missiles and we do not have to worry about who blows up the next bomb in the next place.
We need do defend our American citizens. We need to defend the continental United States. We need to defend U.S. troops abroad. We need to defend our allies all around the world.
We could do it if this President use one word that has been absent in his vocabulary in the 6 years that he has been President of the United States: Deployment, deployment of missile defense systems.
This gentleman's amendment simple says, let us stop this arms negotiation, or at least if you are going to revise the ABM Treaty of 1972, come to the Senate for the advice and consent demanded under the Constitution of the United States and make sure that what you are doing has any logic and common sense whatsoever, because right now it does not.
I urge the adoption of the gentleman's amendment.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Skaggs).
Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Chairman, let us understand what this is really all about. this is the de facto abrogation of the ABM Treaty because we would be prohibited, under the terms of this amendment, from participating in the Standing Consultative Committee under the ABM Treaty, which is the body that deals with compliance issues.
How will that be interpreted by the Russians who are still debating START II ratification? It will be seen by them as essentially an abrogation, as the start down the road toward the development of a broad missile defense system in this country.
That, in turn, will mean that all of our efforts to reduce nuclear missile armaments in the old Soviet Union, now in Russia, will grind to a halt and play directly into the hands of the nationalist sentiments in Russia to hang on to every missile that they now possess.
Now, if we think that is going to produce a more secure world for the United States, I beg to differ.
This is fundamentally, profoundly nuts. It is going in absolutely the wrong direction. It is inviting an aggravation in a very, very dicey and delicate path that we are trying to walk down, nuclear disarmament and the reduction of nuclear arms.
Now, if that is what the other side wants, so be it, but let us not pretend that anything else is at issue here but that fundamental question of a fork in the road. Do we want to continue to work with the Russians to reduce their stockpiles, to get the START III, to bring down the level of nuclear threat in the world?
Mr. LIVINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. SKAGGS. I yield to the gentleman from Louisiana.
Mr. LIVINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman acknowledge that despite the passage of some 5 years' of time the Russians have yet to even ratify START II, let alone START III?
Mr. SKAGGS. We have already acknowledged that and it is a prerequisite to getting to START III, which I assume the gentleman would agree would be in our national interest, but maybe not. Maybe he thinks we should hang on to more nuclear weapons.
Mr. LIVINGSTON. If the gentleman will continue to yield, I think the first thing to do is to defend the American people.
Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, that is the practical consequence of the adoption of this amendment. Members should be under no allusion to the contrary. This amendment guts the ABM. It prohibits our participation in compliance activities. It will be seen, without any question, by the Russians as a reversal afield on the whole regime of nuclear arms limitation.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, how much time is remaining on both sides?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Indiana (Mr. McIntosh) has 5 1/2 minutes remaining and the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) has 5 minutes remaining, and the right to close.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Chairman, I would note that the proponents of ABM refer to that system as MAD. If they think this is nuts, that is MAD, mutually assured destruction. It is truly madness that we would hold innocent populations hostage the way we have.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon).
(Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, let us get our facts straight here. I chair the Duma Congress Study Group. I probably spend as much time with members of Duma as any Member of this Congress. In fact, I know over 200 of them personally.
Let us not put rhetoric on the table. Let us talk about this amendment. This amendment does not abrogate the ABM Treaty. In fact, I have been the one to offer to stand up and oppose any attempt to deliberately abrogate the Treaty.
What does it do? It stops this administration from imposing significant amendments and expansion of the ABM Treaty that harm our national security without the advice and consent of the Senate. That is all it does.
Five times this body has gone on the record and said that the U.S. Senate must be consulted. The ranking member of the full Committee on Appropriations just made a statement. He said the President said he will submit that to the Senate.
Well, I will call to the attention of my colleague and friend a letter sent on May 1, 1998, by Secretary Cohen to the services saying, `you will begin to implement the Missile Defense Treaty signed.' That has already been done.
And following that, the Secretary for Research and Development, John Douglas, has begun already implementing this agreement without the Senate even being considered to give the document to them. That is already in place.
What we are saying is give the Senate the chance. Why do we say that? Now, the gentleman talked about the negotiations in Geneva. I went there. I think I am the only House member that sat across from General Koltunof, the chief Russian negotiator, for 2 1/2 hours.
I said to the general, why do you want to expand the Treaty to include Belorus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine? They do not have ICBMs. He said, congressman, you are asking that question to the wrong person. We did propose to expand the ABM Treaty. The gentleman sitting next to you, Stanley Rivilus, our chief negotiator.
Why do we want to expand the ABM Treaty, because it locks us into a treaty that we cannot modify for our own best interests. What about the demarcation limitations, the other expansion? The demarcation limitations do not down our missile defense capability.
Let me show my colleagues something that I got today. This is a document of the most capable Russian air defense system that they just tried to sell to Israel. This system we cannot match. It is better than PAC-3 when it is deployed. It is called the ANTEI-2500.
This system, I wonder where the demarcation numbers came from. This system just barely complies with them. So now what we found is this administration has agreed to demarcation standards that benefit Russia, that give Russia a capability that we cannot go beyond, even though this system is better than our PAC-3.
If my colleagues support Israel, if they support Israel's defense, if they support the defense of this country and our ability to develop capable theater missile defense systems, then they will support this amendment. All it does is it says that we will withhold the funding from ACTA until the Senate is given the required documentation. That is all it does.
It does not abrogate any treaty. It does not control the administration. It says, let the Congress play its rightful role. And I think this Congress deserves to do that because we need to understand our lives and our friends and our allies who are at risk here.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, how much time do I have remaining?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Wisconsin has 5 minutes remaining.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds.
With all due respect to the expertise of the gentleman who just spoke, for this Congress, at a little after 10:00 in the evening, with no hearings and no reasonably thoughtful debate on the subject, for this Congress to take an action which prevents this administration from proceeding to do anything to modernize the very treaty that the other side says must be modernized would be the consummate act of arrogance and ridiculousness performed by this Congress in the entire session. It would bring great discredit on the Congress, and we ought not to do that.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Berman).
Mr. BERMAN. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
This is not an issue about the role of missile defenses. In the wake of the end of the Cold War and in the context of a very dangerous world where rogue states and accidental launches loom larger than ever in terms of the problems, I think it is appropriate to think about and reconsider questions of missile defenses.
The fact is every single active program that we are involved in the area of theater missile defenses PAC-3, THAAD, U.S. Navy Area Wide, all under development, researched, every one of them as currently configured and designed are fully compliant with the ABM Treaty.
This is a question about the breakup of the Soviet Union, when we signed, just like we did with START II, when we signed those obligations to the successor states, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belorus, whether those obligations are going to apply.
The administration has made it absolutely clear, as soon as the Duma ratifies START II, the President is going to Russia to advance that cause in the next few weeks, he will submit to the Senate for ratification not only the memorandum of understanding but the two agreements related to it that are cause of concern.
The Senate will have every opportunity to exercise its constitutional rights with respect to these particular issues.
Stopping the funding for the Standing Consultative Committee and for our ability to participate in it does not advance the cause. Let us get down to the basic questions. What kinds of missile defenses are feasible? To what extent do we need to break out of ABM? To what extent do we have a strategy to do this in cooperation with Russia and the other parties down to the ABM agreement in a way that both is in our interests and something that we can convince is in their interest as well so we can protect against the concerns that the proponents of this amendment want?
I urge a no vote on the amendment.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, how much time is remaining?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Indiana (Mr. McIntosh) has 2 1/4 minutes remaining. The gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) has 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon).
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chairman, let me answer the distinguished ranking member.
First of all, he says there has been no debate on this issue. I would remind my colleague there have been 5 separate votes on this issue on this floor. And I will include those votes, in the Congressional Record.
Since 1995, this body has voted 5 times, overwhelmingly each time, to require that this administration before it takes plans to implement submit that treaty to the Senate.
Our point is that this administration is already implementing the terms of the agreement. I just read to the gentleman a letter dated May 1, 1998, from Secretary Cohen to the services saying to proceed with implementing new missile defense treaties. Agreed to in September of 1997.
It is already underway. It is preceding even giving the treaty to the Senate which this body has voted on 5 times overwhelmingly in favor of. You have to match the facts with the rhetoric, and the rhetoric coming from that side just does not match the facts. Support the amendment of the gentleman.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Stearns).
Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Chairman, let me just say we have had a vote earlier on the Kolbe amendment. Perhaps my colleagues saw the Kolbe amendment pass. I think it was almost 400.
The problem is here in the House we are starting to feel the President is moving out not just on his own agenda, whether it be domestic or social, he is also moving out on a military agenda. As the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) mentioned, he is using the word `proceed' forward with a treaty without going to the Senate to ratify.
So it is appropriate today, tonight when we think about the executive orders, to also put in perspective that the President is moving out on a defense agenda without Congress, and all my colleague is saying is hold it, hold it. Let us not move forward without the Senate.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I would point out that in 1996, this House passed a virtually identical amendment that the gentleman from Louisiana (Mr. Livingston) brought to the floor.
Mr. Chairman, I yield the remaining 45 seconds to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot).
Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
I rise in strong support of the McIntosh-Weldon amendment. The Clinton administration's record on missile defense has been very, very weak. Incredibly, on June 23, the President vetoed the Iran Missile Proliferation Sanction Act. And only one month later, on July 23, the White House confirmed that Iran had tested a missile with a range of 800 miles the previous day.
Clearly, Cold War or no Cold War, the world remains a very dangerous place. Unfortunately, the Clinton administration consistently fails to see that danger.
Rogue nations are continuing to attempt to acquire nuclear weaponry. And our liberal friends are always saying that we must do this for the children, do that for the children. If we really want to do something for the children of this Nation, we ought to make sure that they are protected from the threat of nuclear weapons falling upon their home towns.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Fossella).
(Mr. FOSSELLA asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. FOSSELLA. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, could I inquire how much time I have remaining?
The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Obey) has 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
Mr. OBEY. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 30 seconds.
Mr. Chairman, if the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon) is going to quote me, just for the heck of it, it would be nice if he would quote me accurately.
I never said that there was no debate in the Congress on this subject. I said that there was no thoughtful debate tonight, and I stand by that comment.
I will simply say, Mr. Chairman, that despite all of the rhetoric tonight, the practical effect of this action is to unilaterally take the United States out of compliance with the ABM Treaty. That is no response that any responsible legislative body would make, and I cannot believe that the gentleman is suggesting that we do anything like it.
Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spratt) for closing.
Mr. SPRATT. Mr. Chairman, there is a season for everything. There is a time to ratify START II, and that is now, immediately, as soon as we can get the Duma to do it. And then there is a time to ratify START III. It comes right on the heels of START II. And that should come immediately. It should come next after we have completed the work on START II.
Once we do that we will have the warheads in each of our arsenals down to 2,000 to 3,000 strategic warheads each. At that point in time, it will be the season to take up the ABM Treaty and look at it, because in many ways it is a relic of the Cold War and it has outlived many of its purposes.
But, for the time being, it is a symbol of stability. We pull the rug out from the ABM, the Standing Consultative Committee, we abruptly cut off funding, and that is a signal to the Russians that they better be careful and think twice about ratifying START II. And everything begins to become unraveled.
There is nothing in these negotiations that gives rise to any immediate problems. We are trying to define the demarcation between strategic and theater weapons. In doing so, we have chosen to define the difference as being the planner in which the system, the interceptor, is tested. Is it tested against an incoming object that would be the speed of an RV coming from the exoatmosphere if launched by an ICBM, or is it traveling at the speed of a tactical or theater missile, a much lower speed? If it is tested only against the latter, then it is a theater defense system. If it is tested against an ICBM speed RV, then it is a strategic system.
It is a practical distinction. I do not think it serves a great deal of purpose. But, for the time being, in order to maintain our relations with the Soviets, with the Russians, to stabilize them to try to get START II ratified and START III negotiated, it makes sense not to rattle their cage on the ABM Treaty.
This is not the kind of diplomacy or legislation we need now. It is not necessary. The law is already on the books. And it is not going to impede one single thing if these demarcation rules were implemented by the President.
The CHAIRMAN. All time has expired.
The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. McIntosh).
The question was taken; and the Chairman announced that the noes appeared to have it.
Mr. McINTOSH. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The CHAIRMAN. Pursuant to House Resolution 508, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. McIntosh) will be postponed.