|From:||Aimee Houghton <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||26 Sep 2001 15:41:05 -0000|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] Vieques Amendment: Senate Floor Actions|
[Thanks to John Lindsay-Poland for this information from the
Congressional Record. --Aimee]|
Congressional Record, September 25, 2001:
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma is recognized.
Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, at this time, I withdraw my amendment No. 1595
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the amendment is withdrawn.
Mr. INHOFE. I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey is recognized.
Mr. CORZINE. Mr. President, I express my gratitude, and I understand the
differences of opinion we have regarding this issue. I think we now have an
opportunity to have a good discussion on this issue in conference committee.
In that vein, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the RECORD the
amendment I would have proposed.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the
RECORD, as follows:
Strike all after the first word and insert in lieu thereof the following:
SEC. 1066. CLOSURE OF VIEQUES NOVEL TRAINING RANGE.
(a) Section 1505 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2001 is amended by adding at the end the following new
``(e) NATIONAL EMERGENCY.--
``(1) EXTENSION OF DEADLINE.--The President may extend the May 1, 2003
deadline for the termination of operations on the island of Vieques
established in Subsection (b)(1) for a period of one year (and may renew
such extension on an annual basis), provided that--
``(A) The President has declared a national emergency, and such declaration
remains in effect; and
``(B) The President determines that, in light of such national emergency,
the actions required by subsections (b), (c) and (d) would be inconsistent
with the national security interest of the United States.
``(2) EFFECT OF EXTENSION.--An extension of the deadline pursuant to
paragraph (1) shall suspend the requirements of subsections (b), (c) and (d)
for the duration of the extension.''
(b) Subsection (a) of Section 1505 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 is repealed and subsections (b)
through (e) are redesignated as subsections (a) through (d) respectively.
(c) Section 1503 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act
for Fiscal Year 2001 is repealed.
Mr. CORZINE. Mr. President, before I discuss the provisions of this
amendment, let me make something clear. I am very sensitive--painfully and
personally so--of the human tragedy and national emergency created by the
cowardly attacks of the terrorists on our nation on September 11. Just as
much as my colleagues, I stand united with our President, our military
personnel, and the people of America in accepting, as President Bush put it,
our ``mission and moment'' to end this scourge of terrorism.
But just as so many of America's leaders have implored the nation to be
measured and thoughtful in our actions in the wake of this tragedy, and just
as President Bush has asked that Americans go on about their lives, so too
should the workings of America's democracy. That's why I believe it would be
a mistake to approve the amendment by the Senator from Oklahoma, which
represents a significant change in direction from the policies formulated by
both Presidents Bush and Clinton, while frankly undermining the President's
authority as commander in chief. Why should the Chief of Naval Operations,
and the commandant of the Marine Corps, be given the authority to make
decisions that go well beyond military considerations? In my view, full
access given the extended public debate and deep concerns, surrounding this
Vieques facility this decision rightfully rests, as it did before September
11, with the President of the United States.
Mr. President, I believe, in the long run, we should respect the views of
the people of Puerto Rico and Vieques. Their voice has been clear on this
issue, certainly before the current circumstances. Just a few months ago,
more than 70 percent of those living in Vieques voted to suspend operations
and there was a broad element of support for that view throughout Puerto
Rico's leadership and public.
At the same time, I understand and am sympathetic to the concerns of many of
my colleagues about the need for combined Navy and Marine amphibious
training in this time of national emergency. But, as Presidents Clinton and
Bush both have said, in the long-term, we should respect the will of the
people. And, in my view, while there is justification for changing the
timing of implementation of current policies given the current
circumstances, we should return to agreed upon policy as soon as practical.
Any exceptions to the agreed upon policy should be at the judgment of the
president of the United States-our commander in chief.
And that, Mr. President, is exactly what this amendment does. It would
provide for the termination of operations on Vieques by May 1, 2003, subject
to the national security judgment of the President. In fact, my amendment
would codify the policy already established by President Bush. However, in
an effort to give the President necessary flexibility in these extraordinary
times, the amendment would allow the President to continue operations on
Vieques for one-year periods in times of national emergency beyond the May
1, 2003 deadline, if the President determines, in light of the emergency,
that the termination of operations would be inconsistent with national
I also would note, that my amendment eliminates the requirement for a second
referendum required by last year's DOD authorization. Finally Mr. President
this is a compromise endorsed by the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico,
Congressman ANIBAL ACEVEDO VILÁ and supported by the National Puerto Rican
coalition. After all, there already has been a referendum with the results
showing that 70 percent of Vieques residents favor closure.
Mr. President, I think that's a reasonable compromise that makes
commonsense. And I hope it can win the support of my colleagues.
Mr. President, I've heard some people say that the Navy bombings in Vieques
are merely a political issue. But to the 9,000 residents of Vieques who live
immediately adjacent to the field of fire and have suffered with constant
and severe noise, and whose environment and health have been threatened by
related pollutants, the bombing of Vieques is a humanitarian issue. And to
all the people of Puerto Rico, it's an issue about respect and democracy.
I have personally visited Vieques and seen the disastrous impact that
constant bombing has had on the island's natural resources and environment,
on its resident's health and on its economy. The people of Puerto Rico are
Americans. They raise our flag. They have fought valiantly in our wars. Many
hundreds--maybe as many as 800--died on September 11th in the World Trade
Center tragedy. Puerto Ricans deserve to be treated justly.
Both President Clinton and President Bush have recognized this reality in
formulating their responses to this difficult issue.
Mr. President, like all Americans, I believe that the people of Puerto Rico
have shown throughout history that they are willing to make sacrifices if
asked to protect America. But we shouldn't use the current circumstances to
justify continued bombing over some indeterminate period. We should and must
find an alternative training site and more on as soon as possible.
[Page: S9798] GPO's PDF
So, in summary, Mr. President, this amendment recognizes our current
military needs and provides the President flexibility to deal with America's
war on terrorism. But, over time, this action would respect the will of the
people of Puerto Rico, and end the Vieques debate on the bombings.
I hope my colleagues will support this amendment.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
Please note new phone number and address below.
Aimee R. Houghton
Associate Director, CPEO
1101 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
tel: 202-452-8039; fax: 202-452-8095
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