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    Pay Back On Iraq: Congressman Rohrabacher Backs Banning Fed'l Funds From Procuring Goods Or Services From Any French, German, Russian or Syrian Entity In Reconstruction Of Iraq

    (April 6, 2003) -- Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, whose district includes part of ELB as well as Los Altos and Belmont Shore, recently spoke on the House floor in favor of a ban on using federal funds to procure goods or services from any French, German, Russian or Syrian entity in reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

    The issue arose on during April 3 debate on a Supplemental Budget bill, when Congressman Mark Kennedy (R., MI) introduced an amendment providing that "None of the funds made available in the Act for reconstruction efforts in Iraq may be used to procure goods or services from any entity that includes information on a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that indicates that such entity is organized under the laws of France, Germany, the Russian Federation, or Syria."

    The following took place during discussion on the adding the measure:

    Mr. ROHRABACHER. ...Mr. Chairman, I will try to make this quick. I rise in strong support of this amendment. There is a limit to American magnanimity. There is a limit to how much we will just turn our heads and say we will forgive you. And yes, we will forgive those people who are our friends who betrayed us when we were putting the lives of our young people on the line. We will forgive them, but we will not forget; and that is what this amendment is all about, not forgetting those who would not stand with us, and remembering those who did stand with us when the lives of our people were at stake. I have no problem with that.

    Mr. KENNEDY of Minnesota [proponent of the amendment]: Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?

    Mr. ROHRABACHER. I yield to the gentleman from Minnesota.

    Mr. KENNEDY of Minnesota. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to make it clear that the way this is worded, it would be highly unusual this would be putting any American jobs at risk, and we have gone to great pains, the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Nethercutt) and myself, in reviewing these approaches to make sure that we do not.

    I think it is appropriate. This is not just about American jobs, but it is, the gentleman says, about American people, American Congress, remembering who has stood with us and making sure that those who stood with us as we go to liberate Iraq would also be standing with us as we go to rebuild Iraq.

    Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, there is a much greater chance that American jobs will be lost if we do not make this declaration to the policymakers and to the bureaucrats and to the government officials who will enforce the law once we pass the law. We are making it very clear to them that American companies and companies from countries which helped us, which stood by us, will have preference over those companies from countries which stood aside at the moment when it counted or even harped and backbit our leaders when they were taking tough stands.

    We will not forget what happened during these last 3 and 4 months. We will not forget the actors who play President of the United States, but spend their own time in the real world undercutting American Presidents who have had to make tough decisions about the national security of our country.

    We will not forget the impotence of the United Nations. We are not going to place our faith in that institution again. We will not forget that NATO is dominated by the Germans and French, and we will not forget that the British and the Spanish not only stood by us but joined us and put the lives of their young people on the line as well.

    Finally, I would like to end with one small story. I hope our French brethren are brethren. Dean Rusk in his memoirs talks about how Lyndon Johnson called him into the Oval Office in 1964 after Charles de Gaulle declared that France would be out of NATO and declared that all American troops would have to be off of French soil in 90 days. LBJ gave Mr. Rusk the job of going to France, talking to the General, and asking him a question and coming back and reporting verbatim what the General said. So Mr. Rusk, our Secretary of State, went to Paris and met with General de Gaulle.

    He said, President Johnson has tasked me with asking you this question: When you demand that all American soldiers are off of French soil within 90 days, are you including those thousands of Americans buried in Normandy?

    General de Gaulle was speechless. He turned away and could not speak.

    I would hope that the French people, now that this war is coming to a conclusion with the great victories that we have had in these last few days, when they see that we have put the lives of our people on the line again, I hope they will become speechless, because I am sick and tired of hearing from a lot of those people, and so are a lot of Americans.

    The CHAIRMAN. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Kennedy).

    The amendment was agreed to.

    The Supplemental Budget bill, with the amendment, was passed by the House (414-12, 9 not voting).

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