tv [untitled] CSPAN June 10, 2009 3:00pm-3:30pm EDT
i thought we were there. we don't really need to do this. mr. chairman, we need to do it. we need to do it and it's the right thing to do. and, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. mr. berman: i'm pleased to yield the remainder of my time to the gentlelady from nevada, ms. berkley. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. berkley: i'm pleased to speak in strong support of this resolution. i think it's an important one, one that needs to be stated in this piece of legislation and stated far more often. the fact of the matter is that iran poses an existential threat to the entire civilized world. it is as much a threat to the united states and europe and the arab countries in the region as it is to israel. a nuclear iran cannot be allowed to happen.
the only difference is that the president of iran, ahmadinejad, has singled out israel for particular hatred and contempt and has threatened to wipe israel off the map. we have learned after adolph hitler that when a -- adolf hitler that when a leader of a country threatens to exterminate you or wipe you off a map, you should take them seriously. off president of iran desperately attempting and rapidly attempting to acquire nuclear capability, not necessarily for peaceful means, but for military means and a threat to israel to wipe it off the map. i suggest to you that this is a very dangerous combination and that is why this resolution is important. i thank the gentleman very much for introducing this amendment. i urge all of my colleagues to support it and i yield back the
balance of my time. the chair: does the gentleman from california yield back the remainder of his time? mr. berman: i do. the chair: the question son the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it, the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number nine, printed in part c of house report 111-143. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california rise? mrs. davis: mr. speaker, i'm going to yield to representative grayson. the chair: does the gentlelady have an amendment at the desk? mrs. davis: an amendment made in order by the rule and ask for its consideration. the chair: clerk will report the title.
the chair: amendment number nine printed in house report 111-143 offered by mrs. davis. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california. mrs. davis: i'm going to yield to mr. grayson, we have a number of individuals who want to speak, he's going to do that first. the chair: the gentleman from florida. mr. grayson: i had the experience of going to afghanistan a couple of years ago, this has to do with whether we should keep track of our policies on afghani women. when i went to afghanistan a few years ago, i saw interesting things. if you're on the streets of afghanistan, everywhere you look are children, because hardly any of them are in school. as a result, you see more children in the streets of an afghan city or town than almost anywhere in the world. i noticed something interesting about the girls. if you see an 8-year-old afghan girl, she looks like an
8-year-old afghan boy, dressed the same way, playing the same games if you see a 9-year-old afghan girl, her arms are covered. a 10-year-old afghan girl, her arms and heads are covered. 12-year-old afghan girls are not on the streets anywhere, or 13-year-old or 14-year-old or 15-year-old, they're just not there if you look at the adults. you'll see maybe 10 men for every woman you see on the streets. the reason for that is that in afghanistan, women are forbid ton leave their homes unless they're accompanied by a husband a brother, a father, or a son. the women who do leave their homes in afghanistan are covered head to toe. they can barely see you because their faces are covered and eyes covered with a grille like this, so they can barely see out. all you can see of their bodies are their shoes, nothing else. that's the life of women in afghanistan.
it's a living hell. i think it's fitting and appropriate that we, who have occupied the country militarily for years now, should take a look at the effect of our policies on afghan women. i'm very much in favor of this amendment because it's a matter of human rights. thank you, and i yield back to the lady from california. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california rise? ms. ros-lehtinen: i ask to claim time in opposition even though i do not oppose the amendment. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms.s are lehtinen: with the fall of the taliban, afghan women came back from the brink but the gains made since 2001 have been fragile. we recognize that any prospect of better lives for the women of afghanistan and girls are inherently linked to the success of the development and reconstruction of their country. furthermore, we all desire
greater levels of accountability, quality, and impact from foreign development assistance to afghanistan. all aimed at creating the enabling environment necessary to sustain women's development successes, their security, and their basic rights. mr. chairman, this amendment has that noble purpose. it would require the inspector general of the department of state, the department of defense, the united states agency for international development, and the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction to include the impact that u.s. development assistance has on the social, economic, and political empowerment of afghan women as part of their auditing and reporting requirements. i support this amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman yield back. the gentlewoman from california. mrs. davis: i rise to urge my colleagues to support this amendment offered by myself and representative grayson which
would direct the general responseable for oversight in afghanistan to include in their auditing an assessment protocol the impact the u.s. development has, advance political and human rights, health care, education, training, security and shelter for women and girls. mr. speaker, i recently returned from a congressional visit to kabul and canned harr where we met with women from all wakes of afghan life. the roles and experiences of women are not always considered in wartime or during stabilization and reconstruction operation. these women want to contribute to the stabilization and reconstruction of their nation. that is what we heard. from not just the few afghan women in political or professional positions, but from the poorest women, who simply want the ability to care for their families, access, education, -- access education and health care, and feel safe
and secure in their communities. if we don't include women, we are ignoring 50% of the population that is ease eeger and has the desire and capacity to be agents of change. ultimately, it is in the national security interest of the united states to prevent the emergence of a terrorist safe haven in afghanistan. the kind of instability women in afghanistan are submitted to has a direct correlation to their ability to help stabilize their communities. the situation for women has been made worse by a lack of security, corruption in kabul and passage of oppressive measures shutch a as the shia personal status law. every conversation i've had with commanders there, including our recent trip, assures me that the kind of gender apartheid occurring in afghanistan undermine ours national security. so we cannot sit idly by and do nothing about it if we are to
stabilize this region and bring our troops home. during a recent house armed services committee hearing, the g.a.o. witness highlighted the importance of empowering women, but noted her agency had not focused on the advancement of women in afghanistan and she went on to state that, quote, investment in women is often a pivotal investment focus for returns on economic growth and economic dwoment in country, unquote. and i believe that and i also believe that this is true for political growth as well. in education, some say if you don't test it, you won't teach it. well, without these metrics, we can't know how our aid is impacting these women. we are reshaping our commitment to the afghan people in a way that fosters trust, promotes justice, and protects human rights. the protection of the rights of women and girls in afghanistan
and their full and equal participation in afghan civil society is essential to afghan national security as well as ours. i urge my colleagues to reach out to the women of afghanistan when they're traveling there because we know then you include them in your delegation and conversations, they, too, can express their concerns to you even our male colleagues will have their opportunity with any number of women there. i want to thank mr. berkman for his support. the chair: the question son the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed. to it is now in order to consider amendment number 10 printed in part c of house report 111-143. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from florida rise? ms. brown-waite: the amendment that's at the desk.
the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 10 printed in part c of house report 111-143 offered by ms. ginny brown-waite of florida. the speaker pro tempore: the -- the chair: the gentlewoman from florida, ms. brown-waite and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from florida. ms. brown-waite: we have a problem as every american in this chamber knows, american is facing unprecedented trillion-dollar deficit a ballooning national debt and steadily growing entitlement obligations. yet each and every time the house comes together to consider spending bills, evidence abounds that very few tough choices are being made. as i'm sure my colleagues will readily agree, never in the history of congress has there been a line item that at least one member did not support. there has not been a single program that somebody didn't think was worthy of the taxpayer dollars.
in a perfect world where the united states is flush with money, very few spending ideas don't hold some merit. but simply having merit does not mean that american people have enough money to pay for it, nor do they have enough money lying around to fund this. it is not our job to come to washington and put together a most comprehensive and exhaustive list of worthy causes. mr. chairman,s if our job to make the tough choices and that means deny regular sources to something that somebody somewhere thinks is a good idea. frankly, if as a body we are unable to recognize that the spend -- that spending taxpayer dollars for the domestic distribution of a documentary film in a foreign affairs bill is not what the taxpayers need most at this time. if this is truly a choice that's too hard for us to make, i think we owe it to our constituents to take a good, long look in the mirror and
decide what we are really here to do. some will probably point out that striking the authorization for this film is not important. well, i would say to those colleagues, it is important that we watch every single appropriation that comes before us. that is precisely what we are sent here to do. and this amendment is not just about striking a provision to authorize funding for the distribution of a documentary film. if it were, i would take time to point out that this is a domestic distribution in a foreign affairs bill. i would also point out that laws have been on the books for 60 years that prohibit the executive branch from distributing government-sponsored information campaigns domestically. i might even point out that the film is available already for every man, woman, and child in this country to see right now. i am not kidding.
it is actually on youtube. and yet, we have this in the appropriations bill. the point is, mr. chairman, that the american people, those who voted for us and those who voted against us, all of them expect more from this body. i offer this amendment to my colleagues not to point out an absurd provision in an irresponsible spending bill. i offer this to make a point about all the absurd provisions in all the bloated bills the house has recently considered. the american people deserve more than this. i would point out to my colleagues they need to remember this is a voting card, it is not a credit card. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? >> i rise to claim the time in opposition to this amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. scott: this amendment, while i'm sure well intended by the lady would strike a part of the bill waiving dissemination of public diplomacy materials in the united states to make the film "aa fateful harvest" available for viewing. the voice of america's afghanster vis produced this 52-minute documentary examining the markets industry in afghanistan, including poppy growing, opium production, trafficking, law enforcement efforts and the harmful health effects of drugs. it drumets the challenges facing the afghan government as swellwell as our own. it's financed by the department of narcotics and nat law enforcement affairs. the film has been viewed in their country. it has been on the voice of america's website and in six separate parts on youtube.
mr. speaker, voice of america has received several requests for a clean copy of the documentary in its original high resolution. and in one single piece for viewing at u.s. venues because of the film's educational value. among those seeking access to this single clean copy are the john hopkins university school of advanced international studies center of politics and foreign relations and an afghan students group at the university of virginia. on the area of cost that my good friend on the other side pointed out, there is no cost. any additional copies of the film will be made available for purchase which would cover the cost of copying, however small it may be. mr. speaker, during the history of u.s. i.a. and the broughting board of governors, congress has passed legislation to waive the domestic dissemination ban known as smith mutt to make a
film able to view in the united states. this is a matter of precedence. in reference to not having done before on three different occasions, mr. speaker, three different authorizations. section 203 of the f.y. u.s. information agency in 1990 and 1991. section 204, 19 8 and 1989. section 205 in f.y. 2007. so with respect to the lady from florida, we certainly respect here but oppose the amendment. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: does the gentleman yield back? the gentlewoman has already yielded back? mr. scott: i recognize the gentleman from florida, mr. klein, two minutes. the chair: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. klein: i thank the gentleman. i rise to oppose the gentlelady's amendment. while i respectfully disagree the purpose of today's bill is to do anything other than improve the quality of a diplomatic effort that our men and women around the world are doing. and i think this is exactly the direction of the bill is doing. i think it does it in a right, efficient way. this particular amendment would disallow an important film called "a fateful harvest," a documentary that exposes the poppy trade that the taliban has used to impress the afghan people from broad distribution. it forbids the voice of america from releasing its products in the united states. and the original intention is that a u.s. government agency should not be able to brainwash americans or put things out that would not -- that would not be objectable -- objectionable thing. it would require an act of congress to waive this law. but let's be clear, congress has waived this provision 100
times in the past number of years for domestic releases, including the award-winning john f. kennedy years of lightning and days of drum in 1965. this particular movie, "a fateful harvest," is important for any american who is concerned about our national security. at a time when some americans question the presence of american troops, this film makes the case that the efforts to help the afghan people transition from poppy to other agriculture fights against the taliban. i saw these efforts that our men and women on the ground are doing in afghanistan when i was there a number of months ago in trying to switch from poppies to pomegranates and to wheat and other products. as we help afghanistan transition their economy, we will undermine the taliban. most americans cannot see this for themselves. that is why the release of this film is so important. i urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment, and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields
back. the gentleman from georgia yield back? mr. scott: yes, mr. speaker. in closing -- the chair: the gentlewoman has already yielded her time. mr. scott: in closing, mr. speaker, i'd ask defeat of this amendment with all due respect. i was on voice of america yesterday morning. they are fine people. they do a fine service. this is great acclamation for them as well. we respectfully speak in opposition to the lady's amendment. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from florida. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not adopted. ms. brown-waite: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from florida will be postponed. it's now in order to consider amendment number 11 printed in part c of house report 111-143. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise?
mr. holt: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 11 printed in part c of house report 111-143 offered by mr. holt of new jersey. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 522, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. holt, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. holt: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank chairman berman for bringing this bill to the floor. simply stated, my amendment would remember the secretary of state to report to congress within 60 days on potential changes in treaty language and related u.s. laws that would improve other countries' compliance with the hague convention on international child abduction. let me briefly explain why this amendment is necessary. since 1980 the hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction was created to ensure in a child is wrongfully removed from his or her country of habitual residence from one parent by another parent, they
would have an internationally recognized means by recovering the abducted child. unfortunately, one of my constituents has come face to face with the very real limitations of the current hague convention. in his efforts he's been trying to recover his kidnapped son from brazil which, like the united states, is a signatory of the hague convention. five years ago, five years ago this month mr. david goldman from central new jersey was trying to rescue his son from an international parental kidnapping. he had driven his wife and 4-year-old son to the newark airport for a scheduled trip to visit her parents in brazil. mr. goldman was to join them a few days later. but before he could he received a phone call saying two things. his wife said their marriage was over and if he ever wanted to see their son, sean again, he would have to sign over custody. he refused to be blackmailed.
he began a long and relentless campaign to secure his son's release. despite the clear legitimacy of mr. goldman's claim, the case has crawled along in brazil's courts, bouncing back and forth for years. mr. goldman's wife secured a divorce in brazil, began a new relationship with a prominent lawyer and, unfortunately, mr. goldman's former wife died, a fact that mr. goldman learned only sometime later because the family had concealed that from the brazilian courts. after my intercession and that of mr. smith and with the help of the state department, brazilian authorities moved to have the case once again sent to brazil's federal courts to secure visitation rights for mr. goldman. that effort was successful. david goldman was able to see his son for the first time in nearly five years earlier this year. now, just this month the brazilian federal court in rio ordered seine -- sean returned
to mr. goldman. but amazingly a brazilian political party filed a motion with the brazilian supreme court asserting that brazil's exsession to the hague convention was unconstitutional. i'm pleased that the obama administration has filed a motion with the brazilian supreme court seeking to have this frivolous motion dismissed. but we should do more. this outrageous delaying tactic brought by an entity with no genuine standing in the case has only underscored the need for the united states and other nations to examine potential changes to the convention. necessary in order to prevent these kinds of cases from dragging on for years. the hague convention on partial -- on parental child abduction should not be a justification for delay. i ask my colleagues to support my amendment so that we can receive in a timely fashion advice and recommendations from secretary clinton on measures that may be taken to help speed the resolution of cases like
that of david and sean goldman. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise? mr. smith: i ask unanimous consent to claim the time in opposition even though i do not oppose. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: i thank the speaker for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise in strong support of this amendment. i thank my friend and colleague for offering it. today, david goldman is once again back in brazil. he is back at the brazilian supreme court which he and i visited together last february. trying to get justice that the brazilian courts keep delaying and denying. today, david goldman is tenaciously trying to reclaim his son from a child abductor. mr. speaker, as many members know, almost five years ago david goldman's 9-year-old son, sean, was abducted by his mother to brazil. for five long years, david has sought relief in the brazilian courts. and with the aid of an extraordinarily talented legal team and a local gas roots
organizations called -- grassroots organization called bring sean home, and i would encourage everyone to google it, go check it out, look at the information that is contained on that website because it is truly remarkable what this grassroots organization has done to power support for david, to lift his often damaged spirits as he's gone through this process in bra stpwhrill and in rio de janeiro. it's particularly outrageous since the death of sean's mother, sean has been illegally held by her second husband, a man by the name of lynn desilva, a wealthy and very well-connected lawyer who, by the way, does family law. if there ever was a case of abusing family law, the david goldman case is it. he refuses to return sean to his father, david. but heedless of the damage that he does to sean, endlessly delays and obstructs and abuses
the judicial system. last tuesday, mr. speaker, after a court had ordered the abductor to turn sean over for immediate return to the united states, within 48 hours a member of the brazilian supreme court responding to the appeal by a brazilian political party suspended that order. i read the justice pinto's original statement, an 82-page -- the parts that were translated into english from portuguese, it's a regardable finding by a justice in the brazilian court. he talks about it's not the first kidnapping by a mother who sadly passed away by by the second kidnapping that occurred when a man who is not sean's father took custody of a son that was not adoptable and just grabbed him as if he was some kind of commodity. it's outrageous. that judge recognized that. he also acknowledged the extreme emotional and
psychological harm that is being done sean -- to sean goldman each and every day. court appointed psychiatrists did an extensive battery of tests and reviews of sean goldman and found that the continued absence of david, the real father, has caused incredible emotional harm that is compounded each and every day. mr. speaker, david, again, is now before the supreme court and this political party is actually questioning the constitutionality of the hague convention itself and its applicability to the laws of brazil. to me that seems as if and it is that sean is being taken hostage. if they want to review whether or not that signing of the hague convention comports with their own domestic laws and their constitution, do so. but don't take a 9-year-old
american boy as hostage as you adjudicate that consideration. mr. speaker, we have to speak frankly about this situation in brazil. i think this congress has done so as has our friends in the senate, as has the white house. the brazilian judicial system enables international child abduction by brazilian citizens. this is not an exaggeration. i invite you to read the state department's april, 2009, report on compliance with the hague convention. it just came out off the presses. the report documents in detail what it describes as practice zill's patterns of noncompliance for brazil as well as for other countries. brazilian courts have a disturbing pattern of legitimizing of abductions claiming that the child has become adapted to brazilian culture. if you abduct a child and manage to keep him or her in brazil long enough