tv [untitled] CSPAN June 15, 2009 8:30pm-9:00pm EDT
there was also in that st. croix harbor according to robert johnson in his book, "st. croix 1770 to 1776 that the first salute to the stars and stripes occurred in june of 1776. and of course then there's that -- direct relationship between haiti and new orleans, the latter of which in the beginning of the 19th century was considered a minor adjunct to the island which was then considered france's most valuable possession. . it was only after napoleon had failed to conquer the colonies, only then did he decide to sell the louisiana territory. many from the island who had fled that island became early inhabitants of new orleans, contributing to the culture that is so recognized and renowned today. there are also many u.s. virgin
islanders today and in the past and from the then danish west indies who have and continue to contribute much to our nation and have spoken of many of them on several occasions. people like casper holstein, congressman payne mentioned raymond jones, emil griffin, tim duncan, many, many others. one, denmark vecsey, was born in st. thomas and settled in charleston, south carolina, one of my favorite cities. settled interest in 1783. 17 years later he brought his freedom and inspired, i'm sure by the 1733 african rebellion of st. john and the 1791 successful african rebellion in now haiti, he also planned a well-known slave uprising that was to have taken place in 1822, but was thwarted.
i would be truly remiss if i didn't speak briefly about alex ander hamilton who was born in what is now the independent nature of st. kitts and who spent his formative years in st. croix before coming to new york and eventually becoming, quote, arguably the most important figure in american history who never attained the presidency but had a far more lasting impact than many who did. alexander hamilton is credited with having been washington's aide to camp, a revolutionary war hero, a member of the constitutional convention, the leading author of the federalist papers and head of the federalist party as well as the first secretary of the treasury who forged our tax and budget systems. i bet he would have led us budget for prevention as we're trying to do in reform. he started the coast guard and the central bank. we are proud that he was a virgin islander, and we're
seeking to make his family home, the site where his mother was buried, a part of the national park service. it carries the same name as his home in new york city, grange. there have been many caribbean men and women who have served in congress and in our nation's administrations. as a woman of caribbean descent and a founding mother of the congressional black caucus, cheryly chisholm who has also been mentioned this evening, led the way for congresswoman clarke and i. as a pioneering minority woman, her legacy holds the door open for many more african-americans and women. then there was mervin, melvin evans, victor frazier and all who have served as resident commissioners from puerto rico as well as their heritage who are also caribbean americans and who serve today and have served in the past in this body. many more of our nation's leaders trace their roots to the caribbean such as our former secretary of state, colin powell, attorney general, eric
holder, assistant secretary of the exterior designee and supreme court nominee, sonia sotomayor. but there are many others. we may look back as far as the period to the 1900's', to the 1920's, which marked the initiation of mass labor migration from the caribbean to the united states and the formation of the first large caribbean communities here in this country. we should not forget world war i, when the recruitment of labor from the caribbean became empirtive, more than 100,000 caribbean laborers were recruited for agricultural and tedious jobs as par as -- part of war laborers. we should acknowledge the caribbean men and women who served our country and those who continue to serve this country overseas in its conflicts today. so i feel it's been an honor and a privilege as a caribbean american whose roots fly cuba, an tiga, st. kitts and the danish west indies, now the virnlen islands, to host this
hour with the congressional black caucus is recognize and paid tribute to caribbean american heritage. with that, madam speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the gentleman from texas, mr. carter, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. carter: i want to thank you for recognizing me today. i got some stuff i think's kibeds of interesting to talk -- kind of interesting to talk
about. let's see, let's start with -- recently while listening to the radio i heard an announcement that president obama was appointing a gentleman to be named the compensation czar and that kind of threw me, i being an old criminal law trial judge. i remember the drug czars of past. i remember i think a couple of homeland security czars, but i never had heard of a compensation czar. so i started looking into it. and i've always thought that it was kind of peculiar for a democratic country to even use the term czar. but others have adopted it ahead of time so i don't have any
problem with using the word czar although if you look it up in the dictionary you'll find out, the most pap lar version is a form of the -- popular version is the form of the russian, totally auto contractic emperorers of the old imperial russia -- emperors of the old imperial russia. i think it sound as little funny for us to be comparing ourselves with that failed system, but, you know, i can't -- i can't criticize it too much because we've had multiple folks that have had these czars. and exactly what are these czars that we create in this country? well, the best i've been able to determine, these are people who are hired members of the executive branch of the government. but they're not like secretary of health, education and welfare
or secretary of labor. but they're given sort of absolute authority in their field to give direction to the government and to advise the president as his personal kind of other cabinet, if will you. now the first thing that comes to mind when you wonder about that is, with well, you say, well, wait a minute, all these secretaries that become members of the cabinet, they have to be confirmed by the senate, constitutionally it's required that they be confirmed by the senate and we have these confirmation battles in every administration and actually some issues have come up this time which caused people to withdraw their names before the issue of whether or not they'd be confirmed for reasons like they didn't pay their taxes or some other reason that they felt they didn't want to go through that kind of an onerous process of getting to be the secretary of homeland security or the
secretary of state, secretary of commerce or whatever secretary it may be, which have long time been the historical heads of departments of the executive branch of the federal government. but now we've got these new guys that are going to be czars. now it wasn't so hard to figure out when you said, well, you've got an attorney general who is one of the cabinet members, he's confirmed by the senate just like the constitution requires, and to have somebody who totally focuses on the drug fight that we have, maybe that might not be such a bad idea. so that's kind of what -- that's kind of the first concept of czar that i can recall and i think probably it at some time ronald reagan may have used that -- at some time ronald reagan may have used that term. so you can understand that.
but when you hear czar you think russian. when you think of russian czars you think of the dynasty. which is the dynasty that was ultimately overthrown by the communist revolution. from its inception and for 300 years, the romanovs' rule had 18 czars and two or three of them didn't last very long. and in 146 days, the obama administration has 22 czars. now, these folks have lots of titles, these 22 czars. but if czar means what czar has sort of historically meant, it's designed to give them sort of an absolute, in charge position on
a certain subject matter. and remember, these folks are not ones who would have to be confirmed the way i understand it in order to hold a position. these are just hired folks that the president, through his presumed authority, gives them this power to do this. so, the russians took 300 years and we took 146 days to create this czardom if you will. now, let's see who these folks are. the best i can tell, this is a pretty accurate list of our czars.
that have been created by the obama administration. we start off with the border czar, then the energy czar, carol browner. i believe she was part of the e.p.a. last time, maybe under carter or clinton, i'm not sure. probably clinton. i don't know all about all these people. urban czar, infotech czar, faith-based czar, the been reported that he's an atheist. but that is his faith, i suppose. health reform czar, nancy-ann, tarp czar, now we have all heard about the tarps, heash alison is the -- herb alison is the tarp
czar. stimulus accountability czar, the nonproliferation czar, the -- and i may be mispronouncing these folks' names and let me say right off, if i've mispronounced anybody's name, it's because i'm from texas and i apologize for that. the terrorist czar is john brennan, the regulatory czar, there's an interesting one, cass, the drug czar is gil kerilowski. the guantanamo closure czar, the af/pak czar, the mideast peace czar, the persian gulf/southwest
asia czar, dennis ross, the sudan czar, j. scott, climate czar, todd stern, car czar, steve rad in her -- rat in her. he's been all over the place -- ratner, he's been all over the place. economic czar, the executive pay czar, that's one of my favorites right there. the executive pay czar is kenneth feinburg and then the cyber security czar, position to be announced, but they're going to have one. now, right off i wondered about the cyber security czar because we've got an infotech czar up here which is sort of both in the same -- both first cousins, anyway. and i don't know whether they'll be working together or what.
but they're going to have absolute power in their field, whatever that means. i think this is something we ought to be curious about. that's so many czars, you know what's interesting, the russians gave nicknames to some of their czars based on their behave -- behavior. i don't think anybody would want to be called, like, allen the terrible, you know? we had an ivan the terrible in the russian romanov dynasty. we had -- i'm sure they'd all like to be peter the great or kathryn the great, have the great after their name, but i guess we can make up names for them. the question is why. i think it's a question the administration ought to answer. i'm not the only one asking these questions. the statement from senator be robert byrd said the rapid and easy accumulation of power by white house staff can threaten
the constitutional system of checks and balances. at the, white house staff has taken direction and control of problematic areas that are the statutory responsibility of senate confirmed officials. he's raising the same issue i was raising a few minutes ago. that is these people don't go through the confirmation process. there's no senators looking and seeing what kind of reputation these people have, what they are doing-with a -- doing -- what they have done in the past. where their area of expertise is. whether or not this is the most qualified person. whether it's a person who would meet the constitutional requirements of serving our nation. i know these are hired by the president. we don't -- it's like there's this alternate universe we are creating. we've got the cabinet. i guess you leave the cabinet
and you go over to the czardoms and meet with them. maybe they all get in one room and battle it out. i don't know how it works. we'll see. but this is sizably more czars than we have ever had. in fact, taking a look at president ronald reagan had one czar, president george herbert walker bush had one czar, president bill clinton had three czars, president george w. bush had four czars. we've gone one, one, three, four . 22. if these czars are set up to target historically needed help
for people in this country, i think it's done with a good heart. but i really think we should be -- we as the american people should start asking why. why should you hire somebody principle to be the border czar? alan may be a nice guy and he may be smart as a whip. we also have mrs. napolitano who is the head of homeland security and it is her statutory responsibility to be in charge of defending the borders of this country. in fact, it's the constitutional responsibility of every member of this house to defend our borders. but it's certainly her statutory responsibility to defend our nation. we have an energy department and
the secretary of energy, i think, the best i can figure out, is supposed to be responsible for the energy department. now, i wonder why we have to have this energy czar. urban czar. well, we've got a department of urban development that's housing and urban development, h.u.d., that's been around for an awful long time. that is a cabinet post. so why all of a sudden do we need an urban czar? we never had one before. info tech czar. i don't know where that would fall in the purview of the established secretariats by the constitution, by statute, but somewhere. faith-based czar, we have dealt with the head of a faith-based initiative in the bush white house. it came under a lot of criticism from the now majority, but they
created one. at least it is reported, put an atheist in charge of that which to me seems strange. the health reform czar should be active right now because as i understand it the president spent his day today trying to convince people in various places that we needed this massive health reform that he's seeking to put. and he wants to actually create -- put the government in competition with private industry on health care. i would say leading to the kind of health care ultimately maybe through the backdoor but ultimately i think there is no doubt and most experts would say the recommendations that he's -- that they are making, they are pushing forward between now probably and the fourth of july are to set in motion the possibility of a single payer health care system in the united states run by the government. when we have that we will see the quality of our health care
plummet and we will see people like me, people in washington, making decisions as to what certain people are supposed to do for health care. and rationing that health care. now, if you ask our good friends and neighbors to the north in canada, you say, we hear you got the greatest health care system in the world. they said, it is good. it's real good. as long as you're well. if you get sick, you got to get on a waiting list to get treated. in fact, we have a greater cure rate for breast canser in this country by about 30 points, percentage points than they do in canada because they wait too long to take action on the breast cancer issue. same thing goes for prostate cancer for men. these are things we ought to be thinking about.
we have somewhere in the 90 percentile express rate if we catch breast cancer early and aggressively pursue it. they are in the early 60 ea, like 61%, 63%. this is something we ought to be concerned about. if you get an orthopedic problem in canada, say bad knee you need to get fixed, can you wait five years before you get in to see the orthopedic surgeon. where in the united states you could probably see him the day after tomorrow and you could probably get surgery done next monday. so we have to think about those things. but we got a health reform czar and i am asure she's going to tell us how it's going to work. tarp czar, that's peculiar to what we are doing right now, that's the tarp stuff, and there may be some understanding as to where that is. we were told by two secretaries
of treasury that they were going to oversee this and they were going to make sure nothing bad happened. that's what they told us. we heard one under george bush and we now hear one under barack obama. both these guys have told us they are going to be looking out for our money over here. but we got mr. tarp czar is doing that. a stimulus exhibit -- accountability czar. accountable to who? what does that mean? but i'll tell you, there's no doubt about it now, this is true. the american people are sure worried about how this money's being spent and where it's going. and is there any waste, fraud, and abuse involved in it as it comes out? because when you start throwing around billions and billions and billions of dollars until you reach trillions of dollars, it doesn't take a rocket scientist back home to figure out that much money is just a target for somebody to abuse the system.
so maybe that's a good thing. nonproliferation czar. i assume that's nuclear proliferation. that's what you always hear connected to the proliferation word. but the question is, -- terrorism czar. you know, when 9/11 happened and the -- this is before i came to congress, when 9/11 happened the members of congress here in their combined wisdom in a very bipartisan effort, which everybody's wondering about bipartisan, very bipartisan effort created the department of homeland security. it wasn't just for borders, it was for all issues to protect the homeland of america. and they became where we -- the entity where we gathered experts
on terrorism. of course all of our military services and intelligence divisions have always had information about terrorism because that's part of their job. they know who has to clean up the mess after the mess is created. and so our military certainly has that information, too. but we created -- i would argue one of the largest outside of the defense department, departments in the entire united states and it was created because of terrorism, but now we got a terrorism czar. the drug czar we have had, i'm pretty sure, in every administration for the last four administrations. and i know how that works. and i understand how that works. now, whether or not drug czars have had the absolutism that the word czar seems to indicate, i don't know. whether these folks are going to have that kind of absolute
authority is anybody's guess. guantanamo closure czar. at least we know this guy is going to be out of work by the end of next year. that is the administration keeps their pledge. we have been told absolutely that by this time next year guantanamo will be closed. and so this guy's got -- he's on a short leash. the alpak czar, don't know what that does. middle east peace czar. well, you could also call him an ambassador for credentialed ambassador or whatever they call the people that go out and negotiate peace. and george mitchell has done more than his share in his lifetime. he's very competent. i'm not going to the competence of any of these people. as far as i know all these czars could be ultimately alan the great, carolyn the great, gary the great, jay scott the great.
just like peter the great. we don't know how great these guys are going to be. but they could be one of those, and let's hope none of them happen to be ivan the terrible because that would be terrible. persian gulf czar, sudan czar. now, we have an ambassador to sudan, i think. we have diplomats that work with sudan. we have a secretary of of state who has an office that sudan falls under. i'm sure she has got some of the best experts on sudan anywhere in the contry. just like she does on the persian gulf. just like she does on the middle east. the secretary of of state has the best people we can hire. some of these people have been working in this field forever. now we got a sudan czar. this means this is the absolute monarch of sudan experts? what does it mean?
or is it just an associate of the administration that needs a be job? i don't know. i don't know what it does. climate czar. it's not clay mat change czar. it's not global warming czar. because we have had to change those terms. we started with climate -- started with global warming and started getting colder that's kind of dropped. now we are climate change czar. he's got to be the climate czar. we always blame the weatherman for the weather. but, hey, we got a czar we can blame now. this guy could very quickly become that could be steve the terrible very quickly. how would you like to be responsible for the climate of the united states? that's tough. that's a tough job. car czar.
well, if this guy doesn't do his job he'll have a whole lot less to be czar over because the federal government now runs the car business and at least two of the largest three firms in our country, so he sort of could be the government auto czar because the government's now in the automobile industry, heaven help us. the economic czar, i know we've got a half dozen people that serve in cabinet or subbe cabinet positions that we -- subcabinet position that is we refer to as specialists. we have the federal reserve that gives us advice on economics and the secretary of treasury that gives us advice on economics. we have a board that gives us advice on economics. there's the economist behind every bush. only thing more in washington we got than economist is lawyers. heaven help us. but we