PLAYING POLITICS FOR THE CAMERA; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 99
(House of Representatives - June 24, 2014)

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[Pages H5712-H5719]
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  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2013, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. King) is recognized for 
60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to address you here 
on the floor of the House of Representatives, and I appreciate the 
opportunity to do so.
  There are a number of topics that are on my mind, and generally for 
me, Mr. Speaker, it flows from the previous debate.
  As I listened to the deliberation and the dialogue and I will say the 
cooperative nature that came between the chairman and the ranking 
member of the Select Committee on Intelligence here this evening, Mr. 
Speaker, I appreciate that kind of dialogue, and I think our Founding 
Fathers would be very pleased if they could see that this work that is 
being done, a lot of it behind closed doors in the Select Committee on 
Intelligence, is being done in a deliberative process, sometimes in a 
classified setting, but often in a nonpartisan environment.
  It seems as though, when the television cameras come on, the partisan 
nature of this United States Congress is amplified by the media's 
coverage of the events that take place, and when the doors get closed, 
we get serious about policy in a different kind of a way.
  We are no longer messaging to America or simply having that kind of 
debate and dialogue that our Founding Fathers envisioned, and I don't 
know that it is particularly a phenomenon that is unique to the United 
States Congress.
  At the time of our Founding Fathers, we didn't have instantaneous 
media communications that went out across the District of Columbia or 
into the States or across the country, for that matter, or the world.

                              {time}  1945

  As technology developed, they had the printing press. The printing 
press allowed for newspaper to be printed in a limited form, in a 
compressed and compact form. And as that message went out across the 
country, sometimes it took weeks for the actions here in Congress to 
penetrate into the public. And by then, there was another wave of 
action and another wave of action, an entirely different rhythm here in 
Congress as compared to the rhythm that we have here. I think the pace 
of what we do in this Congress is related to the ability to translate a 
message out to the American people and out to the world.
  And so now going from an era when information traveled at its fastest 
pace, as our Founding Fathers helped shape this Nation, information 
traveled at its fastest pace about as fast as a horse could gallop. 
That was the closest thing they had to lightning speed of 
communications back in 1776. Today, information travels at the speed of 
light, and it is not only that there is a single piece of information 
that goes

[[Page H5713]]

out of here at the speed of light, but all kinds of pieces of 
information can go out simultaneously everywhere, not just to the 
District of Columbia, not to the surrounding States alone, not to the 
50 States that we have and the U.S. territories across the reaches of 
the globe and the Pacific, for example, but everywhere in the world it 
can go at the speed light, which is as close to instantaneously as 
possible. And it can be transmitted out of an iPhone. It used to be a 
BlackBerry and they got a little bit too slow for us. Now, we can send 
video around the world in real time from a device that hangs from our 
belt. That has changed the posture of the politics in the United States 
Congress. It has changed the messaging. It has changed the 
civilization, and it changed the culture in different ways.
  So now, we have people sitting in their living rooms all over America 
who for a long time now have been able to sit down from that desk and 
do email. That is a methodology that is now more than 20 years old, the 
ability to transfer instantaneously a letter that we might write on an 
electronic page and click the ``send'' button and it can go anywhere 
around the world at roughly the speed of light. But now there are 
millions of people sitting there who have practiced with email 
extensively and set up their email trees. And now a faster way to do 
that is on Facebook, and a more compressed way is to send it out by 
Twitter. There are a number of different social media that people are 
exercising, and there will be more that will be developed.
  While that happens, the American people are projecting their opinions 
and their observations instantaneously to their families and to their 
friends, to the people who are part of their distribution list, those 
who are their followers on their friend list. This has changed the way 
we do business in this country, and it has brought about public 
opinions that are accelerated in a faster way; a far, far faster way 
than how public opinions were formed in, say, the era of our founding.
  Because of this, it has been an expansion of our economy, the 
expansion of our efficiency. We are far more productive than we were 
before because we can communicate more quickly than before. But at the 
same time, it has opened us up for the kind of attacks that come from 
people who, in the era of our founding, in that era of say 235 years 
ago or so, they had no capability of reaching Americans, no capability 
of getting to our shores, and no capability of penetrating into the 
domestic life of Americans. We were safe enough then from the Barbary 
pirates. We had to go there before they would attack us.
  Yet, at that era of time, 20 percent of the Federal budget that was 
appropriated in this city was committed to paying tribute, which was 
bribes, you might say ``mordida'' in today's terms, to the Barbary 
pirates. Now we find ourselves still fighting the same kind of 
ideology, of people who would use cyberspace to attack us, who would 
use airplanes to attack us, both of which were not envisioned by our 
Founding Fathers, both of which can get here far faster than a Barbary 
pirate corsair could be rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. That has 
changed the rhythm of what we do.
  The Select Committee on Intelligence sees a lot of this. They see the 
most immediate intel that we have. They try to address this 
appropriately. And some of the things that we need to do is intel on 
our enemies.
  So I am hopeful that this bill which has just been passed will 
contribute to making it safer for Americans, and make our enemies, 
whose simple design is that they would want to kill us because we are 
not their culture, not their religion, not their--and when I refer to 
them as ``civilization,'' I have to put that in quotes, Mr. Speaker. 
But that is the situation that is in front of us.
  As the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence delivers a bill to 
the floor about which most of us don't have inside knowledge of, we 
have to keep in mind what has happened with the intelligence community 
and the results of the attacks that have taken place around the world. 
That takes me to what we saw, heard, and learned and thought we knew, 
to a greater degree than most Americans would agree did know, with 
regard to Iraq.
  We went in there to liberate them in March of 2003. I was here in 
this Congress then. I remember the intelligence that was delivered. I 
remember the rhythm that was taking place, the message delivered by the 
President and the Vice President, the agreement on what they had for 
intelligence that went from U.S. intelligence, Israeli intelligence, 
French intelligence, everybody in the intelligence community for the 
world agreed essentially on the same thing, and Saddam was removed from 
power. American and coalition forces went in to do that, and in the 
ensuing aftermath of the liberation, we saw an ebb and flow of forces 
in Iraq.
  One of them was a surprise for me to learn, as al Qaeda stepped in to 
places and took over in places like Fallujah and Ramadi--that we 
allowed that to happen on our watch. We occupied bases in Iraq. We had 
swept through the country and cleaned the country up. We had set up a 
government and turned it over to the voice of the Iraqi people. Free 
enterprise was starting to flow. Oil was starting to flow and was 
starting to go into the treasuries of Iraq. And yet, cities like 
Fallujah and Ramadi and others were taken over by al Qaeda. We watched 
that happen. That happened under the Bush administration. After it got 
to a certain point, President George W. Bush began to look for 
solutions. He was not willing to accept a capitulation in Iraq, an all-
out pullout of Iraq that would have allowed for al Qaeda and our 
American enemies, generally Sunni-related forces, to take Iraq back 
over again. That was what we had under Saddam, not al Qaeda but the 
Sunni forces dominated Iraq. And the forces within Iraq that had been 
pushing back on American forces and Shia forces within Iraq, our 
President was not willing to accept that. President Bush was not 
willing to accept that.
  He put together the surge, the counterinsurgency strategy that was 
drafted by General Petraeus. General Petraeus took some time off from 
his combat leadership in Iraq to sit down at Fort Leavenworth and write 
the counterinsurgency strategy. That strategy, before it was actually 
brought forward and published, was a strategy that was beginning to be 
developed to be implemented in Iraq.
  I had the circumstance of timing to have been in Iraq before the 
surge was a name but when the concept was being discussed and developed 
by our commanders in the field and pushed by General Petraeus at the 
time. I saw the success of the surge as we went in and aligned 
ourselves with the tribal interests of the Sunnis as well as the Shias, 
who understood that al Qaeda was too brutal, that they could not be 
trusted to simply allow the Iraqi people to run their own country and 
run their own government, and so they aligned themselves with the 
people who they envisioned would be the successful ones on the other 
side of the violent and bloody conflict that was ensuing.
  That aligned the right people on the right side, on our side of that 
particular battle, Mr. Speaker, that particular phase of the war in 
Iraq. There were many battles. It allowed for the surge of U.S. forces 
to step in, sweep al Qaeda out and build an alliance and an allegiance 
with local tribal interests say, in Anbar, and in multiple provinces 
and really all of Iraq to establish a peaceful foundation that would 
allow for a legitimate government of, by, and for the people of Iraq, 
and a free enterprise system to be put in place. They had then an 
opportunity to succeed and an opportunity to build a stable democracy 
in the country of Iraq.
  Those were the circumstances that the Bush administration left for 
the Obama administration. However, I would add one piece to this that 
is apparently not being discussed in today's news media, Mr. Speaker, 
and that is this: on November 17, 2008, after Barack Obama was elected 
for his first term in office, President Bush, under his administration, 
I will say allowed or recommended or assented to our U.S. Ambassador to 
Iraq, Ryan Crocker, who is an individual who is a wonderful public 
servant, one of the most knowledgeable people that we have on that 
whole area of the world we call the Middle East and whom has impressed 
me with the deep knowledge and the good judgment he has, and the 
careful rhythm of the work that he does, someone who has an eye on the 
moving of the organism in that part of

[[Page H5714]]

the world and how U.S. policy influences that part of the world. So I 
wanted to put these commercials in for Ambassador Crocker because I 
remain very impressed with Ambassador Ryan Crocker.
  It came to be his task to sign, however, a new status of forces 
agreement with Iraq. The moment I read that status of forces agreement, 
which was signed by Ambassador Crocker on behalf of President Bush, 
November 17, 2008, after President Obama was elected, so under the lame 
duck era of President-elect Obama and in the last months of President 
Bush's administration--Ambassador Crocker signed the status of forces 
agreement, which agreed to pull all military forces out of Iraq, agreed 
to abandon the bases that we had established, abandon the airstrips 
that we had established, and the defensive positions, and the ability 
to project force in Iraq was not only diminished, it was essentially 
eliminated by that agreement.
  I was alarmed that the administration would negotiate and agree to 
such a status of forces agreement that so weakened our ability to 
project power in Iraq; that with all of the blood and treasure that was 
invested, it sent the message that said either we don't care any longer 
or we have such confidence in the Maliki regime and such confidence in 
the new government that had been set up throughout those bloody years 
in Iraq that we didn't need to be there any longer.
  I think of the history of the United States' involvement, Mr. 
Speaker, and the times we have gone into places like Germany, Japan, 
the Philippines, Korea, for example, around the world where America has 
invested blood and treasure, we have also established bases to operate 
from, to project power, to project force, to protect freedom throughout 
the reaches of the interests of the United States of America, and at 
the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and billions, in fact 
trillions of dollars, we have not in the past washed our hands and 
walked away as if we wanted to be finished with it, except that as I 
speak, Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me that we did have General Winfield 
Scott in Mexico in about 1845. We signed the Treaty of Hidalgo which 
essentially gave Mexico back to Mexico after the Americans had invaded 
and occupied the state of Mexico, including Mexico City. We could have 
stayed. We could have established an American presence there. We could 
have brought the American civilization into Mexico. Looking back on it 
historically, perhaps we should have done so, but that was the time 
when American blood and American treasure was just packaged up and 
brought back home again, although out of that bargain came the Gadsden 
Purchase and also a new line of American border between the United 
States and Mexico. So there was something gained from that.
  In this case, we sacked up our bats and went home. We left a few 
marines in the embassy in Baghdad. The rest of it, we left to the 
Iraqis. As the intelligence came up, Mr. Speaker, and we watched what 
was going on, we learned that ISIS was growing and the conflict in 
Syria reached a questionable peak last September, last August, 
actually, around Labor Day in September when President Obama announced 
that he was planning on doing a tiny little, itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny 
surgical strike into Syria, and that was when Secretary of State Kerry 
said it would be, and this is not an exact quote, but what I remember 
is that the strike would be infinitesimally small. So a tiny, little 
military ding on Assad's regime to send a message to him: Don't use 
your chemical weapons any longer on Syrians. Well, that never happened. 
It didn't happen partly because we needed the British cooperation. Or, 
apparently, the President wanted the British cooperation and David 
Cameron, the Prime Minister, went to the British Parliament and said, I 
would like to have authorization to conduct a military operation 
strike--I don't know if he said infinitesimally small--in Syria.

                              {time}  2000

  And the British Parliament rejected that proposal, and so David 
Cameron was powerless to go forward in support of a U.S. effort that 
might have been a military strike or two, however small they might have 
been, in Syria.
  Then our President, President Obama, toyed with the idea of coming to 
Congress and asking us for the permission or the endorsement or the 
authority to conduct operations in Syria.
  Now, Mr. Speaker, I want to make it clear that my opinion is, 
constitutionally, the President of the United States is Commander in 
Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. Some in this Congress 
would argue that the President can't issue a military strike order 
without first getting the consent of Congress.
  I would argue instead that we are living in an era where the 
President of the United States must have that authority. He must have 
the authority to, in an instant, order a military strike if that is 
what the circumstances and the intelligence say is required. It is the 
President's decision. If the President orders our military into 
operations and over a period of time--and I think that an appropriate 
period of time today is a 30-day window--then if it is going to go 
beyond that, he should come back to Congress and ask for our support 
and ask for our endorsement of those military operations. But the 
initial strikes, the President has to have the authority, and has the 
authority under the Constitution, to order an immediate and military 
  The President didn't do that. He followed David Cameron's request 
before the British Parliament, and then when the British Parliament 
said, no, he toyed with the idea of asking Congress. Congress sent 
enough messages out through the media that essentially was a whip check 
on the vote of Congress on whether we would authorize military force 
going into Syria.
  When the President understood he wasn't going to get that 
authorization, then he decided apparently not to act in Syria, and he 
decided apparently to lead from behind--which is the definition of 
following, not leading--and he decided apparently to do the things in 
foreign policy that we have seen him do continually, and that is best 
described by the word ``dither.'' The President has been dithering on 
foreign policy, especially the things that require immediate response.
  There is a theory in human nature and philosophy that says that if 
you procrastinate, then eventually the decision will be made for you, 
that if you dither, the decision will be made for you.
  Action in Syria, or the decision, was resolved by dithering and 
waiting, and now it became clear that we can't identify good guys on 
either side of this argument. We had good guys. And I didn't advocate 
for this, Mr. Speaker, and so I am somewhat of a Monday morning 
quarterback looking back on this Syrian issue.
  We had some intelligence that identified the people that were good 
people, those who wanted to see a free Syria. The Free Syrian Army 
initially led by Syrians that believed in a free Syria and Syrians that 
believe that Syria needed to remain a nation-state, a country unto 
itself, that was owned, operated, and run, a government that responded 
to the people of Syria, that was the initial ideology that drove the 
Free Syrian Army by the intel that I picked up. I have traveled into 
that part of world a number of times, Mr. Speaker.
  One of the colonels who was a leader in the movement was essentially, 
I'll say, given over to the Assad regime in a military operation and 
was then pressed into prison, and that made him powerless. At that 
point, al Qaeda and the offshoots of al Qaeda and the factions of it 
began to assert themselves and infiltrate the Free Syrian Army to the 
point where we are not able any longer to identify the positive forces 
in Syria. You have al Qaeda and their affiliates, including ISIS, that 
are operating there, that have established the foundations for what 
they believe is to be the future caliphate of Islam.
  As a result, partly the result of the U.S. not asserting itself, 
partly the result of perhaps not having intelligence that was good 
enough in that part of the world, the U.S. didn't act. The President 
led from behind. The U.S. didn't act. The British Parliament said 
``no'' to David Cameron, and we have a mess in Syria. We have had 
multiple executions and beheadings taking place, Christians being 
persecuted and killed in Syria as well. Now the foundation of ISIS has 
flowed out of Syria and is flowing across Iraq.
  This group, the ISIS, has asserted themselves to the point where some 

[[Page H5715]]

saying we need to avoid a civil war in Iraq. I will argue instead we 
are almost past that. We are almost past the point where the civil war 
has actually been engaged and it is closer to the point where it could 
be over, resulting in an ISIS invasion and occupation of nearly the 
entire nation-state of Iraq. They pushed that far into the countryside 
where the majority of the real estate is controlled and occupied by 
  This is an astonishing development, especially considered in light of 
the President's statements 3 or 4 months ago when he told America and 
the world that we didn't need to worry very much about ISIS because 
they are simply the junior varsity--the junior varsity, Mr. Speaker. 
How could a force, a junior varsity that doesn't have an identifiable 
source of military supplies and munitions--although we have some intel 
on where that comes from--that doesn't have a confident, identifiable 
source of funding to pay their people or buy their equipment 
munitions--although we have some fairly good sources on where that 
comes from--how could this junior varsity rise up in a period of 3 to 4 
months from the time that the President said that they are the JV, how 
could they rise up and take over that much of Syria and flow into Iraq 
and invade and occupy Anwar province, for example, and now take the 
refinery at Baiji, the largest refinery in Iraq, and shut down or 
control the oil supply in Iraq? Now they have diverted it back to their 
own uses. Now we are at gas rationing in Iraq. Baghdad is threatened to 
be surrounded. The President has announced some days ago that he is 
willing to send up to 300 military personnel into Iraq presumably to 
prepare to evacuate Americans.
  This is a calamity of colossal proportions, Mr. Speaker. Apparently, 
it was unforeseen by the White House and the President of the United 
States, the wise Commander in Chief and the people in the White House 
who have the maximum access to the entire intelligence community, the 
intelligence community that is being discussed and reauthorized here on 
the floor of the House tonight by the chair and the ranking member, the 
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  I would think that the question that it doesn't take much 
intelligence to ask is: Mr. President, how did you miss this? How did 
you declare ISIS the junior varsity? How could they have emerged as 
this powerful force that is sweeping across Iraq?
  This isn't a civil war. This is a blitzkrieg by the enemy that is 
taking over the civilian governments and invading and occupying the 
towns in Iraq and executing the people who do not fit their particular 
religious sect. They are persecuting Christians. They are driving 
Christians out of that part of the world, and they are killing those 
that they choose to.
  It isn't that alone. They bragged over a week ago that they had 
executed 1,700 Iraqi soldiers. Most of these soldiers will be Shi'a. 
And it is the Sunnis that are doing the executing and the killing. They 
have long been the most aggressive, the most militant, the most brutal, 
and the most violent force of the Islamic world, in that part of the 
world, in Iraq in particular.

  ISIS has apparently and, according to some news accounts, are so 
violent and so brutal that they have even caused al Qaeda itself to 
step back from them and say: You are too violent and too brutal. Now, 
that is going a long way to think that people that would fly planes 
into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001, and burn to death the 
Americans that they did would find that the brutality of ISIS is so 
brutal that they would want to distance themselves from it.
  I am not sure I believe that analysis. I think that that is one of 
those conclusions du jour that we come to; once you hear somebody say 
it, it gets repeated again and again, and pretty soon others pick it 
up, no one challenges it, and now we think that al Qaeda has been 
repulsed by the brutality of ISIS. I am not convinced of that.
  Mr. Speaker, I can say this: I am repulsed by their brutality. I am 
repulsed by the beheadings that they do. I am repulsed by the videos. I 
am repulsed by the pictures. I am repulsed by the summary executions of 
hundreds, and probably thousands, of people that don't fit their 
religious sect that find themselves within the enforcement capability 
now of the black-flagged ISIS.
  I am repulsed by what has come out of there. If we could see the 
actual reality of all the things that are going on within that part of 
the battle zone and in the aftermath of it as they go down through the 
streets and do their ethnic cleansing, I think we will find that 
thousands of people have been summarily executed by ISIS.
  I think we will find that at least hundreds have been beheaded. I 
think we will find that thousands have been shot in the back of the 
head as they have their hands tied behind them and they are forced to 
kneel. I think we will find that in those numbers there will also be 
hundreds, and perhaps thousands, that have been forced to lay on the 
ground in a ditch and simply executed with AK-47 fire into the back of 
their heads or wherever. I think we will find that some--in fact, the 
videos are out there now--have been forced to kneel beside a pit in a 
hole in the ground that has a fire burning in it from gas poured into 
the hole, had gas poured onto their heads and then pushed into the hole 
to be burned to death in a pit.
  That is the kind of brutality that we have that is taking over that 
part of the world. That is the kind of people that have raced across 
the desert, in the open desert, and faced no air power from the United 
States of America whatsoever. They have only faced this: the President 
sitting in the White House dithering, a President who has decided--he 
gave a speech a week ago last Friday at noon in this town, and this 
speech was, he came out to do his press conference and he said--I am 
going to give this my summary version, the Steve King interpretation of 
the President's speech that day, a week ago last Friday at noon. He 
essentially conveyed this message to us:
  Things aren't going as well in Iraq as we had hoped. There is an 
enemy that has penetrated into Iraq. We are not going to have boots on 
the ground in Iraq. I have several options. We are going to study the 
options for a few days. It will take at least that long to evaluate. 
There will be no boots on the ground. We have options, but we are not 
going to deploy any options until such time as there are political 
solutions. If there is not a political solution, there is not going to 
be peace in Iraq.
  So he says: I am going to require the Iraqis to produce a political 
solution before we will use any of the options that we have that 
might--he didn't say this--but that might help them, was the 
implication. There will be no boots on the ground. We are going to 
study this for a few days. Then after we study it, we are going give 
the Iraqis an assignment, and the assignment will be: produce a 
political solution and then maybe we can get around to helping you.
  Huh. Well, that is the formula, Mr. Speaker, for dithering. That is 
the formula for dithering rather than fiddling. And while Iraq is being 
invaded by the black flag, radical Islamists to establish a caliphate, 
the President is dithering in a very similar way that Nero was fiddling 
while Rome was burning.
  Iraq is collapsing. The soil in Iraq has been sanctified by the blood 
of our warriors and our heroes to the tune of billions upon billions of 
U.S. dollars, much of it borrowed from foreign countries to keep this 
budget and this economy afloat. All of that price, and we don't know 
how this is going to come out?
  I actually don't expect that the entire nation-state of Iraq will be 
swamped by the black flag ISIS. I don't actually expect that, but it is 
a significant threat that that happens--a significant threat. As we 
watch the map, as the flood and the takeover of that sanctified sand in 
Iraq is getting greater and greater on the side of ISIS and smaller and 
smaller for the Shi'as, and while the confusion within what I would 
call the legitimized Government of Iraq causes them to retreat and back 
up, it looks like their last redoubt is likely to be Baghdad.
  The President has dithered, and the opportunities for air strikes 
from the military have diminished and now the opportunities to actually 
bring what would otherwise be a cheap delay, at least, of that 
invasion, an invasion that runs at the speed that is as fast as an 
American military, an American armor penetrated into Iraq when we

[[Page H5716]]

went in to liberate in March of 2003. ISIS is penetrating into Iraq at 
a speed almost that fast without nearly the equipment, without nearly 
the planning, without nearly the communications as the Iraqis peel 
backwards in front of them.

                              {time}  2015

  This is something more similar to--well, I will put it this way: when 
Desert Storm came about and needed to be done, there was much 
discussion in the public airways in this country about the Republican 
Guard in Iraq, these crack troops that were highly trained and well 
  Even though their tanks were a little bit on the old side, they were 
supposedly well maintained and well positioned, and their armor could 
not be penetrated. To send U.S. forces against them in the desert was 
going to be a bloodbath supposedly, if you listen to some of the 
pundits here in this country, generally the liberal ones.
  I am listening to this dialogue and have been to the locations now a 
number of times, and I see where they have dug their tank pits, and 
they take a bulldozer, dig the sand out in two directions, pull the 
tank down in, they set that tank in, in a fighting position, and it can 
  It can fire from that fighting position, and any kind of horizontal 
fire will be blocked by the dirt that surrounds it, but from the air, 
they are sitting ducks.
  That seemingly did not occur to the liberal people who were 
pontificating about how fearsome the Republican Guard was, but we know 
what happened when the American Air Force began to fly sorties over the 
Republican Guard and over their armored divisions.
  A similar, in fact, a greater vulnerability existed for ISIS, as they 
traveled down the paths through the desert and the roads--easy, easy 
targets for the U.S. Air Force.
  While this is going on, the President had decided: I am going to 
spend some days thinking about this, we have to study this, we will 
gather all this intel together, and then I am going to require a 
political solution for the Iraqis, I am going to dither.
  Frustrating and infuriating, it should send a message to the Iraqis 
there isn't a will there. Our enemies know that, so they push on us. 
They push on us in Iraq, and we are watching the real estate be taken 
over, with black flags flying over it.
  We are watching the will of the Iraqi troops to collapse in the face 
of the enemy. We have watched, as I said, the refinery of Baiji is now 
invaded and occupied, Fallujah is, and Ramadi is--multiple cities--Tal 
Afar, on and on, multiple cities in Iraq taken over, who now have a 
black flag of al Qaeda's affiliate, ISIS, flying over it.
  The influence of America is diminished and pushed backwards. Iraq 
looks to Iran as an ally. They wonder if the U.S. is going to do 
  That is what we are faced with, Mr. Speaker. We are faced with a 
Russia that is pushing hard against the free world, a Putin who took 
the glory of the Olympics and the Russian hypernationalism that flowed 
from it and decided that he would immediately, after the Olympics in 
Sochi, went in and invaded and occupied Crimea.
  He had a base there with a lease on it. If it was just a place to 
operate from, he could have done that peacefully, without violating 
international law and without going and invading and occupying. He 
could have operated freely out of his naval base there in Crimea. He 
chose not to do that.
  I think it is ironic that Yalta was invaded and occupied by Putin. 
That was the location where Stalin and Churchill and Franklin Delano 
Roosevelt negotiated the line across Europe that was to be the line in 
the aftermath of the Second World War, which became the Iron Curtain 
and became the dividing line between east and west.
  Yalta was invaded and occupied as a component of Crimea, by Putin 
riding on the wave of Russian hypernationalism that came from the 
success of the Olympics, and now, he is pushing into Ukraine and 
testing them.
  We know that--no, let's just say this, Mr. Speaker: we believe that, 
when troops show up and they are wearing Russian uniforms and they are 
carrying Russian weapons and they appear to be deployed as Russian 
troops in everything except a lacking of insignias on their uniforms 
and not flying a Russian flag, who do we think these people are? Do we 
think they are something other than Russians?
  Why would we think that some force that looks, for all the world, 
like Russian forces--because Putin doesn't admit that they are Russian, 
somehow they might have come from someplace else. Who do we think they 
are? The Russians, the Russians in Russian uniforms, with Russian 
equipment, Russian supplies, Russian systems, everything except the 
Russian insignias.
  Meanwhile, we don't hear from the President of the United States in a 
strong way, and meanwhile, Ukrainians wonder what is going to happen. 
They wonder if they have a chance of defending themselves. They wonder 
if any other part of the world is going to do that. Are we going to see 
the Iron Curtain be pushed westerly again?
  When the Berlin Wall came down November 9, 1989, that was the 
crashing down of the Iron Curtain. For a time, freedom echoed across 
Europe, all the way across Europe. In fact, it echoed, at least 
theoretically, all the way across Asia, to the Pacific Ocean, and it 
has been pushed back again by the strong arm of Vladimir Putin.
  Now, we are seeing a line of demarcation between east and west that 
is being redefined by Putin with his hypernationalism, in his effort to 
restore the old Soviet Union--the former Soviet Union.
  The Eastern bloc countries are very nervous about what happens with a 
very aggressive Putin. They are very nervous because they wonder: Do 
they have an ally in the United States?
  They wonder if they can hang on for another 2\1/2\ years until a new 
President is elected that is going to believe in America, in a robust 
America, an America that defends itself, an America that has bonded 
with its allies, an America that has tax and regulatory policies that 
allows for the growth over a free enterprise system, so that we can see 
an economic vigor that will drive our economy here and give us 
confidence in who we are again and go to the furthest outreaches of the 
world where Americans are doing business in country after country.
  The AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce, and nation after nation 
become the ambassadors of the United States. They teach the world about 
trade and free enterprise. They teach the world about we have an 
American--it is not a hypernationalism. What it is is a very active 
commercial style. I would give an example.
  As I deal with the Australians, for example--and I have a special 
affection for the Aussies--they will come and make contact, and they 
will make friends, and they will be sociable. Then they will go away, 
come back again, and do that same thing.
  On the third time, they are more likely to bring up the discussion 
about the business that they want to conduct, Mr. Speaker, but 
Americans are not like that. We are a little bit different.
  We are more like the Donald Trumps, where we come in, we figure out 
what we want to do businesswise, we think we understand what the other 
party needs and wants in a business deal, we believe that all parties 
involved in a business deal need to have an opportunity to profit.
  So if $1 is going to change hands with one other person, two people 
need to benefit from that, the buyer and the seller. If it is a three-
way deal, then three entities benefit. If it is thousands or tens of 
thousands of people--shareholders, for example--everybody is designed 
to benefit from that.

  We go in and we say: Here is the deal. This is our proposal. This is 
why it is good for you. This is why it is good for us. This is why we 
ought to sign here on the dotted line. We will get around to all the 
niceties and discussion afterwards. Maybe we will have a meal or a 
drink together, but let's do the business, and then we will talk about 
the social side.
  That is the American way. We do business fast. We do business 
efficiently. It is a culture that has developed in this country because 
we have had an unfettered ability to buy, sell, trade, make, gain--here 
in America, without a government interference, without the belief that 
we had to set at the table negotiators that represented

[[Page H5717]]

the government, negotiators that represented the unions, to sit and 
talk with the negotiators that represented the capital.
  In America, we do business with capital--capital because we do 
business for a profit and capital deserves a return on its investment. 
Labor gets the benefit from that profit by increasing wages and 
benefits to hire the best people to produce that good or service that 
has a marketable value.
  That is what has made America's economy great, is our attitude about 
buy, sell, trade, make, gain, do good, produce goods and services with 
a marketable value here and abroad.
  Let's send our Americans abroad to do business, let them take our 
values there, let them encourage people to come here and do business 
with us, and let's open up our trade wherever we can all over the 
world, with a free and smart trade system, that if we are going to 
grant access to our markets, what we ask is let us also have access to 
your markets.
  We don't believe etiologically in trade protectionism. We believe in 
free and smart trade. We don't believe in stupid trade. Stupid trade 
would be, well, you have access to our markets, but it is okay with us 
if we don't have access to yours. No deal.
  Americans make a lot of deals, and we make them efficient, we make 
them smart, we make them fast, and we make them all over the world. 
That has been a foundation of the burgeoning growth of the American 
economy and the American civilization.
  It has been restrained in recent years because we have a leadership 
that has failed to convince me that they believe in free enterprise.
  We should remember that, even on the immigration flashcards that we 
have, Mr. Speaker, when legal immigrants come to America and they want 
to study to become citizens of the United States, they will study the 
history of this country and the things that are necessary to be 
prepared to take the naturalization test.
  USCIS, the Citizenship and Immigration Services, has a collection of 
flashcards that they can study from, so they can be prepared for the 
  These flashcards are laminated. They are about this big. They are 
mostly red in their base with white letters on them, and you can look 
at them and ask this question: Who is the Father of our Country? Flip 
that card around. The answer: George Washington.
  Who emancipated the slaves? Other side of the card: Abraham Lincoln. 
What is the economic system of the United States of America? Flip the 
card over: free enterprise capitalism, Mr. Speaker.
  Now, I wish that the White House believed in it as much we ask our 
legal immigrants to believe in it as they prepare for the test for the 
naturalization to citizenship of the United States. That is part of who 
we are; yet our economy is stagnant, it is flat.
  There seems to be an attitude that emerges from the administration 
that free enterprise and that capitalism itself is somehow a dirty 
word. No, it is a foundation of the economy of the United States of 
America. It is on the test.
  They believe, as I watch their reaction, that somehow the capital, 
the employers, are victimizing both employees and customers and that 
there is plenty of money there and plenty of profit there to pay for 
more regulation, to pay for more taxation, and to pay for more raises 
and wages and benefits for employees that could be dictated by the 
White House.
  That is not the American way. It has got to be free enterprise. The 
relationship between the employer and the employee is up to them, not 
up to the government. The government can't set wages.
  A government can't determine that one work is comparable to another 
work. Only supply and demand can do that effectively and efficiently. 
That is the American way, Mr. Speaker.
  There are other things that are the American way. For example, we 
don't support lawbreakers. We don't believe that people who habitually, 
in a calculated way, systematically violate America's laws should be 
rewarded for doing so.
  We understand that, when Ronald Reagan said, what you tax, you get 
less of; what you subsidize, you get more of; and if you subsidize 
lawbreakers--if you reward lawbreakers, you get more lawbreakers.
  I was disappointed with Ronald Reagan. I was disappointed twice 
during his administration. I watched him closely. I believe that Ronald 
Reagan understood the founding principles of this country so 
confidently and so clearly that no amount of lobbying, no amount of 
rhetoric, no amount of misinformation was going to change his adherence 
to the fundamental principles that are the pillars of American 
  So here in this Congress, in 1986, in the House and down through the 
rotunda and the Senate, there was an intense debate about amnesty.
  The debate went something like this: There are 1 million illegal 
immigrants in America. They have come across the border--generally 
across the border from Mexico--and it is too difficult, we can't deport 
them all--I think I have heard that before--so we must make an 
accommodation to them.
  We are having difficulty getting enforcement at the border because 
there are competing interests in those who would drag down the effort 
to enforce our immigration laws, especially secure the border, but we 
can get full cooperation on border security and full cooperation on 
domestic enforcement if we just give amnesty to the million people that 
are here illegally, and from this point forward hereafter, we will all 
enthusiastically join together and enforce immigration law, and INS 
will be in every office of every employer in America, examining your 
records, to make sure that you are carefully following the law and 
being there to be the tool to help enforce immigration law.
  I listened to that, and I thought: President Reagan, you know you 
can't reward lawbreakers. If you do that, you are going to get more 
lawbreakers--just like if you subsidize any activity, you are going to 
get more of that activity, and if you tax it, you are going to get less 
of it.
  Well, the penalty for violating the law is equivalent to a taxation. 
It is a deterrent for violating the law. The greater the penalty, the 
less law violators that you have.

                              {time}  2030

  The less the penalty, the greater the incentive, the more law 
violators you have. So, if you wanted to subsidize lawbreakers, you are 
going to get lots more lawbreakers.
  These arguments, I thought, were so clear that I didn't need to go 
stand outside the White House with a sign. I could just write a letter 
here and there and with great confidence raise my family, run my 
business, and have trust that the President of the United States would 
veto that Amnesty Act that was to come to his desk in 1986.
  It came to his desk and the people around him strongly encouraged 
President Reagan to sign the Amnesty Act and take all of this 
disagreement and all of this angst off the table that had to do with 
the million illegal aliens who had entered the United States illegally 
or were unlawfully present in America, give them a legal presence and 
be done with it, and INS will enforce this law at the border--Border 
Patrol--and internally at Immigration and Naturalization Services.
  Ronald Reagan signed the Amnesty Act. In my construction office, as 
an employer, I hit the high levels of frustration, at least for that 
stage of my life, but I began to comply with the law.
  When we had applicants for jobs that came in, I made sure that I took 
the records that they have. I made sure that I evaluated their 
documents and their Social Security card, if I could get it. Most of 
the times, I could then. And a driver's license. At least two forms of 
  I made sure that our job application form collected the records 
necessary that were required by that 1986 Amnesty Act. I made sure that 
I kept those records for every applicant. I was prepared for our 
employees and the applicants for the jobs that wanted to come in and 
work for King Construction, and I made sure that I had all those 
records up to snuff. I was meticulous in keeping those records and 
making sure that my executive secretary kept those records because I 
feared--or I was concerned--I don't know that I was afraid, because I 
did it right--but I expected INS, or Immigration and Naturalization 
Services, the forerunner to

[[Page H5718]]

now ICE, to show up at my office and say, We want to see your records. 
We want to make sure that you haven't hired anybody illegally. We want 
to make sure you haven't entertained hiring anybody illegally. We want 
to make sure that you have collected the documentation so that you are 
not enabling the employment of illegal aliens in America.
  Well, you all know this, Mr. Speaker. Nobody ever showed up from INS, 
as they didn't show up in millions of employers' offices around the 
country. The enforcement didn't materialize domestically. It didn't 
really get enhanced at the border either. The promise of enforcement 
came unfilled, but the promise of amnesty for a million people came in 
  Three times the number of people that were projected to be amnestied 
by the 1986 Amnesty Act were actually granted amnesty. Over 3 million 
of them were granted amnesty. I have met with a respectable number of 
them at random and happenstance over the years, and I asked them, What 
do you think of amnesty? They will look at me and they will say, I 
support amnesty. I think it was a good idea. Amnesty was good me for, 
amnesty was good for my family. Amnesty is a good policy.
  So I say, What do you think about the rule of law and what do you 
think about the reward when people break the law? Should they be 
rewarded for it?
  Well, that takes them off in a place they don't want to discuss. They 
just know what was good for them. I don't disagree. It was good for 
them, but it was bad for America. It was really bad for America, 
because here we are 28 years later and we are still debating the issue. 
The carrot of amnesty still hangs out in front of people from all over 
the world that says, Well, Americans have a soft heart. They are the 
most generous Nation in the world, welcoming immigrants to the tune of 
1.2 million legal immigrants a year.
  We don't even care about the quality of the standards of those who 
are coming into America legally--not very much, anyway--because between 
7 and 11 percent of the legal immigration in America is immigration 
that is measured by some kind of a standard that might be an index of 
what they can do to contribute to our country.
  Every nation in the world should have an immigration policy that is 
designed to enhance the economic, social, and the cultural well-being 
of that country.
  I have long stated and continue to believe that we must have an 
immigration policy here that is designed to enhance the economic, 
social, and cultural well-being of the United States of America. We 
can't operate an immigration policy that seems to be designed to become 
the safety valve for those in poverty in the world--over 7 billion 
people. The poverty in the world grows at a faster rate than we have 
the ability to drain off even those who are the most aggrieved by 
  By the way, the numbers that I have seen when we were back at about 6 
billion people on the planet were that there were about 4.6 billion 
people on the planet that had a lower standard of living than the 
average person from Mexico.
  So if you think about alleviating poverty, there are many places to 
draw people from where the poverty is worse. And there are many places 
to draw people from where the perpetrators of violence come in 
significantly greater numbers.
  However, even the violent death rate in the United States is only 
one-third of the violent death rate in Mexico. If you compare violent 
death rates in other countries, Mexico is one of the safer countries 
from Central America and on south. I think you actually have to get 
down to Chile before you find a country that has a violent death rate 
in the Western Hemisphere comparable to the lower death rate of the 
United States.
  At one time, Colombia had a violent death rate 15.4 times that of the 
United States. Our rate today is 6.5 violent deaths per 100,000. 
Roughly 10 years ago, our violent death rates was 4.5 violent deaths 
per 100,000. At that time, Mexico's violent death rate was 13.2. A 4.6 
violent death rate in the U.S., a 13.2 violent death rate in Mexico.
  Drug wars and the massive killings that have taken place that have 
exceeded 50,000 people in Mexico--maybe 70,000 or more that have died 
in the drug wars--that is part of the statistic that has taken Mexico 
at a higher violent death rate now of over 18 per 100,000, and perhaps 
there is some index here that the U.S. violent death rate has gone in 
that period of time from 4.6 on up to 6.5 violent deaths per 100,000, 
but the ratio remains the same. Mexico is about three times more 
violent than the U.S., but it is significantly less violent than 
countries like Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
  It has been stated here in this Congress that the highest murder 
rate, I believe, in the world, is Honduras. I have not seen those 
numbers, Mr. Speaker, and I don't know that that is true, but I can 
tell you the violent death rate in Guatemala is 74.9 violent deaths per 
100,000 compared to 6.5 violent deaths per 100,000 in the United 
  It is easy enough to do the math. It is a little more than 11 times 
the violent death rate of the United States in Guatemala. So there is 
significant violence there, but some of the people that are the 
perpetrators of that violence are also migrants.

  If we look at McAllen, Texas, and the housing that is taking place as 
illegal immigrants come across the border, it looks like thousands and 
probably tens of thousands of what I will call migrants that appear to 
be coming from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, they come a 
thousand miles through Mexico, arrive at the Rio Grande River, and 
stage themselves to try to come across the river into the United 
  They are brought across by coyotes who are part of the drug cartels. 
Sometimes they come on jet skis, sometimes in rafts, sometimes in inner 
tubes. They come across the river.
  The staging that is there and the pushing of the people that are in 
here, the mix of the population that are being picked up at McAllen, 
Texas, is reported in the Guatemalan newspaper to be this. Of that mix 
of unaccompanied minors--certainly, they aren't all unaccompanied 
minors, but it is a special category--of that mix, 80 percent are 
male--that is, 8 out of 10 are boys, 2 out of 10 are girls--younger 
than 18. They are 17 and younger. Eighty percent boys, 20 percent 
  Of the country of origin, two-thirds of them are from the three 
countries that we have defined as OTMs, or other than Mexicans--
Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. That is two-thirds of them.
  We see pictures of little kids. We hear stories of a 3-year-old, a 2-
month-old, 4, 5, 6, and 7-year-olds. Yes, they are there. They are 
there in some kind of numbers. Mostly, those younger kids are in the 
company of, generally, a mother or a parent.
  Of those unaccompanied minors, 83 percent of them--let me get my 
numbers right here--80 percent are boys. Eighty-three percent of them 
fit this age group, Mr. Speaker, and that is they are either 15, 16, or 
17 years old. Eighty percent are boys and 83 percent fit those three 
ages--prime ages for gang recruitment.
  It isn't all innocents that are coming into America through this. Yet 
we have a heart, we have an obligation. The first thing we have to do 
is stop this, and we have to send them back and we have to require the 
countries of origin to distribute them in the places they want them to 
live in their country of origin.
  We have an agreement. The reason only 12 percent are from Mexico is 
we have an agreement forged by a bill that passed this Congress in 2008 
that requires Health and Human Services to negotiate a repatriation 
policy. So when we pick up the unaccompanied minors, within 48 hours 
they are to be turned over to Mexican authorities and taken back to 
their homes in Mexico, to a significant degree. And not always within 
48 hours. That does work, which is why we don't see a larger number of 
Mexicans coming in on that.
  But the OTMs--the other than Mexicans--are exploiting a loophole 
because we don't have an agreement with those countries. We need to 
change the statute here in Congress and send a bill to the President 
that negotiates an agreement so those countries can receive those 
unaccompanied minors. They will be required to do so. And if we fail to 
reach those agreements, we should then freeze the foreign aid to those 
countries so that that amount cannot increase to provide them an 

[[Page H5719]]

  I would remind the people, Mr. Speaker, who are sending their 
children here, releasing a child and saying, Go across a thousand miles 
of Mexico, go with enough pesos to pay mordida to get to the United 
States, and present yourself to the Border Patrol and say, I am afraid 
that I'll be killed in my country, I remind them that in this country, 
if a mother or a father loses track of their child and their child 
wanders off down the street, they are guilty of child endangerment. 
They are guilty of child abandonment.
  If they are guilty of that, maybe not always on the first offense, 
but on subsequent offenses we do this. We take those children into the 
custody of our Health and Human Services, whichever the State may be, 
and we can terminate the parental rights and we can place that child 
into foster care and we can transfer that child into adoption. Because 
we in this country do not tolerate parents who abandon their children 
or fail to take care of their children or endanger their children.
  That is the very description of what happens if you send a child 
across a thousand miles of a country. That has got to stop, Mr. 
Speaker. I will be introducing legislation very soon that addresses 
that very topic.
  I appreciate your attention and indulgence, and I yield back the 
balance of my time.