(House of Representatives - April 03, 2017)

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[Pages H2609-H2611]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                      ARGENTINA'S ECONOMIC REFORMS

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
agree to the resolution (H. Res. 54) reaffirming the United States-
Argentina partnership and recognizing Argentina's economic reforms, as 
  The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
  The text of the resolution is as follows:

                               H. Res. 54

       Whereas, on November 22, 2015, the citizens of the 
     Argentine Republic elected Mauricio Macri as their President;
       Whereas President Macri has pledged to promote greater 
     national unity, rebuild the economy, combat domestic 
     corruption, strengthen freedom of the press, defend human 
     rights abroad, attract foreign direct investment, return to 
     international credit markets, and reassert Argentina's 
     leadership globally;
       Whereas President Macri has emphasized his intention to 
     seek closer ties with the United States and restore the 
     bilateral partnership previously enjoyed by both countries;
       Whereas the Argentine Republic has been a major non-NATO 
     ally of the United States since 1998 and is the only country 
     designated as such in Latin America;
       Whereas United States-Argentina relations are historically 
     characterized by comprehensive commercial ties and strong 
     bilateral cooperation on human rights, peacekeeping, science 
     and technology, non-proliferation, and education, as well as 
     on regional and global issues;
       Whereas, in an appearance with President Macri at the Casa 
     Rosada in Buenos Aires in March 2016, President Barack Obama 
     said that ``our countries share profound values in common--
     respect for human rights, for individual freedoms, for 
     democracy, for justice, and for peace'';
       Whereas Secretary of State John Kerry visited Argentina in 
     August 2016 to launch a High-Level Dialogue to develop and 
     sustain cooperation on bilateral, regional, and global 
     challenges, including democratic development and protection 
     of human rights in Latin America;
       Whereas Secretary Kerry, during his visit, stated that 
     ``the United States strongly supports President Macri's 
     effort to deepen Argentina's integration with the global 
     economy' '' and that ``our governments will be supporting 
     policies that are aimed at strong, sustainable, and balanced 
     economic growth'';
       Whereas the United States Department of the Treasury no 
     longer opposes multilateral development banks lending to 
     Argentina because of the Government of Argentina's ``progress 
     on key issues and positive economic policy trajectory'';
       Whereas President Macri prioritized Argentina resolving its 
     15-year standoff with private creditors stemming from the 
     2001-2002 economic crisis, which facilitated Argentina's 
     return to international financial markets;
       Whereas the Macri Administration lifted controls on trade, 
     currency, and poultry, enhanced the quality and transparency 
     of government data, and eliminated subsidies on electricity, 
     water, and gas;
       Whereas Argentina is Latin America's third largest economy 
     and the International Monetary Fund, in April 2016, claimed 
     the Macri Administration ``embarked on an ambitious, much 
     needed transition to remove domestic imbalances and 
     distortions and correct relative prices''; and
       Whereas the Government of Argentina has expressed a renewed 
     commitment to bring the perpetrators of the 1994 bombing of 
     the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) building, 
     that occurred in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994, killing 85 
     people and injuring hundreds, to justice: Now, therefore, be 
       Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
       (1) upholds its commitment to the partnership between the 
     United States and Argentina and reaffirms that the Argentine 
     Republic is a major non-NATO ally of the United States;
       (2) encourages the Department of State to coordinate a new 
     interagency strategy to increase cooperation with the 
     Government of Argentina on areas of bilateral, regional, and 
     global concern;
       (3) commends the Government of Argentina for making far-
     reaching economic reforms that will benefit the people of 
     Argentina, stimulate economic growth, and deepen Argentina's 
     integration with the global economy;
       (4) praises the Government of Argentina for resolving most 
     of its business disputes at the World Bank's International 
     Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) 
     thereby hastening their re-entry into world financial markets 
     to the benefit of the Argentine people; and
       (5) encourages the Government of Argentina to continue to 
     investigate and prosecute those responsible for the 1994 
     bombing of the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) 
     building in Buenos Aires, as well as the January 2015 death 
     of AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Royce) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Sires) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

                             General Leave

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks and to put any extraneous material in the Record.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Let me just start by thanking Mr. Sires, the author of this measure, 
and I rise in support of it. It reaffirms the United States-Argentina 
  After over a decade of economic mismanagement and corruption and 
alliances with the likes of Iran--well, we should say the Ayatollah in 
Iran--and alliances with the regime in Venezuela, the people of 
Argentina used their vote to usher in a new era of what I would call 
economic common sense and a new era of regional leadership.
  Since assuming the Presidency in December 2015, President Macri has 
undertaken difficult economic reforms to undo the damage caused by his 
predecessor's policy and taken reforms to return to the global markets. 
He tore up the laughable agreement that President Cristina Kirchner 
signed with Iran to investigate the 1994 Hezbollah bombing of the 
Jewish community center, which killed 85 and injured hundreds of other 
people in the Jewish community in Argentina. He has shown regional 
leadership in condemning Venezuela's human and democratic rights 
  As the new Argentinian Government undertakes difficult reforms, it 
needs the moral support of its allies in the region, including the 
support of this body. This measure seeks to reaffirm the partnership, 
the friendship that we share with Argentina. It commends the 
government's hard work in bringing Argentina back from economic ruin.
  This measure also encourages the Government of Argentina to make good 
on its promise to finally bring the perpetrators of the 1994 bombing 

[[Page H2610]]

of the Jewish community center to justice, while thoroughly 
investigating the January 2015 death of special prosecutor Alberto 
Nisman. As my colleagues know, immediately before his mysterious death, 
Nisman was set to issue a thorough report on his findings that the 
government of Cristina Kirchner had colluded with Iran to conceal 
Iran's role in orchestrating that 1994 terrorist attack at the hands of 
the Iranian proxy in this case, Hezbollah.
  Mr. Speaker, let me just mention another subject here. In South 
America, we are watching Venezuela lose any semblance of democracy or 
human rights. Last week, Venezuela's democratically elected National 
Assembly was dissolved. The Venezuelan people are greatly suffering. As 
Argentina has dropped its support of these authoritarians and stands 
with the rest of the region in strong condemnation of authoritarianism 
in Venezuela, the Venezuelan Government is now more isolated than ever.
  Back to H. Res. 54. This reflects this body's support of and 
friendship with Argentina, and it reflects our gratitude for Argentine 
leadership in support of economic and democratic reform.
  Again, I thank Mr. Sires for this resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time
  Mr. SIRES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution.
  I would like to start by thanking Chairman Royce, Ranking Member 
Engel, and their staffs for working with me to bring H. Res. 54 to the 
floor. I would like to thank my friend from South Carolina, Chairman 
Jeff Duncan, who is in charge of the Subcommittee on the Western 
Hemisphere and led a delegation to Argentina last March to help restart 
relations with the Macri administration.
  H. Res. 54 reaffirms the strong U.S. partnership with Argentina and 
acknowledges their President Mauricio Macri for his efforts to make the 
necessary changes and bring Argentina back into the international 
community. President Macri worked hard to stimulate growth and bring 
Argentina back as a powerful player in the region after years of 
isolationist views from the Kirchners.
  I was pleased to visit Argentina last year and see, firsthand, the 
changes the new government was making, and it was refreshing to see the 
progress already being made. Most importantly, we received assurances 
from the Macri administration that they will restart the investigation 
into the horrific 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos 
Aires, which left 85 dead and hundreds more injured, and the untimely 
and suspicious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was found dead 
on the eve of delivering his explosive report which outlined the 
connections between the bombing, Iran, and former Argentina President 
Cristina Kirchner's efforts to cover up these links. Unfortunately, the 
victims of these attacks and their families still lack answers to what 
really occurred, and the troubling reports of Iran's role in the 
bombing deserves thorough investigation that finally brings the 
perpetrators to justice.
  Argentina is a great partner and a friend, and I believe we must 
continue to support our friends and continue to grow this critical 
relationship. Once again, I thank my colleagues for their support of 
this resolution and urge Members of the House to support H. Res. 54 to 
further strengthen the great ties our country has with Argentina.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Duncan), who chairs the Subcommittee 
on the Western Hemisphere of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. He is 
the primary cosponsor of this measure.
  Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, I briefly want to mention 
the country of Colombia. Tremendous flooding and mudslides there have 
taken more than 200 lives. Colombia is in my prayers, the prayers of 
the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and the prayers of all of 

  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 54, which reaffirms 
America's partnership with Argentina, and applaud the economic reforms 
undertaken in recent years.
  I applaud Ranking Member Sires for his leadership on this issue. Last 
year, he and I led a congressional delegation to Argentina to see the 
differences in the country under the new leadership of President Macri 
and to reextend a hand of friendship of the United States.
  Though the previous government followed the path of ruinous economic 
and foreign policies, I saw new optimism that the new Macri 
administration would right these wrongs. For example, at the 
Organization of American States, Argentina has been supportive of the 
actions of OAS Secretary General Almagro, urging the Venezuelan 
Government to respect democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
  In addition, President Macri is working to find justice for the 1994 
AMIA bombing terrorist attack--the largest loss of life from an act of 
terror in this hemisphere prior to 9/11--and the murder of the AMIA 
special prosecutor, Alberto Nisman. It is my sincerest hope that he 
will find the perpetrators and hold them accountable for these heinous 
acts of terror.
  In conclusion, the United States should be very clear that we are 
thankful for President Macri's courage and willingness to take 
unpopular but principled positions. I urge the new Trump administration 
to do all in its power to take the steps outlined in this legislation 
and advance a deeper bilateral relationship.
  Mr. SIRES. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Sherman).
  Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H. Res. 54 and 
commend its authors and cosponsors.
  With the new administration of President Macri, I think that there 
will be a deepening relationship between the United States and 
Argentina, and this resolution recognizes that. It also encourages the 
Argentine Government to continue to investigate and prosecute those 
responsible for the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual 
Association, located then in the center of Buenos Aires, and the death 
of Argentine special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died mysteriously 1 
day before he was going to submit a report to the Argentine Congress 
regarding that 1994 bombing.
  I think it is apparent that that 1994 bombing was conducted by Iran 
in cooperation with Hezbollah, and we all want to encourage the 
Argentine Government to find out whether there was foul play in the 
death of Alberto Nisman and, if so, who was behind what has all the 
hallmarks of an assassination designed to prevent that report from 
being submitted to the Argentine people and Congress.
  I commend the authors of this legislation. I urge its adoption.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), chairman emeritus of the 
Committee on Foreign Affairs and a cosponsor of this measure.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Royce for the time.
  Mr. Speaker, I am so proud to be standing here in strong support of 
the measure of my very good friend from New Jersey, Mr. Albio Sires. H. 
Res. 54 is so important. It reaffirms the U.S.-Argentina partnership 
and recognizes Argentina's economic reforms. As Mr. Royce said, I am 
proud to be an original cosponsor of Mr. Sires' important resolution.
  Up until the recent election of President Macri, Argentina was going 
in the wrong direction. Since Macri came to office, he has made some 
tough but much-needed economic reforms. He has shown that Argentina is 
willing to be engaged in areas of mutual interest to our two countries 
and expand our bilateral relations. President Macri's commitment to 
these reforms should be commended.
  But he hasn't just shown strong leadership on economic reforms. 
President Macri has shown strong character and leadership to the rule 
of law and pursuit of justice. He has done so by announcing his 
intention to continue to investigate and prosecute those responsible 
for the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association, AMIA, 
in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  Last month, we marked the 25th anniversary of the terrorist attack on 
the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, which was followed by the 1994 
AMIA attack.

[[Page H2611]]

It is no secret that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah was 
responsible for these attacks; yet, to this day, Mr. Speaker, Iran and 
Hezbollah have evaded justice.

                              {time}  1745

  The United States should support President Macri as he continues his 
investigation and seeks to hold those responsible accountable to make 
sure that he can bring them to justice for their deadly terror attacks.
  We should also applaud and support his decision to investigate the 
suspicious circumstances involving the death of the special prosecutor 
of these cases, Alberto Nisman. Alberto had uncovered links between 
Hezbollah and these terror attacks, and I would speak with Alberto 
frequently about these troublesome ties.
  Nisman was a good man and a strong supporter of human rights. We must 
help President Macri and the people of Argentina continue Nisman's work 
and legacy by bringing those responsible for his death and for those 
dastardly terrorist attacks to justice.
  We can start by signaling to the people of Argentina that we support 
their government and that we value our bilateral relationship. Passing 
Mr. Sires' resolution will do just that. We will send that message.
  I urge my colleagues to support Mr. Sires' measure.
  Mr. SIRES. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume for 
the purpose of closing.
  In conclusion, let me say that the U.S.-Argentina relationship is 
critical, and I stand in strong support of H. Res. 54.
  Argentina's new President, Mauricio Macri, has done a tremendous job 
reforming their outdated and isolationist economic policies. Most 
importantly, the Macri administration has renewed its efforts to find 
the long sought after justice for the bombing of the AMIA Jewish 
Cultural Center, whose perpetrators are still evading justice.
  His efforts have improved the lives of countless Argentines, and I 
look forward to working with his government to continue building on the 
progress we have already made.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this resolution and 
thank them all for their support.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues; I want to thank Mr. 
Sires, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere; and I 
thank the chairman of that committee, Mr. Duncan, for their leadership 
in bringing this measure to the floor.
  This important resolution reaffirms our relationship with the people 
and the government of Argentina. It calls on the State Department to 
develop an interagency strategy to maximize our cooperation with 
Argentina as our countries work together to promote democracy, to 
promote human rights, and to promote economic freedom across the 
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all my colleagues to support this measure, and I 
yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) that the House suspend the rules 
and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 54, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the resolution, as amended, was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.