STANDING AGAINST THE TIDE; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 187
(House of Representatives - November 28, 2018)

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[Pages H9685-H9688]
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                       STANDING AGAINST THE TIDE

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Norman). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 3, 2017, the Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Rohrabacher) for 30 minutes.
  Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, today, I rise with a sense of awe and 
gratitude that God and the voters have permitted me to be a Member of 
this body, the House of Representatives, for the last 30 years. At 
least for me, my time here has permitted me the opportunity to earn a 
living by advocating policies and programs that I believed would 
improve the well-being of the American people and would be consistent 
with the ideals and principles of our country, the United States of 
  I came here after spending 7 years as a senior speechwriter for 
President Ronald Reagan as well as 2 years of that in the Reagan White 
House as a special assistant to the President. My experiences in the 
Reagan White House gave me valuable understandings of many issues of 
the day as well as contacts that, over the years, I put to good use. 
The longer I have been here in Washington, the more appreciative I am 
for the leadership and policies of President Ronald Reagan.
  When he left office 30 years ago, our economy was strong; the Cold 
War was ending as the Soviet Union disintegrated; and Ronald Reagan 
handed over to our generation, a new generation of Americans, a country 
with an upward trajectory and with tremendous potential. He restored to 
America that sense of optimism that is so much a part of our character.
  It was an honor to have served at his side in the White House, and, 
yes, I am

[[Page H9686]]

proud to have served with the men and women in this Congress from all 
over our country who represented both America's diversity and 
dedication to high values.
  Yes, looking back, I am disappointed that our government while I have 
been here did not achieve all that was possible. But at the same time, 
I think both Republicans and Democrats in this House of Representatives 
can be proud of what has been accomplished both nationally, and, yes, 
what they have accomplished back home in trying to meet the needs of 
their people, trying to make sure that their own citizens were served, 
thus making America a better place not just from the top down here in 
Washington but from the bottom up as well. I know many of my colleagues 
on both sides of the aisle care deeply about their own constituents and 
have spent so much time, when they could have been with their own 
families, helping the families who have elected them to come to 

  I cannot think of a life I would rather have lived, the highs and the 
lows; the idealism and the pragmatism; the courage and the weakness; 
the disappointments, and, yes, the joyous outcomes that I have seen 
here as part of this living institution in its 230 years of legislative 
service to the people of the United States.
  Since our country's government was established back in 1789, fewer 
than 11,000 individuals have served in the United States House of 
  Davy Crockett was one of them, memorialized as a fierce frontiersman 
who later died a heroic death battling for Texas independence at the 
Alamo. I found his courage under fire here as a Member of Congress to 
be much more inspiring than his accomplishments on the battlefield.
  Yes, we should look at Andrew Jackson and Davy Crockett and what 
happened between those two. The fact is, Davy Crockett was elected to 
Congress as a supporter of Andrew Jackson when he ran for President. In 
fact, as a fierce Indian fighter, he was expected to be at Andrew 
Jackson's side. Jackson was a man who had won many military battles, 
and many of those military battles were fought and his victories were 
brought on by the fact that he had a large number of American Indians 
as part of his battle group, part of his Army.
  He promised those Indians who had fought with him at the various 
battles, against other Indian tribes and against the British at the 
Battle of New Orleans, that they, too, would be part of our country. 
Davy Crockett was there when those promises were made.
  Later, when Davy Crockett came here to this body, to this Congress, 
and Andrew Jackson betrayed those men and women--those Americans who 
happened to be American Indians--when he betrayed them, Davy Crockett 
would have nothing to do with it. Davy Crockett stood firm, and, yes, 
it was memorialized in the Walt Disney series. As we were young, we saw 
that. But that did not capture the essence of what happened at that 
  David Crockett, the man who was the Indian fighter, elected there by 
the people of his State to come here and support President Jackson, 
stood against that President, and he stood for integrity, honor, 
courage, and truthfulness. He got up before the Congress and opposed 
the Indian Exclusion Act that had been supported by Andrew Jackson.
  For that, one would think, that tremendous show of courage, people 
would admire David Crockett and say: Look, what a great thing. He is 
standing up against a very powerful man with powerful interest groups 
even in his own district.
  Yes, there were powerful interest groups in his own district who 
wanted to steal the land of the American Indians who lived there. David 
Crockett, thus, in his next election, was defeated.
  Then David Crockett, of course, having been defeated in Congress, 
having his own people turned against him and not willing to stand up 
with him, went on to Texas where he then, through acts of physical 
courage, not just the ones that he exemplified on the floor of the 
House, showed the physical courage at the Battle of the Alamo.
  As I say, we Americans should take at least as much pride, if not 
more pride, in that stand that he took in Congress against the Indian 
Exclusion Act, which was a betrayal of the American Indians.
  When I got to Congress, I looked for the speech that David Crockett 
gave. I could not find it in the Congressional Record. I could not find 
it anywhere. Apparently, Andrew Jackson or some powerful person had 
actually pushed that aside so people wouldn't be able to find it.
  I had my staff look for it and finally found a copy in the Library of 
Congress. I had my staff give that to me. It was a rendition of that 
speech that Davy Crockett gave, and I had that put into the 
Congressional Record.
  During my time here in the people's House, as we like to call 
ourselves, I am proud that I, too, have stood against the tide when it 
was sweeping in the wrong direction. Yes, when you stand against the 
tide, when you stand against a direction in which people are making a 
profit, sometimes people whose egos are at stake on certain issues, you 
make enemies.
  But I have always thought, and I believe even to this day, Members of 
Congress should not be afraid to make enemies, because if you are 
making an enemy, yes, you may have to suffer some personal 
consequences. But if you aren't making some people, even powerful 
people, mad at you, you are not doing your job. You are not going to 
change things.
  It is much better for people to stand up and take that punishment, 
because what the American people want us to do is to stand up for 
principle and what we think is right. If we later lose, we have done 
what we thought was right.
  I would love and hope that, someday, I do something that would make 
me have any type of recognition as someone who did take several stands 
while a Member of Congress that added great difficulty to my life. Most 
recently, I have felt that.

  During the time that I was with Ronald Reagan and before, I had a 
position--as Davy Crockett did as an Indian fighter--I was in a 
position as one of the fierce warriors of the Cold War. I was never in 
the U.S. military, but I did do things in Vietnam during the Vietnam 
war and behind the Iron Curtain as well as other activities that I did 
to fight against communism.
  During my time in the Reagan White House, I worked with the President 
on many of his bold statements and worked with people in developing 
what they call the Reagan Doctrine, which enabled our country to defeat 
the Soviet Union and bring it down without having a direct conflict 
between U.S. troops and Soviet troops. I thought that was a tremendous 
accomplishment. I am proud to have been part of the development of that 
doctrine, and I brought that knowledge with me here to Congress.
  But after the fall of communism, after the disintegration of the 
Soviet Union, I believed that it was time that we were working for 
peace. Ronald Reagan always talked about peace through strength. The 
goal was not strength; the goal was peace.
  I felt that we needed to go and reach out to try to find ways of 
working with Russia and to try to meet more of our mutually beneficial 
goals, but also goals that would be achievable and helpful to the 
entire world. We needed to do that, and Russia was in turmoil.
  I might just note that there were some people who didn't share my 
desire to try to bring Russia into the family of nations and wanted to 
continue to treat Russia as a pariah and also try to have American 
policy be unrelenting hostility toward anything that Russia would do. 
Communism was our enemy; the Russian people were not.
  Ronald Reagan reached out to Gorbachev. Ronald Reagan did have an 
iron fist, and he helped the freedom fighters against those Soviet-
backed regimes. But at the same time, he reached out to the Russian 
leadership and the Russian people.

                              {time}  1830

  Over these last few years there have been very powerful segments here 
in Washington, D.C., who want to reignite the Cold War. They want war 
with Russia. I have tried to stand firm and be reasonable, but it has 
made me very powerful enemies. But I am proud that I made that stand, 
and I think the American people want us to cooperate with Russia where 
it is mutually beneficial.

[[Page H9687]]

  I have been over and over again labeled Putin's favorite Congressman. 
That is absolutely absurd. I will say right now I believe that 
everything I have ever done in this body has been based on my love of 
my country and thinking of what would be good for the people of the 
United States. In this case, working with Russia in order to defeat 
radical Islamic terrorists who threaten us was the right thing to do.
  The same with maybe working with India, Japan, and Russia, and these 
other countries. But instead, we have had just, as I say, an 
unrelenting effort on the part of some powerful interests to keep 
America and Russia in a hostile situation. We should be able to talk to 
people and try to work out differences, rather than trying to establish 
something that would lead to armed conflict eventually. So I have taken 
a lot of hits on that and I consider that to be the right thing to do.
  Over the years, of course, I am very grateful for other things that I 
have been able to play a role in and actually succeeded in. For 
example, when I first came here 30 years ago, we had a Democratic 
majority. But later, when we won a Republican majority, I was granted--
and I was in the Science, Space, and Technology Committee--I was 
granted the chairmanship of the Space Subcommittee in the Science, 
Space, and Technology Committee. That was the prime subcommittee in 
science. I oversaw America's space program for 8 years.
  I am very proud and grateful that I had the opportunity in those 8 
years to make a lasting difference in the way America's space program 
has been configured. Before then, it was always just government 
employees, bureaucrats, NASA, and military space ventures. There wasn't 
a commercial space industry.
  I made sure, when I had a challenge of balancing the budget here, 
knowing that the way to bring more money was to encourage the private 
sector to invest. I worked on and I passed legislation designed to help 
promote commercial space activities here in the United States. I am 
very proud of what we have accomplished.
  But now we have Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic. There are 10 or 
20 different space programs that are at work today. And we have vast 
plans that are being made by private companies to develop space. For 
example, to develop observation of the Earth and monitoring satellites 
that will help us. Look at what we are doing with guidance systems now, 
our GPS systems, et cetera.
  I am very, very honored and pleased and grateful that God gave me and 
this Congress gave me in those 8 years the right to be chairman of that 
committee and be part of this type of change for the better that now is 
reaping good benefits for our country and the world.
  I also have been very active while here on science and technology 
issues. For example, the patent issue. Many people don't even look at 
patents. They yawn when you say it. But the fact is, Americans have had 
the benefit of the strongest patent system in the world. And thus our 
investors, from the very Constitution where the patent law was written 
into our Constitution, have had that benefit of our creative genius and 
of our people being protected in order that they can be nurtured. Thus, 
the number one development of new technology in the world has come from 
  I have for the last 20 years, at least--maybe 25 years now--been one 
to defeat and champion the cause of the individual inventor in America. 
American people aren't interested in something that complicated. It is 
hard for them to understand that multinational corporations, many of 
them headed by Americans, have been trying to undercut the patent 
system in our country.
  I am also very proud that during my time here and being recognized as 
Ronald Reagan's special assistant when I left the White House, my 
conservative credentials gave me the authority and gave me the ability 
to talk to conservative people throughout the country--and, yes, 
throughout the House and the Senate--on the issue of cannabis.
  The fact is, marijuana created an illusion of disruption and of 
decadence in the American peoples' minds, because in the late sixties 
the use of marijuana was so public and it was identified as something 
with hippies and people who didn't like American culture.
  Well, the fact is, cannabis has tremendous service to give to the 
people of our country who are suffering from various maladies. Older 
people, senior people, now some of the greatest people, are utilizing 
cannabis--that is, marijuana--in order to cure some of the problems 
they face as seniors: the aches, the pains, the lack of an appetite, 
and things such as that.
  We understand that there are children who are suffering, when before, 
no one was able to think that cannabis might be a cure for the seizures 
of young people; or, who would have ever suspected that this opioid 
epidemic, where some people claim the use of drugs and opiates started 
with cannabis? No.
  What we are finding out now is cannabis is not a gateway door into 
the use of opiates. It is instead a way out. It is a way that cannabis 
can actually be used to break the addiction of opiates in our country.
  These are things where there was never any research done. I am very 
proud that, with my conservative credentials, I can talk to a number of 
my Republican colleagues to join with almost all of my Democratic 
colleagues and vote to permit the States to decide whether or not 
cannabis would be legal or illegal in their State for the medical use 
of marijuana.
  That has brought a great change over the last 6 years since my 
amendment--first, the Rohrabacher-Hinchey, then Rohrabacher-Farr--and 
now, over these 6 years, it is a $6 billion industry now. That is $6 
billion not going to the drug cartels in Mexico. That is $6 billion of 
which can be spent helping people, rather than trying to put someone in 
jail for consuming a weed, using all the money for law enforcement, 
jails, judges' time, and police time, rather than trying to protect the 
American people. What a waste.

  My colleagues joined with me in that. I think that has been a 
wonderful accomplishment that I am very, very proud of and very 
grateful that I had the opportunity to be here and express that in 
debate and to reach out to my fellow Congressmen here from both sides 
of the aisle and mobilize a majority that got that passed so that the 
Federal Government cannot supersede State law now, when it comes to 
medical marijuana.
  Also, one of the things that I guess is something that is people 
don't know much at all, but during my time before Congress and during 
my time during the Reagan years, I was deeply involved with various 
insurgency groups that were trying to defeat the Soviet Union, bring 
down the Soviet Union.
  Part of that is I was able to get to know the leadership of the 
mujahideen who were fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan. In fact, I 
went to Afghanistan and I fought with troops and the mujahideen and 
fought against Soviet soldiers at the Battle of Jalalabad. Yes, I had 
that type of experience.
  Later, when our Pakistani friends and our Saudi friends betrayed us 
and betrayed the people of Afghanistan by supporting the creation of 
the Taliban, a radical Islamic terrorist organization our Saudi friends 
and our Pakistani friends created, I continued to go to Afghanistan 
during that time period, while I was here in the Congress, and meet 
with the warlords that I had met with during the time that we were 
fighting the Soviet Union.
  One of them, Commander Massoud, who I met on a number of occasions, 
was murdered 3 days before 9/11. I knew he had been tipped off by other 
contacts that I had in Afghanistan that there was an attack being 
planned on the United States. They said: You will know that it is going 
to happen when something major happens in Afghanistan that will change 
the political balance. It is a signal that the attack will go forward.
  I went all over this city when I realized that Commander Massoud was 
murdered 3 days before 9/11, that was the signal to move forward on 
this attack on the United States. I tried to warn our administration. I 
tried to warn everyone in the city. No one would listen.
  Then, I had a wonderful thing happen in my life. Actually, after 9/
11, people did start to listen. Of course, they did. They remembered: 
Dana Rohrabacher was trying to warn us about this. And all of this is 
happening without public view. The public never saw any of this.
  But I was able then to talk to various people in our government at 
high levels

[[Page H9688]]

of positions and outline for them how we should proceed. Our own 
military, our Defense Department wanted to send 100,000 American troops 
or more into a frontal attack--an attack from Pakistan in the northwest 
provinces--into Afghanistan.
  I was horrified when I heard this. I knew that territory. It is the 
most anti-American territory on the planet. Our military would have 
been slaughtered or at least holed up in fortress cities like the 
Russians had been. It was a horrible thing.
  I thank God that I had this opportunity, because I went to the powers 
that be and I told them: You can't do this. This is wrong. They said: 
What do we do?
  I managed to get ahold of General Dostum and other ``warlords'' in 
Afghanistan to enlist them, and the President of the United States, 
when given the alternative of using the warlords with special forces 
teams and U.S. air power versus sending in hundreds of thousands of 
American troops, our President chose to use Afghans in what they called 
the Northern Alliance, which I helped create with a team of people--
Charlie Santos, Paul Behrends, and other friends who had been working 
with me in Afghanistan over the years--and helped us put that together 
and the President decided to go in that direction. I would recommend 
the book on the horse soldiers: ``12 Strong.'' There is a movie out. It 
is about that first special forces team and General Dostum.
  I believe that I was able that day, by convincing the authorities to 
go in that direction, to save thousands and thousands of American 
soldiers' lives. How demoralizing would it have been if we had not 
succeeded in a counterattack after 9/11?
  Finally, let me mention a couple of things in passing that are those 
things that I discussed that give me pride and that I remember; what 
really also is most heartwarming to someone who is a Member of Congress 
is what he or she has been able to do for our own constituents.
  As I say, whether you are Republicans or Democrats, we know our job 
is to help our people. Nobody else is going to help our people, except 
us. We care about them. Jack Kemp used to say: They won't care what you 
say unless they know that you care about them. Unless you can show them 
you care, they don't care about what you say. I never met a Democratic 
or Republican that didn't love his constituents or try to help them.
  During the time period that I have been a Member of Congress, we had 
a flood control project. I know that sounds not so great here. But the 
fact is, we had a flood control project in Orange County that basically 
saved maybe billions of dollars in flood insurance costs for homeowners 
in my area in Orange County. The flood threat was going where people's 
lives would have been at stake.
  I worked on that and I made sure when I first got here and worked 
with other Members of Congress--Democrat Members of Congress, because 
it was a Democrat Congress--to help complete that project. That is the 
type of bipartisanship we are capable of.
  We have a water reclamation project in Orange County. It is the most 
high-tech water system in the world. We had a big drought over these 
last few years, but Orange County was the one county that stood alone 
in not being hurt dramatically because we had a system we invested in. 
I brought people from all over the world to see that technology, and I 
was able to work with our locals to make that happen.

                              {time}  1845

  I was able, over my years, to help veterans who were being stood up, 
veterans who were not getting the service they needed. They felt 
helpless. They were, some of them, sick, psychologically wounded by the 
service that they had provided, yet we were not helping them.
  My office has helped hundreds of these men and women who were in 
desperate need of someone to care for them. That is a memory now, a 
good memory, and I know my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, do 
  And we have changed the rules so that now the Veterans Administration 
has to be more caring. They have to make sure these people are being 
taken care of.
  I am very proud, again, of the bipartisan approach on these issues of 
human caring for our own constituents, making America a better place 
from the bottom up instead of from the top down.
  Let me just note that there are hundreds of people in my district who 
would have lost their homes about 10 years ago when we had an economic 
upheaval. People remember the Great Recession. Well, yes, things got 
really bad, and people were losing their homes. We established a 
program, and we helped over 500 people in Orange County, in my 
district, to save their homes, families that would have lost 
  Thank God that I was permitted to be a Member of this body, because I 
know each and every one of us were doing things like that to help those 
in need.
  I have gone to help as many seniors who are having trouble with 
bureaucracy, with Social Security; and I have also tried to do my best 
over the years to work with organizations, organizations that add to 
the benefit and that add to the strength, the moral strength as well as 
every other strength of our system, organizations, whether they are the 
Rotary Club or whether they are the Boy Scouts of America.
  I have pinned on hundreds, if not thousands, of Eagle Scout pins for 
all of the Scouts for these last 30 years that I have been a Member of 
Congress representing Orange County.
  So we must be loyal, basically, to these local people, these people 
who have elected us. That is our job. Our job is to watch out for them, 
for their interests.
  I have one last note, and that is this: When we look at the 
immigration issue, I would hope that we do so with respect for each 
other and understanding that people have good hearts on both sides. But 
I know that, in my heart, my main job right now--and it has been for 
every Member of this House--should be to watch out for what is in the 
best interests of the American people.
  Those people who would like to come here illegally, I am sorry. We 
already provide for a million people to come here legally.
  We have to make sure the policies we set for immigration are what are 
in the interests of the people of the United States, and the same with 
our foreign policy.
  I want to say that I am grateful that God has given me the 
opportunity and the voters have given me the opportunity these last 30 
years to try to serve in the interests of my people, of the people of 
our country, and of those ideals our Founding Fathers and Mothers put 
in place when they risked all in the American Revolution back in 1776.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.