From: U.S. House of Representatives
Posted: Friday, October 28, 2005
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the Senate bill (S. 1713) to make amendments to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 related to International Space Station payments, as amended.
The Clerk read as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ``Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The Director of Central Intelligence's most recent Unclassified Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions, 1 July Through 31 December 2003, states ``Russian entities during the reporting period continued to supply a variety of ballistic missile-related goods and technical know-how to countries such as Iran, India, and China. Iran's earlier success in gaining technology and materials from Russian entities helped accelerate Iranian development of the Shahab-3 MRBM, and continuing Russian entity assistance has supported Iranian efforts to develop new missiles and increase Tehran's self-sufficiency in missile production.''
(2) Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, stated in testimony before the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate on February 16, 2005, that ``Tehran probably will have the ability to produce nuclear weapons early in the next decade''.
(3) Iran has--
(A) failed to act in accordance with the Agreement Between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, done at Vienna June 19, 1973 (commonly referred to as the ``Safeguards Agreement'');
(B) acted in a manner inconsistent with the Protocol Additional to the Agreement Between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards, signed at Vienna December 18, 2003 (commonly referred to as the ``Additional Protocol'');
(C) acted in a manner inconsistent with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, done at Washington, London, and Moscow July 1, 1968, and entered into force March 5, 1970 (commonly referred to as the ``Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty''); and
(D) resumed uranium conversion activities, thus ending the confidence building measures it adopted in its November 2003 agreement with the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
(4) On September 24, 2005, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) formally declared that Iranian actions constituted noncompliance with its nuclear safeguards obligations, and that Iran's history of concealment of its nuclear activities has given rise to questions that are within the purview of the United Nations Security Council.
(5) The executive branch has on multiple occasions used the authority provided under section 3 of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) to impose sanctions on entities that have engaged in activities in violation of restrictions in the Act relating to--
(A) the export of equipment and technology controlled under multilateral export control lists, including under the Australia Group, Chemical Weapons Convention, Missile Technology Control Regime, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and the Wassenaar Arrangement or otherwise having the potential to make a material contribution to the development of weapons of mass destruction or cruise or ballistic missile systems to Iran; and
(B) the export of other items to Iran with the potential of making a material contribution to Iran's weapons of mass destruction programs or on United States national control lists for reasons related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or missiles.
(6) The executive branch has never made a determination pursuant to section 6(b) of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 that--
(A) it is the policy of the Government of the Russian Federation to oppose the proliferation to Iran of weapons of mass destruction and missile systems capable of delivering such weapons;
(B) the Government of the Russian Federation (including the law enforcement, export promotion, export control, and intelligence agencies of such government) has demonstrated and continues to demonstrate a sustained commitment to seek out and prevent the transfer to Iran of goods, services, and technology that could make a material contribution to the development of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, or of ballistic or cruise missile systems; and
(C) no entity under the jurisdiction or control of the Government of the Russian Federation, has, during the 1-year period prior to the date of the determination pursuant to section 6(b) of such Act, made transfers to Iran reportable under section 2(a) of the Act.
(7) On June 29, 2005, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13382 blocking property of weapons of mass destruction proliferators and their supporters, and used the authority of such order against 4 Iranian entities, Aerospace Industries Organization, Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, Shahid Bakeri Industrial Group, and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, that have engaged, or attempted to engage, in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a risk of materially contributing to, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery (including missiles capable of delivering such weapons), including efforts to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer, or use such items.
SEC. 3. AMENDMENTS TO IRAN NONPROLIFERATION ACT OF 2000 RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION PAYMENTS.
(a) Treatment of Certain Payments.--Section 7(1)(B) of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended--
(1) by striking the period at the end and inserting a comma; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
``except that such term does not mean payments in cash or in kind made or to be made by the United States Government prior to January 1, 2012, for work to be performed or services to be rendered prior to that date necessary to meet United States obligations under the Agreement Concerning Cooperation on the Civil International Space Station, with annex, signed at Washington January 29, 1998, and entered into force March 27, 2001, or any protocol, agreement, memorandum of understanding, or contract related thereto.''.
(b) EXCEPTION.--Section 6(h) of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended by inserting after ``extraordinary payments in connection with the International Space Station'' the following: ``, or any other payments in connection with the International Space Station,''.
(c) Reporting Requirements.--Section 6 of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
``(i) Report on Certain Payments Related to International Space Station.--
``(1) IN GENERAL.--The President shall, together with each report submitted under section 2(a), submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on International Relations of the House of Representatives a report that identifies each Russian entity or person to whom the United States Government has, since the date of the enactment of the Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005, made a payment in cash or in kind for work to be performed or services to be rendered under the Agreement Concerning Cooperation on the Civil International Space Station, with annex, signed at Washington January 29, 1998, and entered into force March 27, 2001, or any protocol, agreement, memorandum of understanding, or contract related thereto.
``(2) CONTENT.--Each report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include--
``(A) the specific purpose of each payment made to each entity or person identified in the report; and
``(B) with respect to each such payment, the assessment of the President that the payment was not prejudicial to the achievement of the objectives of the United States Government to prevent the proliferation of ballistic or cruise missile systems in Iran and other countries that have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism, as determined by the Secretary of State under section 620A(a) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2371(a)), section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act of 1979 (50 U.S.C. App. 2405(j)), or section 40(d) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2780(d)).''.
SEC. 4. AMENDMENTS TO THE IRAN NONPROLIFERATION ACT OF 2000 TO MAKE SUCH ACT APPLICABLE TO IRAN AND SYRIA.
(a) Reports on Proliferation Relating to Iran or Syria.--Section 2 of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended--
(1) in the heading, by striking ``
TO IRAN'' and inserting ``
RELATING TO IRAN AND SYRIA''; and
(2) in subsection (a)--
(A) in the matter preceding paragraph (1)--
(i) by inserting ``or acquired from'' after ``transferred to''; and
(ii) by inserting after ``Iran'' the following: ``, or on or after January 1, 2005, transferred to or acquired from Syria''; and
(B) in paragraph (2), by inserting after ``Iran'' the following: ``or Syria, as the case may be,''.
(b) Determination Exempting Foreign Persons From Certain Measures.--Section 5(a) of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended--
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``transfer to Iran'' and inserting ``transfer to or acquire from Iran or Syria, as the case may be,''; and
(2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``Iran's efforts'' and inserting ``the efforts of Iran or Syria, as the case may be,''.
(c) Restriction on Extraordinary Payments in Connection With the International Space Station.--Section 6(b) of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended--
(1) in the heading, by striking ``to Iran'' and inserting ``Relating to Iran and Syria'';
(2) in paragraphs (1) and (2), by striking ``to Iran'' each place it appears and inserting ``to or from Iran and Syria''; and
(3) in paragraph (3), by striking ``to Iran'' and inserting ``to or from Iran or Syria''.
(d) Definitions.--Section 7(2) of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended--
(1) in subparagraph (C) to read as follows:
``(C) any foreign government, including any foreign governmental entity; and''; and
(2) in subparagraph (D), by striking ``subparagraph (B) or (C)'' and inserting ``subparagraph (A), (B), or (C), including any entity in which any entity described in any such subparagraph owns a controlling interest''.
(e) Short Title.--
(1) AMENDMENT.--Section 1 of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-178; 50 U.S.C. 1701 note) is amended by striking ``Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000'' and inserting ``Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act''.
(2) REFERENCES.--Any reference in a law, regulation, document, or other record of the United States to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 shall be deemed to be a reference to the Iran and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) each will control 20 minutes.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I request the time in opposition if neither gentleman is opposed to the bill.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) opposed to the bill?
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, no, I am not. I am supporting the bill.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 1 of rule XV, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) will control 20 minutes in opposition.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher).
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on S. 1713, the bill under consideration.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?
There was no objection.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 10 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) and ask unanimous consent that he control that time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?
There was no objection.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I want to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) and, of course, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) for the leadership that has been demonstrated in getting this legislation to the floor.
One of America's challenges as we seek global security and stability is stopping the proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies.
Several years ago, we enacted the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 to give the United States several tools in our fight against proliferation to Iran, one of which was a restriction on U.S.-Russian space cooperation. As a member of both the Committee on International Relations and the Committee on Science, I was deeply involved in that aspect of the Iran Nonproliferation Act.
While many of the INA's tools have helped and should be continued, the limitation on space cooperation has not been effective and is now counterproductive. So, today, we have an opportunity to both correct and strengthen that legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the amended version of Senate bill 1713. First and foremost, the bill strengthens the tools available to fight proliferation to, and from, Iran. This bill also provides urgently needed relief for NASA so that the United States can maintain a continued presence on the International Space Station and enables cost-effective commercial partnerships to support the Space Station. This latter benefit also strengthens non-proliferation, because over the past decade we have learned that commercial ties between the United States and Russian aerospace companies have been an effective tool against proliferation. We need to employ such carrots along with our non-proliferation sticks.
The changes put in place by S. 1713 will prevent a major setback for America's space program, and that is one of the most important things we are talking about today. It will prevent this setback by ensuring a continued and uninterrupted presence, an American presence, on the International Space Station.
Cooperation with Russia, just as similar cooperation with Russia by the State of Israel in terms of space policy, will help us achieve America's space goals while maintaining our commitment to non-proliferation.
This bill needs to be passed. There is a time element here, and I would like to thank all those who have been involved in trying to get this legislation to the floor.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in opposition to the bill, but I want to make it very clear that the portion of the bill that the gentleman from California was speaking about I strongly endorsed. Matter of fact, I had a similar bill that would have made the same corrections, but I would like to make two points about this portion of the bill.
The one is that the corrections were necessary because we had placed sanctions on Iran, and there was an unintended consequence. It actually harmed NASA and harmed our relationships with Russia. This is making a correction and I think that is good, and I strongly support that part of the bill.
But it goes to show that sanctions per se are not necessarily good. We might just use as an example not having sanctions on a country like China. We do better talking with and getting along with China as we become trading partners rather than adversaries. So even countries that seem to be adversarial, there are some downsides to putting on sanctions.
Actually, the portion of the bill that I rise in objection to is the portion that was amended dealing with Syria. I consider this a significant change in our law. There has been very little discussion on this. This makes the bill quite different from the Senate bill. But once again, I think it is doing things that could come back to haunt us, and that is expanding our authority and the President's authority to place sanctions on Syria, of course always with good intentions; but too often bad things can happen.
In 1998, a bill came up on the suspension calendar. It was considered noncontroversial and was called the Iraq Liberation Act. It passed overwhelmingly, but at that particular time, I took the time in opposition to point out that there could be some unintended, or maybe some intended, consequences that at that time the Congress was not admitting to, and that it could lead to war. And, of course, that was the first stepping stone to the current war that we are in.
Although this particular bill is not nearly as strong as what the Iraq Liberation Act was, this nevertheless is a step as far as I am concerned in the wrong direction.
The basic thing that happens here is we are expanding tremendously the power to place sanctions on Syria, and this comes in light of the publication of the U.N. investigation on Hariri's murder, and there is a tremendous move right now to move on to the next regime change in the Middle East. To me, I believe we are overstepping our bounds and looking for more trouble.
We have essentially zero right to decide who should head foreign states. Once we decide that we know what is best for foreign countries and we can actually pick a head of state, I think it leads to trouble. I could give Members every bit of reason why we ought to change the King of Saudi Arabia, as we should change the King of Syria; and yet Saudi Arabia gets a lot of support from us.
There was a recent report in a newspaper today, whether it is factual or not it is still frightening, it said that the administration was actually putting feelers out and asking Israel and Italy to nominate a replacement for Assad. This means we are moving in that direction.
One of the reasons we are supposed to be doing this and looking closely to Syria is they present a destabilizing element in the Middle East. That in itself is stretching it. They are struggling to stabilize and survive with the pounding they are getting internationally. We forget that Syria actually sent troops into the first Persian Gulf war dealing with Kuwait. But those kinds of things are easily forgotten.
The truth is the Mehlis Report is rather vague. There is no way it ties it to Assad. There is no proof of that whatsoever. As a matter of fact, Der Spiegel, a German magazine, reported today that the most important information that the Mehlis Report cites comes from an informer who was a convicted swindler and felon. That is one of the sources of the information they are using to try to tie this into Syria.
If you want to talk about destabilization of a region, all we have to do is look at 150,000 troops in a country 6,000 miles from our borders. If we talk about the responsibility of somebody being assassinated, we might ask the question how many dozens of Iraqi administrators have been assassinated in Iraq since we have been in charge. So there are two different ways we can look at that. My deep concern is that we are moving in the direction of expanding our presence and expanding the war in that region.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation. Five years ago, Congress approved far-reaching legislation to stop the flow of nuclear missiles and other sensitive technology to the ayatollahs of terror in Tehran. By a unanimous vote, Congress commanded that those who aid in the development of Iran's destabilizing nuclear and missile programs be exposed and sanctioned.
The need for the Iran Nonproliferation Act is stronger today than it was 5 years ago. The Iranian regime continues to seek aggressively a nuclear weapons capability by exploiting allegedly peaceful nuclear facilities to produce nuclear weapons materials. Iran is also developing long-range missile systems capable of destabilizing the entire Middle East and beyond. The Iranians are accomplishing this task with the active assistance of Russia and other irresponsible actors on the international scene.
Fortunately, Mr. Speaker, in large part due to the farsighted initiatives such as the Iran Nonproliferation Act, the world no longer trusts Tehran. Just this past month, the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna voted to find Iran in violation of its nuclear safeguards obligations. And absent any dramatic turnaround by Iran, the United States must and will demand that Iran's violations be reported to the U.N. Security Council at the next meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency this coming November.
The legislation before us today is designed to preserve the core of the Iran Nonproliferation Act while allowing for continued cooperation with the Russians in support of our national space program.
It is unfortunate, Mr. Speaker, that this legislation is necessary. I wish that the Russians had ceased their missile-related cooperation with the Iranians so Congress would not be forced to carve out this new exception. Moscow's deliberate decision to flaunt international norms on weapons of mass destruction just shows how far away the Russian regime is from being a responsible international actor.
But we are compelled to pass this legislation because the United States needs to continue paying Russia for rides for American astronauts to the International Space Station and for other space services. Because the President cannot certify that Russia has ended it missile cooperation with Iran, and with the space shuttle still experiencing difficulties in its return to service, this exemption has proved necessary.
But, Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, the Iran Nonproliferation Act is emerging even stronger than before. My good friend, the chairman of the Committee on International Relations, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), and I made changes to the bill which will focus even greater attention on Russia's destabilizing cooperation with Iran. The Hyde-Lantos provisions will make governments, not just individuals and business entities, newly vulnerable to sanctions for trade in weapons of mass destruction with the Iranian regime. It will also help ensure that Iran does not spread dangerous technology in the future.
Our bill also applies the provision of the Iran Nonproliferation Act for the first time to the authoritarian regime in Damascus. This action will help ensure that whatever happens to the regime of Bashir Assad in the near term as it faces international condemnation richly deserved for its direct complicity in the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the Prime Minister of neighboring Lebanon, it cannot develop weapons of mass destruction.
Mr. Speaker, the leadership cabals in both Tehran and Damascus are aggressively seeking to develop such weapons that would threaten the entire Middle East and the region beyond. Our legislation marks an important step in focusing greater attention on these emerging threats while preserving key aspects of our own space program. I urge all of my colleagues to support this most important and urgent piece of legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DeLay), a Member whose leadership has been a major factor in the passage of so much historic legislative reform that has gone through this body.
Mr. DeLAY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California, and I appreciate the work that you all have done. I rise in strong support of this legislation and also to commend everyone on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol who helped develop this legislation in the recent months.
The legislation before us will correct an unintended consequence of the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. Under that 2000 act passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, the United States will soon find itself unable to manage many of its investments in space and unable to continue to develop and conduct vital scientific experiments aboard the International Space Station.
Under that 2000 act, by next April, NASA would be severely limited in its ability to maintain an American scientific crew on the ISS, let alone monitor the billions of dollars in investments that the American people have made in the program.
The bill before us will carve out an exemption in the 2000 act for NASA's relationships with Russian companies that build and maintain the vehicles and machinery that provide the services that help us in our partnership with them on the International Space Station. Among the most critical of these relationships are those that allow American astronauts access to the Russian Soyuz, a crew rescue vehicle, docking components for our own spacecraft, and other critical equipment and services.
The United States' permanent presence in space today depends on our ongoing partnership with the Russian Federal Space Agency and other international partners. The President's new vision for space exploration depends on America's investment and involvement in the ISS so that we can develop the science necessary to prepare our astronauts for long-term exposure to microgravity and radiation.
The experiments planned in coming years aboard the ISS can only be conducted in space, and NASA's future missions to the Moon and Mars depend on those experiments. Meanwhile, the potential gap between the retirement of the space shuttle and the deployment of NASA's new crew exploration vehicle would, without this legislation, leave the United States without continual access to space at a time at the end of this decade when we need it the most.
This bill ensures NASA has the flexibility it needs to meet America's challenges in space. I urge all Members to support it.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I want to reiterate that the portion of the bill that deals with our ability to pursue our space program I strongly endorse. It is the portion that deals with Syria that was added on at the last minute that I am concerned about.
I want to say that portion of the bill, I believe, further destabilizes the Middle East and we should move with great caution. We have been warned. We should be prepared for a broader war in the Middle East as plans are being laid for the next U.S.-led regime change in Syria.
A U.N. report of the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri elicited this comment from a senior U.S. policy maker: ``Out of a tragedy comes an extraordinary strategic opportunity.'' This statement reflects the continued neoconservative, Machiavellian influence on our foreign policy.
The ``opportunity'' refers to the long-held neoconservative plan for regime change in Syria, similar to what was carried out in Iraq.
This plan for remaking the Middle East has been around for a long time. Just as 9/11 served the interests of those who longed for changes in Iraq, the sensationalism surrounding Hariri's death is being used to advance plans to remove Assad.
Congress already has assisted these plans by authorizing the sanctions placed on Syria last year. Harmful sanctions, as applied to Iraq in the 1990s, inevitably represent a major step toward war since they bring havoc to so many innocent people. Syria already has been charged with developing weapons of mass destruction based on no more evidence than was available when Iraq was similarly charged.
Syria has been condemned for not securing its borders by the same U.S. leaders who cannot secure our own borders. Syria was castigated for placing its troops in Lebanon, a neighboring country, although such action was invited by an elected government and encouraged by the United States. The Syrian occupation of Lebanon elicited no suicide terrorist attacks, as was suffered by Western occupiers.
Condemning Syria for having troops in Lebanon seems strange considering most of the world sees our 150,000 troops in Iraq as unwarranted foreign intervention. Syrian troops were far more welcome in Lebanon.
Secretary Rice likewise sees the problem in Syria that we helped to create as an opportunity to advance our Middle Eastern agenda. In recent testimony she stated that it was always the administration's intent to redesign the greater Middle East, and Iraq was only part of that plan. And once again we have been told that all options are still on the table for dealing with Syria, including war.
The statement that should scare all Americans and the world is the assurance by Secretary Rice that the President needs no additional authority from Congress to attack Syria. She argues that authority already has been granted by the resolutions on 9/11 and Iraq. This is not true, but if Congress remains passive to the powers assumed by the executive branch, it will not matter. As the war spreads, the only role for the Congress will be to provide funding lest they be criticized for not supporting the troops. In the meantime, the Constitution and our liberties here at home will be further eroded as more Americans die.
This escalation of conflict with Syria comes as a result of the U.N. report concerning Hariri's death. When we need an excuse for our actions, it is always nice to rely on the organization our administration routinely condemns, one that brought us the multi-million-dollar oil-for-food scandal and the sexual crimes by U.N. representatives.
It is easy to ignore the fact that the report did not implicate Assad, who is targeted for the next regime change. The U.N. once limited itself to disputes between nations; yet now it assumes the U.N., like the United States, has a legal and moral right to inject itself into the internal policies of sovereign nations. Yet what is the source of this presumed wisdom? Where is the moral imperative that allows us to become the judge and jury of a domestic murder in a country 6,000 miles from our shores?
Moral, constitutional, and legal arguments for a less aggressive foreign policy receives little attention in Washington, but the law of unintended consequences serves as a thorough teacher for the slow learners and the morally impaired.
Is Iraq not yet a headache for the proponents of the shock and awe policy? Are 2,000 lives lost not enough to get their attention? How many hundreds of billions of dollars must be drained from our economy before it is noticed? Is it still plausible that deficits do not matter? Is the apparent victory for Iran in the Shiite theocracy we have created in Iraq not yet seen as a disturbing consequence of the ill-fated Iraq regime change effort? When we have our way with the next election in Lebanon and Hezbollah becomes a governing party, what do we do then?
If our effort to destabilize Syria is no more successful than our efforts in Iraq, then what? If destabilizing Syria leads to the same in Iran, what are our options? If we cannot leave now, we will surely not leave then. We will be told we must stay to honor the fallen to prove the cause was just.
We should remember Ronald Reagan's admonition regarding this area of the world. Ronald Reagan reflected on Lebanon in his memoirs, describing the Middle East as a ``jungle'' and Middle Eastern politics as ``irrational.'' It forced him to rethink his policy in the region. It is time we do some rethinking as well.
This bill today does not help.
Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to be equally divided between the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher), and I ask unanimous consent that they be allowed to control that time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Poe). Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Texas?
There was no objection.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman), a distinguished member of the Committee on International Relations.
Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Committee on International Relations, and a member of the Committee on Science, and as a member of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, and, in fact, the ranking member of International Terrorism and Nonproliferation Subcommittee, I am well aware of the conflict of two goals of the Federal Government. One of those is to meet our obligations to the international space station. The other is to use every device possible to try to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and to try to prevent Russia from assisting in that process.
For me, these goals are not of equal weight. The supreme goal and objective and obligation of the Federal Government is to protect our people. Iranian nuclear weapons could be smuggled into our cities, and I would say that we should adopt no legislation and leave on the books current law that puts one objective, and that is limiting Iranian nuclear weapons, as the sole objective that is embodied in our statutes.
But, in fact, some balance is going to be struck, and it is not going to be the overwhelming balance that I would strike, a balance in favor of doing everything possible to limit Iranian nuclear weapons development and giving far less weight to meeting our international space station obligations.
I want to take this opportunity to commend the ranking member and the chairman of the Committee on International Relations and of the Committee on Science and the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) for doing a very good job of trying to narrowly tailor this legislation, to try to balance those two goals in not the way I would, but in a way that I have to concede is reasonable. And for that reason I will not ask for a recorded vote on this bill. I recognize that if this bill does not pass in this form, it is as likely to get worse as it is to get better because, in fact, my colleagues have labored very effectively and have taken some input from me to create a bill which is tailored to the twin objectives.
Now, I would hope the day would come when the President of the United States could certify to this Nation that Russia is doing everything possible to help us prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and in any case was not helping Iran to develop those terrible weapons. But until that day comes, present law says that we cannot contract with agencies of the Russian Government space program no matter what for various space-related activities.
As I understand this bill in its final revised form, and I see most of the principal authors of the amendment to it here on the floor, and I know the rest will correct the record tomorrow if I misstate anything, but I would yield to anyone here to correct me if I am wrong, the bill in its present form creates a very limited exception to present law. It allows NASA to contract with Russian Government space agencies only when those agencies are the only available seller of goods and services necessary to meet our obligations to the international space station.
There are two important aspects of that understanding. One is the language that I said, the only available seller of essential goods and services. That is to say this bill does not authorize us to turn a blind eye to Russian space agency cooperation with the nuclear plans of Tehran just because the Russian space agency is the cheapest or the most convenient or a few days faster. It allows us to ignore those important Iran nonproliferation goals only when it is absolutely necessary and only when necessary to meet our own obligations to the space station, not obligations of other countries.
To reiterate, not only is this bill limited to situations where it is necessary, not merely convenient, for us to contract with the Russian space agency, but it is also a requirement that we are meeting our obligations to the international space station, not a circumstance when we are paying the Russians to meet their own obligations or the obligations of some other country.
So I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time. And to put it in context, I think this bill does a good job of striking what is the best balance we are likely to see in this legislative process between our goals.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 6 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Boehlert), a Member who was both the senior member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence as well as serving as chairman of the Committee on Science.
(Mr. BOEHLERT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. BOEHLERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this amended version of S. 1713.
Let me start by thanking the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) and the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) for working so cooperatively with us for so long on this issue, which is of great concern to both of our committees over which both of our committees have jurisdiction. I also want to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Calvert), the chairman of our Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, who, as always, has helped to keep our eye on the ball and has pressed to make sure we got this done. The gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher), the gentleman from California's (Mr. Calvert) predecessor, who serves on both committees, played a similarly dogged role. And if one has been exposed to the Rohrabacher machine, they know he is persistent. All of us have cosponsored the bill before us today.
Finally, I want to thank the administration, including NASA and the State Department and the National Security Council, for being willing to consider a variety of approaches, and I want to thank the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Gordon), my ranking Democrat on the Committee on Science, for being a thoughtful participant as we examined different ways to deal with this issue.
The puzzle we had to solve with dealing with the Iran Nonproliferation Act was how to enable the U.S. to continue to man the international space station without reducing our vigilance with regard to nonproliferation. I have been clear all along that, for me, maintaining nonproliferation is a far more important goal than is continuing to have Americans aboard the space station.
But from the point of view of space policy, we had another goal here, too. We wanted to make sure that Russia, or any other foreign nation, could not bring our space program to a screeching halt or whatever the equivalent would be in the vacuum of space. Therefore, we wanted to try to write this bill in a way that would create an incentive for NASA to contract with new suppliers that would not be dependent on foreign technology to get U.S. personnel or supplies to and from the Space Station.
These are all tough goals, goals that have had their critics, goals that create winners and losers, goals that seek to balance competing national needs. And I think with this version of the Iran Nonproliferation Act, we have come as close as anyone possibly could to accomplishing our goals.
The bill enables the U.S. to continue to use the International Space Station unimpeded. The bill, in effect, allows the status quo to continue until 2012, when presumably the U.S. will have access to a new crew exploration vehicle to carry astronauts and commercial firms to move cargo. We will see if the budget enables that to actually happen on that schedule, but it is a plausible position.
The bill encourages NASA to find commercial firms that are not dependent on the Russians to carry cargo in the future by setting a specific end date for our current relationship with the Russians. And the bill minimizes the harm to the nonproliferation regime by requiring the act to be reviewed again in 2012, by making it clear that no individual entity that violates the act can receive U.S. money and by adding Syria to the countries listed in the act, and, finally, by requiring clear reporting of payments under the act.
The Senate deserves credit for moving all parties toward compromise; and our version, I would say, perfects that compromise by adding Syria and by making it clear that we have a true deadline. Under our bill, no funds can be used in violation of the Iran Nonproliferation Act after 2012, even if the funds are made available before 2012 and even if they are made available pursuant to an agreement that existed before that date.
So I think we are where we have to be on this bill in order that we are going to protect the space program while protecting the world from nuclear weapons. These issues are never easy and nonproliferation necessarily involves a lot of guesswork about what is and what is not working; but this is a responsible, thoughtful compromise.
In closing, let me again thank the Members of the Committee on International Relations and their staff, particularly Walker Roberts, for working so cooperatively with us and for continuing to push for tighter, but reasonable, language.
I want to thank our staff on the Committee on Science, particularly Bill Adkins, for ensuring that we always took into account all the implications of the proposed language.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this measure, which incorporates a truly thoughtful and effective compromise.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, before yielding back my time, I want to pay public tribute to two outstanding members of our staff, David Abramowitz and David Fite, who did extraordinary work on this very complex piece of legislation.
Mr. Speaker, I have no additional requests for time, and I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 3 minutes.
First of all, thank you very much to the gentleman from California (Mr. Lantos) and all those on the other side of the aisle and the gentleman from California (Mr. Sherman), who has done such great work in our committee and on issues dealing with Iran and trying to secure the safety of our country as well as the Middle East. The gentleman has my respect; and as he knows, he has had my cooperation in the past, and we appreciate his cooperation on this effort as well.
This legislation needed to come to the floor, and we needed that type of bipartisan cooperation as well as cooperation with the Members on this side of the aisle and the hard work of the staff of both the Committee on International Relations and the Committee on Science to ensure that we were able to get this legislation passed in time to prevent what would have been an embarrassment, a major embarrassment, to the United States of America, which would have done irreparable damage to our credibility.
Our space program would have been humiliated by the elimination of America's presence on the International Space Station, having an International Space Station, which we paid for, then to be occupied and controlled by Russians. We have, by this effort today, and by this cooperation, prevented that shortcoming, that humiliation from happening.
But let me note, it was never the intent of the authors of this part of the Iran Nonproliferation Act that we should ever come to a crisis like this. I can say that with certainty, because I was the one who was involved with writing this portion of the Iran Nonproliferation Act. I felt at that time we should have taken care of this issue a long time ago with carrots rather than sticks.
I went to both the Clinton administration and the Bush administration years ago to ask them to offer Russia an alternative to being involved with Iran in terms of building nuclear facilities. The Clinton administration did not act and the Bush administration did not act to prevent this crisis that we are averting right now at the last minute from happening.
Thus, for the record, let us note that, yes, we have averted a crisis; but a long time ago, positive and responsible actions by either the Clinton administration or the Bush administration could have prevented this from happening in a most important way.
Let me note, cooperation with Russia in the space program is not inherently bad. It is something that is inherently good. It places the Russian scientists working on positive programs such as cooperation with America's space program. Israel itself is very involved with the Russians in their space program. Russian rockets launch Israeli satellites. Thus, we know that it is not inherently tied to Iran, the cooperation with Russia in space matters.
But let us make sure that by passing this today we in no way are belittling the argument about the importance of dealing with Iran's development of nuclear weapons. This should be of concern to each and every one of us, and passage of this bill does not lessen that concern whatsoever.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Hyde-Lantos amendments to S. 1713, a bill passed by the Senate on September 21, 2005 amending the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 to authorize new payments to Russia in support of the international space station. The Hyde-Lantos amendments, which have been authored on a bipartisan basis, would provide a substitute text for the Senate bill.
The Senate bill is defective in significant respects. Chief among these would be a reduction in United States leverage over Russian technology transfers to Iran's weapons programs. The Hyde-Lantos substitute text would remedy this and other deficiencies in the Senate bill by more carefully balancing space cooperation interests with our nonproliferation interests.
In particular, the substitute text would permit NASA to make payments to Russia for the next six years, up to January 1, 2012, as provided in the Senate version. But, it would eliminate the ambiguity in the Senate version, whereby payments and services might be rendered well beyond January 1, 2012. Instead, the substitute text would clearly establish that no payments or services may take place after that date unless Congress provides additional authority through new legislation or the Executive Branch makes the determination required under existing law concerning an end to Russia's support for Iran's weapons programs.
During my discussion of the substitute text with NASA Administrator Griffin, he expressed support for our version of the bill provided one small concern could be resolved. His concern centered on a parenthetical expression, which he felt might constrain negotiation of arrangements with Russia before new payments could commence. I agreed to strike the relevant language on the express understanding, which Mr. Griffin accepted, that, while the substitute text as revised would permit any necessary arrangement for payments in order to fulfill existing United States obligations under the space station agreement, it would not permit payments for new obligations. During consideration of the bill a question arose concerning whether this limitation would restrict NASA's ability to purchase international space station re-supply services from U.S. companies using Russian content, should NASA conclude that this is necessary to meet U.S. obligations under the space station agreement. In my opinion, this would not be the case, assuming the bona fides of the Russian suppliers.
In addition, the substitute text makes three changes to the underlying law, the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000. First, the Act would henceforth be applicable to Syria, as well as to Iran. Second, the Act would cover weapons technology exported to other countries by Iran and Syria (as well as weapons technology imported by them). Third, ``foreign persons'' would hereafter be defined to include foreign governmental entities, in addition to individuals and business organizations.
I consider these changes to the underlying law to be both necessary and timely in light of two recent developments. The first concerns charges by the United Kingdom that either Iran, or Iranian-backed Hezbollah, is supplying explosives technology used by insurgents against coalition forces in Iraq. The second is the very troubling UN report implicating Syria in the February 14th massive bombing assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
In light of NASA's support and the enhancements to United States nonproliferation interests we have made to the bill, I am optimistic that the Senate will have little difficulty agreeing to this substitute text.
Mr. CALVERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of S. 1713, as amended, which strengthens the Nation's nonproliferation principles and objectives while allowing NASA to meet its operational and programmatic needs with regard to the International Space Station (ISS), as called for in the President's Vision for Space Exploration. I am pleased to be a cosponsor of such important legislation with my colleagues and friends, Chairman HYDE, Ranking Member LANTOS, Chairman BOEHLERT, and Congressman ROHRABACHER. This amendment is timely. NASA must revise its agreement and contractual arrangements with the Russian Federal Space Agency quickly in order to ensure uninterrupted training beyond October 2005. The next ISS crew is scheduled to fly on the Russian Soyuz in April 2006. If this amendment is not enacted, INA restrictions will prevent a continued presence of U.S. crew onboard the ISS and limit U.S. presence onboard the ISS to Space Shuttle visits. We could lose our leadership role on the International Space Station.
I know this amendment has been negotiated and discussed by many of my colleagues, who recognize the extreme importance of passing a measure which allows NASA to continue with its current role on the Space Station. I am a sponsor of this legislation and, at the same time, I have been concerned that we not be so restrictive on NASA to prevent them from doing their mission. S. 1713 as amended grants NASA the authority to procure urgent required goods and services from Russia, including crew rescue, to allow continuing ISS operations in the most safe and effective way possible. Some of these goods and services will be required from 2012 to the end of the program's operation. Moreover, ISS is an operational program that continues to evolve, requiring enough flexibility to deal with emerging issues over time. Consequently, Congress may need to address this issue again at a later date. We should be watchful as we move forward that we are able to maintain the ISS and to retain our leadership role.
As the Chairman of the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, I am mindful of the importance of a continued American presence in space. This amendment moves in the right direction by supporting those Russian entities which are compliant, while helping to solve near-term problems for NASA and its international partners.
Without legislative action, NASA will have limited access to the ISS until the U.S. Crew Exploration Vehicle is ready to be deployed. I urge my colleagues to pass S. 1713 as amended as expeditiously as possible. I also salute my colleagues for bringing this important legislation to the floor in such a timely manner and plan to offer my support as we pass this legislation today in the House of Representatives.
Mr. CROWLEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in strong support of the amendment offered by Mr. HYDE and Mr. LANTOS.
Iran and Syria remain threats to the security and stability of the Middle East and the world whether it is from their continued support of terrorists to their desire to obtain unconventional weapons.
Iran continues to thumb its nose to the IAEA and the international community on its desire to obtain nuclear weapons.
According to the British, Iran is providing weapons to terrorists attacking coalition troops and working hard to destabilize Iraq even though it is not in the region's interests.
Syria keeps its border with Iraq open thus allowing foreign fighters to illegally enter Iraq and carry out terrorists plots.
These terrorists are working against the Iraqi people's quest for freedom and democracy.
Iran is not the only neighbor Syria has been working hard to destabilize.
Last week, the UN released the findings of its investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and I don't think any of us in this House were surprised to see that they pointed a finger at the regime of Syria's President Bashar Assad.
Before his death the former prime minister had become one of the most vocal opponents of the Syrian occupation.
This report names high level Syrian and Lebanese government officials who plotted to assassinate this outspoken leader.
I hope that our actions today will show President Assad that our resolve is strong.
Mr. Speaker, Syria must change its ways and begin to contribute to international peace and security rather than undermine it.
I urge all my colleagues to support this important amendment.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Poe). The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher) that the House suspend the rules and pass the Senate bill, S. 1713, as amended.
The question was taken; and (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended and the Senate bill, as amended, was passed.
The title of the Senate bill was amended so as to read: ``An Act to make amendments to the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 related to International Space Station payments, and for other purposes.''.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
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