AFFIRMING UNITED STATES COMMITMENT TO TAIWAN (House of Representatives - July 20, 1998)

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Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 301) affirming the United States commitment to Taiwan.

The Clerk read as follows:

H. Con. Res. 301

Whereas at no time since the establishment of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, has Taiwan been under the control of the People's Republic of China;

Whereas the United States began its long, peaceful, friendly relationship with Taiwan in 1949;

Whereas since the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979, the policy of the United States has been based on the expectation that the further relationship between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan would be determined by peaceful means;

Whereas in March 1996, the People's Republic of China held provocative military maneuvers including missile launch exercises in the Taiwan Strait, in an attempt to intimidate the people of Taiwan during their historic, free, and democratic Presidential election;

Whereas officials of the People's Republic of China refuse to renounce the use of force against democratic Taiwan;

Whereas Taiwan has achieved significant political and economic strength as one of the world's premier democracies and as the 19th largest economy in the world;

Whereas Taiwan is the 7th largest trading partner of the United States;

Whereas no agreements exist between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan that determine the future status of Taiwan; and

Whereas the House of Representatives passed a resolution by a vote of 411-0 in June 1998 urging the President to seek, during his recent summit meeting in Beijing, a public renunciation by the People's Republic of China of any use of force, or threat of use of force, against democratic Taiwan: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--

(1) affirms its longstanding commitment to Taiwan and the people of Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act (Public Law 96-8);

(2) affirms its expectation, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, that the future status of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means, and that the people of both sides of the Taiwan Strait should determine their own future, and considers any effort to determine or influence the future status of Taiwan by other than peaceful means a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific region and of grave concern to the United States;

(3) affirms its commitment, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, to make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services, including appropriate ballistic missile defenses, in such quantities as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability;

(4) affirms its commitment, consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, that only the President and Congress shall determine the nature and quantity of defense articles and services for Taiwan based solely upon their judgment of the defensive needs of Taiwan;

(5) urges the President, once again, to seek a public renunciation by the People's Republic of China of any use of force, or threat of use of force, against the free people of Taiwan; and

(6) affirms its strong support, in accordance with the spirit of the Taiwan Relations Act, of appropriate membership for Taiwan in international financial institutions and other international organizations.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter) and the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter).

Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. BEREUTER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, as chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, I rise in support of H. Con. Res. 301, affirming our commitment to the people and government of Taiwan. This resolution is intended to repair the damage done by President Clinton's comments on Taiwan during the recent U.S.-China summit.

The Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific held a hearing on U.S.-Taiwan relations on May 20, 1998. At that hearing, administration witnesses offered repeated reassurances that Taiwan's interests would not be sacrificed during the June 1998 summit in Beijing. However, the President's statements in Shanghai regarding U.S. policy in regards to Taiwan, when he expressed what is known as the `three nos,' has caused considerable consternation both in Taipei and in this capital. As the foreign power most closely involved in PRC-Taiwan relations, the goal of U.S. policy has centered on easing tensions and striking a proper balance between China and Taiwan. Since 1972, through Republican and Democrat administrations alike, the United States has maintained the `one-China policy.' Our policy has been that the United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain that there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. And the U.S. consistently has expressed its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves.

Mr. Speaker, there is a great difference between this position and the President's statement of June 30, where he said, `We don't support independence for Taiwan, or two Chinas; or one Taiwan, one China.'

As we have seen, Beijing has used these comments to increase pressure on Taiwan to begin talks on reunification. Beijing hard-liners may again choose to test our commitment that Taiwan's future be determined through peaceful means and take steps which may lead us into war.

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As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the United States and China came dangerously close to war over Taiwan a bit more than 2 years ago, in 1996, when the U.S. found it necessary to send aircraft carrier task forces, two of them, to the region.

In May 1996 the first fully democratic presidential elections ever held by a Chinese society took place on the island of Taiwan. Today, the United States and Taiwan share a vibrant mutually beneficial trade relationship. Almost 20 years after the enactment of the Taiwan Relations Act, our unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan are stronger and more robust than ever.

This Member would congratulate the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DeLay), the distinguished majority whip, for offering this legislation reaffirming America's willingness to stand by its commitment to the people of Taiwan. Working together, the gentleman has made it possible for the resolution before this body today to be a strong affirmation of long-standing U.S. policy and the `one China policy'.

This Member wants to express his deep appreciation for the sponsor's effort to work with this Member to ensure the broadest possible support for H. Con. Res. 301. I urge my colleagues to support passage of H. Con. Res. 301.

Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that I be permitted to yield the balance of our time to the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Snowbarger) and that he be permitted to yield time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Nebraska?

There was no objection.

Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Con. Res. 301. The resolution is, I think, in many respects a constructive restatement of our long-standing commitment to the well-being of the Taiwanese people.

I want to commend the resolution's author, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DeLay), for his willingness to take the views of others into account during the drafting process. I want, also, to thank the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter) for his work and his cooperation in drafting the resolution.

The resolution, among other things, affirms the U.S. commitment to Taiwan without going beyond current U.S. policy or forcing the President to do anything. The resolution restates what has been U.S. policy since the adoption of the Taiwan Relations Act 19 years ago. It does not change or modify that policy. Its sole purpose is to ensure that there is no misunderstanding here or abroad regarding the extent of our support for the people of Taiwan.

I do believe that we would send an even clearer message if the wording of the resolution tracked in every respect the wording of the Taiwan Relations Act. I do also believe, however, that this resolution is constructive. It restates what has been the law of the land over the past 19 years and what has been the policy of every administration during that period.

Americans have watched with pride and admiration as Taiwan in recent years has evolved into a full-blown political democracy. This resolution represents another effort to voice that pride and admiration. I support its adoption.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SNOWBARGER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DeLay), the majority whip.

Mr. DeLAY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me, and I really appreciate the gentleman from Nebraska and all the hard work that he has done in putting this resolution together.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to lend my voice to the chorus of protest that has grown out of President Clinton's public repudiation of our friend and ally, Taiwan.

The United States has always insisted that the future of Taiwan be resolved by peaceful means with the full participation of the people of Taiwan. In short, we believe that the Taiwanese people have a right to determine their own future without the threat of outside influence or the use of force.

Taiwan is a shining example of freedom and democracy in a part of the world sorely in need of role models. It should be the strong and fast policy of the United States to encourage democratic societies, particularly in the face of repressive authoritarian regimes.

Unfortunately, President Clinton went beyond the `three noes,' virtually foreclosing the option of Taiwan's self-determination. The insistence of the Clinton Administration that it merely reiterated long-standing U.S. policy is simply wrong. No President has ever used words like the words used by President Clinton while he was in China.

The United States now finds itself in a position of selling offense missile technology to the People's Republic of China while denying defense weaponry to Taiwan. This, in my opinion, is a dangerous policy.

President Clinton has upset the balance of power in one of the most sensitive areas of the world. The United States must do everything in its power to ensure that the People's Republic of China knows that we will not tolerate the use of force in the Taiwan Strait.

By introducing this legislation with the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Snowbarger) and the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Deutsch), I hope to send China's leaders a very clear message: Taiwan is our friend and ally. We will not tolerate the use of force in the Taiwan strait. The people of Taiwan must determine their own future.

I urge the Members of this House to support this resolution. If the United States does not stand by its friends and promote democracy, equality and freedom in the face of oppression and the illegitimate use of force, we cannot expect the rest of the world to do the same.

Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 3 minutes.

Mr. Speaker, it may be helpful to read what the President said in Shanghai. I quote him:

Meeting with President Jiang, I had a chance to reiterate our Taiwan policy, which is that we do not support independence for Taiwan, or two Chinas, or one Taiwan, one China. And we do not believe that Taiwan should be a member of any international organization for which statehood is a requirement.

Our policy has been that we think reunification has to be done peacefully. That is what our law says, and we have to encourage the cross-strait dialogue. And I think it will bear fruit if everyone is patient and works hard.

I think it is important to note here that `no support for Taiwanese independence' has been U.S. policy since the 1972 Shanghai Communique. I think it is correct to say that President Clinton is the first U.S. President explicitly to state opposition to Taiwan's independence. It has been our policy since 1982 under President Reagan, for `no support for two Chinas or one China, one Taiwan.' That was explicitly articulated by President Reagan in 1982. `No support for Taiwanese membership in organizations for which statehood is a requirement' has been U.S. policy since the Carter Administration.

The Secretary of State has articulated the so-called `three noes' policy. I think it is also correct to say that promoting reunification is not U.S. policy. Contrary to what the President said, the word does not appear in the Taiwan Relations Act.

The Taiwan Relations Act reads that, and I quote, `The future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.' It does not prejudge what the future of Taiwan should be, and I understand that the word `reunification' might be seen as doing so. It would have been better to phrase that sentence in terms of the language of the Taiwan Relations Act, which says that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.

I do think, however, that the net result of all of this is that U.S. policy towards Taiwan remains unchanged.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. SNOWBARGER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Solomon), chairman of the Committee on Rules.

Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding the time, and I rise in strong support of this resolution. I commend the gentleman from Texas (Mr. DeLay), certainly the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Snowbarger), and the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter), as well as the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Hamilton), an outstanding and respected Member of this body, for bringing this resolution here today.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution emphatically reaffirms the support of Congress for the Taiwan Relations Act, and that is the law of the land, and it expresses again our unswerving support for the free people of Taiwan to determine their own future without military pressure or coercion from Communist China.

Mr. Speaker, the President's recent statement undercutting Taiwan, a statement made in the presence of the Chinese Communist dictatorship, represents an unprecedented departure from U.S. policy and, again, from U.S. law.

By endorsing Beijing's interpretation of the `one China' doctrine, and doing so barely 2 years after Communist China conducted defensive military exercises and missile launchings in the vicinity of Taiwan, President Clinton contradicted 26 years of U.S. foreign policy and commitments by five Presidents.

Moreover, his statement came only days after this House voted unanimously to urge that he seek a public renunciation by Communist China of the use of any force or threat of force against Taiwan. That renunciation is yet to be heard, Mr. Speaker.

So that is why we are here today again. This resolution reaffirms the commitment of this Congress to the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act, the law of the U.S. land. It puts us on record again in support of making available to Taiwan such defensive articles and defensive services, including appropriate ballistic missile defenses, in such quantities as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. Again, that is U.S. law. No President has the right to overrule it.

The resolution goes on, Mr. Speaker, to restate, and we ought to listen to this, U.S. policy in support of an appropriate membership for Taiwan in international organizations and financial institutions.

Here is the Taiwan Relations Act I just pointed to, Mr. Speaker. Quoting directly from section 4(d)1, it says, `Nothing in this Act may be construed as a basis for supporting exclusion or expulsion of Taiwan from membership in any international financial institution or any other international organization.' That again is the law of the land. No President has the right to overrule it.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the strongest possible support for this resolution. We all regret the circumstances that make it necessary. But let us send a clear and powerful statement to Beijing. Let there be no doubt in Beijing that America stands with its friends, and real and proven friends at that, not the pretenders for the moment.

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Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Brown).

Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Indiana for yielding to me. I rise also in support of H. Con. Res. 301. I would hope that the passage of this resolution today would lead to stronger American support, support from this Congress, support from the administration, and inclusion in the World Health Organization of the country of Taiwan.

I am disturbed that a nation of 21 million people does not have the opportunity to exchange information in the world health community with physicians and scientists from other developed and underdeveloped countries, but especially developed countries, exchange information about disease and viruses and all the kinds of things that can happen.

As we see around the world more people traveling across borders, more food sold and bought from country to country, and, as a result, more disease transmitted between and among peoples and between and among nations, admission of Taiwan in the World Health Organization will not just help the 21 million people of Taiwan, it will also help the rest of the world gain from the information they can get from physicians and from medical and health researchers and from public health agencies in Taiwan. So it is certainly something we should do for Taiwan, but it is something Taiwan wants to do for the rest of the world.

I realize I said I support H. Con. Res. 301. I hope that it does lead down the road to a stronger support from our government for including Taiwan in the World Health Organization.

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Mr. SNOWBARGER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Bilbray).

Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution. I just feel that we need to send a very clear message, and I think Congress and the administration must stop sending these mixed messages around the world about what our relationship is with Taiwan, and the Taiwanese people's place in the world.

The fact is there are those forces all over the world who would like to deny national sovereignty to certain people, and, frankly, the Taiwanese are one to which I think the United Nations and many other agencies have denied recognition of their national sovereignty. We may want to raise concerns about certain activities that China may be involved with, be it with its neighbors to the south or be it internal, but I think one of the things we need to send, quite clearly, is a message to China saying the people of Taiwan have proven themselves over the last decades, and have earned the right to gain the title of sovereign nation unto themselves. I do not think anybody can claim that the people of Taiwan have not earned that much, through their actions and through their efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I want to point out that one of the things that is not brought up enough about America is the fact that we have consistently, not always but consistently, tried to support democratic republics around the world, and I think that the fact is that we need to send a clear message when it comes to Taiwan, that Taiwan is a nation moving toward the ideal democratic republic that we always talk about, that we always say we would like to see mainland China move toward. What a mixed message we send, if we tell the rest of the world and the people on mainland China that the democratic Republic of Taiwan is going to be sold down the river to mainland China's tyranny, because it is politically expedient for the people of the United States or politically expedient for people around the world. What a mixed message, if we do not stand strongly and speak clearly that the people of Taiwan have proven they cannot only defend their right to national sovereignty, their little island in the world, but also that they are continuing their movement toward what we all want the rest of the world to be, and that is a democracy that works, functions, and allows representative government to prosper.

Mr. Speaker, I think that it is clear that the administration and Congress had to stop sending mixed messages, and has to send a very strong message, not just to Taiwan, but to Beijing, that there is a political and military reality called Taiwan, and we should not only respect this reality, we should embrace it.

Mr. SNOWBARGER. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher).

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the DeLay legislation. Today we are setting straight what exactly is and making clear what exactly is the policy of the United States of America.

During the President's recent visit to the mainland of China, he said some things that perhaps he meant, and I am sure he did sincerely mean these things, but they have sent a confusing message, and his misstatements could lead to an unnecessary crisis unless this body reaffirms exactly what American policy is.

Let us remember that during the Truman years, when President Truman was President of the United States, Korea was accidentally left outside of the U.S. defense perimeter in a briefing of what our policy was in Asia. In very short order, the communists in North Korea, I might add, aided by the communist regime in Beijing, the Communist Party that still controls the mainland of China, invaded South Korea, and the United States was engulfed in a conflict that cost over 50,000 American lives.

That is why it is important for us to state very clearly what the policy of the United States is, and the policy is not just an unfortunate and thoughtless utterance by the President of the United States about reunification and other things that he stated there during his many photo ops. Instead, what the policy of the United States is is a consistent policy and a consensus among the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, as well as the many different decisionmakers we have in the democratic process.

The communist Chinese in Beijing should understand that America remains committed to all the provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act. There has been no evolution out of the Taiwan Relations Act that will permit the communist Chinese, for example, to use force against Taiwan. Through no thoughtless talk of reunification should it be misunderstood that the United States is any less committed to opposition to the use of force in the Taiwan Straits than we were last year, 10 years ago, or 10 years before that.

Consistent with that, the DeLay legislation underscores that the people of Taiwan have a right to determine their own destiny, free from the threat of force and violence from the communists on the mainland of China. Thus, the no-use-of-force provision of the Taiwan Relations Act is reaffirmed, and while the mainland of China is still being controlled by a communist dictatorship, America reserves the right to provide the democratic people on Taiwan with the weapons they need to defend themselves; for example, a missile defense system, which is purely a defensive system, which, according to the Taiwan Relations Act, is acceptable.

Also part of the DeLay legislation is that we consider that in those bodies, those world bodies, especially the World Health Organization and such where it does not require statehood to be a member, that Taiwan and the democratic people of Taiwan should be included.

Mr. Speaker, we must make sure that the communist Chinese do not misunderstand what has happened by a misuse of the words by our President. Already, however, I might add, and in closing, that people all over the world, especially in Asia, are seeing what the President did in China as an act of weakness. In Thailand and elsewhere, in Japan, people are cutting their deals with the communists when they see weakness on the part of the President of the United States. An action now with the DeLay legislation will reaffirm the legislative strength in reaffirming our policies in Asia. I ask for the support of the DeLay legislation.

Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. SNOWBARGER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, for 20 years the United States has had a consistent policy toward the dispute between China and Taiwan. We have long acknowledged that China's position is there is one China and that Taiwan is a part of China, but we have never endorsed the Chinese position. Now, true, this is a nuance, but we are familiar with the importance of the nuance in both international and interpersonal relations.

We all have acquaintances who hold strong beliefs that we are not willing to agree to but do not directly challenge. Nations behave in the same way. We have never said that China's position is also the position of the United States; that is, until June 30, 1998, when the President suddenly and unilaterally announced a new policy, or what appears to be a new policy.

I personally regret the necessity for the House to have to consider this resolution, but Congress must set the record straight and reassure the world that the United States will not turn its back on our friends and that we will maintain the longstanding policy which has kept the judicious balance between China and Taiwan and has kept peace in the Taiwan Straits for many years.

The question remains whether the President's endorsement of mainland China's views on Taiwan was simply a monstrous gaff, as one writer has said, or whether this was a deliberate attempt to steer the United States policy in a new and dangerous direction in violation of the Taiwan Relations Act and the `Six Assurances' to Taiwan. It clearly ignores recent resolutions and letters from Congress calling on the President to refrain from compromising Taiwan.

It is odd that the President, knowing full well that there is overwhelming Congressional opposition to his new position, chose to make his statement the way he did. In response to a question of whether the Sino-U.S. relationship would eventually eclipse the U.S.-Japan relationship, the President responded with a resounding endorsement of China's Taiwan policy. When Japan is reeling from an economic crisis and feeling snubbed by the President's refusal to visit Japan while in East Asia, the President not only failed to use this opportunity to reassure Japan that we see Japan as our friend and ally, but he deliberately went out of his way to imply that not only is China more important than Japan, but that we should turn our back on Taiwan as well.

So how does the White House justify this monstrous gaff? Why did the President do this? According to Mike McCurry, the President said these things for `no particular reason. He knew he would have the opportunity to do it, and the opportunity arose today.'

That is just incredible. The President must learn to be more careful, because the world takes very seriously what he says. Whether it the First Lady announcing that Palestine should be a state or the President announcing that Taiwan should not be, the world reacts to these words, and it is irresponsible for the President to radically change U.S. foreign policy for no particular reason.

Once again, it falls to Congress to undo the damage. This resolution reconfirms America's policy of recognizing that the Chinese feel a certain way, without endorsing that position. It reaffirms the importance of the Taiwan Relations Act, and it reaffirms our commitments to the people of Taiwan and the democracy flourishing there.

This is a matter of vital principle for the United States, and I ask all of my colleagues to support H. Con. Res. 301.

Mr. Speaker, I might comment that the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman), the chairman of the Committee on International Relations, was detained in traffic, but he does support the bill and will insert his statement in the Record at a later point in time.

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Mr. DEUTSCH. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that I may reclaim 2 minutes of the time on this side of the aisle.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Stearns). Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Florida?

There was no objection.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Deutsch) is recognized for 2 minutes.

Mr. DEUTSCH. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution. I think that it is clear the position of the Congress in terms of Taiwan. The Taiwan Relations Act is the law of the land.

I would differ with some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle as to exactly what the President's statements meant. I think there is some ambiguity there, but I do not think this Congress should be ambiguous at all in our position in support of the continuation of what that law says. It is absolutely clear, the unanimous support that came out of the United States Senate. Hopefully we will see very large support on this side as well.

In the 6 years I have been in Congress, probably the most dramatic time that occurred was before the elections in Taiwan, when China made threatening comments and, to this country's credit, and to this Congress' credit and to the President's credit, a United States aircraft carrier was put in between those two countries. Really it was a reaffirmation of the Taiwan Relations Act.

By calling black `white' does not make it white. We are clear in terms of history the reality of what Taiwan is, and to say that it is not a separate entity and is part of China automatically does not make it part of China.

I think what is clear and what our position is is that the people of Taiwan are the people to decide what their future will be. If they choose at some point in time to enter into a direct relationship with the people of China, then that will be their choice. If they choose to continue their present status or if they choose some type of independent status, that is their choice to continue.

But I think this Congress, in terms of our role, in terms of supporting really democracies around the world, which is no clearer goal in terms of our foreign policy, when we cut through everything else in terms of what our goals as a country, as a society should be, those are goals we share.

I urge the support of all of my colleagues for the resolution.

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time has expired.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr. Bereuter) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution, H. Con. Res 301.

The question was taken.

Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 5 of rule I and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

[TIME: 1630]

END