(WASHINGTON DC–Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert–House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt released the following statement regarding House adoption of the Schiff Amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.
"We are strongly opposed to the Schiff Amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill–and we will insist that conferees drop that provision in conference. We have contacted the Bush Administration–and they have indicated their strong opposition to the amendment. We have also conveyed our opposition to Chairman Kolbe and he has assured us that he will insist on it being dropped in the conference committee."
"Turkey has been a reliable ally of the United States for decades–and the deep foundation upon which our mutual economic and security relationship rests should not be disrupted by this amendment."
"On its face–the amendment is meaningless. Current US law already prohibits foreign governmen’s from using American foreign aid to lobby. But we understand the political motivation behind the amendment–and for that reason–we will insist that it be dropped."
"Our relationship with Turkey is too important to us to allow it to be in any way damaged by a poorly crafted and ultimately meaningless amendment."
"Furthermore–we have no intention of scheduling H Res 193–as reported out of the Judiciary Committee in April–during the remainder of this Congress."