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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California

H. Res. 895, Supporting Intelligence and Law Enforcement Programs to Track Terrorists and Terrorist Finances

August 6, 2009
Floor Statement
Rep. Maxine Waters [D-CA]: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Frank resolution, which was not made in order by the Rules Committee.

As many of you know, the Financial Services chairman, Mr. Oxley, introduced House Resolution 895. The Oxley resolution is well-intended, but I cannot support it. It condemns the media for disclosing information related to the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program. The resolution is misleading. It contains whereas clauses characterizing Congress' role in overseeing the program. There is no oversight to this terrorist tracking program.

Mr. Speaker and Members, this is America and Americans ought to be concerned about what is going on in this government at this time. As a matter of fact, I think this government is spinning out of control. The government is violating the United States Constitution and Federal law in the name of fighting terrorism. Your President truly believes he can disregard the Constitution, create new laws and executive orders and whatever he does, he says, is constitutional because he is the President.

Keeping with this imperial Presidency attitude, the Republicans have the audacity to try and intimidate the press, using the same tired old Karl Rove tactics that have become common to this administration: intimidation, threats. They have accused us of cutting and running on the Iraqi war, questioning Members' patriotism, accusing Democrats of being soft on terrorism, and now the press. If the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Washington Times or any other newspaper back off its responsibility to report the news, no matter how unpopular, they may as well close up shop and quit the news business.

This resolution as introduced by Mr. Oxley, that again is misleading, condemning the media, must be rejected. This is not China, Vietnam, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe or Saudi Arabia. The free press is central to a democracy. We are seeing the PATRIOT Act, the NSA spying, the telecommunications companies giving up our private information. Enough is enough. We must stop with this resolution.