Lee and Pelosi speak on Haiti resolution

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, were among those who spoke on the House floor today about the post-earthquake humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

Lee introduced a resolution today expressing condolences for and solidarity with the people of Haiti in the earthquake’s aftermath; commending the efforts of U.S. and international relief efforts; and calling for a long-term sustainable recovery effort and debt forgiveness. The House is set to vote on the resolution tomorrow.

Pelosi spoke in support of the resolution.

UPDATE @ 2:27 P.M. THURSDAY: The House this afternoon approved Lee’s resolution, H.Res. 1021, on a 411-1 vote. As is often the case, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., was the lone dissenter; he says he won’t vote for any legislation that’s not expressly authorized by the U.S. Constitution.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Ms Lee, noted expert on foreign policy, strikes again. Haiti is Somalia with fewer guns. Haiti’s collapse is total; its only remaining asset is its tough, resourceful people. Debt forgiveness now is about as useful as free pilates or yoga classes. Haiti needs lots of medical supplies, housing materials, you name it. It is 100,000 post-Katrina New Orleans rolled into one. Free rum would be more welcome than the collected speeches of Ms Lee and the Speaker distributed free with antibiotics. Haiti has been victimized by voodoo politics since Dessalines’s reign and no amount of pious posturing in the House will change that. What does Haiti need? Ask the Haitians.

  • Liberty for All

    Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
    United States House of Representatives

    Statement in Opposition to H Res 1021, Condolences to Haiti January 21, 2010

    I rise in reluctant opposition to this resolution. Certainly I am moved by the horrific destruction in Haiti and would without hesitation express condolences to those who have suffered and continue to suffer. As a medical doctor, I have through my career worked to alleviate the pain and suffering of others. Unfortunately, however, this resolution does not simply express our condolences, but rather it commits the US government “to begin the reconstruction of Haiti” and affirms that “the recovery and long-term needs of Haiti will require a sustained commitment by the United States….” I do not believe that a resolution expressing our deep regret and sorrow over this tragedy should be used to commit the United States to a “long-term” occupation of Haiti during which time the US government will provide for the reconstruction of that country.

    I am concerned over the possibility of an open-ended US military occupation of Haiti and this legislation does nothing to alleviate my concerns. On the contrary, when this resolution refers to the need for a long term US plan for Haiti, I see a return to the failed attempts by the Clinton and Bush Administrations to establish Haiti as an American protectorate. Already we are seeing many argue that this kind of humanitarian mission is a perfect fit for the US military. I do not agree.

    Certainly I would support and encourage the efforts of the American people to help the people of Haiti at this tragic time. I believe that the American people are very generous on their own and fear that a US government commitment to reconstruct Haiti may actually discourage private contributions. Mr. Speaker, already we see private US citizens and corporations raising millions of dollars for relief and reconstruction of Haiti. I do not believe the US government should get in the way of these laudable efforts. I do express my condolences but I unfortunately must urge my colleagues to vote against this resolution committing the United States government to rebuild Haiti.


  • Josh Richman

    @Liberty: Thanks very much for posting this.

  • My heart goes out to the people of Haiti, and my admiration and thanks to those who are raising resources and delivering aid and assistance. The government of Haiti is utterly failed, there is no civil order. Until an effective government is established, money poured on the problem (after initial relief efforts to ease suffering and prevent epidemic) will simply soak into the ground without leaving a trace.

    I do not believe that the people of Haiti can do this for themselves. It will required an outside agent to bootstrap the process of governing. I would prefer that be the UN or, even better, the OAS. If we blindly stumble into this task, it will certainly be a major commitment of US troops (yet again), money that we don’t have being borrowed to help someone else (yet again), and more vitriol and hatred from Chavez, Castro, Ortega and the rest (yet again).

    We know what the score will be, why volunteer for the heartache? Help YES, take responsibility, NO.

  • Fenchel

    My heart also goes out to the people of Haiti but it is not America’s responsibility to rectify all of the world’s problems.

    I am unable to point to ANY former French colony that has been able to support itself after “independence”. The French raped each and every colony for all that they could and then set them adrift without without any trained administrators (unless they were trained in kick-backs).

    It’s time for France to stand up and fix the many problems they created over the years.

  • Elwood

    “It’s time for France to stand up and fix the many problems they created over the years.”

    Fat chance!