AFFIRMING THE CONGRESS' OPPOSITION TO ALL FORMS OF RACISM AND BIGOTRY (House of
Representatives - March 23, 1999)
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H.Res. 121) affirming the Congress'
opposition to all forms of racism and bigotry.
The Clerk read as follows:
H. Res. 121
Whereas the United States of America has been enriched and strengthened by the diversity and mutual respect of its people;
Whereas the injustices and inequities of the past continue to demand our forceful commitment, both as individuals and as an
institution, to equal justice under law and full opportunity for every American;
Whereas a racist attack upon any group of Americans is an affront to every one who cherishes the promise of America and the
values that sustain our democracy; and
Whereas every Member of Congress has a responsibility to foster the best traditions and highest values of this nation: Now,
therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) insists that no individual's rights are negotiable or open to compromise; and
(2) reaffirms the determination of all its Members to oppose any individuals or organizations which seek to divide Americans on
the grounds of race, religion, or ethnic origin; and
(3) denounces all those who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious intolerance; and
(4) calls upon all Americans of good will to reject the forces of hatred and bigotry wherever and in whatever form they may be
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Gekas) and the gentleman from
Michigan (Mr. Conyers) each will control 20 minutes.
The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Gekas).
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and
extend their remarks on H.Res. 121, the resolution under consideration.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Pennsylvania?
There was no objection.
Mr. GEKAS. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
(Mr. CONYERS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, this is an important matter before us. I want to commend the gentleman from Florida (Mr.
Wexler) for causing this embarrassing substitute to be brought to bear. The scheduling and the substance of this resolution is an
utter affront to all believers of civil rights and regular order in the House of Representatives. I appeal to every Member to vote
against the underhanded processes involved in bringing H. Res. 121 to the floor this afternoon.
First, a word about bipartisan cooperation, since we have all come back from Hershey over the weekend. Without the courtesy
of a simple phone call from the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), this bill was
discharged from the committee with no hearing, no markup; another example of how Committee on the Judiciary Democrats are
still being treated unfairly at every turn of the process, not even a single phone call. The leadership continues to mistreat what is
almost an equal number of Democrats as Republicans in the House.
Secondly, this bill, I think, is intended to be serious but it is really just a joke. A generalized, amorphous, meaningless resolution
is an idea taken from the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Wexler) and is now so watered down as to be insulting.
It is a cover for those Republicans who do not want to condemn the Council of Conservative Citizens because so many
Republican leaders have been associated with this racist group. They have cloaked themselves in mainstream conservatism, but
it is masking an underlying racist agenda. Its leader is the former Midwest director of the White Citizens Council. Their web site
reads like something out of the Third Reich.
What are we doing here today? I urge that the Members vote `no' on this resolution
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
The Speaker pro tempore. Without objection, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Canady) will control the 20 minutes on the
There was no objection.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts).
Mr. WATTS of Oklahoma. Mr. Speaker, hatred expressed through racial, religious or ethnic prejudice is an affront to the
institutions of freedom, equal justice and individual rights that together form the bedrock of the American republic.
We need no reminder that bigotry lives on in America. The heinous murder of James Byrd, Jr., shocked us all with the graphic
portrait of racism in its most vile form. So this resolution before us is not meant to be a mere reminder, nor is it meant to single
out for condemnation any one organization or individual.
To be so particular would be to commit a crime of omission by giving a pass to other groups that espouse prejudiced, racist
views, in effect saying that their bigotry is not so offensive as to be worthy of our condemnation. The Southern Poverty Law
Center says that 537 hate groups exist in the United States. We cannot possibly condemn each bigoted organization, person or
In any event, there is a better course to take. Today we can make one sweeping statement of principle that acknowledges the
existence of bigotry, condemns those who promote or practice it, and affirms the rights of individuals of all races, religions and
Passing this resolution will not reverse the horrible tragedy of James Byrd's death, nor will it directly prevent future tragedies of
the same sort. It will not eliminate the more subtle but more common kind of bigotry that rears its ugly head every single day, like
when a man gets on a subway, when a man of a certain color gets on a subway car and instinctively sits next to the person of his
color instead of a person of another color; or when a Jewish family on the block is not fully accepted by some of their Protestant
neighbors; or when a Hispanic kid walks into a store and is watched under a suspicious eye.
Let us also celebrate the great strides we have made as a Nation and as a people in moving toward a more unified America. Let
us salute great men and women like Frederick Douglas and Rosa Parks and John Lewis and Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr., as well as the millions of others whose names we do not know but whose efforts have torn down many of the
walls that far too long divided us.
Every American must keep working toward that goal of a hate-free America. So today, in this Chamber, let us stand and be
counted. Today let us condemn all forms of racial, religious and ethnic prejudice.
Some will say this afternoon that because this resolution did not name a certain group, did not specifically name certain groups,
that this resolution has no bearing. Why do we make racism and bigotry that small? What happens is that if someone names a
certain group? Then someone else will offer a resolution to name another group, and then somebody will organize another
resolution to name another group. What we get, Mr. Speaker, we get a tit for tat, we get an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.
Let me remind my colleagues what Dr. King said. He said when we have an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, it leaves
America toothless and blind.
Let us carry on the fight for an America where Dr. King's dream can become a reality, an America where freedom rings crisply
in the ears of every member of our national family, and an America where equal justice and equal opportunity are no longer mere
goals but instead true hallmarks of our Nation's character. Please support this resolution.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 10 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, I say to my good friend, the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts), who could not join the organization that he
is covering up for, the Council of Conservative Citizens, if he applied, that this is not tit for tat.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Wexler), a distinguished attorney and a member of the
Committee on the Judiciary who caused the Republicans to bring this forward.
Mr. WEXLER. Mr. Speaker, the resolution we are debating today is unfortunately nothing but a sham because it subverts the
intent of the 147 Republican and Democratic cosponsors of the Wexler-Clyburn-Forbes resolution.
Our bipartisan resolution, House Resolution 35, was introduced seven weeks ago, and confronts head-on the ghosts of
America's past, condemning the racism that has divided us as a Nation and exposing the insidious and hateful agenda of the
Council of Conservative Citizens, the CCC.
The Watts resolution was introduced just Thursday. It has, I understand, no cosponsors. It confronts nothing. It was rushed to
the floor today without committee consideration. The Watts resolution is designed only to derail our resolution and, if successful,
hands the CCC an unconscionable victory.
Revealing the true identity of the Council of Conservative Citizens is the right thing to do. The CCC attempts to mask its hateful
ideology by posing as a mainstream conservative organization, but the racist agenda of this group is undeniable. The CCC has
directed its hatred towards millions of Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Jewish Americans, homosexuals,
immigrants and virtually all minorities.
Listen, listen to what the leader of the CCC said about his group's strategy. I will replace his use of the N word with the word
`The Jews are going to fall from the inside, not from the outside, and the `blacks' will be a puppet on a string for us. The power
is not out there in the gun, it is inside Congress. . .We've got to do it from the inside.'
The CCC is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and with racially motivated crimes on the rise, it is imperative that Congress go on record
exposing them for the bigots they are. That is why the alternative resolution before us today is empty. It gives lip service to
condemning racism, but it does not specifically cite the CCC, nor does it strengthen our civil rights laws. It does nothing real. It
offers cover, not content.
In 1994 when this Congress voted overwhelmingly to condemn the racist, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic speech of Khalid Abdul
Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, there was no outcry about singling out one man for criticism. There was no rush to promote
a generic statement about all racism, instead of identifying a specific and dangerous speech that had outraged millions of
So I guess what it all comes down to is that when it is a black person who is a racist it is okay for Congress to condemn him, but
when it is a white person or a white group that is racist, then Congress does nothing, and we become, as the chairman, the
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Henry Hyde) said in 1994, accessories by silence, by inaction.
I respectfully urge Members to vote no on House Resolution 121. Let us bring House Resolution 35 to the floor for a meaningful
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts).
Mr. WATTS of Oklahoma. Mr. Speaker, I would just say to my friend, the gentleman from Florida, that it is an amazing thing to
me that over the last 4 years when I have been attacked, when I have had racist comments made about me, my friend from
Florida never came to the floor and spoke up.
The gentleman from Michigan, when I have had racist attacks made against me by people in the white community back in
Oklahoma, the State Democrat party back in Oklahoma, Slate magazine, which is a national magazine, no one ran to the floor to
I think my resolution is much broader. My resolution condemns the New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the National
Alliance, Aryan Nation, the CCC. Anybody that advocates these racist, bigoted, vile views is condemned in my resolution.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, I would let my good friend, the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts) know that I did not know he was
attacked. If he was attacked in his home area, it was by right-wing zealots that may have been in the Council of Conservative
But since the gentleman mentioned the names of these hate groups, why does the gentleman not put them in the resolution? Why
do we not just debate them?
The gentleman spoke about no one came to his defense. I would have loved to have come to the defense of the gentleman from
Oklahoma (Mr. Watts).
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 121, which was introduced by the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts), affirms the
opposition of the Congress to all forms of racism and bigotry. The resolution recognizes the grievous harm caused by racism,
and emphasizes the responsibility of every Member of Congress to foster the best traditions and highest values of this Nation.
At the heart of the American experience is the ideal of respect for the dignity of the individual set forth in the Declaration of
Independence. All men are created equal, and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.
This ideal has never been more eloquently expressed than by Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior. According to Dr. King, the image
of God `is universally shared in equal portions by all men. There is no graded scale of essential worth. Every human being has
etched in his personality the indelible stamp of the Creator. . . The worth of an individual does not lie in the measure of his
intellect, his racial origin, or his social position. Human worth lies in relatedness to God. Whenever this is recognized, 'whiteness'
and 'blackness' pass away as determinants in a relationship, and son and brother are substituted.'
Dr. King explicitly linked this view of man and woman created in the image of God to the philosophical foundation of the United
States. This is what Dr. King says about the foundation of America:
`Its pillars were soundly grounded in the insights of our Judeo-Christian heritage: All men are made in the image of God; all men
are brothers; all men are created equal; every man is heir to a legacy of dignity and worth; every man has rights that are neither
conferred by nor derived from the state, they are God-given.'
These fundamental principles are at odds with any theory that distinctive human characteristics and abilities are determined by
race. These principles condemn any effort to reduce individual human beings to the status of racial entities.
In this resolution, the House of Representatives recognizes that anyone, or any group, whether they are the Ku Klux Klan, the
Aryan Nation, or the Council of Conservative Citizens, which fails to honor and respect these principles has attacked the very
foundation of our Republic.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 13 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, as an original author of the Martin Luther King holiday bill, and one who worked and knew Dr. King, I am sure
happy to see that at least the other side has been reading about King and have appropriate quotations to bring to this debate,
falsely implying that he might not be supporting what we are trying to do.
The gentleman ought to name the organizations.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Michael Forbes), pointing out that he
could not get time on the other side.
Mr. FORBES. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to me.
Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us belabors the obvious, that Congress is opposed to racism and hatred. The people
watching this debate must be scratching their heads thinking, but surely this most American of all American institutions is already
against racism and bigotry and the intolerant acts this that seek to divide us as a people.
Certainly an integral part of the charter of this place, it would seem evident, is our basic, unadulterated opposition to racism. So
why this effort?
The resolution before us denounces `all those who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, or religious
intolerance.' It is a general statement by Congress against racism and bigotry, where a specific one is not only warranted but
The need for a swift and sure condemnation of the activities of a specific group, in this case the Council of Conservative Citizens,
is necessary because under the cloak of portraying itself as a Main Street grass roots organization dedicated to conservative
ideals, the CCC further attempted to legitimatize itself by having Members of Congress appear before the group. Where its
words and its rhetoric would never render this hate group credible, they sought to have Members of this very institution
legitimatize their very illegitimate behavior.
It is worth noting that Members have denounced the group's activities. The CCC has been noted as a direct outgrowth of the
White Citizens Council of the fifties and sixties, known as the White-Collar Clan. A glance at their web site, as we have heard
previously, shows they continue an allegiance to promoting anti-Semitic, racist rhetoric and ideas.
When an organization or a group such as the CCC attempts to misuse the good offices of those who are elected to represent all
the people, the Congress does have an obligation, I believe, to take decisive action against such groups.
In 1994, it has been noted that the Congress swiftly dealt with the hate-mongering remarks of Khalid Muhammed when he
appeared before Kean College. Three hundred and sixty-one to 34, his bigotry and hatred was denounced on the Floor of this
The matter before us restates an opposition to bigotry and hatred that should be evident. I might point out that later on, this body
will also deal with a specific reference to anti-Semitic comments made by the members of the Russian Duma, so we do single
out people when we feel they are wrong. Unfortunately, the resolution fails to repudiate an organization that sought legitimacy by
involving Members of this great institution.
I would encourage reconsideration and allow House Resolution 35 to repudiate, as we hoped it would.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, I would respond to a couple of points made by the gentleman from Michigan.
In quoting Dr. King, I did not mean to imply that he would take one position or another in the controversy between the two
sides here today. I simply quoted him for the fundamental proposition concerning the nature of racism and the nature of the
political foundations of this country, and I believe that is something that all of us could agree on. I hope that we all would agree
on it. I know that the gentleman from Michigan would agree with what Dr. King had to say, though he may disagree with the
way it was used.
I would also point out that the gentleman from New York (Mr. Forbes) did not request time from this side, so the statement that
the gentleman made that the gentleman from New York was unable to receive time from this side is simply untrue. If the
gentleman had requested it, it would have been granted to him. No such request was made.
Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Barr).
Mr. BARR of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Canady), the chairman of the
Subcommittee on the Constitution, on which I am proud to serve, for yielding time to me.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is time to just maybe sit back, stand back, take a deep breath, and think a little bit about the many things
that we have in common on both sides of the aisle, and practice what is far too frequently lacking in this Chamber and in the
surrounding hallways, and that is a little bit of consistency.
Mr. Speaker, the Minority Leader, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Gephardt) spoke on at least two occasions to a
predecessor group of the CCC, associated therewith. He has since condemned groups such as the CCC, as I have and as I do.
Yet, in those who rail against anybody who might have inadvertently spoken to this group, strangely silent is any criticism
remotely similar to the criticism leveled at others if it just happens to be somebody on their side of the aisle.
So I would urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to practice a little consistency, both with regard to those people
who might have spoken to such groups that we all have and always will condemn, as well as a little consistency with regard to
those groups that we do condemn, such as the CCC.
Arguing that one person should be treated differently because of the color of their skin, the church in which they worship, the
country of their birth, it always has been, on this side of the aisle and on that side of the aisle, and always will be wrong.
Our country fought a great Civil War, as a matter of fact, over such principles. Yet we still remain troubled today by a small
number of Americans who persist in arguing against a color-blind society. Yes, those associated with and under the label of the
CCC do that. We condemn them. I condemn them. I join my colleague from Florida in condemning them and my colleague from
Michigan in condemning them.
I would certainly hope that they would believe in the sincerity of these remarks delivered in these hallowed halls by myself, the
same as I have done in writing, just the same as they believe it when one of their colleagues condemns a group they might have
spoken with, and found out later that they harbor views that are abhorrent to the minority leader, the gentleman from Missouri
(Mr. Gephardt), just as they are abhorrent to me.
So let us step back, practice a little bit of consistency, a little bit of fairness, and recognize that we have a great deal in common
in supporting this resolution today.
Maybe it does not go as far as some Members would like, but I do think there is great merit in passing a resolution worded as
the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts) has that goes far beyond simply condemning a specific group and being silent on
These matters are too important. We should support this. Condemn all racist views on whichever side of the political spectrum
and put this matter to rest right now once and for all.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Clyburn),
chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Michigan for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this resolution, not because of what it says, but because of what it fails to say and
because of the procedure which brings this resolution to the floor and what that procedure says to all Americans.
Mr. Speaker, we have heard Dr. King quoted here pretty often today. I would like to share with my colleagues another quote
from Dr. King. Dr. King wrote, as he sat in the Birmingham city jail, that `we are going to be made to repent in this generation,
not just for the vitriolic words and deeds of bad people, but for the appalling silence of good people.'
I think that this resolution is silent over what we are here to denounce today. It is fine for us to reaffirm the obvious, but I think
that the Congress must now condemn the kind of rhetoric, the kind of ideas, the kinds of thoughts that are being enunciated by
the Council of Conservative Citizens.
The gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts) has asked, why have we not defended him against certain similar instances. The
fact of the matter is I do not remember the gentleman from Oklahoma defending me when the Council of Conservative Citizens
attacked me in my last two campaigns. Probably he did not know I was attacked. Of course we did not know he was attacked
The fact is, though, we are here with 150 cosponsors with a resolution that we have asked to be brought to this floor to give all
of us an opportunity to express our views on this group of people. We have not been granted that opportunity. I do not see
where this resolution in any way takes away from what we are attempting to do.
So, Mr. Speaker, I believe that we should be today condemning specific expressions by a specific group, the Council of
Conservative Citizens. I do not think that we can afford to ignore this kind of vile rhetoric in the climate in which we live, a
climate of racial profiling, a climate of ethnic bashing, a climate of religious intolerance. It is time for us to speak up and stand up
for those people that we are here to represent.
Mr. Speaker, I remember the words of Martin Niemoller of Germany who once wrote: In Germany, first they came for the
Jews, and I did not speak up because I was not Jewish. Then they came for the Catholics. I did not speak up, because I was
Protestant. Then they came for the trade unionists and the industrialists, and I did not speak up because I was not a member of
either group. Finally, they came for me. And by that time, there was no one left to speak up.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Pickering).
Mr. PICKERING. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Res. 121, condemning hatred and bigotry in all forms. But I rise
today with a certain amount of sadness about the nature of this debate. If my colleagues do not mind, I would like to talk in a
personal way about my family and life experience as it comes to this issue and what my hope is for my service and my
contribution to this body.
In 1963, the day I was born, my father was elected as county attorney in Jones County, Mississippi, one of the most violent and
turbulent places in the country during the civil rights initiative. During that period of time, he testified against the Imperial Wizard
of the KKK, Sam Bowers.
In 1968, because of his stand against the Klan and against the violence, and because he testified against Sam Bowers, he lost his
next election. But I can tell my colleagues that, as his son, I am very proud of what he did during that time. He left me a rich
legacy, an example of courage. I hope I can do the same for my five boys.
In 1969, my first grade class was the first to be integrated in Mississippi. I want to be part of a new generation that brings
reconciliation among our races.
This debate today, I am afraid, is not about reconciliation, and it is not about unity. It is about dividing. It is about personal
destruction. It is about partisan advantage.
I hope we can all step back and look not only at the objective of racial reconciliation and condemning all bigotry and all hatred,
but to see it this way, that this House, that this body can come together in everything we do with a true goal, a true purpose of
reconciliation, of unity. Then this country and this House will be a better place because of it.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 15 seconds.
Mr. Speaker, I was so moved by the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Pickering). Could the gentleman from Mississippi
explain how racial conciliation can come from the Council of Conservative Citizens, a racist group?
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Barrett).
Mr. BARRETT of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, we all know why we are here. We are here because of the Council of
Conservative Citizens, a racist group. This resolution does not speak to that. It is silent. By its silence, it speaks volumes. It
speaks volumes of this institution's refusal to confront racism.
The reason this institution refuses to confront racism is because it is uncomfortable for some Members here, and that is just too
bad because, until we confront racism, it is going to continue. If we simply excuse it, whitewash it, apologize for it or ignore it, it
is going to continue.
There is nothing wrong with the words in this resolution. They simply do not confront the real problem. I think it is ironic that on
the same day that we have a resolution, in essence, condemning a member of the Duma for antisemitic comments that we do not
do the same thing to confront racism in our own country. We are ready to condemn it in Russia, but we are not ready to
condemn it here; and that is the tragedy of what we are doing today.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts).
Mr. WATTS of Oklahoma. Mr. Speaker, I would just say to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Barrett) that I have felt
racism. It is not fun. It is very uncomfortable.
So I would just say to the gentleman from Wisconsin, I believe I know his heart on this issue and I know that his motives are
true or that they are in the right place, but we are talking about naming names. I would like for the gentleman from Wisconsin to
name names as to who is uncomfortable with stating that racism is wrong.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Gilman).
(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to offer my support to H. Res. 121 denouncing all individuals and all organizations that would seek
to perpetuate hate against any groups or individuals.
We are all aware that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of hate crimes perpetrated against minorities in the
United States. Too often we hear in the news of acts of violence perpetrated against groups or individuals simply because of
their race or ethnicity.
The recent incident in Jasper, Texas, resulting in the tragic death of James Byrd, remains a strong reminder that Congress needs
to address these kind of crimes to ensure that those who commit them will be punished accordingly.
Many of us in the Congress who have witnessed such acts firsthand of bigotry, racism, and prejudice are deeply committed to
doing all we can and all that is possible to diminish these acts committed by people who utilize prejudice to spread an agenda of
hate among others simply because of differences of race, color, or creed that may exist between them.
The passage of this measure, H.R. 121, affirming the opposition of Congress to all forms of racism and bigotry, I think is an
important first step toward recognizing such crimes as well as ensuring that at long last we may see the beginnings to an end of
such unjust acts. Accordingly, I am pleased to lend my support to this measure and urge our colleagues to support it.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 seconds to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Barrett).
Mr. BARRETT of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts). He asked me to
name names. I said the institution. I think that this institution has an obligation to come out against racism. That is the name I
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Brown).
Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Watts resolution. This is just another example of the
Republicans trying to have their cake and eat it too. On one hand, they claim to be against racism, but the Republican leadership
refuses to condemn the Council of Conservative Citizens, or CCC, a modern-day KKK.
By killing a resolution condemning the racism and bigotry of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the Republican leadership
denied itself the opportunity to attack the problem of racism.
House Resolution 35, of which I am an original cosponsor, has 142 cosponsors, including 13 Republicans, as well as the
support of a broad base of civil rights leaders, religious organizations, and conservative activists. This has never been brought to
House Resolution 121, which was dropped last Friday, was rushed to the floor without even a single cosponsor and does not
mention this terrible group. Fellows, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.
- By killing a resolution condemning `the racism and bigotry espoused by the Council of Conservative Citizens,' the
Republican leadership denied itself the opportunity to attack the problem of this new, more subtle kind of racism head on,
the type sponsored by the Council of Conservative Citizens.
- This is just another example of the Republicans trying to have their cake and eat it too. On one hand, they claim to be
against racism and attack it, yet on the other, members of their leadership have ties to the CCC, which is in reality, a new
form of the KKK. In fact, the CCC is an outgrowth of the abhorrent `White Citizens Council,' which helped enforce
segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. With ties to the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, the CCC
promotes a blatantly racist agenda, while masking its true ideology by acting as a mainstream conservative organization.
Indeed, I say that if it looks like duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it is in fact, a duck.
- I believe that House Resolution 121, which is merely a watered down version of House Resolution 35, was brought to the
floor in order to shield the Republican party from criticism for their relationship with the Council of Conservative Citizens.
Indeed, while House Resolution 35, which has 142 cosponsors, including 13 Republicans, as well as the support of a
broad base of civil rights leaders, religious organizations, and conservative activists, was never brought to the House
Floor. This resolution, which was dropped just last Friday, was rushed to the Floor without even a single cosponsor. I
believe this is a completely inauthentic resolution, and is being utilized purely as a political ploy to blunt criticism of certain
members of the Republican party for their affiliation with the Conservative Council.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier), chairman of the House
Committee on Rules.
(Mr. DREIER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to join the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts) as a cosponsor of this
important resolution condemning racism.
America was founded on the fundamental principle that God endowed each and every human being with an innate value and
equality which stands above any man-made institution or authority.
This fundamental principle that human beings, with their rights and responsibilities, are the foundation upon which all good
societies are built, is what has separated this great Nation from nearly every other civilization in history.
That said, we know human beings are flawed and that this country suffers from many of the same evils that we see tearing apart
people and communities across the globe.
Racism divides us. Bigotry closes our minds and our hearts to others. Religious and ethnic intolerance eat away at our soul and
reduce our humanity.
Therefore, we must repeat the message of racial and religious tolerance, not only to ourselves, but to our children who are the
We rise today unequivocally, not to state that our past is pure, not that we are without sin, not that we will not fail in the future,
but that we will strive to live up to Abraham Lincoln's vision of America, `A nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.'
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 seconds to the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Wexler).
Mr. WEXLER. Mr. Speaker, to clear the record the minority leader has not spoken to the Council of Conservative Citizens.
His civil rights record is excellent and he is a sponsor of the resolution condemning the CCC.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Sheila Jackson-Lee), the dedicated civil
rights and constitutional expert on the Committee on the Judiciary.
(Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary.
I imagine that the people of the United States are wondering what happens here? What have we wrought, Mr. Speaker? What
have we brought about? We have our good friends, the Republicans, debating that they are against bigotry and racism, and I
believe in their hearts and in their minds they are.
I had hoped, having visited the Gettysburg scene this past weekend, where the north and south rose up against each other, that
we would come today on the floor of the House and join together as one voice against racism and bigotry, and that one voice is
H.R. Resolution 35, the resolution by the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Wexler) and the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr.
Clyburn) that specifically denounces the CCC.
I ask my colleagues, why can we not come together as one to recognize that racism and bigotry is wrong? In this instance it is
one organization that has gone against Jews in anti-Semitism, denigrating American leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Martin
Luther King. We lose today the spirit of unity and the reflection that the United States Congress stands as one by putting 121
I ask the leadership to please bring us together and vote for H.R. 35. Bring it to the floor. We are not angry, we want to be one.
The CCC should be denounced.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I would inquire of the Chair concerning the amount of time remaining on each side.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaHood). The gentleman Florida (Mr. Canady) has 1 1/2 minutes remaining, and the
gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) has 1 minute and 35 seconds remaining.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of the time.
My colleagues, it can now be perceived that this bill is a ruse; that it is totally characteristic of Republicans who want civil rights
on the cheap in a futile attempt to show the country that they are really not Neanderthals. But when it comes to real substance,
they attack civil rights laws at nearly every turn. We do not need meaningless words. We want action. But when it comes to real
action, the Republican Congress turns its back.
When we try to raise the problem of civil rights laws being enforced, they respond by repealing key antidiscrimination laws.
We see the horrors of hate crimes every day. Jasper, Texas. James Byrd as an example. But we cannot move on hate crimes
We raise problems of police brutality, the spraying of 41 bullets into an unarmed black man. The tragic cases of Abner Louima
and Mr. Diablo. We get no response from the committee that has jurisdiction. We could not even get funds for a hearing or a
stenographer in Brooklyn, New York.
So we try to fully fund enforcement of civil rights laws at the Justice Department, but the Republican members of the Committee
on the Judiciary turn their backs on us. And now they ask us in good faith to support these words. We cannot do it, my
Mr. Speaker, I urge the rejection of H. Res. 121.
Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Watts).
Mr. WATTS of Oklahoma. Mr. Speaker, again I repeat that hatred, expressed through racial, religious or ethnic prejudice, is an
affront to the institutions of freedom, equal justice and individual rights that together form the bedrock of the American republic.
H. Res. 121 urges the House of Representatives to oppose all, A-L-L, all hate organizations, including the Council of
Conservative Citizens and others. The New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the National Alliance, Aryan Nations, the
National Association for the Advancement of White People, Knights of Freedom, and any other that would espouse the vile
views that these organizations espouse needs to be rejected, and H. Res. 121 does that. I ask for its passage from my
- Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of my colleagues, Congressmen Wexler, Clyburn, and
Forbes and urge the Speaker to pull H. Res. 121, which simply affirms Congress' opposition to all forms of racism and
bigotry, and substitute for it H. Res. 35, which condemns specific acts and expressions of racism by specific individuals
and groups such as the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). H. Res. 35 deals with an important issue that affects all
Americans, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. We must denounce racism and bigotry because it is dividing
our country. We cannot tolerate narrow-mindedness from anyone or any group.
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! The Red Shirts, the Knights of the White Camellia, the Ku Klux Klan, and the
Council of Conservative Citizens are all groups aimed at preventing equal protection under the law for all Americans--and
we must denounce them specifically for their actions and their rhetoric.
- The Ku Klux Klan was formed in 1866 and it was a secret body that soon reached throughout the South and part of the
North. Some people formed the Ku Klux Klan to stop newly freed slaves from exercising their rights as citizens pursuant
to the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! Traditionally. Klansmen, as they call themselves, were masked and dressed in
white, and usually operated under a cover of darkness. But today, this group has traded its robe and hood for suits, ties
and briefcases. They have traded their billboards for Internet websites, but we still know them because their rhetoric of
hate remains the same.
- Historically these groups have singled out all Negroes, Catholics, Jews, and foreigners that displease them by threats,
whippings, setting fires or anything that will make their victim submit to the terroristic threats.
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! This resolution will serve as notice that Congress condemns racism and that it has
no place in an orderly society. The Constitution of the United States guarantees every citizen the right to life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness. A prosperous American must develop a mutual respect and tolerance of diversity.
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! America is a nation of migrants. A mosaic of different cultures and traditions, and
that's why this is a great nation. We can no longer remain silent on this important issue. We can no longer ignore the fact
that specific groups, like the CCC and the KKK, exist in this society and do nothing but foster hatred for humankind.
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! Everyone must pull together to stamp out hate and bitterness. The Twenty-first
century is upon us--all of Europe is unifying in a cooperative effort to work together for financial synergy, and we here still
deal with groups unwilling to acknowledge that segregation has ended.
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! We must become a testimony for and nation, under God with liberty and justice
of all. We must come together as Americans to make the pledge of allegiance a reality for everyone.
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! Racism has no place in America--we must begin to move beyond the color
line--put aside our racial differences--move our country forward. Red, Yellow, Black, or White we are all precious in
- We must denounce racism and bigotry! it is essential that we vote NO on H. Res. 121 and I urge the House Leadership
to schedule H. Res. 35 for a floor vote. Congress must take an active role through legislation and publicly state that acts
of racism and bigotry are divisive tools that are utilized by small groups, including the CCC, to prevent unity and harmony
- We must denounce groups that organize simply to disseminate messages harmful to our society. Congress must act, in
unison, not only to condemn racism and bigotry, but also to condemn acts of racism and bigotry. I urge each of you to
vote to support H. Res. 35.
- Mr. THOMPSON of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I will not waste time denouncing the CCC. This organization has already
been exposed as the racist, hate-mongering, bigoted group that we all know it to be.
- H. Res. 121 was brought before this body today as an attempt to `whitewash' real, meaningful legislation that will
condemn a specific group for specific acts. It is not the altruistic piece of legislation Members on the other side of the aisle
want you to think it is. To the contrary, it is a prime example that the CCC has been successful in achieving its goal of
infiltrating the United States Congress.
- All of a sudden, the reasons given by Republicans for their 1994 denunciation of Kalhid Mohammed don't apply to this
legislation. Even today, the Republicans have said it is acceptable to condemn the members of a Russian organization for
making anti-Semitic statements, but they won't allow the House to take the same action against an American group that
has attacked blacks, Latinos, immigrants, homosexuals, and Jews.
- Republican actions warrant a specific question, `What is the problem with denouncing the blatantly racist actions of an
American group that has its roots planted in the cesspool of racial separatism and white supremacy?'
- Maybe the answer to this question lies in statements made by Gordon Baum, the national CEO of the CCC. I think it
explains why Republicans, especially Southern Republicans, refuse to distance themselves from this group:
- When Jim Nicholson, RNC Chairman, asked Republicans to distance themselves from the group, Baum said, `He doesn't
know what he is talking about.'
- Baum said that Nicholson is alienating key GOP voters: `The Wallace-Reagan Democrats are the ones who made the
Republicans have enough votes to win. Without the Wallace-Reagan Democrats, the Republicans aren't going to have
near the voting strength.'
- Baum contended Nicholson and other party leaders `are doing a pretty good job running them [white, working-class
voters] off * * * Sometimes it's remarkable how dumb they are. They let the liberal media run their campaigns. They
apparently don't even know why these people vote Republicans half the time.
- Lott recently has renounced the group, and Baum warned that the majority leader could pay a political price in his home
State. `It could be [there will be a backlash]. If he keeps it up, if he keeps distancing himself from everything. A sizable
segment knows the truth, that we are very much in tune with the people of Mississippi on most issues.'
- Mr. Speaker, H. Res. 121 is deceptive. It is a distraction, and it is doomed for failure. Once the Republicans finish trying
to pass this farce of a bill off on the American public, I have a fence they can use the rest of their white wash on. That's
about the only thing its good for.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Gekas) that the
House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, House Resolution 121.
The question was taken.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that
a quorum is not present.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Evidently a quorum is not present.
The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
The postponed votes on the three earlier suspensions will be voted on following this vote. This will be a 15-minute vote followed
by three 5-minute votes.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 254, nays 152, answered `present' 24, not voting 4, as follows:
[Roll No. 60]