Congress Tells Bush: Back Off SPP Agenda
August 21, 2007
Lawmakers’ letter warns ‘stealth’ effort to ‘harmonize’ could undermine security
Twenty-two members of the U.S. House of Representatives – 21 Republicans and a Democrat – are urging President Bush to back off his North American integration efforts when he attends the third summit meeting on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America next week in Montebello, Quebec.
They make it clear that continuing any such agenda at this point would be disregarding growing apprehension in Congress about the plans.
“As you travel to Montebello, Canada later this month for a summit with your Canadian and Mexican counterparts, we want you to be aware of serious and growing concerns in the U.S. Congress about the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) you launched with these nations in 2005,” the letter said.
While the letter authors express their support for the president’s “desire to promote good relations with our neighbors to the north and south,” they are worried about the secretive manner in which SPP is being conducted and concerned it “may actually undermine our security and sovereignty.”
“For instance,” the letter said, “measures that would make it easier to move goods and people across borders could have the effect of further weakening this country’s ability to secure its frontiers and prevent illegal immigration.”
The letter also cited documents obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act Request that suggest, “Such secretiveness seems not to be accidental.”
WND was among the first news organizations to obtain and publish the agenda and the list of attendees for a secret North American Forum meeting held at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada, from September 12-14, 2006. The meeting was closed to the press and the documents obtained by WND were marked “Internal Document, Not for Public Release.”
President Bush with then-Mexico President Vicente Fox, left, and then-Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in March 2005 at the inaugural summit of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (White House photo)
Judicial Watch also used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a set of notes from the Pentagon attendees at the secret Banff meeting.
One particularly disturbing comment was noted in the official conference record of the speeches given, as recorded in the “Rapporteur Notes” obtained by the Judicial Watch FOIA request. In Section VI of the conference, entitled “Border Infrastructure and Continental Prosperity,” the reporter summarized as follows:
To what degree does the concept of North America help/hinder solving problems between the three countries?
- Vision is helpful
- A secure perimeter would bring enormous benefit
- While a vision is appealing working on the infrastructure might yield more benefit and bring more people on board (“evolution by stealth”)
Reflecting on those perceptions, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, “It is not encouraging to see the phrase ‘evolution by stealth’ in reference to important policy debates such as North American integration and cooperation. These documents provide more information to Americans concerned about the Security and Prosperity Partnership. The more transparency the better.”
The members also noted in their letter the amendment added by Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to the transportation funding bill.
As WND reported, Hunter successfully offered an amendment to H.R.3074, the Transportation Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2008, prohibiting the use of federal funds to participate in SPP-related working group meetings in the future.
The members noted in their letter that, “This vote is an indication of the serious concerns felt by those of us in Congress and by our constituents about this initiative – concerns that will only be intensified if pursuit of the SPP continues out of public view and without congressional oversight or approval.”
The last paragraph of the letter called upon the president “not to pledge or agree to any further movement in connection with the SPP at the upcoming North American summit.”
The letter concluded that, “in the interest of transparency and accountability, we urge you to bring to the Congress whatever provisions have already been agreed upon and those now being pursued or contemplated as part of this initiative, for the purpose of obtaining authorization through the normal legislative process.”
Signatories to the letter included the following members of the House of Representatives:
- Rep. Terry Everett, R-Alabama
- Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California
- Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado
- Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas
- Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kansas
- Rep. Walter Jones, R-North Carolina
- Rep. David Davis, R-Tenn.
- Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia
- Rep. John Boozman, R-Arkansas
- Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn.
- Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Virginia
- Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia
- Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Florida
- Rep. Sue Myrick, R-North Carolina
- Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Alabama
- Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif.
- Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa
- Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon
- Rep. Michael Rogers, R-Alabama
- Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Michigan
- Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama
- Rep. Todd Akin, R-Missouri