Opening Statements of Committee Members

Chairman Gramm's Opening Statement

Hearing on Emerging Technology and the Export Administration Act

10:00 a.m., Thursday, June 17, 1999

"We currently are in a situation where the Export Administration Act has lapsed and not been reauthorized.

"This creates two problems: First, it dramatically reduces the effective penalty that can be employed for people who engage in activities where they know or should have known that they were violating the law.

"Second, in an era when we're trying to come to grips with problems that have been brought to our attention in a very clear and dramatic fashion by the Cox report, I think it is a terrible blight on this Congress and this committee that the Export Administration Act has been allowed to lapse.

"So as the new chairman of this committee, I have said that I intend to pass an Export Administration Act reauthorization bill this year. We're going to be in a full-court press in trying to make this happen.

"We have written a rough draft. We're going to begin bipartisan discussions tomorrow on that draft. We hope to have a bipartisan bill.

"Basically, the logic of the bill is pretty simple: Number one, we want stiff penalties for people who willingly violate the law. The current penalties were written at a time when $10,000 was real money to corporate America.

"We're trying to update penalties and put some real teeth in them basically with the idea that we want to produce in the minds of the company and the individual that if you violate the law, you're going to be severely penalized. You're going to be fined, and you can go to prison.

"The second thing that we're trying to do is recognize the realities of the marketplace. If a product is generally available in the market, while it might be good if some potential adversary didn't have the technology, if you can buy it on the Internet or go to Radio Shack and purchase it, it's too late to try to prevent anybody from getting it. So the bill offers a totally new concept of general availability in the marketplace.

"It's that blending -- stiff penalties for violators and a system for determining general market availability--that represents the heart of the bill."

Home | Menu | Links | Info | Chairman's Page