Lamar S. SmithU.S. Representative
[R] Texas, United States

Length: 2 minutes, 33 seconds

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Mr. SMITH of Texas. I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, more than any other drug, the majority of crack defendants have prior criminal convictions. Despite claims by some, this is not an issue of one-time crack users being prosecuted for possession. This is about offenders who perpetually peddled this dangerous drug and should pay the price for their actions.

Despite the devastating impact crack cocaine has had on American communities, this bill reduces the penalties for crack cocaine. Why would we want to do that? We should not ignore the severity of crack addiction or ignore the differences between crack and powder cocaine trafficking. We should worry more about the victims than about the criminals.

Why would we want to reduce the penalties for crack cocaine trafficking and invite a return to a time when cocaine ravaged our communities, especially minority communities? This bill sends the wrong message to drug dealers and those who traffic in destroying Americans' lives. It sends the message that Congress takes drug crimes less seriously than they did. The bill before us threatens to return America to the days when crack cocaine corroded the minds and bodies of our children, decimated a generation, and destroyed communities.

Mr. Speaker, I hope, sincerely, that those who support this legislation are prepared to take responsibility if cocaine trafficking increases, if our neighborhoods and communities once again become riddled with violence, and the lives of Americans are unnecessarily destroyed.

I hope that doesn't happen, but at least today we have gone on record as saying that there was a warning, and I can only hope that at some point in the future it will be heeded and responded to.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.