Rep. Rush Supports CDA II and Condemns Release of Starr Report
(September 25, 1998) As the House Commerce Committee met to approve HR 3783, the "Child Online Protection Act," Committee member Bobby Rush used the occasion to assert that there is an inconsistency between supporting the bill, and releasing the Starr Report. Neither pornography, nor the Starr Report, should be available to children on the Internet, said Rush.
Rep. Bobby Rush
HR 3783 would ban the distribution to minors over the web of material that is "harmful to minors." The bill is based on a similar bill first introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN). These bills are scaled down versions of the Communications Decency Act, which the Supreme Court held unconstitutional last year. The bills are designed to pass a constitutional challenge in the courts, by utilizing standards which have been previously approved by the Supreme Court.
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) is a liberal from South Chicago, and a strong supporter of Bill Clinton. He spoke at the Thursday meeting of the House Commerce Committee where the bill was marked up and approved unanimously by a voice vote. He stated that the bill "takes necessary steps to prevent the distribution of Internet material that is harmful to minors."
But, he also said that it was "ironic," even "hypocritical," for the Congress to also release the Starr Report on the Internet. He continued:
"Let us send a clear message to America's children that pornography, from whatever source, be it from the Congress, or be it from those who propagate, and those who profit from this filth, is wrong and should not be on the Internet."
Rep. Rush represents an inner city and suburban district on the South Side of Chicago.
He is also one of the most active supporters in the House of the Federal Communications Commission's schools and libraries
program (also know as the "e-rate") for subsidizing Internet access, computer
networks, and telecommunications services.
Comments by Rep. Bobby Rush on the
|Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
An increasing number of our children now have unlimited access to all types of information every time they sit at their computer. And as we know, and as we are discussing, some of what the Internet offers is extremely harmful to minors. The legislation we are discussing today, the "Child Online Protection Act," takes necessary steps to prevent the distribution of Internet material that is harmful to minors.
Mr. Chairman, but I find in highly ironic, and indeed hypocritical, that some of my colleagues in the Congress, including some members of this Committee, who support this legislation in the interests of America's children, were just two weeks ago chomping at the bit to release on the very same Internet, the salacious, tawdry, and detailed Judge Starr's report. Some Members of Congress immediately described the report's content as 'soft pornography.' Yet, some Members salivated at the chance to release this pornographic material, while fully aware of the fact the millions of children would have easy access to this material.
I ask those who are present today, 'How do you justify this behavior?' and 'How do you justify these decisions?' 'What kind of message does this send to our children?' I would encourage all of my colleagues to stop this type of hypocrisy. Let us send a clear message to America's children that pornography, from whatever source, be it from the Congress, or be it from those who propagate, and those who profit from this filth, is wrong and should not be on the Internet.
Thank you, and I yield back the balance of my time.
|[Editor's Note: This is a complete transcript of Rep. Rush's statement. It was transcribed by TLJ from an audio recording of the Committee meeting.]|