THE OCTOBER SURPRISE (House of Representatives - February 05, 1992)

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from California [Mr. Dornan] is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. DORNAN of California. Mr. Speaker, I want to do a little clarification here on the debate that raged and waxed and waned in this Chamber all afternoon on the so-called October Surprise.

For the rest of my life, the October Surprise to me will be October of 1990, not October of 1980. The surprise in October of 1990 was when our great President said, `Unread my lips,' basically and suddenly we had a tax-raising measure on the cusp of a recession that threw us into a long, nagging recession, the longest we have had since World War II, and it is still clinging to us and costing a lot of Americans, men and women, grief as they lose their jobs.

But let us take the so-called October Surprise that we discussed here all today. First of all, here is the final vote, and Americans should be aware of how close we came to not spending this $3 million in this science fiction, and the vote was 217 to fund this investigation, to investigate as it says on our computer readout, certain allegations concerning the holding of Americans as hostages by Iran in 1980. Well, of course, they had been there since November 4, 1979. The vote was 217 to have this investigation, 192 noes.

The Republican Party voted consistently, every one of those present, 158, 8 not voting. Of the majority party, it was 216 yes, and the 1 independent, the gentleman from Vermont [Mr. Sanders], made it 217. Thirty-four of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, on the majority side, Democrats, said no.

One of them I would like to make mention of, the distinguished gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Byron], because I mentioned her during my remarks during the debate.

I said that as far as I knew only one majority Member had flown the world's most exotic airplane, and there are still two flying for NASA at Edwards Air Force Base. All the rest have been offered to museums or mothballed, and that is the Blackbird, which holds every speed and altitude record in the world. It has held those records for decades. It was an absolute wonder of aerospace technology, the Blackbird, the SR, Strategic Reconnaissance, 71, which would fly over 80,000 feet, three times the speed of sound, and served us around the world until about 2 years ago when it was foolishly and prematurely shut down because we could have certainly used it in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Everyone conceded that.

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Now, I said that the gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Byron] having flown that aircraft and the gentleman from Arizona [Mr. Stump] and myself having flown it on this side were all asked, and I confirmed this with the gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Byron] tonight, to give up 3 days out of our lives to go out to Beale Air Force Base in Marysville, CA, and not only get simulator training, which I mentioned on the floor, and not only get hours and hours of study and education on physiological training beyond anything I had ever had to fly F-100's or F-86's in the Air Force or to fly, just as I have been a Congressman, five times in F-16's, four times in F-15 Harriers, 14-A-6's, everything in the arsenal I have flown on my physiological training card which I get at Andrews Air Force Base, giving them about half a day.

The SR-71 again requires 3 days. The gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Byron] said to me, `Bob, you forgot to mention the altitude chamber.'

Now, to get your card for any Member to see what we are spending our money on or any young guy going through jet pilot training or any young lady in the Air Force, Marine Corps, or Navy, you have to go through an altitude chamber. They take you up to 45,000 feet, bring you down to about 35,000. You take your mask off and try to learn what your personal signature is for hypoxia, because it can kill you. If you do solo in a jet fighter, it costs the Government not only your precious life and all your training money expended on you, but a highly expensive airplane.

Well, the gentlewoman from Maryland [Mrs. Byron] reminded me that we were taken up to over 80,000 feet in that altitude chamber.

The reason I brought this up was to make this whole October thing work and involve George Bush who had then been in the private sector for 4 years under President Carter, the Commander-in-Chief of all our military forces, who used very effectively that Beale Air Force Base wing, the SR-71's, the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Bush, a civilian, would have had to have been stuffed into the back seat of this SR-71, flown across the Atlantic against the prevailing jet stream, would have required three refuelings with the 100th Strategic Refueling Wing, also assigned at Beale, and that wing carries a special fuel for the SR-71. It is called JP-7. That is the only airplane that uses that fuel in the world. It is a big logistical operation to fly SR-71's out of Okinawa, which was one of their then classified bases, or another classified base in England, Elkinberry, to fly them around the world was a very complex operation.

No way was George Bush put in the back seat of an SR-71, kicking out the navigator and the electronic systems navigation officer, the EWO, kick him out, put the President in and launch him back to New York so he could get back on the campaign trail as the Vice President in the careful closing days of the campaign, which was then too close to call, October of 1990.

No, my colleagues and Mr. Speaker, the October Surprise is science fiction and we are going to waste over $3 million.

I honor the 34 Democrats who joined the 158 Republicans and said, `No way.'

Too bad we lost.