Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  October 11, 2011 1:00pm-5:00pm EDT

1:00 pm
caller: i have so much to say and not enough time. first and foremost, the education needs to be accrued and increased. there are a lot of kids that goes to high school, they are not being counseled properly on what specific jobs they can get in the span of three years or four years after they graduate. that is very, very essential. there are so many health care jobs which are not being taken and so many companies which are employing therapists and clinicians from abroad on visas. that can be stopped. .
1:01 pm
it's really, really sad. specifically went back and got her certified nursing certification and wants to become a nurse because she sees a lot of opportunity in the health care field and people's sense of optimism about their economic opportunities certainly depends on whether or not they feel like they can build a career in a growing field or if they feel like they're struggling just to go from job to job. . >> i'm from cape corral, officially. what it is my daughter she's certified surgical technologist. she works in surgery.
1:02 pm
whatever the doctor needs, if he needs somebody sewn up, she does that. passing tools, so, on. this lady makes $16 an hour. she's up in michigan. she's got got a college education. i was union. management. and not management, ok. yes, the auto workers make a lot of money, but why don't we pay the little guy, just like schoolteachers? schoolteachers, they got a union. everybody's against them. all right. what they should do for the u.s. is bring all of our troops back from the 153 countries that we are in. we got troops in 153 countries, check it out. host: we'll leave it there. democratic caller, dover delaware. you are the last phone caller
1:03 pm
here. we are talking about the new working class. go ahead. caller: i just want to ask her a question. i really think that education starts or working class young person and when they go to school they have no respect for the teachers. something needs to be done about that. i don't think they need to do away with public education, altogether, because when you go into a charter school you have to get a voucher. a lot of kids don't get a voucher. i was listening to c-span one morning and they had this man on there and he was called patriot millionaires and i asked my granddaughter go to the website and look it up. because he was talking about the fact that they want to
1:04 pm
create jobs but they sent a letter to -- host: what was your question? your point -- caller: they want to raise taxes to help people get jobs. host: the group is called patriot millionaires. we had one on our show last week if you are interested in seeing that. go to c-span.org. what the sentiments you heard there from that caller? guest: i think that's a discussion that's going on in washington now. how do you create jobs? we have been in a state of high unemployment for several years now. and people are worried about the economy sliding back into a double dip recession. it's certainly a concern. i think if people had it figured out they probably would have done it already. it's something consuming washington. host: nancy cook is on national journ. if you want to read her report go to c-span.com.
1:05 pm
>> we are live at the woodrow wilson international center for scholars. we'ller hear from leon panetta giving a speech about his department's agenda in an era of tighter pentagon budgets. this is his first policy speech since taking office in july. secretary panetta previously served as c.i.a. director. he's been white house chief of staff uring during the clinton administration and member of congress from california. he will be introduced by another former member of congress, jane harman, now president of the wilson center. she's coming on stage. live coverage here on c-span. >> good afternoon. good afternoon, everyone. i'm jane harman, president and c.e.o. of the wilson center and we are delighted to welcome you to the second lee hamilton lecture. last week madeleine albright, fred and marlene malik, both of whom are here, and i were in prague to celebrate the statute
1:06 pm
of woodrow wilson that had been destroyed by the nazis in 1941. wilson is widely considered to have provided crucial support for czech independence in 1918 at the end of world war i. at the base of the new statue are his words, quote, the world must be made safe for democracy. almost a century later that admonition resonates. the confluence of dire economic and security challenges poses exponentially more dangerous threats to democracy here and abroad than those the world faced in 1918. leadership is needed everywhere and surely at the helm of the department of defense. not only was leon panetta confirmed 100-0 as defense secretary by a congress that cannot agree on the time of day, little more response, but
1:07 pm
my intel is that he even has a record of that vote signed by every senator. keep it, leon, it's priceless. a master of the federal budget process, secretary panetta chaired the house budget committee, served as president clinton's white house chief of staff, and as his o.m.b. director. a consummate politician and nine-term member of the house, he is intimately familiar with the workings of capitol hill and the white house, and respected by republicans he once was one, and democrats alike. a former army intelligence officer, with an impressive track record as c.i.a. director that included, among other things, directing the takedown of osama bin laden, in my view it would be secretary panetta's voice that i would want to hear on the other end of the line should that 3:00 a.m. phone call come. as a recovering politician i
1:08 pm
know too well -- let's try that again. as a recovering politician i know too well how paralyzing the gridlock in congress has become. how difficult it is to operate in the ever shrinking center. where i still believe the best policy decisions are made. that's why i am so pleased to welcome secretary panetta today. a man i believe is cut from the same centrist cloth. i brought a prop with me, something i have kept in my office since i arrived at the wilson center, and displayed in my congressional office before that. it took a crane to get it down here from the 8th floor, but you should recognize it, leon, it's the panetta institute award for bipartisanship, here it is, yes. keep clapping.
1:09 pm
that i received in 2008 for my work in congress. sadly i think this crystal cup may hold all of the bipartisanship left in washington. woodrow wilson also said, my dream of politics all my life has been that it is the common business. that it is something we owe to each other, to understand, and discuss, with absolute frankness. we at the wilson center agree and work to create that safe, political space to foster discussion of the tough issues before us and to forge bold, bipartisan solutions. as i said today is our second signature hamilton lecture and secretary panetta's first so far as i know major policy address as defense secretary. thank you for honoring us with your presence and with the
1:10 pm
topic, defense priority today and tomorrow. no doubt the secretary will thank, but i want to do it as a matter of personal privilege, too, the women and men who serve in our intelligence and defense communities. many of whom are deployed as we speak in austere and dangerous places around the world. their patriotism and selfless service are essentially and unmatched and protecting them as they protect us must be a top priority. i also want to thank one other person and acknowledge him as my fifth child, jeremy bash, who ably served as my counsel on the house intelligence committee for five years and has been secretary panetta's chief of staff first at the c.i.a. and now at d.o.d. jeremy you have been well trained for this mission and we expect magic. secretary panetta, the decision
1:11 pm
that is you will make are literally ones of life and death, but knowing you as i do i am supremely confident that president obama has chosen the right person at the right time for the huge task ahead. please join me in welcoming a good friend, a fellow californian, and the 23rd u.s. secretary of defense, the honorable leon panetta. >> thank you very much. thank you very much, jane, and, no, you are not going to get jeremy bash back. jane, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity to be able to present this lecture.
1:12 pm
i in particular thank you, jane, for your introduction, but more importantly for your leadership. i want to thank you for the commitment to serve this nation that you have demonstrated throughout your career. as an outstanding member of congress from my home state of california and now as president of the woodrow wilson center. you and sydney always represented the very best in citizenship and the very best in commitment to america. i'm also pleased to be able to participate in this lecture series named in honor of my dear friend, lee hamilton. i had the privilege of working very closely with lee during my time as a member of congress
1:13 pm
and in the clinton administration. and then i had the opportunity to work with lee as a member of the iraq study group in 2006. his leadership on issues of national security, in particular the tireless efforts to ensure that our government through the necessary lessons from the 9/11 attacks, and took the steps necessary to make sure that that would never happen again. i think have rightfully earned lee hamilton a place among our greatest statesmen of our time. it's appropriate that the theme of this lecture seriesle is, and i quote, civil discourse and democracy, unquote. because over the course of lee
1:14 pm
hamilton's extraordinary career , lee developed a reputation as someone who speaks thoughtfully, directly, clearly, and honestly about his views. it is in that spirit that i come here today to share my views on the challenges and the threats, the choices, and the risks, and the opportunities facing the united states and the institution that is charged with defending it, the armed forces. the wilson center has brought together for this event a large number of familiar faces, many of them foreign policy experts, strategists, and leaders in the
1:15 pm
national security arena. in speaking to you, i'm reminded of a great story that i often tell of the nobel prize winner from the university of california who was going throughout the state of california giving exactly the same lecture on a very intricate area of physics law, the area that he won his nobel prize in. one day as he was heading towards fresno, his chauffeur leaned back and said, you know, professor, i have heard that lecture so many times that i really think i could give it by memory myself. well, the professor said, look, let me put on your chauffeur's uniform and you put on my suit. they don't me that well in
1:16 pm
fresno. and you give the lecture. and they did that. and the chauffeur got up before a standing room audience, spoke for an hour, word for word, didn't miss a beat, and got a standing ovation at the end of his lecture. and the professor seated in the audience couldn't believe what had just happened. but then people began to raise their hand, somebody raised their hand and said, professor, that was an outstanding address on a very complex area of physics law, but i have a question. so he went into a prolonged question about three paragraphs long that included some mathematical equations and formulas. and then said, what do you think about that, professor? and there was a long pause and the professor looked at him and said, you know, that's the stupidest question i ever got. and just to show you how stupid
1:17 pm
it is, i'm going to have my chauffeur answer it out here. now, there are a lot of chauffeurs in this audience when it comes to national security. and i really do look forward to having a good discussion here today with you, but more importantly to carry on a very important conversation that should contribute to what i hope should be a national debate. the entire country needs to have when how to sustain the nation's strength, protect our security, at a time of growing fiscal constraint here at home. and at a time of increasing concern about america's future prosperity and its place in the
1:18 pm
world. there is no doubt that we are going through a very challenging time in this country. an era of transformation. we are beginning to emerge out of a decade of war, but facing economic hardship, record debt, and a partisan paralysis in our political system that is threatening our ability to tackle these problems and find solutions that have to be found if we are to maintain our leadership in the world. meanwhile we live in a world that is rapidly changing. a world that is growing in complexity and uncertainty. we continue to face threats
1:19 pm
both old and new. from terrorism to nuclear proliferation. from rogue states to cyberattacks. from ref lutions -- revolutions in the middle east to economic crisis in europe, to the rise of new powers like china and india. all of these changes represent security, geopolitical, economic, and demographic shifts in the international order that make the world more unpredictable, more volatile, and, yes, more dangerous. during this time of change abroad, and adversity at home, questions are being raised
1:20 pm
about america's strength and its influence. about whether we can sustain our place as a leader in the world, as someone who has seen america, overcome great challenges in the past, and yet prevailed. i reject the idea that somehow america is in decline. my immigrant parents made very clear to me that in america there is no challenge, no challenge that cannot be overcome by people willing to work and to fight for what is right. we are strong today because of our people, because of our constitution. we are strong today because we
1:21 pm
are hardworking and we are productive. and we are strong because we are still a country of promise, a country of opportunity for people throughout the world. with the most dynamic economy on the face of the earth. and finally, we are strong because of our willingness to invest body and soul in the military that can defend our country, protect our values, and advance our interests in the world. as secretary of defense and as someone who has dedicated my life to service of this country, i refuse to simply be a witness to fate. our job is not to accept
1:22 pm
destiny, our job is to create destiny. and i'm determined to do my part to ensure that america emerges from this time stronger than before. with the military of unmatched strength that can protect america's interests, deter conflict, and reassure our allies. we need to build the military force that the country needs, but also help ensure that the country maintains its economic strength. the changing international security landscape and the new fiscal constraints are framing my defining challenge as secretary of defense, how do we build the military of the 21st century, the military that we
1:23 pm
need in order to confront a wide range of threats and at the same time how do we responsibly reduce deficits in order to protect our economy? i promised and said continually as the former chairman of the budget committee and as former director of o.m.b. that i do not believe that we have to choose between national security and fiscal security. what i cannot promise is that this can be achieved without making some very difficult choices. those choices are essential if we are not to hollow out the force and at the same time meet the threats we confront.
1:24 pm
to that end we are adjusting our strategy and rebalancing our military to better confront the most pressing security needs. as a department we have to seize the moment. as an opportunity, as an opportunity to think long and hard about the future security environment and the kind of military we need in order to confront that challenge in the future. as we look ahead, our overriding priority must remain to succeed in current operations. in iraq, thanks to the sacrifices and the dedication of our men and women in uniform , we will be bringing the current mission to a close this year. iraq now has a chance, it's
1:25 pm
going to be difficult, if will be challenge -- it will be challenging but it has a chance to emerge as a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant nation and a positive force for stability in a vital region of the world. in afghanistan a tough fight remains under way, but we have weakened the taliban and made substantial gains in building afghan forces that are allowing us to begin transitioning to afghan security lead. still we must build, we must build an enduring relationship with afghanistan to maintain pressure on al qaeda and its affiliates and to ensure that we continue to deny them safe haven.
1:26 pm
more broadly we must continue to maintain the relentless pressure we have applied on al qaeda and its affiliates everywhere in the world. al qaeda has spawned branches in yemen, in somalia, in north africa that are both deadly and destabilizing. we have aggressively gone after their key leaders, damaging their ability to plan and conduct attacks. meanwhile, the situation in pakistan is likely to remain volatile and fragile as we try to reduce terrorists' safe havens in a nation that continues to expand its nuclear arsenal. we are going to have to maintain a whole of government
1:27 pm
effort to achieve the president's goal of dismantling, disrupting, and ultimately defeating al qaeda. we face the dangers of nuclear proliferation with countries like north korea and iran, and we have to be able to deter their nuclear ambitions. north korea has already tested a weapon and iran continues to pursue nuclear enrichment far beyond its needs. these countries refuse to respect their international obligations and risk destabilizing vital regions and threatening key allies with their nuclear am missions. -- ambitions. alongside this nuclear danger is an entirely new kind of threat that we have to be prepared, better prepared to
1:28 pm
confront. the threat of cyberattacks. cyberhas become a major concern as we face large numbers of attacks from nonstate actors and large nations alike. and the prospect of a catastrophic disruption of critical infrastructure that would cripple our nation, the potential to paralyze this country through a cyberattack is very real. and then we must contend with rising powers and rapidly modernizing militaries, particularly in the asia pacific region where the security and economic future of our nation will largely rest in the 21st century. the rise of china will continue
1:29 pm
to shape the international system and we will have to stay competitive and reassure our allies in the region. that means continuing to project our power and maintaining forward deployed forces in the asia pacific region. while all these challenges are significant, the american military today is without question the finest fighting force that has ever existed. it turned the tide in iraq. it is putting afghanistan on a path to stability. it has seriously weakened al qaeda and its militant allies. it helped nato achieve its mission in libya, and it has been a bull washing against aggression -- bulwark against
1:30 pm
aggression around the world. still the military needs to constantly adapt and to constantly change to remain at its best. and that is true, frankly, regardless of the budget situation we face. the strategy that we are developing as a department, one that i am working closely with the chiefs of the services on, one that we are in discussions with the president on, is to achieve a road map for the military, a road map for the military we need for the future as the wars begin to wind down. there are without question things that we know we are
1:31 pm
going to have to see as we go through this process. we know that the military of the 21st century will be smaller. but even if smaller, it must be supremely capable and effective as a force to deal with the range of security challenges. a military that, as president obama has said, and i quote, will remain the greatest force for freedom and security that the world has ever known. unquote. this will be an extremely agile, gloible -- deployable force capable of responding to a growing variety of threats from counterterrorism to major combat operations anywhere in the world. it will also be a force capable of quickly reacting to surprise
1:32 pm
, a reality that we have seen time and time again throughout our history. unforeseen contingencies and constantly adapting enemies that seek to frustrate our advantages. you will also remain a force that is globally engaged as fiscal constraints grow, so, too, will the value and importance of our international partnerships. i have just returned from a week of consultations with key allies in the middle east and at nato headquarters in brussels. my conversations made clear to me that the desire for military partnerships and american leadership remains very strong. even as we encourage our partners to take on more of the
1:33 pm
burden for providing their own security, we need to maintain the ability to provide reassurance to our allies in vital regions of the globe, particularly the arc extending from the western pacific and east asia into the indian ocean. the volume tillity and importance of the middle east will demand that we remain engaged and capable of deterring and responding to conflict in this region as well. in an era where new technologies are empowering potential enemies, state and nonstate actors alike, our military must maintain its technological edge. over the past two decades our military as made particularly striking advances in precision
1:34 pm
guided weapons, in unmanned systems, in cyberand space technologies, but our advance -- advantages here could erode unless we maintain a robust, industrial, and science and technology base. if we lose that base, it will impact on our ability to maintain a strong national defense. it's that simple. our enduring military advantage comes not from technology alone, however. the most important ingredient of our national defense is found in the extraordinary men and women who comprise our all volunteer force. mep and women who represent less than 1% of our nation but
1:35 pm
who have shouldered the burden of protecting the american people and who have shown the strength of the american character in their willingness to put their lives on the line to defend our values, our interests, and our freedom. toughest thing i do in this job as secretary of defense is the responsibility to write condolence letters to the families of those who have been lost. and in meeting those families at dover, and yet every family i have met, whether it's at dover or arlington or bethesda makes the point that we have to continue the mission for which
1:36 pm
their loved ones gave their lives. and more importantly as i write those notes i make very clear that although there are no words with which i can comfort them with their loss, i want them to know that their loved one gave his or her life for america. and that makes them a hero and patriot. those values, that strength is what makes us strong. over 10 years of war these men and women and the families who support them have shown their adaptibility, their versatility , and, yes, their patriotism in the face of a new combination of threats and unexpected operating environments. we now have the moss most --
1:37 pm
the most experienced battle hardened all volunteer force in our nation's history. a again generation that learned -- a generation that learned and institutionalized new concepts and new capabilities in irregular warfare. they are quite simply our greatest strategic aspet -- asset, and they are as far as i am concerned the new greatest generation in our history. we need to preserve the intellectual and battlefield capital of our military. the innovative and battle hardened leaders who pushed the force to adapt to changing circumstances and enemies. we need to ensure that the force we have is sufficiently trained to be ready and deployable and we need to
1:38 pm
ensure that they and their families have what they need to meet their needs at home as well as on the battlefield. maintaining the quality, maintaining the experience of the force, an invaluable asset that we have today, maintaining that in the face of budget constraints and declining operational demands will be a challenge, but it is essential to our ability to have this effective military force for the future. opportunities for full spectrum training that have been neglected due to the demands of the wars, and further opportunities for defense cooperation with key allies will need to be pursued. i'm committed to building this force while at the same time
1:39 pm
meeting our obligations to help get our nation's economic house in order. as i said, doing so will involve some very hard choices. the department will be required over the next 10 years to reduce its projected spending by more than $450 billion as a result of the debt ceiling agreement reached by congress in august. given the nature of today's security landscape, we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of past reductions in force that followed world war ii, korea, vietnam, the fall of the iron curtain which to varying degrees as a result of croord cuts -- across-the-board cuts weakened our military.
1:40 pm
we must avoid at all costs a hollow military. one that lacks sufficient training and equipment to adapt to surprises and uncertainty. a defining feature for the security environment we confront. we cannot and we must not repeat the mistakes of the past . the department is following a different course in implementing these spending reductions. driven by strategy rather than expediency. and looking at all areas to achieve savings, let me describe some of those areas. efficiencies. we are first looking at ruthlessly pursuing efficiencies and streamlining efforts designed to eliminate
1:41 pm
overhead infrastructure, waste, and duplication. we are also aggressively pursuing efforts to improve the department's accountability and its accountability to stand up to the scrutiny of an audit. to do that we shouldn't have to wait until 2017, and we won't. the ability to audit our books ought to be something we do on a faster track, and we will. but these efforts can only go so far to achieve our savings requirements. the department is already implementing more than $150 billion in savings from efficiency and streamlining initiatives launched by secretary gates last year. and while we are considering an aggressive target of $60 billion in additional efficiencies over the next five years, that still only represents a small fraction of
1:42 pm
the total savings required to accommodate the budget reduction that is we confront. -- reductions that we confront. secondly, personnel costs. the fiscal reality facing us means that we must also look at the growth of personnel costs, which are a major driver of budget growth and are, simply put, on an unsustainable course. the government as a whole has instituted a two-year freeze on civilian employee pay and made other proposals. and we must at the same time look at what reforms we can make in military pay as well. just since 2001 costs for military compensation and health care have risen by about 80%.
1:43 pm
while military end strength has increased less than 5%. this will be an area of extreme challenge because my highest plyor -- priority is obviously to maintain the vitality of our all volunteer force. and keep faith with the men and women who have put their lives on the line to defend this country and been deployed time and time and time again. the 1% of the country that has served in uniform and their families have borne the heavy costs of war for 10 years. they cannot be expected to bear the full cost of fiscal austerity as well. nevertheless, we need to make sure our men and women in uniform are fairly compensated, that they get the benefits they have earned, but at the same
1:44 pm
time we must recognize that the growth in personnel costs must be addressed. if we fail to address it, then we will not be able to afford the training and equipment our troops need in order to succeed on the battlefield. there is a tradeoff here. my approach will be to try to grandfather benefits when i can in order to try to implement future reforms in these areas. thirdly, force structure. we will have to look at force structure and the size of ground forces after iraq and afghanistan. recognizing that a smaller, highly cape able -- capable, and ready force is preferablele to a larger, hollow force. while some limited reductions can take place, i must be able to maintain a sufficient force to confront the potential of having to fight in more than
1:45 pm
one area. what can be helpful here is maintaining a strong national guard and reserve that can help respond to crisis when it happens. and fourthly, modernization and procurement reforms. the largest area to look at will be targeted changes at modernization and operating costs. in this fiscal environment every program, every contract, every facility will be scrutinized for savings. savings that won't reduce readiness or our ability to perform essential missions. these cuts will need to be carefully targeted, again, to avoid a hollow force. to ensure that we maintain a robust industrial base and to protect the new military capabilities we need in order to sustain military strength.
1:46 pm
but we will need to consider accepting reduced levels of modernization in some areas, carefully informed by strategy and rigorous analysis. in addition we'll look to procurement reforms that improved competition -- that improve competition, try to deliver on cost control, and try to speed up delivery of these systems. looking at all these areas, the potential exists if we make the right strategy base decisions to build a modern force that sustains our leadership in the world and underwrites our security and prosperity. but as i said to accomplish this will require that we navigate through some very perilous political waters. there are serious dangers ahead and very little margin for
1:47 pm
error. as we implement the changes we need in order to preserve the force cape able -- capable of protecting our country with fewer resources, we above all will need the full cooperation of congress, of my former colleagues to protect defense. congress must be a responsible fartherer in in this effort -- partner in this effort. they have as much responsible for the defense of this country as we in the executive branch. this must be a partnership. republican and democrat alike. they must be a responsible partner in supporting a strong defense strategy that may not always include their favorite base or their favorite weapon system. congress in particular must
1:48 pm
prevent disastrous cuts from taking effect, particularly with the mechanism that was built into the budget control act known as see quester. -- sequester. this mechanism would force defense cuts that would do catastrophic damage to our military and its ability to protect the country. it would double the number of cuts that we confront, and it would damage our interests not only here but around the world. it would require a mindless approach of drastic cuts to both defense and domestic discretionary accounts. i'm not arguing that sequester somehow ought not to apply to defense and allow it to apply to domestic discretionary. the fact is sequester would be
1:49 pm
wrong for both defense and domestic discretionary spending. why? because in both areas it is important to our national security interests. the quality of life in this country is important to national security. the importance of investing in areas like education and other important areas that have impact on the quality of life are important to our national security. sequester would be wrong. not only wrong because it's this mindless approach to cutting things across the board. wrong because it would have wrong ignore the 2/3 of the federal budget made up of mandatory and revenue spending that must be addressed in any serious effort to reduce the
1:50 pm
deficit. going forward as we debate the proper size and role of the american military in the 21st century, we must remember that the american people and our partners across the globe are safer, more stable, and more prosperous because of our global leadership and the strength of our military. debates about our proper role in the world are a natural part of any time of sweeping change and uncertainty. we experienced it during the period after world war ii. when our country took on the burden and challenge of global leadership. summoning a nation to confront this new world, president truman said the following, and i quote.
1:51 pm
the process of adapting ourselves to the new concept of our world responsibility is naturally a difficult and painful one. the cost is necessarily great. unquote. but he said and he added, it is not our nature to shirk our obligations. we have a heritage that constitutes the greatest resource of this nation. i call it the spirit and the character of the american people. unquote. that spirit and that character remains, and we must summon it to do what's necessary to build our national defense, the kind of national defense we need to meet our responsibilities in
1:52 pm
order to provide for the safety and security of the american people. now and into the 21st century. thank you. >> thank you, secretary panetta, for a very thorough and very thoughtful address. as one who represented what i called the aerospace center of the universe in our state of california, i was listening carefully to every word. it's a long tough road ahead, but i think working together
1:53 pm
and with congress as partner it seems to me there is a sensible way forward. we have time for three questions and i'm going to get blamed for not calling on people, but there's somebody very eager right over here. please state your name and use the microphone. >> my question is very simple. i have been living in washington for 25 years. if i start saying something stupid or write something stupid, would you -- and my second question is -- >> whoa. say the first question again. >> second is more important. i ask this question, i have tremendous respect for you. i you had bill clinton balancing budget. i mean it. i have tremendous respect for you. but i ask this question to -- he told public that --
1:54 pm
>> could you state your question, please. >> afghanistan is very original. unless we resolve other issues, if we dissolve kashmir issue, that would be unlocked without that issue. what is your -- >> i think the question has to do with kashmir. >> look, obviously in dealing with both afghanistan and pakistan and india, these are all part of a very vital area, a very vital region. the challenge has always been to try to get these nations to try to come together to confront the common challenges and common threats and the common issues that they face. but we are dealing with an awful lot of history here that
1:55 pm
has created incredible come flexities and difficulties as they try to deal with these issues. the reality is that we cannot resolve the issues of afghanistan without resolving the issues of pakistan. as we try to draw down and transition to a stable and secure afghanistan in many ways we have to also have a stable and secure pakistan. and so it will require that we continue to pursue the efforts, the diplomatic efforts, to try to work with pakistan, to be a good partner. this is a complicated relationship in pakistan for the united states. and admittedly there are a lot of reasons for that. we are fighting a war in their country.
1:56 pm
and they have, in fact, given us cooperation in the operations of trying to confront al qaeda and they continue to work with us. but at the same time obviously we have great differences, particularly with regards to the relations they maintain with some of the militant groups in that country. in addition to that we have urged them to work with india to try to resolve the issues along the border area because ultimately until that is done we are going to continue to have a great deal of instability. in many ways pakistan focuses on india as the primary concern. so in many kays it's been difficult to get them to focus on terrorism and militancy within their own country because they have faced that threat that they consider to be more prominent. if we are going to resolve the issues of that region, yes, we
1:57 pm
have to find a solution to afghanistan. yes, we have to try to fin to work with pakistan. but more importantly we have to bring all of these countries together to resolve the larger issues that have divided them for so long. >> how about on this side? ok. how about in the middle? yes. >> thank you, mr. secretary. jeff from the woodrow wilson center. sir, perhaps you could talk about how you see investments in diplomacy and development helping you achieve some of the dough fence outcomes you are talking about? >> it goes to the point i made about as these cuts are made, the reality is that it isn't just the defense cuts, it's the cuts on the state department budget. that will impact as well on our
1:58 pm
ability to try to be able to promote our interests in the world. i mean, national security, national security is a word i know that we oftentimes use just when it comes to the military and there is no question that we carry a large part of the burden, but national security is something that is dependent on a number of factors. it's dependent on strong diplomacy. it's dependent on our ability to reach out and try to help other countries. it's dependent on our ability to try to do what we can to inspire development. i mean, if we are dealing with al qaeda and dealing with the message that al qaeda sends, one of the effective ways to undermine that message is to be able to reach out to the muslim world and try to be able to advance their ability to find opportunity and to be able to seek a better quality of life. that only happens if we bring
1:59 pm
all of these tools to bear in the effort to try to promote national security. in addition to that, i mean, look, we learned the lessons of the soviet union, the old soviet union and others, that if they fail to invest in their people, if they fail to promote the quality of life in their country, no matter how much they spend on the military, no matter how much they spend on defense, their national security will be undermined. we have to remember that lesson. that for us to maintain a strong national security in this country, we have got to be aware that we have to invest not only in strong defense but we have to invest in the quality of life in this country. >> we'll break away from the last few moments of this event with a reminder you can follow it online at c-span.org and later in our video library at c-span.org. the u.s. house is coming in next. they'll gavel in for morning hour speeches, general speeches, and take up a number of bills dealing with veterans
2:00 pm
benefits. later on a bill that requires the e.p.a. to revise its rules on remissions. toxic emission from industrial boilers and incinerators. just under 20 amendments are pending. votes at 6:30. they'll begin debate on the trade agreements with colombia, panama, and south korea. the south korean president will address a juent meeting of congress later this week. and we'll cover that. now to the house here on c-span. the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father con oy. -- conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. eternal god we give you thanks for giving us another day. on this day, we ask your bressing on the men and women, citizens all, whose votes have populated this people's house.
2:01 pm
each member of this house has been given the sacred duty of representing them. o lord, we pray that those with whom our representatives met in this past long weekend in their home districts be blessed with peace and an assurance that they have been listened to. we ask your blessing now on the members of this house, whose responsibility lies also beyond the local interests of constituents while honoring them. give each member the wisdom to represent both local and national interests, a responsibility calling for the wisdom of solomon. grant them, if you will, a double portion of such wisdom. bless us this day and every day and may all that is done within the people's house this day be for your greater honor and glory, amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal
2:02 pm
of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1, the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. markey. mr. markey: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house the following communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives. sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on october 7, 2011, at 12:10 p.m. that the senate passed with an
2:03 pm
amendment, h.r. 2944. that the senate passed senate 1639. with best wishes i am, signed sincerely, karen l. haas, clearing -- clerk of the house. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentlelady from north carolina seek recognition? ms. foxx: to address the house for one minute, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. president obama and his liberal allies in the senate are at it again. after proposing a new $447 billion stimulus bill last month, the president has seen the bill languish in the democrat controlled senate. why? because there is some even in his own party who know that more government spending and job-killing tax hikes are not going to get our economy moving again. but the senate majority leader has come to the rescue with
2:04 pm
another new clash warfare proposal. that's right, he wants a permanent tax increase on small businesses and job creators to pay for a temporary stimulus program. oh, goody. long-term job destroying tax increases to finance another short-term government spending program. how about we focus on creating an environment that encourages job creation by eliminating harmful government regulations that stifle hiring and by fixing our broken tax code without raising taxes? i yield back, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. markey: the occupy wall street protests from spread from new york to cities across america. as the protests expand people are asking why? why are thousands of americans in the streets? because americans are fed up,
2:05 pm
99% of the people are 100% fed up. they are fed up with a system that puts profit over people. that rewards the rich at the expense of everyone else. let me give you an example. the government plans to spend $700 billion on new nuclear weapons systems over the next 10 years even as it's proposing to cut research for alzheimer's, cancer roimp for diabetes cure, to take care of medicare and medicaid of patients across our country. the american people are not afraid that their family is going to get killed by a new nuclear weapon. they are afraid that the killing that comes into their life comes from the terrorist that is the phone call from a doctor in the middle of the night that another member of their family has cancer, has diabetes, has alzheimer's. that's the priority that we have to establish for our country. that's why 65 of my colleagues are going to introduce this effort to cut $200 million out of the nuclear weapons program
2:06 pm
over the next 10 years. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? mr. wilson: madam speaker, i ask permission to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. wilson: madam speaker, last week house education and work force committee chairman john kleine of minnesota introduced a work force democracy and fairness act. this act is a direct response to the national labor relation board's recent reckless action to rush union elections. the nlrb is again showing favoritism toward union bosses at the expense of the rights of workers and employers. as the original co-sponsor of this legislation, i am grateful to stand up against the powerful unions and their leaders. this legislation ensures employers, small businesses are able to participate in a fair union election process. it helps workers make an informed choice. best of all it safeguards the privacy of workers.
2:07 pm
the right to work states such as south carolina, workers are protected. new jobs, well paying are created. and votes of all citizens are respected. this legislation prevents the nlrb from limiting such freedoms in the workplace. in conclusion, god bless our troops, and we will never forget september 11 and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from florida seek recognition? without objection, the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you very much, madam speaker. i rise today to pay tribute to the university of miami for being named as the country's 38th best university by the recent rankings in "u.s. news and world report." the university of miami is the highest ranked school in the great state of florida and it has moved up nine spots since last year and 29 over the last decade. making it one of the fastest
2:08 pm
rising institutions. the university's assent in the rankings is attributed to marked improvement in key areas such as graduation rates, freshmen retention rates, and average s.a.t. scores of freshmen. i earned a dock rat of education from the university of miami so i take a special pride in this high ranking. i ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating the university, the president, the faculty and staff and student body. this is an honor for the u and entire state of florida, go canes, thank you madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek to be recognized? >> madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent that it may be in order at any time on
2:09 pm
thursday, october 13, of 2011, for the speaker to declare a recess subject to the call of the chair for the purpose of receiving in joint meeting his excellency lee myumg bak president of the republic of korea. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 , the chair will postpone further proceedings today on the additional motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. any record votes on postponed questions will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> madam speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2433 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the the title. the speaker pro tempore: h.r. 2433, a bill to amend title 38,
2:10 pm
united states code to make certain improvements in the laws relating to the employment and training of veterans, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from california, mr. filner, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: madam speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. miller: today i rise in strong support of h.r. 2433 as amended, the veterans opportunity to work. the objective of h.r. 2433 as amended is to use an approach that is competitive -- comprehensive and is fiscally and programly sound to help a broad cross section of veterans obtain or retain meaningful employment. foremost of the act is title 1 of the original legislation that i was proud to introduce
2:11 pm
to help put our unemployed veterans back to work. title 1 targets retraining assistance to 100,000 unemployed veterans of past wars by temporarily extending their eligibility for the montgomery g.i. bill. the advantage of this approach is that we are providing a reasonably robust yet an affordable benefit without creating a new program. other provisions in this bill continue the comprehensive approach by mandating with a few exceptions that separating service members participate in transition assistance program classes. yet other provisions facilitate the alignment of state licensing and credentialing standards with the skills service members learned during their military service to our country and strengthening the uniformed services employment and reemployment rights act provisions.
2:12 pm
the bill also incorporates a bill authored by the vice chairman of our committee, my good friend, gus bilirakis from florida, to direct the v.a. to direct data to determine the number of credit hours, the degrees, and certificates earned by those attending courses under the g.i. bill. most importantly the data collected will help us to learn how well the g.i. bill benefits are positioning veterans to get jobs in today's economy and market. provisions from h.r. 120 authored by mrs. virginia foxx of north carolina also are a part of this legislation. these provisions would extend v.a.'s home loan guarantee program to certain surviving spouses of chronically and severely disabled veterans. i thank ms. foxx for her continuing advocacy on behalf of those who sport and loyalty was so important to their veteran spouses. finally i should point out the mandatory and discretionary cost of the bill before us
2:13 pm
today are fully covered and are client with the budget rules of this house, according to c.b.o. mandatory offsets are covered by extending at their present rate funding fees paid by veterans using their home loan guarantee benefit and by limiting pension payments to veterans receiving care in medicaid funding nursing homes. these are both offsets that the committee has used extensively in the past and most importantly in passing affixed to the post-9/11 g.i. bill by a vote of 424-0 in this house. the discretionary cost of the bill are covered by two additional provisions. the first eliminates the overcharging of v.a. by ambulance providers for transporting certain veterans. and the second holds v.a. employee travel, printing, and vehicle fleet costs at 2011 levels. to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, i say that this is in fact a good bill that
2:14 pm
address as major issue confronting the nation in a comprehensive and fiscally responsible manner with the support of the veteran service organizations. madam speaker, i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting h.r. 2433, as amended, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: thank you, madam speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. filner: mr. speaker, madam speaker, i think the whole committee and certainly the chairman and i, agree that putting veterans to work, especially at a time of high unemployment in general, should be one of the chief goals not only of this committee but the entire congress and nation. and when we may have, for example, double or even triple the already tragic unemployment rate for veterans, it becomes that much more important. now, i have heard the description of this bill as comprehensive and as meaningful. and i was looking forward for
2:15 pm
this vow bill, i was hoping it would be a would you bill. -- wow bill. that is, a wonderful opportunity to work. but it seems and it remains so, the how bill, how are we going to put anybody to work with this bill? let me try to make that clear, madam speaker, throughout the whole committee process this bill went through i described it as one that did not create jobs but actually taxed veterans, taxed veterans. . remember that, madam speaker. you took a pledge not to vote for anything that taxed anybody. this bill does. it actually taxes one group of veterans to help some other group of veterans and i still feel the same way about the bill as it came through the processism support all programs that will help veterans and
2:16 pm
improve their rives -- their lives and i know this bill is called a jobs bill tasms retraining bill. retraining. we all want retraining, we all know it's important but i want to get people a job. i don't want to just retrain them and call it a bill that puts them to work my concern is that this bill will not get veterans hired at all. may retrain them, who knows, but they'll have no place to get a job and we'll have taxed one set of veterans to pay for their retraining, an increased tax for all of you who took the pledge not to increase taxes. now, i think we have to support the spirit of the bill, of retraining, and try to find proper funding in a bipartisan way, and i hope that working with our senate counterparts we can do that, we need proper
2:17 pm
funding for all of these programs that are so good. but the gentleman and his party don't want to ask for more money from anybody, even our millionaires. they want to tax one gupe of veterans who are trying to buy homes, so they'll train this group of veterans and claim they're doing jobs. now, that's not what we should be having here in this congress. this action will actually diminish services to our veterans. i know that my counterpart, for example, want the so-called tap classes, transition assistance program classes, contracted out but i don't think the time is right to do that. so how do we pay for this bill for retraining, this vow bill that should have been a wow bill but is only a how bill. it says those who want to buy a home through the v.a. housing program, that your fees, which
2:18 pm
were scheduled to go down, won't go down. they'll be kept high this refusal to extend a tax decrease has always opinion described -- described by the party over there as a tax increase. so i'll keep your language. you are increasing the taxes on one group of veterans who want to buy homes to pay for this retraining bill, which may not get anybody a job. now i know, madam speaker, you'll tell grover norquist what's going on here, get hold of him right away, because this has a violation of the pledge he's making on all republicans, do not raids taxes. in his definition of raising taxes, it's extending fees that were going to go down, that now don't go down. that's an increase in taxes. let's remember this when we think about the vow bill. let's vow to say we want to put people to work. we don't want to raise taxes.
2:19 pm
but this bill does neither. it not only doesn't put people to work, it raises taxes. so i cannot support the bill, madam speaker. and i would reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from florida. >> thank you, madam speaker. i did not know we were here today to hear a recitation of dr. seuss. apparently we are. mr. miller: what's interesting to note is that mr. filner has supported over and other and over again reaching into fee payments to pay for funding of other programs of which he supported, like the filipino veteran acts, which i supported, and in fact was a co-sponsor of that piece of legislation. i find it interesting that in 2010, mr. filner proposed nearly $1 billion in cuts to
2:20 pm
old age pension in aid and attendance payments to the elderly and poor and disabled wartime american veterans in an attempt to provide payments to filipino veterans of the second world war. with that, i yield two minutes to the vice chair of the veterans affairs committee, mr. bilirakis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. bilirakis: thank you, madam speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 2433rks the veterans opportunity to work act. one of our nation's most pressing concerns is jobs, madam speaker. i find it particularly disheartening when members of our armed services return home to find a difficult economic climate and a civilian work force that cannot translate the skills they learned in the service. i'm so proud to co-sponsor h.r. 2433 which will provide veterans with meaningful
2:21 pm
transition assistance, maintain them in high demand fields, retrain them in high demand fields and better link military skills to civilian jobs through licensing and credentialing. i believe that one of the greatest benefits afforded to any individual is the opportunity to obtain a quality education, madam speaker. as more and more of our current service members return home from active duty, many will opt to use their post-9/11 g.i. benefits. i'm pleased that language i introduced as h.r. 2274, and i'd like to thank the chairman for that, was also incorporated into my bill. this common sense language will create a tracking mechanism to ensure that the post-9/11 educational assistance program is adequately providing the education benefits intended in order to ensure that money for our heros is being spent in the most efficient and effective
2:22 pm
manner to afford our veterans an education. mr. speaker, madam speaker, as more and more men and women return home from active duty, we must ensure that we are easing their transition back into the civilian work force as best as we can. i believe that h.r. 2344 does just that. i want to thank the chairman again for introducing it. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. mr. miller: we continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves his time the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i thank the gentleman for the description of dr. seuss. a great citizen of the city of san diego. where i'll soon be mayor. and great hero to all of us in san diego. so we always quote dr. seuss. i understand your appreciation and am thrilled by it.
2:23 pm
you are not quite as accurate, though, when you say where we got the money for the filipino veterans bill. we got it from a completely different source. you may or may not be accurate on my previous votes. but i never took the pledge you have taken, mr. chairman. i never took the pledge all of you have taken. about thinking of extending fees as also a new tax. so i think it's a different situation. i'll yield when i'm finished and you have a lot of time left. so we're coming from whole different places. i believe in the jobs bill that's being voted on in the senate, that we should actually, in fact, not only cut programs but increase our revenue from a surtax on the millionaires in our society, so i'm there when i say we need new funds. you're the ones who keep saying, don't do anything,
2:24 pm
don't do anything, don't increase anything, don't extend this, whatever. you're the guys who are the hypocrites here. so don't confuse my pass votes with hypocrisy. in addition, there are bills before our committee, mr. chairman, and you know it, there are bills that actually increase the jobs that are available for veterans. they actually take steps to increase the ability for our veterans who are defending our nation, who we owe so much to, to get the jobs. besides, as you know, we have goals all over the government to hire veterans and to hire disabled veterans. those goals are not enforced. what if we enforced those goals? we could hire thousands of veterans because it is the intent of congress and the intent of this nation that they be given priority in the hiring process. especially with public jobs. and yet we do not enforce those
2:25 pm
goals. so let's not say that this is the only way to increase jobs. there are dozens of ways and they're in front of our committee. let's go for a wow bill a wonderful opportunity to work, for our veterans. let's move off the vow, let's move off the taxing of one part of veterans to pay for the other. let's really create jobs for those who have done so much for our nation. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: since the gentleman, my good friend, forgot to yield to me during that discussion, i just want to set the record straight. that h.r. 2297 on december 16 of 2003, of which mr. filner was a co-sponsor, it increased, didn't just extend, but increased fees on original and subsequent use loans, done to finance veterans' benefits in the bill, including the burial
2:26 pm
of filipino veterans. on the house, he enthusiastically endorsed the bill reported out of committee and endorsed the version negotiated with the senate. with that, i yield to my colleague from north carolina, ms. foxx, for two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from north carolina is recognized for two minutes. ms. foxx: thank you, madam speaker. thanks to chairman miller for bringing this legislation to the floor. in 30 days, our country will pause to celebrate an thank the millions of americans who have worn the uniform of the united states. was we -- as we approach veterans day, we should ask ourselveses if this congress is doing all that can be done for our veterans. this bill maintain ours promise not only to the men and women who have served in the armed forces but to their families as well. out of concern that some families of veterans were excluded from benefits that common sense would dictate they be eligible for, i offered the
2:27 pm
disabled veterans home loans act. it's only right that the surviving spouses be eligible to receive the v.a. home loan guarantees, even though the veterans' deaths are not service connected because they had permanent and total disabilities from their service for the preceding 10 years. the legislation -- has been endorsed by the 2.1 million members of the veterans of foreign wars who believe that allowing a military widow to utilize the v.a. home loan program is the right thing to do. this legislation rightfully gives disabled veterans the peace of mind that their surviving spouses will be able to benefit from the v.a. home loan guarantee after their death. these veterans and their families have sacrificed so that other mace live freely and for that, they deserve to be eligible for this benefit. i thank chairman miller for including h.r. 120 as part of
2:28 pm
h.r. 2433, and for the great work that the committee is doing on maff of america's veterans. on behalf of our veterans, i urge my colleagues to support this legislation and yield back the balance of my time. mr. miller: i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman continues to reserve. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i would yield to the jeament from north carolina, ms. foxx, i appreciate the provision you put in, but the other provision increases fees for vet raps to buy their homes that you are extending a higher fee in paying for this whole thing by taxing these veterans at a righter rate? do you realize that's what you're voting for in violation of your pledge to grover norquist? ms. foxx: i yield to my colleague from florida, mr. miller. mr. filner: i asked you. do you know you're voting on an extension of taxes in violation of your pledge to grover norquist.
2:29 pm
ms. foxx: as i said, i yield -- mr. filner: i don't yield to the chair. you don't know what you're voting on or you're voting again what your pledge was. the speaker pro tempore: members will address their remarks to the chair. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: the gentlelady did not answer my question. i guess she doesn't know what's in the bill, or she's violating her pledge. i'll leave it at that. once again, we need jobs for veterans in this country. there's no debate about that. there's no debate that retraining is ok. what we are debating here, whether this is an effective way to use the floor of this house to bring a bill which will be presented as something that did jobs and does nothing, and shows the hypocrisy of this -- of these pledges that they're voting to extend the increase. i'm not yielding.
2:30 pm
my good friend, i will not even yield to my good friend, even if you were my best friend, i wouldn't yield to you. but the hypocrisy of saying, we can't tax anything, we can't tax anything, when it becomes to veterans who want to buy a home, their fees are going to be increased because of this bill. now, that ought to be known to the american people that we're going to vote against the 5% surcharge on millionaires but we're going to go after these folks who are trying to buy their first home and have to buy extended fees. now, who is this party -- what do they call themselvess? of the people or something? this party is going to -- protect the millionaire bus go after the veterans who can't afford a home. . that's what this argument is about right now under the guise of helping veterans find jobs. let's show the american people where reality is. i reserve the balance of my
2:31 pm
time. the speaker pro tempore: jart. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i would ask my good friend, the ranking member, if he would respond to a question. mr. filner: tell me what the question is. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: madam speaker, i would ask if the gentleman from california does support senator murray's piece of legislation which i believe there is almost an identical piece in the house filed by mr. bishop, does he support, yes or no, that piece of legislation? mr. filner: if the gentleman would yield. mr. miller: i asked the gentleman a question. mr. filner: no, i don't support because it has the same funding thing. i don't support the hypocrisy or especially the republican party -- mr. miller: reclaiming my time. reclaiming my time, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i find it quite interesting that the gentleman from california has just called the senator who is the chair of
2:32 pm
the veterans' affairs committee a hypocrite, which i do not believe is appropriate. i believe that there are nuances and differences of which we will be able to work out hopefully in conference and we'll bring these bills together. i hope that the minority will in fact engage in the conference portion of this piece of legislation because we have tried to engage them over and over outside of the committee structure to be able to give them an opportunity to give us another offset, another way to fund this particular piece of legislation, and they have not brought anything to us. to me it's a problem we are trying to solve. we have different ways which we are trying to accomplish goals. and i want to put veterans back to work helping to retrain those in particular those that are unemployed in this very, very difficult economic time. the overall veterans unemployment numbers are around
2:33 pm
8.1%, and we know that the numbers with the o.e.f., o.i.f. returning veterans are significantly higher. i don't believe i have anymore speakers on this particular piece of legislation. madam speaker, i would ask if the ranking member has anymore speakers on his side for this bill. mr. filner: i do. mr. miller: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: how much time do i have left? the speaker pro tempore: 9 1/2 minutes. mr. filner: 9 1/2 minutes. i could rail like this for 9 1/2 minutes. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. filner: let me just correct again my friend the chairman's -- i didn't call chairman murray a hypocrite. i called those of the republican party who have taken a pledge of no taxation and voting for taxes hipocrites. let's be clear about who i'm calling hipocrites.
2:34 pm
let's be clear about that. second, there are 100 different ways to have a better bill here. i would support it with all my heart. there's bills before the committee, there are concepts that have been brought up by me and others. let's bring a real jobs bill to the floor and i'll be happy to support it. mr. miller: would the gentleman yield? mr. filner: yes, mr. chairman, i yield. mr. miller: if there are 100 ways to perfect the piece of legislation, why have you and the minority party not offered one, not one time in our committee, and you and i have tried very diligently during the preceding months in this congress to try to be able to keep as nonpartisan as we possibly can but not one time have you offered anything other than rhetoric to attempt to perfect this bill. why haven't you offered any amendments? mr. filner: mr. chairman, first of all lets me first say i do appreciate the efforts that you
2:35 pm
have made, very aggressively, to keep a bipartisan aura on this committee. and i think you and i have taken a whole new position in the past. we have met regularly for breakfast and for lunch. we have even paid for each other. but you know as well as i do i support -- there are other bills that should have been brought to this floor. you wouldn't bring them up. sanford bishop's bill, for example, which came to the committee, mr. bishop presented tough. i endorsed it. i don't see it anymore. you wouldn't take it up. you know we can't get any amendments through your committee when you tell them not to vote for them. come on, you know the process. you decided that this is the bill -- the speaker pro tempore: members will address their comments to the chair. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: through the chair, the chairman knows very well
2:36 pm
how the process works. he knows there are -- we can't get amendments passed. he knows there are other bills, mainly democratic bills that are before the committee. some have had a hearing, some haven't. but they haven't been brought to the floor. we get a v.o.w. act not a wow act. that he what's been brought by the leadership of the committee to the floor. i have brought, mr. chairman, you have yielded to me, i yield back, why won't you support mandatory goals for veterans or disabled veterans as they are in legislation as goals, 3% sometimes, for hiring, let's make them mandatory. do you agree to that? you asked me a question. do you agree to mandatory goals for disabled veterans for hiring in public projects? mr. miller: i do support goals. mr. filner: you don't support mandatory goals. mr. miller: i do support goals. mr. filner: do you support
2:37 pm
mandatory? you ask me yes or no. the speaker pro tempore: members will suspend. members should bear in mind that the officials rules of debate cannot be expected to transcribe two members simultaneously. members should not participate in debate by interject and should not expect to have the reporter transcribe remarks that are uttered when not properly under recognition. mr. filner: she's very good. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i have great confidence in our recorders. i wish you would remind the chair that he asked me yes or no. i asked him yes or no. he's playing games with words. i guess it's his time. i still reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time of the the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: we continue to have no more speakers and would reserve our time until such time as the minority wishes to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i thank the speaker. i thank the chairman. we are good friends and we have tried to maintain a bipartisan
2:38 pm
stance. but i disagree with the way this bill is brought forth. we have so many opportunities to increase the jobs for veterans and we just aren't taking them. that saddens me. it's not the partisanship. we can do better than this. we are not taking the opportunity. and we get all this rhetoric over the taxes. we can't -- if you don't extend the bush tax cuts, that's raising taxes. if you take -- don't extend the lowering of fees, that's a tax increase. well, here the same thing is being done to a small group of veterans who can't afford it, and yet that's not on the table as being part of the job. i'm sick of this rhetoric, madam speaker. that says we can't do anything, we can't do anything. we can't tax millionaires, we can't have a balanced approach to balancing the budget. but then we take off, we take
2:39 pm
on veterans who can't afford a home and increase their fees. that to me is the definition of hypocrisy and that's why i'm against the bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: thank you, madam speaker. i thank my good friend from california for the lively debate. i would remind my colleagues that this piece of legislation did pass out of our committee with bipartisan support. 17-5. i would like to ask unanimous consent that letters from various veterans services organizations be allowed to be entered in the record at the appropriate time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. miller: i thank you. i also ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on h.r. 2433 as amended. i once again encourage all members to support this legislation and i yield back the balance of my time.
2:40 pm
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. without objection, so ordered. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2433, as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative -- the gentleman from california. mr. filner: madam speaker, to make sure the record of breaking grover norquist's tax pledge is on the record i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted.
2:41 pm
a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 , further proceedings on this question will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. miller: madam speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2074, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 2074, a bill to amend title 38 united states code to require a comprehensive policy of reporting and tracking sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents that occur at medical facilities of the department of veterans affairs. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from california, mr. filner, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: madam speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. miller: i rise in strong
2:42 pm
support of h.r. 2074 as amended, the veteran sexual assault prevention and health care enhancement act. the bill before us is in fact a bipartisan product of many months' worth of oversight on behalf of our health subcommittee. it's derived from numerous proposals championed by members from both sides of the aisle to improve the care and services provided to our veterans by the department of veterans affairs. of special note is a provision introduced by our health subcommittee chairwoman, ms. ann marie buerkle, and myself. this provision would address the findings of a government accountable office report detailing the high prevalence of sexual assault incidents at v.a. medical facilities and the very serious failures and accountability on the part of v.a. leadership. as i have said before, just one assault, just one assault of this nature, one sexual predator, or one veterans' rights being violated within the v.a. is one too many.
2:43 pm
i am grateful to my good friend, the ranking member, mr. filner, and the health subcommittee chairwoman, ann marie buerkle, and ranking member mike michaud, for the leadership they have brought in strengthening the health care system for our veteran heroes. i now yield as much time as she may consume to my good friend and colleague, chairwoman buerkle, to further discuss the provisions of h.r. 2073 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from new york is recognized. ms. buerkle: i thank the chairman. thank you, madam speaker. i rise in vong support of h.r. 2074 as amended, the veteran sexual assault prevention and health care enhancement act. h.r. 2074 as amended includes several worthy legislative proposals brought forth from the members from both sides reflecting the subcommittee's oversight and activities to date. this bill would create a safer department of veterans affairs health care system.
2:44 pm
allow for greater flexibility in v.a. payments to state veterans' homes, breakdown barriers to care for veterans with traumatic brain injury, clarify access rates of service on v.a. property and expand an innovative therapeutic option for veterans suffering with posttraumatic vest. sex two would require the v.a. to have a policy on the preprevention, monitoring and reporting of safety incidences at v.a. facilities. i along with the chairman introduced this measure in response to a disturbing report issued by the general accounting office in early june of this year regarding the prevalence of sexual assault and other safety incidence on v.a. property and the very serious safety vulnerabilities, security problems, and oversight failures by v.a. leadership. abusive behavior like the kind documented by g.a.o. is unacceptable in any form. for it to be found in what
2:45 pm
should be an environment of caring for our honored veterans is simply intolerable. as a registered nurse and domestic violence counselor, i'm all too familiar with the corrosive and harm 23u8 effects sexual and physical violence can have on the lives of its victims. it is an experience i wish on no one, much less one of our nation's heroes or hardworking medical professionals. madam chairman, it is critically important we take every step to protect the personal safety and well-being of our veterans who seek care through the v.a. and all the hardworking employees strife to provide that care on a daily basis. the provisions included in this bill would require v.a. to develop clear and comprehensive criteria with respect to the reporting of instances for both clinical and law enforcement personnel. . reporting and tracking, risk assessment tools and
2:46 pm
preparedness training program for employees, appropriate physical security precautions and a systematic oversight system. i'm confident that these new requirements will resolve the many wrongs uncovered by the g.a.o. and ensure that the v.a. health care system remains a safe haven of healing for our honored veterans. madam chairman, section three of the bill would allow for increased ability for reimbursement for state nursing home care provided to veterans with a disability rated at 70% or greater or in need of such care due to service related disability. after the history of providing a high level of care to our veterans. by allowing the v.a. to enter into a separate agreement with each home, bill would correct an unintended consequence in law that negatively impacted
2:47 pm
certain state homes and consequently veterans under their care. this was spearheaded by my colleague from maine, mr.my shead -- mr. michaud. i would like to thank him and recognize his work on behalf of veterans. we would improve the rah habilitative care oveterans with traumatic brain injury by improving mental health functioning within individual rehabilitation and reintegration programs. it would also require that rehabilitative services be included in any long-term care services for veterans with traumatic brain injury. many concerns have been raised by veterans and veteran service organizations that current law is being inappropriately interpreted to limit care for veterans with t.b.i. to only
2:48 pm
those services that restore function. it is vital we ensure the recovery process for our veterans, especially those facing a lifetime of cognitive and neurological impairment is ongoing, unburdened by barriers and extends to include service to allow them to advance functional gains and reintegrate kelfly into their communities. madam chairman this provision was introduced by mr. tim walz of minnesota, a valuable member of our subcommittee on health. i would like to extend my gratitude to him for his service and for this proposal. section five of the bill would clarify the excess of the rights of service dogs and v.a. property in v.a. facilities. this provision introduced by mr. john cart over texas would amend an outdated policy that left some disabled veterans and service dogs the need to function.
2:49 pm
unlike guide dogs for visually impaired veterans, service dogs are not guaranteed entry at v.a. facilities. recognizing the immense therapeutic value dogs can have in promoting functionality for our veterans, this would require that service dogs have access to v.a. facilities consistent with the same terms and conditions and subject to the same regulations as generally govern the admitance of guide dogs on v.a. property. section six of this bill would direct v.a. to carry out a three-year pilot program to assess the effectiveness of post-deployment menlt health and post-traumatic striss disorder, ptsd symptoms. this would allow for service dog training therapy programs currently in use at the v.a. medical center in palo alto, california, and the national intrepid center of excellence
2:50 pm
in bethesda, maryland. veterans participating in these programs have demonstrated improved emotional regulations and a sense of purpose and personal safety. the prevalence, madam chairman, of post-deployment mental health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder is rising among the veteran population with over 190,000 veterans of iraq and afghanistan having sought treatment in v.a. for post-traumatic stress disorder. veterans need and deserve the very best we can provide in care and treatment. providing them with every tool necessary to rei want intrate -- reintegrate healthfully back into their families and achieve maximum health and wellness is one of mine and my subcommittee's top priorities. we must continue to explore new and innovative therapeutic options to alleviate the symptoms of post-traumatic stress and i thank my friend and fellow new yorker, mr. michael grimm for his previous
2:51 pm
service to the country in the marine corps and his strong commitment to moving this forward to assist his fellow veterans. section seven would eliminate the requirement for v.a. to provide congress with an annual report on staffing for nurses and nurse anesthetists. this cumbersome and costly requirement was enacted 11 years ago ching the report's intended congress was to keep congress apprised of recruitment and retention issues facing certain nursing issues in the v.a. following that, congress enacted a public law, the veterans affairs health care program enhancement act which strengthens v.a.'s ability to recruit and retain qualified nursing professionals through additional employ benefits and incentives.
2:52 pm
improved ways to depather data has rendered this report unnecessary, further, nursing staffing remains stable within the veterans affairs department. this does not in any way reduce other requirements for v.a. to gather information on nurse staffing from leadership, ensuring that such data continues to be readily available to congress and other stake holders. madam chair, it has been an honor for me to work with my colleagues in a truly bipartisan manner to move h.r. 2074, as amended, forward. i would like to thank each of them, particularly chairman jeff miller and ranking member bob filner, health subcommittee ranking member mikemy showed for their tireless -- mike michaud, for their tireless work. i urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting this important legislation. i yield back the balance of my time.
2:53 pm
mr. miller: we continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. filner: obviously, nothing is more important than the safety of our veterans and this bill, h.r. 2074 contains many provision to improve the safety and health care of our veterans. we had, because of a report i requested, as chair, the g.a.o. gave a report on v.a. health care, actions needed to prevent sexual assaults and other safety incidents. that found that veterans and employees were exposed to personal dangers including sexual assaults in the very facilities that should be protecting them. madam speaker, i think we ought to be more outraged given the findings of that report. that report found that there were not just dozens of alleged
2:54 pm
sexual assaults that went unreported. not even scores of such assaults, but hundreds of them. hundreds of sexual assaults alleged, but not reported by those who had the obligation and responsibility to report them. how were our veterans protected when they can't even have a report of an alleged assault? what message does that give to people that the military cares about what's going on here, what's going on with their safety? that's who we should be going after here, by the way. it's very clear the responsibility about reporting such assaults. and yet they were not, in hundreds of cases. and that was only, by the way, at some selected study places. who knows what the whole
2:55 pm
institution would have been discovered. i don't know that the v.a. has ever reprimanded any of those people. i don't know that the v.a. has ever said to the veterans administration that this will not be tolerated. that we're not only going to report on them but investigate on them and bring people to justice. i don't know that anything like that has happened. that's what this bill should be trying to focus on. what happens to those people who don't report it, what happens to coverups, what what happens to those who protect each other as people are assaulted. i'm not sure that we have come to grips with this issue. this report was outrageous. this report was incredibly, incredibly tragic. and all i find is, we're going to make some process changes here, i support those and i'll vote for the bill, but we're sending a message here to the
2:56 pm
entire 250,000 working agencies of this government that we're not really concerned about them, we're not reporting them, we're not getting to those people who cover it up, we're not getting to those who protect each other, we're not getting to those who violated the law by not reporting such incidents. let's go after that let's give our veterans some comfort that they are going to be, that their safety is protected. i reserve the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i associate myself with the comments of my colleague, it is egregious that there have been so many sexual assaults that have in fact gone unreported by the v.a. i would encourage my good friend and his colleagues to work with us and provide amendments in any way they see important to help bills like this strengthen the reporting
2:57 pm
requirements and to help us in an oversight and investigative response of this congress, which this congress is trying to do more on the oversight and investigative side, the last congress did very little and even those under republican administrations did very little. we are trying to re-engage the oversight and investigation side. i think it is very important that we work together an i do commend my good friend for his outrage on this particular report that came out and i will work with him in any way possible. p -- with that i yield to my good friend from staten island, new york, the 13th district, congressman grimm. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. grimm: food afternoon, madam chair. thank you, chairman miller. i rise today in strong support of h.r. 2074, which includes the text of h.r. 198, the veterans dog training therapy act. that's a bill that i introduced along with our lead co-sponsor,
2:58 pm
house veterans affairs health subcommittee ranking membermy should. special thank you to the ranking member. as a marine combat veteran, it's a unique honor for me to see this bill considered today by the full house. over the past nine months, i've had the honor to meet with our nation's veterans who are now faced with the challenges of coping with ptsd and physical disabilities resulting from their service in iraq an afghanistan. their stories are not for the weak of heart. they're truly moving. with these personal accounts of their recovery, both physical and mental, and the important role therapy and service dogs played that inspired this legislation. the veterans dog training therapy act would require the department of veterans affairs to conduct a pilot program in v.a. medical centers assessing the effectiveness of addressing post-development mental health
2:59 pm
and ptsd through the therapeutic medium of training service dogs for veterans with disabilities. these trained service dogs are then given to physically disabled veterans to help them with their daily activities. simply put, this program treats veterans suffering from ptsd while at the same time aiding those suffering from physical disabilities. since it was introduced, this legislation has gained the bipartisan support of 96 co-sponsors. with veteran suicide rates at all-time highs and more and more servicemen and women being diagnosed with ptsd this bill meets a crucial need for additional treatment methods. i believe that by caring for our nation's veterans while at the same time providing assistance dogs to those with physical disabilities, we create a win-win scenario for everyone. this is a goal we can all be proud to accomplish. just as an added bonus, we
3:00 pm
provide these wonderful animals with a loving and safe environment. that's why i strongly urge all of my colleagues to join me in support of h.r. 2074 and i yield back the balance of my time. mr. mill interk i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i yield to the ranking member of our subcommittee, who did so much good for our veterans throughout the nation, mr.my shaud of maine. -- mr. michaud of maine. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. michaud: as my colleagues have stated, our veterans' safety should be one of our top priorities in the veterans' sexual assault prevention and health care enhancement act does just that. i'd like to thank chairman miller and ranking member bob filner, the chair of the subcommittee, as well as all my colleagues on the house veterans' affairs committee for working in such a bipartisan
3:01 pm
manner to get this very important health care bill to the floor. within h.r. 2074, i would like to highlight two important provisions. you heard the chairwoman explain the bill very eloquently, think proprovisions i'd like to highlight in section two, which was offered by the subcommittee on health chair ms. buerkle will correct the troubling finding in a g.a.o. report. the report essentially found that veterans and employees were exposed to personal dangers, including sexual assault. this is simply unacceptable and i want to thank the subcommittee chair for offering that bill to us. and the second provision i'd like to highlight is in section 3, my provision of the bill. section 3 would provide much-needed flexibility in the way the state veterans homes get reimbursed for the care
3:02 pm
they provide veterans who need that care for a service-connected condition or a service-connected condition that's 70% or greater. this will ensure that these veterans are not put out on the street. the subcommittee on health has been working on this bill for well over two years, and now i am finally pleased to see that this bill is moving forward and hopefully my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support this very important piece of legislation. we have to do all that we can to help our veterans and their families and this bill is a bill that takes into different approach to dealing with our veterans and their problems. so with that, minneapolis, i'd like to yield -- so with that, madam speaker, i'd like to yield back the balance of my time to the chair -- to the ranking member. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: madam speaker, i yield two minutes to the
3:03 pm
gentleman from the 35th district of texas, mr. carter. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. carter: i'd like to thank the gentleman for yielding. i would like to thank the chairman and the chairwoman to include h.r. 754, the vet dogs bill. this ensures that they have equal access at v.a. facilities. title 38 -- it amends title 38 to allow medical service dogs in addition to seeing eye dogs at veteran facilities. they help with all types of brain injury, seizures, many other important areas that these service dogs are making our veterans better. both the a.d.a. and the raja
3:04 pm
bill take act both support this bill. the v.a. directive allowed service dogs into their facilities good for five years. i applaud the v.a. in that effort, but this bill makes its directive permanent. this is important for these veterans, and if you see them with their dog and you know that the friendship and the love and affection and assistance these dogs provide is invaluable to our injured veterans. harry truman once made a statement, if you want a friend in washington, d.c., get a dog. well, i'm just trying to make sure and we are trying to make sure by this bill that our veterans don't have to leave their friend outside the door. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. phil dahlhausser i have no further speakers.
3:05 pm
mr. miller: we have no further speakers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. phil dahlhausser i yield myself such time as i may consume. -- mr. filner: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. filner: i wish we had gone further and i ask the chair -- i met with g.a.o. this morning and they said they could follow up reports such as this with investigation of personnel actions, for example, and report back to us in terms that do not violate any of the, you know, civil service things about revealing that they would provide a third party kind of review of the personnel actions that may have resulted from the recommendations. so you don't have to answer now. i'd be prepare to work with the chair to have such an investigation. because what we have done here
3:06 pm
is in response to the report that said reporting requirements were not met in hundreds of cases at some few selected sites that they examined, it had new reporting requirements. well, they didn't follow the first ones. what good is more reporting requirements going to do? there has to be some actions on the part of the veterans administration that says to our employees, that says to our veterans, there shall be no sexual assaults on our sites. and yet what we're saying here, oh, we'll add a few more reporting requirements. well, that doesn't send a message because we already had the reporting requirements. so let's try to find a way, and i'll work with the chair to do this, to send the message to our agency, not that we're going to pass another few rules, but we're going to take this seriously. we're going to demand that the
3:07 pm
employees who did not follow what is clearly stated in rule and law about reporting alleged cases of sexual assault that they did not follow this. they ought to have been terminated in my opinion. this was so serious and would is have sent a good message to those who might perpetrate or are victims of such assault, sent a message. i doubt they were removed from their job. i hope the v.a. could contradict me. i hope there is anything more than a note that they should do better in the future. i hope i'm wrong. but i will tell you the history of personnel actions in response to acts such as these have not been one that gives confidence to me that we have sent the right message. so i would work with the chair to do whatever we can to send the right message from this congress and the american
3:08 pm
people that these acts will not be tolerated. yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i commit to working with the ranking member with further reporting on these incidents. i would add that this particular piece of legislation does in fact incorporate every single recommendation that the g.a.o. gave to this committee in their report. with that i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks . the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. miller: and i encourage all members to support this legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida yields back his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2074, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is
3:09 pm
amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. miller: madam speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2302 as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the big. the clerk: union calendar number 155, h.r. 2302, a bill to amend title 38, united states code, to direct the secretary of veterans affairs to notify congress of conferences sponsored by the department of veterans affairs. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from california, mr. filner, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. miller: madam speaker, i rise in strong support of h.r. 2302, as amended. it amends title 38, united states code, that directs the secretary of the department of veterans affairs to notify congress of conferences, certain conferences sponsored by the v.a. it's a good government bill.
3:10 pm
it provides additional transparency. it also shifts from v.a. and the department of defense g.i. bill reporting requirements from chapter 30 to chapter 33 and this legislation is sponsored by the chairman of our subcommittee of economic opportunity, mr. stutzman of indiana. my thanks goes out to him as well as the ranking member, mr. filner, and also the ranking member of the subcommittee, mr. braley of iowa, for their efforts. with that i yield to the twished chairman of the subcommittee on economic opportunity, mr. stutzman, to further describe h.r. 2302, as amended. yield him as such time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. stutzman: thank you, madam speaker, and thank you, mr. chairman. h.r. 2302 as amended contains provisions from three different bills. section 1 is the transparency concepts in the original bill but responds partially about the scope of covering conferences by increasing the reporting threshold to conferences costing $20,000 or
3:11 pm
more. the catalyst of this provision was a large v.a. conference held in scottsdale, arizona, that lasted 11 days and included $97,000 for consultant services out of a total cost of $221,000 -- $221,500 at a time when every tax dollar is precious, it is our duty to ensure that v.a. conferences spend those dollars wisely. this would be an appropriate provision in any economic situation, not just in today's stagnant economy. section 2 includes the provisions of chairman miller's bill, h.r. 2388, that would streamline the committee's ability to get information from the v.a. it has been our experience that v.a. incorrectly uses the health insurance portability and accessibility act, our hipaa, to deny or delay providing information needed to resolve our constituents' cases. this bill would make it clear
3:12 pm
that requests for information for the committee's constitutional oversight duties are deemed to be an authorized disclosure under the privacy act and hipaa. section 3 includes provisions produced by the ranking member of the -- introduced by the ranking member that would department of labor to include veterans' employment information submitted by federal contractors on the department's website. madam speaker, title 38, united states code, section 4212 requires federal contractors to implement an affirmative action plan to hire veterans and to report on the success of that program. it is unfortunate that the department of labor under several administrations have largely ignored data that showed the extent to which federal contractors are complying with the law. while i am aware of renewed of federal contractor compliance to enforce the law, mr. mcnerney's provision will help focus their attention to this
3:13 pm
issue and i thank him for this important provision. mr. chairman, each of these provisions will increase the transparency of federal programs and improve our ability to hold the federal government accountable for not just funding but also its actions. i am also happy to report that my amendment has been scored by c.b.o. as having insignificant costs. so i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 2302, and i thank ranking member braley for his support for the subcommittee's work, and i yield back to the chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: madam speaker, we endorse the arguments made by the chairman of the subcommittee and i would yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks on h.r. 2302, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. miller: and once again encourage my colleagues to
3:14 pm
support this legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2302, as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. miller: madam speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2349, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 159, h.r. 2349, a bill to amend title 38, united states code, to direct the secretary of veterans affairs to annually assess the skills of certain employees and managers of the veterans' benefits administration and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from
3:15 pm
california, mr. filner, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: madam speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. miller: madam speaker, i support strongly h.r. 2349 as amended, the veterans' benefits training improvement act of 2011. it was created by the chairman of the subcommittee on disability assistance and memorial affairs, mr. runyan. it also was worked in collaboration with the ranking member of that subcommittee, mr. mcnerney. i would like to recognize mr. runyan to describe h.r. 2349, as amended. i yield such time as he might consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. . mr. runyan: madam speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 2349 as
3:16 pm
ameppeded. there are several components to this legislation and they're all aimed toward ensuring veterans' benefits process is more efficient, accountable and fair for all veterans and their families. the first piece of this legislation addresses the minimalist approach the v.a. has adopted in complying with employees' skills certification mandate this section will reverse the current trend within the v.a. of using the employment certification process solely to increase an employee's pay grade by introducing a pilot program to conduct a biannual assessment for all claims processors and managers. the key to this will be individualized mediation. this will facilitate individual accountability of employees while addressing disparities in experience and training at the pilot sites and eventually throughout the v.a.
3:17 pm
section three prevents the offset of benefits by payment to reimburse expenses occurred after accident or theft. this will be accomplished by exempt regular imburstments of expenses related to accident, theft, los or casualty loss from determination of annual income. the next section implements the use of electronic communication within the v.a. to provide notices of responsibility to claimants. this also removes the administrative provisions which have slowed down the process for veteran's disability claims. in total, this section will increase efficiency an help modernize the v.a. by authorizing more efficient means available for communication while simultaneously removing administrative red tape. section five clarifies the meaning of the v.a.'s duty to assess claimants in obtaining evidence needed to clarify --
3:18 pm
to verify a claim. as a result, the section establishes a clear and responsible standard for private record requests as not less than two requests. in addition, the section will encourage claimants to take a proactive role in the claims process. this, in turn, will have a positive effect for reducing claims back log over the long-term. section six corrects a serious concern which has curtailed the second amendment rights of mr. -- of many v.a. ben fir if -- beneficiaries. due to unclear statutory language under the current system, veterans seeking help managing their financial affairs are categorized as mentally defective and are entered into the f.b.i. database which prohibits their ability to legally obtain a firearm. this section would restore these veterans' constitutional
3:19 pm
rights by requiring such determinations to be made by a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority to properly determine whether such veterans are in fact mentally defective for the purposes of obtaining a firearm. section seven of this bill is designed to protect vet -- protect veterans from being charged excessive fees for submitting aply cages for aid to the v.a. there have been an increase in nonaccredited individuals that have been taking advantage of veterans by charging fees to assist them with filing claims for veterans' benefits within the v.a. this section reinstated criminal penalties for persons charging veterans unauthorized fees in preparation for filing veterans' claims with the v.a. the final section addresses the unrestrained government spending on the part of the v.a., which is currently
3:20 pm
permitted to offer pay increases and bonuses to managers and employees who have been cited for mismanagement and poor performance. at a time when our government must be especially prudent in the management of debt, section establishes tax for bonuses and performances awarded to v.a.'s most senior employees at $2 million a year, a reduction from $.5 million. it has been an honor working with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to move h.r. 2349 as amended forward and i ask each member and thank them for their support on behalf of our honored veterans. i ask all my colleagues to join in supporting me in this important legislation and i yield back the plans of my time. mr. miller: i reserve our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i yield myself such time as i may consume.
3:21 pm
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. filner: this is an ominous -- maybe it's ominous too. it's an omnibus, it's an ominous omnibus, that on balance, i can't support. in omnibus bills, there's good and bad and we have to balance what the prevailing thing is. let me tell you why, there are two positions in here that make it impossible for me to support this ominous bill. section two requires the v.a. institute pilot program to hold employees of the veterans benefit administration to annual testing and greater training requirements than their current 80 hours as five regional offices at a cost of $5 million other five years. we're all for training of our employees and want them to do a good job and be adequately trained. secretary shinseki has set a goal of processing all claims
3:22 pm
within 28 days with 98% accuracy, we have to get a handle on the -- on the back log and claims that are languishing unnecessarily. i think this is misguided, it will stand in the way of the secretary's goal. i don't think we can test our way out of the back log. anyone can pass a test, the question is can they adequately process claims. that's what they need, not an additional burden rutting in work stop ams which is what this will do. we have a certification testing program used for the advancement of v.b.a. employees which we strengthened the ability to pass in 2008 with great bipartisan support. i think that this bill has redundant testing, a waste of $5 million and will only go to the fattening of the contractors' pockets who develop the test. money that i think can be more efficiently used to help our
3:23 pm
veterans. i should remind the body that this mandatory testing provision never passed out of the subcommittee that was responsible for the bill. it failed. it was withdrawn. but it showed up in the full committee markup and i think violates the spirit of regular order that we supposedly prize. more importantly, ma tam chair, there is a provision in this bill which, let me first sate in legal terms, and then in english, which would prohibit the reporting of those who have an appointed v.a. fiduciary to the national instant criminal background check system required by the pray diact. what does that mean in english? that means people who have been judged by the v.a. to be mentally incompetent of handling their own financial affairs qualify to purchase a gun.
3:24 pm
hello. we heard the chair of the subcommittee support, oh, this is a constitutional right. hey, we have a long history of law and precedent which says, we can deny rights to mentally incompetent people, especially to own a gun, a handgun. how many people have got to commit mass murders who are mentally incompetent before we understand that we ought to prevent them from getting guns in the first place. yet we have a justification of that right here in this bill. the gentleman wants to keep the right to purchase firearms until -- until they have a determination from a state judge. that's a non sequitur, madam chair. while i agree some of these people have been judged
3:25 pm
mentally incompetent to handle their own affairs may not pose a threat to thems or others, the prudent course of action the reasonable course of action, the course of action that will save lives in this nation, is that we not allow these v.a. beneficiaries to have access to weapons until the determination is made by that judge. let's have the determination first. not after they kill somebody. so we're going to put guns in the hands of people who may not be mentally capable of responsible gun ownership. this does not strike the proper balance between ensuring societal safety and individual rights. i don't have to list all the atrocities that have gone on in this nation over the last decade that happened because of irresponsible gun ownership. and yet, we have a defense of a bill that specifically, it doesn't even leave it to implicit, it specifically says, if you are judged to be
3:26 pm
mentally incompetent you still have a right to go get a gun. how stupid are we? come on. this is a scary thought. it's irresponsible legislating. we've got to do a better job at striking a balance on this issue. everybody in one bill is afraid of grover norquist. everybody here is afraid of the n.r.a. come on, let's be responsible. let's be common sense. let's protect the american people. let's not go for these pledges that are made in a partisan way to get -- to make sure you're re-elected and hurt the american people in the long run. that's what we're doing here. this is irresponsible. you give, by law, by a sentence you put in, mr. chairman, you give them a mentally incompetent person, they've been defined as that, you give them the right to be exempt from the brady law's registration. come on. we can do a better job than
3:27 pm
that in this body. i reserve the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: we reserve our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. filner: we have no more speakerers. mr. miller: have you concluded your speakers? mr. filner: there are some good provisions in this bill. the hastings provision is especially proper but we all -- we owe the american people better than just ideological legislating because i made this promise and this is constitutional right. i believe in the second amendment. but we can regulate the conditions of that amendment. and this is an especially egregious one. the v.a. has said that someone cannot manage their own affairs.
3:28 pm
and yet we write in a provision that says, go buy a gun anyway, until a judge says not to. let's have the judge's decision first then if they are judged mentally sound, they can buy a gun. that would be their constitutional right. they don't have a constitutional right to be a mentally imbalanced and buy a gun that kills dozens or even hundreds of people. that's what we've seen in this country for decades. let's do a better job. i yield back the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: what we owe the united states people is the truth. the truth is that the senate veterans affairs committee approved under democrat leadership this exact language under the past two congresses. in fact, what my good friend, the ranking member, wants to do, is to give a bureaucrat within v.a. the opportunity to ad-- adjudicate somebody
3:29 pm
mentally incompetent. they do have the ability to say they are not able to control their finances. what this actual legislation does, and i will read, is that it dez they cannot do it without the order or finding of a judge, a magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such a person is a danger to himself or to others. i do not believe that a bureaucrat within the department of veterans' affairs has that ability nor that authority and i think that judges need to do it system of we do agree on that particular instance. without that, i ask that all members would have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. miller: and urge all my colleagues to support this outstanding piece of legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2349 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative,
3:30 pm
the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title amended.
3:31 pm
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from kentucky seek recognition? mr. whitfield: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 2250. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. pursuant to house resolution 419 and rule 18, the chair declares the house in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 2250. will the gentleman from alabama -- i'm sorry -- will the gentlelady from alabama, mrs. roby, kindly take the chair. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 2250 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill to provide
3:32 pm
additional time for the administrator of the environmental protection agency to issue achievable standards for industrial, commercial and institutional boilers, prosees heaters and incinerators and for other purposes. the chair: when the committee of the whole rose on thursday, october 6, 2011, amendment number 4 printed in the congressional record offered by the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. doyle, had been disposed of.
3:33 pm
3:34 pm
3:35 pm
3:36 pm
3:37 pm
3:38 pm
3:39 pm
the chair: does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. waxman: i do, madam chairman. i have an amendment preprinted in the congressional record, amendment number 11 to h.r. 2250. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 11 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. waxman of california. the chair: the gentleman from california is recognized for five minutes. mr. waxman: madam chair and my colleagues, i strongly oppose this bill on substantive grounds. it nullifies critical e.p.a. rules to cut toxic air pollution from solid waste
3:40 pm
incinerator and large industrial boilers. it threatens e.p.a.'s ability to issue new rules that actually protect public health by forcing it to set emission standards based on an industry wish list. and on top of that it allows polluters to avoid compliance with the new rules indefinitely. that is enough for me to vote no. i think this is a very bad bill. but this bill has another mark against it bus it does not comply with the republican leadership's policy for discretionary spending. some people may think, so what, why make an issue of this? the simple fact is the republicans established a set of rules for the house at the beginning of the congress and they aren't willing to play by those rules. when congress organized this year, the majority leader announced that the house would be following a discretionary -- what's called a discretionary cut-go rule. when a bill authorizes
3:41 pm
discretionary funding, that funding must be explicitly limited to a specific amount. and the leader's protocol also required that the specific amount be offset by a reduction in an existing authorization. this bill violates those requirements. first, the bill does not include a specific authorization for e.p.a. to implement the bill's provisions. e.p.a. will have to start a new rulemaking for boilers and incinerators and follow a whole new approach for setting emission standards, and that's going to cost money. c.b.o., who's usually the referee on these questions, determined that h.r. 2250 does in fact authorize new discretionary spending. c.b.o. estimates that implementing this bill would cost e.p.a. $1 million over a five-year period. but the bill does not offset the new spending with cuts in
3:42 pm
existing authorization. that's a clear violation of the plain language of the republicans' cut-go policy. of know what my republican colleagues are going to say because they said it last time we were considering legislation. they will argue that this bill doesn't create a new program. they'll say that e.p.a. can use existing funds to complete the work mandated by the bill. well, that's now -- not how appropriations law works. anyone familiar with federal appropriations law knows this and the government accountability office, or the congressional budget office can confirm it. h.r. 2250 does not include an authorization, but that does not have the effect of forcing the executive branch to implement the legislation with existing resources. to the contrary, it has the effect of creating an impolicity authorization of such sums as may be necessary.
3:43 pm
now, the republicans have been against setting authorizations of such sums as may be necessary because they wanted a specific amount and they wanted an offset. my amendment would -- simply assures that the discretionary cut-go rule is complied with. it states that this bill authorizes the appropriations of fund to implement its provisions without reducing an existing authorization of appropriations by an offsetting amount. then -- amount, then the bill will not go into effect. if i had a bill that would strengthen the clean air act or cut global warming, they would meet the cut-go requirements. but because they're eager to cut the clean air act, all of a sudden their own protocols don't matter. and if they're not complying with cut-go because cut-go as they set it up is infeasible
3:44 pm
and unworkable, they need to acknowledge that reality and change the requirement. i urge all members to support this amendment. let's hold the republican leadership accountable to keep their word. i urge support for this amendment and yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia rise? >> madam chair, i rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> madam chair, h.r. 2250 will reduce regulatory burdens for job creators and extend the time frame for the e.p.a. to issue its rules for boilers and incinerators. mr. griffith: considering they are considering an aggressive regulatory regime in these areas and doing so within its existing budget, additional funding should not be needed. while the c.b.o.'s rules may require to score legislation in a vacuum, in the real world there is no reason taxpayers
3:45 pm
should be forced to hand over more money when asking an agency merely to do its job. any cost of commonsense regulations in this area, as our legislation proposes, can certainly be covered by the agency's existing budget that has increased greatly over the last several years, and that budget is funding its current regulatory efforts. . no new funding is authorized by the regulation, i do not believe any new funding is necessary and i encourage my colleagues to vote no on this amendment. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the question son the amendment offered by the gentleman from california. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mr. waxman: i request a roll call vote. the speaker pro tempore: the amendment is not agreed.
3:46 pm
to pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from california will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia rise? >> i have an amendment at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will designate the amendment. the chair: will the gentleman specify which amendment. >> i have two amendments. the chair: which one. >> i don't know the number, madam chair. which one -- ok, number 18. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 18 printed in the congressional record, offered by mr. connolly of virginia. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. connolly: during the past 10 months, the republican
3:47 pm
leadership has tried to pass more than 125 anti-environmental bills, amendments and riders. we debated another bill the other day and the majority rejected every single amendment that would have protected public health. i introduced a simple amendment that would have ensured no dortse increased incidents of illness would have occurred as a result of the cement factly bill we debated last week. it would seem to be a modest proposition. the bills passed by congress should not lead to premature death or hospitalization yet that's what they do. republicans claim that all these anti-e.p.a. bills will create jobs but sadly those new jobs would only be created in hospice. the latest republican attack on the clean air act is h.r. 2250 before us today which would block public health standards for industrial boilers. the e.p.a. is issuing these standards in accordance with the clean air act which was
3:48 pm
passed in 1970 and signed into law by a republican president. since 1970, the clean air act has dramatically reduced air pollution. despite population growth while america's economy doubled in size. the evidence is clear. we do not have to make a false choice between a healthy economy and a healthy environment. yet that's precisely the false choice presented us in h.r. 2250. my colleagues claim we must allow more mercury pollution. more particulate pollution, more soot in our air. in order to spur economic recovery. how easily some seem to forget that this recession started under the most anti-environmental administration in history that of george w. bush so if attacking the environment really did spur economic growth we wouldn't have had the economic collapse of 2008. the consequence of acting on a false premise presented by my republican colleagues would be catastrophic for america's
3:49 pm
health. according to the nonpartisan congressional research service, by following the law and implementing health standards for industrial boilers, e.p.a. will prevent 2,500 to 6,500 premature deaths every year. by allowing the implementation of clean air act we'll prevent 3,300 emergency room visits, by preventing all these premature deaths and pollution caused illness, merely implementing the rules for industrial boilers will save, taking costs into account, between $25 -- between $20 billion and $25 billion annually. my simple amendment would allow h.r. 2250 to go into effect if it didn't cause these illnesses and death. if we can lessen -- loosen regulations without adding to health care costs that are already too high for most families, then by all means let's do it. by passing this amendment my republican colleagues can
3:50 pm
reaffirm their support for deregulation provided that it doesn't injure or kill our constituents. my amendment says the administrator shall not delay answers to reduce emissions if such emissions are causing respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and deaths. this ensures that if h.r. 250 passes, we won't be creating the rate of respiratory disease or sending more children to hospitals with asthma attacks. since members claim to be equally concerned about our constituents, i want to offer them the opportunity to confirm that interest in statute. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from kentucky rise? >> to claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. the gentleman's amendment would add a new section to h.r. 2250 directing them to implement the
3:51 pm
current boiler sector rules if emissions are causing respiratory and cardiovascular illness and death including heart attacks, asthma attacks and bronchitis. i would like first of all to mention that over the last 15 or 20 years, we've made remarkable progress in cleaning up the air. for example, ozone has been reduced by 14%. particulate matter by 41%. lead by 78%. nitro venn dioxide by 35%. carbon monoxide by 68%. sulfur dioxide by 59%. this amendment targets specific health issues, respiratory and cardiovascular illness and death and the bill directs -- our bill, i would say, does direct that e.p.a. protect public health, jobs and the
3:52 pm
economy and that's what our legislation is all about, a more balanced approach. i find it interesting that the boiler is all about regulating hazardous pollutants, yet e.p.a. did not include any benefits from deus -- reducing hazardous air pollutants and mercury in particular. they indicated all health benefits would be as a result of reduction of particulate matter. so the whole purpose of boiler max is to deal with hazardous air pollutants. e.p.a. decided there was no real benefit from reduction there, but it was all from particulate matter. we oppose the amendment because we don't think it's necessary. the clean air act sets out clearly the protections for health and what is required and
3:53 pm
we specifically object to this because it's identifying particular illnesses and we think that e.p.a. should look at a broad range of health issues and for that reason would respectfully oppose the gentleman from virginia's amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on -- >> madam chair. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i seek recognition in support of the amendment. the chair: does the gentleman strike the last word. mr. waxman: i seek recognition to speak in support of the amendment. the chair: the gentleman strikes the last word is recognized. the only way to seek recognition is to strike the last word. mr. waxman: i seek recognition to strike the last word. i didn't know i couldn't stand up to speak in favor of an amendment.
3:54 pm
the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. waxman: under the five-minute rule i'm recognized and want the opportunity to respond to the comments just made. my colleague from kentucky keeps on saying that there will be no benefit from the e.p.a. boiler rules in terms of health. well, it's true that e.p.a. didn't put a dollar figure on the potential health benefits from reducing mercury, carcinogens and other toxic pollutants but that's not because there won't be benefits. allow me to quote for the -- from the e.p.a.'s impact analysis. data, resource, meth logical limitations prevent e.p.a. from quantifying or monetizing benefits from several benefit categories including benefit from reducing toxic emissions. this doesn't say that cutting hazardous air pollutants from
3:55 pm
boilers will have no benefit for public health. what are the benefits of cutting mercury pollution here at home? cutting mercury pollution from boilers and incinerators will reduce localized mercury deposition, reducing mercury deposition is critical to reducing americans' exposure to mercury from eating contaminated fish. in 2000, pemplet of -- e.p.a. estimated that roughly 60% of the total mercury deposited in the united states comes from manmade air emission sources within the united states such as power plants, incinerators, boilers, cement kilns and other sources. these numbers are changed slightly since 2000 while other studies have shown that there's an important need to reduce local sources of mercury pollution. for example, one study by the university of michigan and e.p.a. found that the majority of mercury deposited at a monitoring site in eastern ohio
3:56 pm
came from local and regional sources. mercury is a potent neurotox stin. babies born to women exposed to mercury during pregnancy can suffer from a wide range of developmental and neurological problems, including delays in speaking and difficulties learning. it's hard to translate that into dollars and cents. what is the value of allowing a child's brain to develop normally so those children can reach their full potential? but this is just common sense. cutting the emotion -- emissions of a powerful neurotoxin will help protect children's health. i don't know how anybody can honestly argue that allowing more mercury pollution is better for public health than less. overall, e.p.a. estimates for the quantified benefits of the boiler rules likely underestimate the total benefits to society of requiring those industrial sources to clean up.
3:57 pm
now, e.p.a. looked as well at what the rules would do in terms of the effect of reducing emissions of fine particle pollution which can lodge deep in the lungs and cause serious health effects, breathing particle pollution has been found to cause a range of acute and chronic health problems such as significant damage to the small airways of the lungs. aggravated asthma attacks in children. deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular causes including strokes. increased numbers of heart attacks, especially among the elderly and people with heart conditions. increased hospitalization for cardiovascular disease and increased emergency room visits for patients suffering from acute respiratoryle ailments. by cutting emissions of fine particles, e.p.a. estimates that these rules would prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths,
3:58 pm
4,100 nonfatal heart attacks, 41,000 cases of aggravated asthma, 143,000 days when people miss work or school each year. e.p.a. found that these rules will provide at least $10 to $24 in health benefits for every dollar in cost. that's a tremendous return on investment and doesn't even include the benefits of the toxin -- toxic air pollution, toxic mercury pollution, which is harder to quantify but is there nevertheless. the amendment is straightforward, it states the bill does not stop e.p.a. from taking action to clean up air pollution from a dirty boilier or incinerator, if that facility is emitting pollute tans that are causing heart attacks, asthma attacks and bronchitis or other respiratory and cardiovascular disease. the republicans argue that this bill is not an attack on the clean air act or public health. they argue this bill won't
3:59 pm
prevent e.p.a. from requiring boilers and incinerators to cut their pollution. i disagree. i support adding language to the bill, making it perfectly clear erment p.a. must act and i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. >> madam chair chairman. the chair: the gentleman from virginia is recognize plfled connolly: i request a roll call. the chair: the amendment is not agreed to. further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from virginia will be postponed.
4:00 pm
the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: clerk. -- the clerk will report the amendment. mr. markey: amendment number 7. i rise as designee to offer amendment number 7. mr. whitfield: parliamentary inquiry. the chair: the gentleman from kentucky has an inquiry. mr. whitfield: i am not positive what the rules are here. the gentleman from massachusetts says that he has amendment number 7 and in the list of amendments that we have the sponsor of number 7 is said to be mr. quigley of illinois. would the chair be able to explain to me what the rules are in regard to that? the chair: does the gentleman from massachusetts state that he's the designee for mr. quigley? mr. markey: yes, i am offering
4:01 pm
the amendment as the designee of mr. quigley. which i think under the rules is permitted. the chair: to the gentleman from kentucky, the rule does allow for a designee. mr. whitfield: thank you very much. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 7 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. markey of massachusetts. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized for five minutes. mr. markey: i thank the gentleman very much. today, the republicans continue their war on the environment. this time we have episode 58 of the clean air act repeal-a-thon. that's right, ladies and gentlemen who are listening. this is the 58th time the republicans have voted to weaken the clean air act this year. today's episode guest stars excessive and unwanted appearances by neuro toxic
4:02 pm
mercury, deadly arsenic. this bill blocks and indefinitely claze implementation of the rules that would reduce emissions of these lethal air pollutants from industrial boilers and does so in total disregard for the devastating impacts these pollutants have on public health, particularly the health of infants and children. we already know a lot about these substances. for instance, exposure to dioxin causes delay in motor skills and neuro development in children, impacts hormones that regulates growth, metabolism and reproduction and has been classified as a carcinogen by the world health organization and the national toxicology program. chromium six was made famous by the movie "erin brockovich"
4:03 pm
starring julia roberts. that has been linked to stomach and other forms of cancer. and let's not forget mercury, a substance had a is particularly harmful to children because it impairs brain development, impacting memory, attention and language and potentially leading to life-long disabilities. the mercury is released directly into the air we all breathe and finds its way into the food which we eat. in 2010 all 50 states issued fish consumption adviseries, warning citizens to limit how often they eat fish caught in state waters because of mercury contamination. this bill seeks to permanently eliminate e.p.a.'s ability to reduce these toxic emissions from industrial boilers and does so despite the fact that the american boiler
4:04 pm
manufacturers association, the association that represents the very companies that designs, manufacturers and supplies the industrial boilers in question oppose the republicans' bill. that's right. the companies which stated they stand ready and able to harness american ingenuity and technological might to supply products that complies with e.p.a. requirements in a timely and costly manner oppose the republican bill here today. and why? because they believe this bill will only kill what they expect to be a new high-tech engineering and domestic manufacturing job explosion. so the republican bill will not only kill people, 6,600 -- 6,600 additional deaths per year in the united states, according to the e.p.a., it will also kill jobs. my amendment is very simple. it just says that the republican prohibitions on
4:05 pm
e.p.a. reducing toxic air pollution in this bill are waived if these emissions are found to increase the risk of cancer. this amendment makes the choice very clear. if we adopt this amendment, e.p.a. can continue with its plans to require the dirtiest industrial boilers and incinerators to clean up their cancer-causing emission and do so while creating american jobs. so we save 6,600 americans dying each year from their exposure to these neuro toxins and at the same time we create jobs in this economy. that's what this is about. the e.p.a. just has to certify that this will not lead, that the republican approach will not lead to an increase in cancers. that's all we ask the members on the floor to vote on today. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: claim time in opposition to the amendment.
4:06 pm
the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. whitfield: our good friend, the gentleman from massachusetts, talks about the american boiler manufacturers association being opposed to our bill, and that's true. but they don't speak for those who own and operate boilers. they speak for themselves because they manufacture boilers. and if this rule goes into effect, they're going to make a lot more money than they're making today. the gentleman from massachusetts also indicated that our legislation will weaken the clean air act. there's not anything in our bill that will weaken the clean air act, and i think that congress has the responsibility to review, to have oversight over the decisions of e.p.a. on regulations that they adopt. and that's precisely why we're here with this legislation.
4:07 pm
because in our economic situation that we find ourselves in america today is that we have a very high unemployment rate. we have a stagnant economy. we have people without jobs. and we've had a lot of hearings upon this boiler mact regulation issued by e.p.a. and people are saying that this regulation alone will put at risk 230,000 jobs nationwide. so we're not saying walk away and not protect the american people. we're simplely saying, let's hold back for just a moment. let's go back and revisit this rule. let's take 15 minutes -- 15 months for e.p.a. to promulgate a new rule and then give the affected industries, universities, hospitals and other groups a minimum of five
4:08 pm
years to implement the new regulations. and i might say that we heard testimony from the university of notre dame because the first boiler mact rules went into effect in 2004, and in order to meet those regulations the university of notre dame spent $20 million to meet those boiler rules and regulations. and then environmental groups filed a lawsuit and said, hey, this is not -- this is not stringent enough. we need to issue new rules which is what e.p.a. did. and so the university of notre dame, having spent $20 million already, is still not in compliance. they're going to have to come forth and spend more money which their witness said that may very well cause them to increase their tuition costs which makes it more difficult
4:09 pm
for young people to go to college. so the gentleman from massachusetts also talked about mercury. and i would reiterate once again that when e.p.a. did their analysis, they did not come up with any health benefits because of the reduction of mercury as a result of their boiler mact rule. the only health benefits that they pointed out was related to particulate matter, reduction of particulate matter, not mercury, and i am not aware of any scientific causal connection that specifically says that in this instance there are going to be 6,600 more people that are going to die this year because we delay the implementation of the boiler mact rule. and that's one of the reasons that a lot of independent, third-party groups have serious questions about e.p.a.'s
4:10 pm
analysis. how do you know for a fact without any contradiction that 6,600 people are going to die each year if this is delayed, that there are going to be e thousand of people that will have heart attacks that wouldn't before? so because of all of those reasons we believe this legislation is a commonsense approach, protect job, protect the health, revisit the issue, come out with a new rule, gives industries, universities, hospitals, time to comply. that's all that we're asking for. for that reason i would respectfully -- respectively object the gentleman's amendment introduced by mr. quigley of illinois. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. waxman: i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. waxman: we just heard the chairman of the subcommittee handling this bill two
4:11 pm
statements absolutely inaccurate. he says this bill does not weaken the clean air act. well, i don't know what weakening the clean air act means to him, but when we say that we're going to -- we're going to nullify the standards e.p.a. set under the clean air act, that weakens the clean air act. when we say we're going to eliminate the deadlines for compliance, that weakens the clean air act. when we say that e.p.a. can set regulations but they have to use a different standard that's weaker, that certainly weakens the clean air act. the other statement that was just made that is absolutely erroneous is that we don't get any health benefits from reducing the toxic pollution. and that is just not true. reducing the toxic pollutants are aimed at protecting the health from toxic, dangerous,
4:12 pm
poisonous chemicals. mercury and carcinogens. these are toxic pollutions, and reducing them will help public health. again, the statement was made inaccurately that e.p.a. didn't find any health benefits. that is not true. e.p.a. said they could not quantify the health benefits. how do you quantify a life that can be lived longer? how do you quantify a child that will not be impaired to learning and thinking? how do you quantify the damage that can be done from the toxic air pollutants? so i think both of those statements are inaccurate. this amendment says in effect that if we're going to have an increase in cancer as a result of what is called by the author of this bill, proponents of this bill commonsense approach, that we're not going to let this bill go into effect. i think that's a commonsense
4:13 pm
approach. so i would urge the support for the amendment being offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. i think it's the right approach and underscores the wrong approach taken by the authors of this bill. i'd be happy to yield to the gentleman. mr. markey: again, the e.p.a. has estimates that delaying the boiler air pollution rules could cause upwards of 6,600 deaths per year. that's the estimate. and that might be low balling the number. we all know that parents out there are very concerned about what their kids are breathing in, especially if they live near these kind of facilities that is spewing this stuff up in the sphere. they know how -- up in the atmosphere. they know how kids can be vulnerable as they're growing up. and to say there's no health affect, that it can't be specifically quantify. that it's ,602 as opposed to
4:14 pm
6,605 doesn't mean they can't come up with a number, 6,600 is the approximate of what could happen in having this bill go on the books. and i think the gentleman for yielding. mr. waxman: the gentleman is correct. make no mistake, h.r. 2250 has real effect, real affects and it harms the health of all americans, especially our children. and no matter how much times republicans may want to say it, the bill won't harm health, doesn't weaken health standards, it's just simply not accurate. so i urge support for this amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. whitfield: i just want to make one comment. i made the comment that e.p.a. did not quantify in any health
4:15 pm
benefit from the reduction of mercury. i might also say in the court case tried to delay the boiler mact rule itself. and we in this legislation, because they lost that court case, we're simply saying we think you're right. you do need to take a little more time. and for that reason i would respectfully oppose the amendment. mr. waxman: point of parliamentary inquiry. the chair: does the gentleman yield back his time? mr. whitfield: yes. the chair: the gentleman yields back his time. mr. waxman: i want to talk about the parliamentary manner about which the debate was handled. when i asked for time to speak on the bill i was recognized for five minutes. when i was asked to speak again it was subject to unanimous consent request. it is not that the gentleman would have been given five minutes which i wouldn't object to. what are the standards in
4:16 pm
having a member speak twice in the debate? the chair: the gentleman from kentucky took the five minutes, claimed the five minutes of time that was allowed for opposition and then asked for -- to move to -- to strike the last word and claimed five minutes that he is entitled to as a matter of a member. mr. waxman: so the rule is any member can speak on the amendment and strike the last word and have two five-minute time frames? the chair: only if the first five minutes is claimed to -- in time to speak in opposition. mr. waxman: and i asked a minute ago to speak in favor of the amendment. the chair: correction. the five minutes allocated to speak in opposition. mr. waxman: i asked a while ago to speak in favor of an amendment. i was told that i had to strike the last word. i -- can the chair explain to me why i have to strike the last word to speak in favor of an amendment and if i spoke in
4:17 pm
favor of the amendment would i have an opportunity to speak -- striking the last word? the chair: the proponent gets five minutes, and someone in opposition is provided five minutes. and then other members may move to strike the last word. . mr. waxman. only? the chair: only. mr. waxman: thank you very much. >> i have a parliamentary inquiry. the chair: the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: if our respected colleagues take five mins to explain the amendment and someone on our side can claim time in opposition, we get five minutes, is that correct? the chair: the opponent is entitled to five minutes. mr. whitfield: in addition to that, if we come back and strike the last word, we get another five minutes if we desire. the chair: that is correct.
4:18 pm
mr. whitfield: thank you. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed. to the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. markey: i request the yeas and nays. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceed option the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentlelady seek recognition? ms. edwards: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number two printed in the congressional record, offered by ms. edwards of maryland. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes. ms. edwards: there's a strong sense of deja vu here in the house today. last week we gave power plants free rein to spew hazardous
4:19 pm
toxins into the air. we did the same for cement kilns. now here we are again, proposing to preemptively block e.p.a. from creating regulators -- regulations that would govern the third largest polluters, incinerators and boilers. republicans seem bent on turning back the clock on expansion and job growth. contrary to the belief of my colleagues on the other side, protecting our environment and our health doesn't stifle jobs. in fact, it saves jobs. that's because when you develop, manufacture, and implement environmental technology, it's labor intensetive. that -- intensive. that explains why in the same period that the clean air act kept more than 1.7 million tons of poisonous chemicals out of our lungs, it contributed to a 207%, that's right, 207%
4:20 pm
increase in the nation's g.d.p. so that's why i'm offering an amendment today, to acknowledge that this bill, h r. 2250, will block rules that have created at least 2,200 jobs. this number is a very conservative estimate. it doesn't count the good-paying jobs that would come from increased demand for the manufacture and installation of pollution control devices. it doesn't count the benefits to industry of improved worker productivity, due to 320,000 sick days avoided by reducing pollution under the rule. even conservatively, it puts 2,200 americans back to work. i'd like to ask my colleagues on the other side who are supporting this legislation to eviscerate the standards at a time when we have 14 million americans unemployed, mr. chairman, why in the world would you chip away at a law that has helped the american economy for 40 years and put millions back to work?
4:21 pm
study after study has documented the connection between employment and environmental regulations. the facts speak for themselves. the four most heavily regulated industries, pulp and paper, refining, iron and steel, and plastics, have seen a net increase of 1.5 jobs for every $1 million they've spent complying with standards. they are also some of the biggest users of boilers and incinerator that are the subject of this bill. one single rule, the first phase of the clean air interstate rule, that is brought -- hozz brought 200,000 new jobs in the air pollution control industry in the last seven years. an average rate of 29,000 additional workers employed each year. keep in mind, mr. chairman, we have a congress, a republican-controlled congress that hasn't created one job. so the boilermaker work force a group that's directly affected by the air quality standards wiped out by this bill, grew
4:22 pm
35% between 1999 and 2001, simply because more stringent pollution controls had ton installed to meet the e.p.a.'s regional nitrogen ox side production standards. in the u.s. environmental and technology services industry, employed 1.7 million in 2008 an exported some $44 billion worth of goods and services. that's a four-fold increase over 1990 when the clean air act was amended. so here we have a thriving international market for these goods and services that's estimated at $700 billion, on par, actually work the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries and this congress, this republican congress, actually wants to destroy that. unbelievable. the u.s. is recognized as a world lead for the technologies like pollution monitoring and control equipment. information systems for environmental management and analysis, engineering and design. we became a leader because of the clean air act. and other environmental
4:23 pm
legislation has challenged us to innovate. we answered the challenge. americans answered the challenge. as a result, our share of the global market is growing. in fact, we had a net trade surplus of $11 billion in environmental technologies in 2008. this is good business, mr. chairman. so it's ironic that the people around the world are eager to reward superior american ingenuity while this chamber is bringing forward a bill today that actually deprives the american people of the rewards and benefits of that ingenuity. look, congress can and has to do better. the american people are expecting it. in fact, we depend on it. so here we are again, 14 million people unemployed, millions in poverty, an we could be creating jobs. instead, we're destroying them. so i want to urge all my colleagues to actually support my amendment. as members of this chamber, republicans and democrats alike, it's time for us to join together in putting the country first and together we can get
4:24 pm
the american -- we can get america back to work. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: i move to claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. whitfield: the gentlelady from maryland's amendment would require we adopt a finding, a finding by e.p.a., that its boiler and incinerator rules will create 2,200 net additional squobs. and the reason we respectfully oppose that is that, that's e.p.a.'s analysis. and from hearings and from independent groups, we do question the models used, we question the assumptions made, we question the lack of transparency in some of e.p.a.'s numbers but more important than that, we've had the counsel of industrial boiler owners who you may or may not agree with their numbers, but they say, they've concluded that these rules would put at risk over 230,000
4:25 pm
jobs. so e.p.a. is saying, well, you're going to gain 2,200. they're saying, you're going to put at risk 230,000. then we had the american forest and paper association concluded that they're putting at risk under these new rules over 20,000 jobs. we may be picking up 2,200 but you're going to put at risk 230,000 plus 20,000 more. and then the whole argument that this administration seems to be making a lot of is that if you issue regulations and you put additional requirements in, then you create jobs. but yet, i believe that many people would say in the history of our country, we've become a strong economic power because we've had individuals willing to invest money to be innovative, to be free market -- free marketeers, go out with
4:26 pm
a new product and that increases our gross domestic product. now we seem to be having this argument that, well if we have more regulations, we'll create more jobs. and i would say to you that e.p.a. over this last year has been the most aggressive in recent memory. they've had about 12 or 13 major regulations and we still find that our unemployment rate nationwide is around 9.1%. if all these regulations are creating all these new jobs, where are they? so for the simple reason that this amendment would require us to put in a finding that this regulation will create 2,200 net additional jobs, when we have testimony, when we have witnesses, when we have documentation that the affected industries would put at risk many more thousands of jobs than would be gained, we would -- i would respectfully oppose
4:27 pm
the gentlelady from maryland's amendment. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. waxman: i want to counter the statement just made. we have an estimate from the boiler industry association, and they say that there's going to be a loss of jobs. that was what was cited by my friend from kentucky. but e.p.a. did a very careful, rigorous, 251-page economic analysis and found that the boiler rules issued in february would be expected to create over 2,000 jobs, which is the finding that the author of this amendment would have us put in the legislation. unlike the industry studies, e.p.a. had to follow guidelines and use a transparent analysis
4:28 pm
and put it to, subject to public comment. e.p.a. determined that the boiler rules would create a net 2,200 jobs, not included -- including jobs created to manufacture and install air pollution equipment. of course the boiler rules do more than just create jobs. they prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths, 4,100 nonfatal heart attacks, and cases of aggravated asthma. e.p.a. found the boiler rules will provide at least $10 to $24 in health benefit for every dollar in cost. but the council of industrial boiler owners put out this study estimating the standards would lead to 338,000 to 800,000 lost jobs. that was their analysis. but this analysis wildly
4:29 pm
overstated the impact of these rules by inflating the costs. ignoring the job growth resulting from investment in pollution control equipment and ignoring the fact that business can innovate and adapt to pollution control standards. so the nonpartisan c.r.s., congressional research service, examined the industry study and they said the basis of this c.b.o. study, that's the council of industrial boiler owners, was flaud and as a result the congressional research service said little credence can be placed in their estimate of job losses. the national association of clean air agencies also reviewed the study. these are the people who implement the studies at -- the standards at the state and local levels. they found the industry study assumptions about the number of sources that would need to make
4:30 pm
changes to comply were grossly in error. even though the council on boiler owners study has been thoroughly debunked, this week the republicans circulated a dear colleague citing this study about potential jobs at risk. that's been the basis of the statement made in today's debate. that's why this amendment is important. the republicans insist on referencing flawed industry studies, citing job losses, then we should ensure that e.p.a.'s peer reviewed am sis showing the potential for job growth is included in the record as well. the amendment before us does not change the underlying bill in a substantive way. it still nullifies the boiler rules and all the health benefits these rules would provide. but the amendment before us simply ensures that the bill's text includes a simple fact,
4:31 pm
e.p.a. estimates that the boiler rules will create jobs, not destroy them. i'd like to, at this point, ask the gentleman from kentucky, what other sources he has for his claim that there would be job losses other than the study by the council of industrial boiler owners? he said that they had their report but this was verified by other independent sources. what other sources can verify what the cbio states based on their study which has been found to be flawed? i'd like to yield to the gentleman. mr. whitfield: thank you, mr. waxman. you're accurate, the council of independent boiler owners was one. also, information we receive from the five labor unions on this issue point out some numbers and then the other one
4:32 pm
was a.f. and p.a. american forest paper. and then we have a letter from smuckers and a few other industries. mr. waxman: i'll put into the record a statement by the american boiler manufacturers association. these are the companies that actually design, manufacture and supply the commercial, constitutional and boilers -- i ask for 30 more seconds. the chair: is there an objection? mr. waxman: and they said it is imperative that the rulemaking process already under way for over a decade goes full and unincurvered by the congressional intrusion and that they be promulgated as soon as possible and begin generating what we expect to be the new high-tech engineering
4:33 pm
in the boiler and boiler-related sectors. i submit this is a reason to vote for this amendment. and what we had is arguments that have come from the -- the self-interested group based on a study that was found to be a flawed study. so i urge support for the amendment. i yield back. i yield whatever time i have -- i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia seek recognition? >> mr. chairman, i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> thank goodness, ladies and gentlemen, we don't have to check our common sense at the door and rely on the e.p.a. to be the pen pinnacle of common sense and -- pinnacle of common sense and reason in this body. mr. griffith: you heard what sources and you heard the gentleman from kentucky read sources. when you represent a district like mine where many of the communities is separated by rivers and mountains, to comply
4:34 pm
with the current e.p.a. rules on boilers which would require many changes and may require new gas pipelines, to go to existing jobsites, that you cannot accomplish that in three years. and if you cannot accomplish it under the current rules in three years, you need a bill like h.r. 2250 to make sure that you have time to be able to get the easements necessary. perhaps even through condemnation process and lawsuits to bring in that natural gas pipeline so that your factory can stay open. and if you can't do it in three years and the law says you have to do it in three years with the possibility of an extension of one and you are trying to keep jobs here, face big fines or move that factory to a country that wants your jobs instead what the e.p.a. in this country want which is to take those jobs overseas, then
4:35 pm
common sense tells you that the strict boiler mact rules will create 2,200 net jobs. it doesn't take seen yusses to figure that out. it doesn't take huge studies to figure that out. what it takes is common sense and thank goodness we can rely on common sense. in regard to the study or the letter by the american boiler manufacturers association, a company that makes money either way whether they get this bill passed and they sell their products overseas or they sell their product in this country, ladies and gentlemen, i have to tell you, i was affronted by their language that was just repeated on the floor when they talked about congressional intrusion. congressional intrusion, does the e.p.a. make the laws of this country or does the congress of the united states make the laws? i believe the congress of the united states makes the laws of this country, and when we see something bad it's our job to intervene and make the proper decisions for the united states
4:36 pm
of america and it is not intrusion to do our job. it's not intrusion to tell the e.p.a., we were the ones elected by the people, not the e.p.a. and that we are the folks who have to bring our common sense to bear and recognize -- i will not yield at this time -- and recognize that we have an obligation not only to the environment but to make sure that our people have the money to be able to afford to heat their homes, to be able to afford to feed their families and to be able to seek the american dream like we had the opportunity and our parents had that opportunity. and now i'd be happy to yield if the gentlelady wishes me to. ms. edwards: just one question for the gentleman if i would. i wonder if there's any time frame at all that would be acceptable for the implementation of standards that would save lives and create jobs? mr. griffith: the bill says there is to be a five-year period. it can be extended but there has to be a conclusion at some point.
4:37 pm
the bill calls for that. but the administrator of the e.p.a., and unless we assume that the administrator of the e.p.a. has to say nobody has to finish at any time can look on a case by case basis and if it's going to take any longer to get the natural gas pipeline in a particular body -- ms. edwards: will the gentleman yield? mr. griffith: and if it will take longer to get the job done, then they can make a real world decision that has real world effects positively on jobs instead of a blanket decision that makes it impossible for businesses to continue to employ people that they may have employed in this country for decades and not force those people to go overseas. and i yield back my time to the chair. the chair: the gentleman yields back his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from maryland. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. ms. edwards: mr. chairman. the chair: in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is -- mr. griffith: i ask for a recorded vote.
4:38 pm
the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from maryland will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentlelady from illinois seek recognition? ms. schakowsky: i have an amendment at the desk which was preprinted in the record as amendment number 1 to h.r. 2250. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in the congressional record offered by ms. schakowsky of illinois. the chair: the gentlelady from illinois is recognized for five minutes. ms. schakowsky: last week i offered an amendment that gave us the opportunity to demonstrate that we are aware of the impacts of our actions. we failed to take advantage of that opportunity and today we have another chance and i hope that we'll take it. my amendment simply includes in the finding section of the bill, creates a finding section, if you will, the scientific fact that mercury released into the ambian air from industrial boilers and
4:39 pm
waste incinerators is a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an infant's brain. that's what the amendment says. it inserts the following section into the findings and it says, the congress finds that mercury released into the afterian air from stroil -- ambian air from industrial boilers and waste incinerators is a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an infant's brain. mercury is one of the most harmful toxins in our environment. 48 tons of mercury is pumped into our air each year threatening one in six women worldwide with dangerous mercury exposure. pregnant women, infants and young children are most vulnerable to mercury poisoning which harms a child to read, write, walk, talk and comprehend. low level mercury exposure can cause adverse health effects. up to 10% of u.s. women of
4:40 pm
childbearing age are estimated to have mercury levels high enough to put their developing children at increased risk for cognitive problems. during the debate on my mercury findings amendment last week, my friend, mr. whitfield, stated, "the scientific understanding of mercury is certainly far more complicated that is reflected in this finding that asks to be included in this bill." i really don't know what he finds so complicated. the science is very straightforward. in 2000, the national academy of sciences issued a report on the toxic effects of mercury. over and over the report details the toxicity of mercury in very stark terms. "mercury is highly toxic. exposure to mercury can result in adverse effects in several organ systems throughout the life span of humans and animals. there is extensive data on the effects of mercury on the development of brains of humans and animals."
4:41 pm
high dose exposures -- it goes on to say, "mental retardation, cerebal palsy, sensory and motor impairment in exposed adults." there's another quote. "chronic, low-dose prenatal mercury exposure from internal consumption of fish," has been associated with impacts on attention, fine motor function, language and verbal memory. overall data indicate that, "the developing nervous system is a target organizeon for low dose mercury exposure." . "prenatal exposures interfere with the growth and migration of neurons and have the potential to cause irreversible damage to the developing central nervous system." what is so complicated by that. the e.p.a. industrial boiler and waste incinerators standards would reduce this major threat without undo
4:42 pm
burden to industry. the legislation we consider today will block e.p.a.'s efforts. it will send e.p.a. back to the drawing board with new, untested and legally vulnerable guidance for setting air pollution standards and most troubling, it will indefinitely delay any requirement to actually reduce pollution from industrial boilers and waste incinerators. the gentleman said there has to be an end date. this legislation says there doesn't have to be an end date. my colleagues across the aisle talk a lot about not wanting to burden the next generation with debt. where is their concern with burdening the next generation with reduced brain capacity? but even considering the very serious policy differences we have today, my amendment should be noncontroversial. it would not alter the goals or the implementcation of the pending legislation. it simply recognizes what -- implementation of the pending legislation. it simply recognizes what the scientific community tells us about mercury.
4:43 pm
we will not be able to bridge our policy differences if we cannot agree on the basic policies of science. h.r. 2250 patently ignores the scientifically proven fact that mercury exposure inhibits brain development, especially in infants. if we are prepared to pass legislation that would jeopardize the health of children, we should be willing, minimally, to acknowledge the scientific fact that e.p.a. inaction poses a serious health risk. last week we failed to mote our obligation to recognize the consequences of our actions. let's not repeat this mistake. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment that simply puts a scientific fact into the legislation. i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: to claim time in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. whitfield: i certainly have great respect for the
4:44 pm
gentlelady from illinois and her amendment basically reads that the congress finds that mercury released into the ambien air is a potent neurotoxin. now, from the hearings that we've had and the discussions that we've had and the documents that we talked -- have seen, the scientific understanding of mercury seems to be more complicated than is reflected in her amendment. now, why do i say that? i say that because your amendment says mercury released into the air, it's our understanding that methol mercury is the neurotoxin. that mercury released into the air is not a neurotoxin. and for that reason we would oppose the amendment because there's a difference in meth ol
4:45 pm
mercury and and pure mercury. one other comment i would like to make. our legislation has a minimum of five years to comply with the new rules that e.p.a. may come forth with. and it can go beyond that but that would be at the total discretion of the administrator of e.p.a., and for that reason we really certainly do not have any concern that it would never be set with a firm deadline. in fact, in that legislation we say the compliance deadline shall be set. . a minimum of five years and the administrator may allow it to go further than that. so the argument that it would go on forever and forever, we genuinely believe, is pretty remote. but the simple reason, as i sated -- as i stated, about the scientific understanding and scientific research, between mercury and methyl mercury is
4:46 pm
the reason we oppose inserting that finding. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? mr. waxman: i rise to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. waxman: this amendment simply states a scientific fact, mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an infant's brain. in 2000, the nabble academy of sciences concluded that the data linking neurodevelopment effects to mercury exposure is extensive system of what do we hear from the republican side of the aisle? science denial. when we talked about climate change and all the impact of the greenhouse gases, they said there's no problem. science denial. well, let me just say that republican majority in the house can vote to amend the clean air act but they cannot vote to amend the laws of
4:47 pm
nature. babies born to women exposed to mercury during pregnancy can suffer from a range of developmental and neurological abnormalities, include degree layed onset of walking, delayed onset of talking, cerebral palsy and lower neurological test scores. the national academy of science has estimated each year about 60,000 children may be born in the u.s. with neurological problems that could lead to poor school performance because of ex-pe shower to mercury in utero. the effects of mercury ex-pe shower in utero are insidious and long-term. why are we hearing that this isn't a scientific fact? i've heard mercury and mercury when it's mixed with other chemicals, but i think we have make up the science as you go
4:48 pm
along but deny the science the scientists have worked for decades establishing. boilers and insin kators are one of the largest sources of -- so far as airborne mercury pollution in the u.s. for far too long they have been allowed to pollute unabated. now the republican leadership wants to nullify the rules that e.p.a. finalized to cut emissions in mercury and other toxic air pluges from boilers and incinerators. these rules were more than a decade late and the republicans say, let e.p.a. start the rule making process all over again. let them comply with a different standards. we're going to amend the law to provide a different standard. the standard should not be to use the maximum available control technology but something that is the lowest risk of harm or cost to the industry. the republicans keep trying to justify this bill by saying
4:49 pm
that the public health benefits of cutting mercury pollution here at home aren't significant enough to justify the cost. i think we're talking about science 101. this is not a subject to debate. mercury is a known neurotoxin so i ask those who support this bill, are you going to vote against what scientists say is a fact? many of you voted earlier this year to reject the overwhelming science linking carbon pollution to climate change. i hope the republicans are not going to do the same thing now by rejecting what every public health expert knows, mercury is a poison. i yield to the gentlelady from illinois. ms. schakowsky: i would like to ask my friend mr. whitfield, sense we're talking about mercury or methyl mercury, is the amendment i offered read -- if the amendment offered read,
4:50 pm
instead of the way it does, congress finds that mercury released -- becomes a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an infant's brain? because that's what happens. mercury, the semantics of it, it becomes methyl mercury, we could make it that way. mr. waxman: let me yield time to the gentleman from kentucky, maybe he'll be satisfied with that change because you're stating in a very clear, unequivocal way as a scientific finding, would the gentleman from kentucky be willing to agree to that statement of the issue? mr. whitfield: would the gentlelady repeat what she suggested. ms. schakowsky: instead of saying that the mercury released is a potent neurotoxin, i say becomes a potent neurotoxin that can damage the development of an
4:51 pm
infant's brain because that's the science. that's what happens. mr. waxman: i yield further to the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: let me ask a parliamentary inquiry. what is the parliamentary procedure if we were to attempt to do something like this. mr. waxman: let's worry about that later, would you be willing to accept the substance of that change in the findings of the legislation? mr. whitfield: we're cutting fine hairs here. what i go back to is in e.p.a.'s own analysis they indicated -- mr. waxman: i ask unanimous consent for one additional minute. the chair: is there objection? the gentleman is recognized. mr. whitfield: they said there's no harmful -- mr. waxman: this amendment simply says it has the potential to a be a neuroroe toxin than can affect children.
4:52 pm
mr. whitfield: has the potential. may i ask a parliamentary inquiry. the chair: does the gentleman yield for that purpose. mr. waxman: let me ask, if we had a unanimous consent request, could we change the amendment? as i understand it, we could. the chair: the proponent may modify her amendment by unanimous consent. mr. waxman: i yield to the gentleman if he wishes to seek a unanimous consent request in that regard. he objects. there was an objection. reclaiming my time for the little moments that i have left, what we are seeing is republicans unwilling to say anything that has been scientifically established, they're willing to deny the science and do anything in order to serve the interests of the industry and i think we
4:53 pm
ought to have the finding in the bill since it does not affect the functions of the bill itself. i urge support for the amendment. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question son the amendment offered by the gentleman, i'm sorry, the gentlelady from illinois. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from illinois will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota wish to be recognized? mr. ellison: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the gentleman has thee amendments. will the gentleman specify the amendment. mr. ellison: amendment number 12. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 12 printed in the congressional record, offered by mr. ellison of minnesota. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. ellison: mr. speaker, my amendment is very simple.
4:54 pm
what it says is that if the e.p.a. administrator finds that the regulation creates more than 1,000 jobs, then the administrator can shorten the five-year delay which the bill would impose. so very simply, the e.p.a. administrator can come forward and say, look, 1,000 jobs have been created by this and therefore, this delay of five years would be shortened. that's all the amendment called for. in a time when we have such tremendous need for jobs in america, i would think that if the e.p.a. can identify 1,000 jobs created in connection with this bill, with this rule, then we should certainly be able to shorten the five-year speared of -- period of delay. so i ask that -- for support for this amendment because i'm sure that everybody on both sides of the aisle agrees whole
4:55 pm
heartedly with job creation and there has been, i believe, a false choice offered to the american people. this false choice is very simple to describe. that is what we can either have rules that limit emissions from boilers, or we can have jobs, but according to some people in this body, we can't have both. we can't have both clean lungs, be free of mercury be free of other neurotoxins and contaminants and have jobs. i argue we can have both. if the e.p.a. administrator can demonstrate that there are jobs created here, then the five-year period should in fact be shortened. i argue that what we need to do here is to stand for jobs and according to e.p.a., what we have seen is that -- is that this bill -- that this bill, this rule, underlying rule, which would be delayed by the bill, actually will create, has
4:56 pm
been estimated to create up to 2,200 jobs. so let's see if that's actually right. let's see if the proposal as set forth by the rule would create jobs as the e.p.a. administrator says it will, if it does, we should say, let's go for it. the economic impact of the boiler regulation is exceptionally positive. the e.p.a.'s data shows that by reducing the particulate matter pollution from industrial boilers will generate net economic benefits from $22 billion to $56 billion every year. why wouldn't we want to take full advantage of that economic activity as all of us are concerned about jobs? over the 40 years of success of the clean air act have been demonstrated that strong environmental protections and strong economic growth go hand in hand. they are not one versus the other, they go together. since 1970, the clean air act
4:57 pm
has reduced key pollutants by more than 70% while at the same time the economy has grown by over 200%. so much for the claim that regulation kills jobs. that's not true. it's not right. it's inaccurate. and i say by supporting my amendment, we can see who is right. i see no reason why the republican majority wouldn't support my amendment if they believe, as they claim, regulations, environmental regulations hurt jobs. we will see, we have a chance to see, and i want to see if people really believe what they claim and they can demonstrate their commitment to what they argue by supporting my amendment. the benefits outweigh the projected costs of compliance by as much as 13-1 in this case. the misleading report from the council of industrial boiler oowners -- owners claims over 300,000 jobs are at risk. this is wrong. the national association of
4:58 pm
clean air agencies found that the industry commission report is based on exaggerations and omissions. the report from the industry substantially overestimates the cost of compliance regulation and the boiler owners have ignored many benefits of the rule. thousands of new jobs to install and ormente and maintain pollution -- and operate and maintain pollution control equipment. the public health benefit is nearly $40 billion a year. creating green economy jobs would create jobs throughout the supply chain. for example, installing and operating scrubbers. so what's important? that we make jobs the fee cus of our work here in congress. the republican majority has seen fit not to introduce jobs bills in its time as the majority. here's an opportunity to say if you really believe that regulations kill jobs, vote for my amendment and we'll be able to see because the
4:59 pm
administrator, if 1,000 jobs can be generated, will be able to delay this rule. if you really don't believe it and you just want to do what the boiler owners want, then of course you'll vote no. if you really believe what you say, you'll vote yes. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from kentucky. mr. whitfield: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. whitfield: i respectfully oppose this amendment and ask that it be defeated. once again, we're hearing the argument if you have enough regulations you'll create jobs. the gentleman referred to e.p.a.'s estimate of a net game of -- net gain of 2,200 jobs as a result of this regulation. but when you look at the council of industrial boilers, when you read documentation from labor unions, from the forest paper product, from the universities, they say there are at risk, as a direct result of this regulation, in excess of 280,000 jobs.

52 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on