tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 11, 2014 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
restrictions on selling our energy to all but a handful of countries. we should end the self-imposed sanctions on our energy exports to ukraine. this would undermine putin's influence. it would bolster our allies throughout europe and create jobs at home and i urge all members to support this important measure. i'll reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise to express my strong support for house resolution 499, a resolution that condemns the recent violation of ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity by russia. i want to begin by thanking chairman royce for his leadership on this issue, as well as ranking member engel for their introducing this resolution. as ranking member on the subcommittee of europe, eurasia
and threats, i along with others have watched the developments in ukraine with concern. mr. keating: particularly over the last nine months. summit re the presenting the surprise announcement in november he would not sign an association agreement with the e.u., our administration noted with concern the pressure exerted over ukrainian authorities to act against the interests of their own people. it began with russian threats of trade embargo and gas supply cutoffs in ukraine if they signed the association agreement. after peaceful demonstrators took to the streets in subzero temperatures, chilling cold, risking their own well being in kiev to protest the decision, russia threatened to withhold
billions of dollars in promised financial assistance if yanukovych did not crack down on them. in mid february, dozens of protesters were tragically gilled ukrainian special police receivinged orers from then-presidentian cue voach -- yanukovych. now under the most disingenuous of pretexts, president putin has ordered his troops to invade a sovereign country in blatant viles of international law. enough is enough. we must stand with the people of ukraine at this critical moment. the people of ukraine and the people of all countries in the region and throughout the world, for that matter, have the right to determine their own future, free of pressure, free of threats. as ukrainians attempt to chart out their own course, they should know that the united states stands with them and that we're committed to helping them
build a more democratic, prosperous, secure and just ukraine. before i go any further, i'd like to commend the administration and in particular secretary kerry, assistant secretary newland, ambassador pyatt and the women and men of our embassy in kiev who have work sod tirelessly throughout this crisis to support the democratic aspirations of ukrainian people. i witnessed them work. -- work tirelessly in thevert, not letting two days go by without imploring the leadership in ukraine to move forward. i noticed the vice president interceding virtually three times a week in that same effort. i welcome the administration's initial actions in response to russia's invasion of crimea, including the announce.
of an executive order authorizing visa bans and sanctions against individuals threatening ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. if russia continues to refuse to pull back troops toits bases, there must be further consequences. these consequences must be severe, including trade and economic sanctions. and expulsion from the g8. this resolution could spread -- puts president putin on notice that his reck legislation actions -- reck less actions will have -- reckless actions will have consequences. it calls on him to return his troops to their bases. it make ours support for meaningful assistance to ukraine and the ukrainian interim government. i call on my colleagues to support this house resolution and reserve the balance of my time and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves.
mr. royce: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to yield two minutes to the gentleman from north carolina, mr. holding a member of the committee on foreign affairs. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. holding: mr. speaker, i'd like to first thank chairman royce and ranking member engel for their leadership on this issue in the foreign affairs committee. the situation in ukraine continues to be grim and now is the time to support those that strive for democracy. included in house resolution 499 is an amendment i offered in committee to strengthen the language expressing the support of the house to work with our partners in the ukraine to improve transparency, combat corruption and protect individual rights through an independent judiciary and strong rule of law. this resolution, mr. speaker, is an important first step, but there's more we must do to address russia's violation of ukraine's sovereignty. i hope to work with the chairman and ranking nobody quickly pass a strong package of sanctions
that target those responsible for the invasion of crimea and lets russia know that the annexation of crimea or any part ok. e ukraine is not i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the entleman from massachusetts. mr. keating: at this time i yield to the person who is co-chair of the ukraine caucus and a person that is committed to ukraine and is one of the strongest voices here in the u.s. for that, representative levin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: thank you very much, thank you for yielding. i rise in support of this important resolution supporting the people of ukraine ancon democratting the violation of ukrainian sovereignty, its
territorial integrity and in dependent -- and independence by russia. unified, bipartisan american support is needed now more than ever as the ukrainian people and their freedom are under threat from russian aggression. last week the house spoke with one voice and took a critical step in support of ukraine by passing a loan guarantee bill this resolution is another positive step. mr. putin's military incursion into crimea is a blatant violation of russian obligations under a number of multilateral agreements. it demands a strong response and the administration and congress have responded accordingly. in addition, -- in addition to condemning russia's military cupation of crimea, this
resolution supports the obama administration's efforts to provide support to ukraine and supports work with our european allies to impose targetted nancial and travel and trade nctions on russian officials responsible for violations of international law. the ukrainian caucus which i co-chair has operated in a bipartisan way this is especially true since the crisis began because supporting fundamental human rights and democracy in ukraine and opposing illegal efforts by one country to dominate another, all of this should not be partisan issues. in closing, i urge the house to once again speak with one voice in support of ukraine and pass
this resolution. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: i reserve the balance of my time and -- mr. keating: i reserve the balance of my time and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield three minutes to the gentleman from indiana, mr. messer. mr. messer: i rise in support of this important bipartisan resolution. i want to commend chairman royce and ranking member engel for bringing this forward. the united states has been committed to ukraine's prosperity and sovereignty since it gained independence in 1991. there's never been a more critical time to reaffirm this commitment than right now. president putin's unilateral decision to expand russia's military operations in the ukraine was made with the calculation that the world would
respond with words, not deeds. he was wrong. the world must send a clear message to russia that there will be real consequences to these violations of international laws. failure to deter russia's aggression will embolden president putin to continue seeking illegitimate power and further threaten stability in this important region of the ofld just as importantly, -- the world. just as importantly, failure to act would embolden bullies in other areas of the world who are no doubt watching. this resolution calls for strongs action by the united states, such as suspending military cooperation with russia, boycotting the g-8 summit and imposing sanctions on those involved in this breach of international law. america should also take this opportunity to expand energy production and energy exports,
to send a clear message to the ukraine, russia, and our allies that america will not allow russia to use its energy resources to intimidate the world. all these actions are necessary to show russia and the rest of the world that the united states won't sit on the sidelines when people are being used as political pawns by so-called leaders seeking to enhance their own power by the use of force. i urge our colleagues to support this important resolution and demonstrate to friend and foe alike that america still stands for freedom and the ability of people everywhere to determine their own destiny, not have that destiny determined for them by threats, intimidation, and military might. i yield back the balance of my ime.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. keating: this is important not just with what the resolution says, this is important how we say that, as a country. we are gathered here today and it's no one's surprise in this chamber that from time to time we don't see eye to eye on issues. this important matter has brought both sides together, republican house members standing shoulder to shoulder with democrats and republicans alike, joining with the other chamber in the senate, both republicans and democrats alike, in one voice, with the administration. that was only a few weeks ago that i was in munich and had the opportunity to sit down with vi talli klitschko who has been in e midst of all this move for democracy and tragically in the
midst of the violence and killing that's occurred he spoke with sincerity and passion. over what his people are going through right noism spoke about his country's need to be a free people with a rule of law, stamping out corruption and moving forward in a democratic fashion. he asked that the u.s. speak as well. and with this resolution, we have the opportunity to speak in one united, loud, determined voice for democracy. with that, i reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california is ecognized. mr. royce: i yield myself such time as i might consume, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. royce: mr. speaker, the new
prime minister of the ukraine will visit capitol hill tomorrow and this resolution is a strong show of support in the house. it show this is a we will support the people of the ukraine as they try to build a democratic country, a country that's more prosperous, a country that is free of illegitimate outside influence. and it also sends a clear message to the leaders and elites in russia that an -- annexation of territory in a neighboring state will not extend russia's influence but will instead lead to political and economic isolation. let me also speak to the issue of russia's state controlled gas company. they have just threatened to cut off supplies to ukraine. this is not new. in the past, disputes over natural gas supplies and prices and debts have resulted in russia shutting off the
pipelines in ukraine in january of 2006, and in january 2009. not surprisingly, in the middle of the winter. when they would inflict the most damage. these actions also hit several countries in europe which are heavily dependent on russian gas that transits by pipeline through ukraine. those cunlries are hungary and poland -- those countries are hungary and poland and the slovak republic and romania. this shortfall would reverberate throughout europe. i believe it is important that we pass this resolution out today and i am going to continue to reserve the plans of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves, the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. . mr. keating: i yield to the gentlelady from ohio, the co-chair of the ukrainian
caucus, ms. kaptur. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. kaptur: i thank the ranking member for allowing me this time, and i want to commend the committee of jurisdiction for bringing this bill before our body in a very timely manner. i am very proud of our country. the standard there for liberty across this world. and we as a congress and this house in particular are in the leadership role of standing up for people in another place who seek to have the same freedoms that we enjoy. these freedoms are hard earned. this resolution today, h.r. 499, allows congress to take firm xt step toward our ukrainian sovereignty, her -- and this house
passed another bill on january 29 on which those of us on the floor today were orget co-sponsors. the russian military invasion of crimea is a violation of every treaty and agreement to which she is apart, including her membership in the united nations and its national security council. russia's action is not only only a violation of ukraine's ter anotherial integrity but also the 1994 budapest memorandum on security assurances and the breach of obligations under the united nations charter. the united states continues to condemn those violations. we call on russia to immediately withdrawal all military forces from crimea. no two nations should shed bloodshed any more who have the histories of ukraine and
russia. we call on the administration and our european allies to impose financial, trade and visa sanctions in increasing measure -- and increasing measures on those in russia responsible for this travesty. i urge my colleagues to fully support house resolution 499, and i would wish to thank the ukrainian caucus, founded by members here today, especially congressman sander levin of michigan, who has fought at our side for so many decades, actually, for the freedom of ukraine. i want to thank the chairman of the committee, mr. ed royce of california for his continued leadership and vedge lens, and congressman carney for allowing me the time today. most americans and people in the world don't know the full history of ukraine, but no place suffered more in the 20th
century than that place. through forced starvation by the then soviet union, by invasion by the great terror by then the invasion of the nazis and the german government. a bit later, over 14 million people slaughtered or starved to death or assassinated and buried alive inside the boundaries of what we call ukraine. there is no greater moral obligation for the world community than to stand at ukraine's side now in her fateful hour. i am so very proud of our country for being a positive force, to get a diplomatic resolution and a peaceful settlement and to stop any further bloodshed. what a shame that would be in this 21st century, a century that should be one of democratic advancement and liberty for all. yield back my remaining time.
the speaker pro tempore: the lady yields back. the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. royce: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. how much time remains? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts has 7 1/2 minutes. mr. keating: thank you, mr. speaker. i also want to mention, it was just a few weeks ago also, that i met with the prime minister as well. we had time to discuss this issue. we had time to again recount the valor and courage of those people who took the streets and risked their lives. it's worthwhile to note that the prime minister is in washington this week and we want to commend him for his efforts and stand beside him. and mr. speaker, at this point i would like to yield three
minutes to our whip, minority whip who has taken this action forward, who has spoken so loudly and has provided great leadership on this issue, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is recognized for three minutes. mr. hoyer: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i want to congratulate chairman royce for bringing this bill to the floor, ranking member engel and my good friend from massachusetts for his leadership on this issue. mr. speaker, i rise to express my strong support for this resolution. hopefully it will pass unanimously. russian forces continue to occupy crima in gross violation f -- crimea in gross violation law and bind agreemented signed by ukraine and russia in 1994 and 1997.
mr. speaker, i chaired the commission on security and cooperation in europe from 1985 to 1995. it was an extraordinairea where the soviet union crumbled under the weight of its bad economic system and its political terrorism. t is starting to rear its ugly head again. president obama and secretary kerry have made it very clear and we need to make it very clear that russia cannot interfere in ukraine without serious costs. and when i say serious costs, i mean exactly that. it cannot be empty words. it cannot be you ought not to.
it needs to be you must not, and we will not allow. last week the president proposed sanctions and travel bans against russian leaders complicit in their country's entrance into crima. a referendum has no legitimacy when there are military forces in the streets. in any event, as i said, i chaired the helsinki commission. the helsinki final act passed in july of 1975 and signed by president ford and said emphatically and explicitly that borders cannot be changed other than by political and peaceful means. military incursion is not an option. this resolution will send a powerful message on behalf of
the american people. the people of ukraine want to build a future based on democracy and freedom will hear us and be strengthened by our support. how do i know that? because vaclav havel, the leader of czechoslovakia, a helsinki act activist spoke from that podium where the president of the united states gives his state of the union and says the helsinki final act made an extraordinary difference. us speaking out will give courage and encouragement. may i have one additional minute? mr. keating: i yield. mr. hoyer: i thank the gentleman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hoyer: thank you, mr. speaker. those that threaten ukraine's territorial integrity or its economic activity will hear us as well. as i understand, the 1994 agreement, great britain and
the united states, two of the great powers in this world said we would protect and come to the aid of ukraine when they gave up their nuclear weapons in consideration, in part of that representation made by us and plead by the russians. -- made by the russians. mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to approve this resolution and send a strong and unmistakable message of solidarity to the people of ukraine and unity and defense of democracy in ukraine. and indeed throughout the world. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i'll reserve the right to close. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. keating: thank you, mr. speaker. i think i will close at this time, just recounting the fact
that so many of us in this chamber have the opportunity to travel, to go to different countries, and i must say each time i go i will look at different countries and i'll look at the fact there is no strong rule of law. i'll look at the fact there are no human rights protections, no protections against someone's freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of speech s. and i come back to this country and i kiss the ground that we walk on and take for granted daily. i've looked at what's transpired in this region. i've looked at the way that laws were put in place in ukraine and fortunately repealed that denied the right to gather together, that denied the right to speak up.
human rights violations that i , und to exist, too, in russia the country that is moving in such an aggressive manner towards ukraine. since 1991, the united states has strongly supported a democratic, prosperous, sovereign ukraine, and in keeping with this commitment, we supported a peaceful negotiated resolution of the recent crisis there. as hundreds of thousands of ukrainian citizens came out in the streets of kiev and throughout ukraine to express their desire for more democratic and just state, many of them, risking their lives, too many sacrificing their lives. the recent election of a new interim government singled that ukraine was back on a path towards stability and political
and economic health. but instead of gathering here to welcome this event, sadly we're gathered now dealing with international crisis in crimea. we must support ukraine's efforts. their efforts are our efforts. their move for democracy are the staple of our own government. i urge the entire membership to join with us, to join with chairman royce, to join with ranking member engel and the rest of this house on their resolution moving forward, and with that i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. mr. royce: i yield myself such time as i might consume, mr. speaker, and i'd like to begin by thanking mr. keating, the gentleman from massachusetts,
for his work on this resolution as well as our ranking member of the committee, eliot engel of new york, and also recognize the long hard work that congresswoman marcy kaptur of ohio and mr. gerlach, mr. gerlach of pennsylvania have put in to their engagement on this issue with the ukraine. i would also add that if we do not recognize that russia is using energy as a weapon, we are missing what is really going on in eastern europe and central europe. it was in part ukraine's reliance on russia's energy that pushed the now deposed ukraine president to abandon the trade deal with the european union. it was that attempt to pressure him, and he was tempted by
promises of discounts on natural gas. he was pressured by the threat of turning off the valve on that gas. he was pressured to turn toward russia instead of the european union. we believe that ukraine should have the right to trade with russia and the european union, trade east and west and north to poland and south to muldova. this should be the decision of the ukrainian people, and i believe the administration must do far more to isolate russia diplomatically than it has to date. the treasury department should also make clear that the u.s. is on the lookout for russian enterprises, especially banks that are involved in illicit activities, such as the transfer of stolen ukrainian assets, but we must remember that the purpose of our pressure on russia is not
simply to punish aggression and certainly it is not to escalate the confrontation but instead to move putin toward a resolution that protects the independence and the territorial integrity of ukraine. that is the goal all of us share. i urge all members to support house resolution 499 and stand with the people of ukraine. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 499 as amended? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended. mr. royce: on that i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those in fare of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until
counted. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this otion will be postponed. the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 2019, an act to eliminate taxpayer financing of political party conventions and reprogram savings to provide for a 10-year pediatric research initiative through the common fund administered by the national institutes of health nd for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? mr. schock: mr. speaker, i move
to prules and pass the bill h.r. 1814. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1814, a bill to amend section 5008 of the internal revenue code of 2006 to provide an adecisional religious exemption from the individual health coverage mandate. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from illinois, mr. schock, and the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. schock: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: so order. mr. schock: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. schock: just yesterday here in washington a newspaper headline read "worst congress ever." the thrust of the article was an indictment against washington partisanship for failure to move significant legislation on
behalf of the american people. to some degree we have all felt at time this is a congress isn't making any laws. of course there are times, however, when congress must make no law if we are to honor the oath we have sworn to support and defend the constitution of the united states. indeed, congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. today we have the opportunity to work together across the aisle to reaffirm this founding principle of our democracy. together, we will reinforce the constitutional protection for sincere believers of all faiths against unnecessary entanglement of governments with their private religious expression. h.r. 1814 slightly expands the religious conscience exemption of the affordable care act to include people who sincerely held religious beliefs among
those who qualify for an exemption. in order to qualify for the exemption they must affirm on an annual tax return that they cannot purchase coverage due to a sincerely held religious belief this term, widely recognized by the courts is designed to protect various types of religious believers, not just those who belong to a traditional organized religion. today's bill must become law. among the many problems with the affordable care act, the current conscience exemption only protects religious exemptions of a few select faiths. now i'm fully aware that not every organization supporting -- purporting to defend religious liberty is in favor of today's measure. i am nevertheless thankful that any good friend from the other side of the aisle, mr. keating, joined me in this effort. his home state of massachusetts
incorporated a similar religious liberty exemption in their state law and it seems to be working out just fine. since the law passed only 6,500 ay state verse claimed the conscience exemption this affirms the fact of the religious liberty we affirm today. that the constitution doesn't only protect the religious beliefs of majorities but it protects even the smallest faith group and even the single individual against laws that infringe upon their sincerely held religious beliefs. but h.r. 1814 isn't only about constitutional jurisprudence and legislative correctness. it is about real people in my district and in yours who feel that their free exercise of religionsen cumbered under the current law. one of them is a constituent of ne named andrew who lives in chillicothe, illinois.
his religious commitment leads him to pursue only nonmedical health care options and according to andrew, under the health care law, he would be required to pay a fine once the individual mandate penalty kicks in. regrettably, his religious beliefs were not considered when the present conscience exemption was enact the each act today gives individuals like andrew the ability to practice his religious beliefs without coercive governments fining him for coverage he does not intend to use, nor can he use and remain true to his most sincere religious beliefs. we recognize that the immense unpopularity of obamacare might entice others to claim an exemption under the each act to escape penalty. in order to ensure that individuals don't game the system, this bill revokes the exemption and requires the individual to pay a stiff penalty if he or she seeks
medical treatment at any point during that year. h.r. 1814 walk this is a fine line between protecting the first amendment for every american and safeguarding taxpayers against potential fraud. congress has long sought to uphold both these commitments and today this bill affords us a bipartisan opportunity to do it once again. i urge my colleagues to support this important fix to the affordable care act and pass h.r. 1814. with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance manufacture my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: it's my pleasure to yield such time as he may consume to the ranking member on energy and commerce, mr. waxman of california. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. waxman: mr. speaker, i thank the gentleman for yielding to me. i know that this legislation carries important personal significance for some of our colleagues and i respect that. but i want to express some real
concerns about the bill because i feel it's overly broad. it could seriously undermine the affordable care act and would establish a bad precedent for our tax laws. the bill state this is a individuals would not be required to obtain health insurance coverage if they're, quote, sincerely -- if their, quote, sincerely held religious beliefs, end quote, cause them to object to treatment this is a would be cover the bill does not narrowly define sincerely held religious beliefs as those of christian scientists or other groups who rely on a reals you method of healing. as a result, the bill would force the i.r.s. to either accept virtually all attestations of exemption or determine which americans' religious beliefs meet that standard. this is impossibly difficult to enforce and frankly it is not a
role we want the i.r.s. to take on. if the i.r.s. chose to define sincerely held reals you beliefs broadly, h.r. 1814 could allow essentially anyone opposed to the affordable care act to opt out of coverage. that would lead to an increase in the number of uninsured americans and it would shift costs onto other taxpayers. even if we assume the i.r.s. could set a standard, there are significant problems with the legislation. the bill claim this is a individuals receiving, quote, voluntary, end quote, medical care would lose their exemption but the i.r.s. has no way to monitor vings' use of voluntary medical care making this totally unenforceable. furthermore, individuals receiving involuntary care such as expensive emergency care,
would be allowed to remain exempt from the coverage requirement passing the cost of their care onto hospitals and other taxpayers. i understand that this is a sensitive issue. if religious groups received medicare and social security benefits do not want to obtain health insurance we need to examine that issue carefully. this bill should have been the subject of hearings. it should have been marked up in the committee. unfortunately, it was not. the affordable care act is about moving our nation toward a universal health insurance coverage. that's the right thing for both -- for the health of our nation so i believe we need to tread very carefully when opening up new loopholes or exemptions and we must be very cautious before signing such sensitive duties to the i.r.s. because of these concerns, i cannot support this legislation
at the present time and in its present form. i hope our colleagues in the senate will take a careful look at it and make substantial changes before considering it further. i thank the gentleman and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. schock: thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate my friend's comments from california, i remind the gentleman this is a near carbon copy of language implemented in the state of massachusetts and it's had minimal effect and impacted and helped a small number of people that's why the bill has received such bipartisan support and is on the suspension calendar here tonight. with that, i yield to my good friend, mrs. black, from the state of tennessee for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. black: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to give my strongest support to my friend, mr. schock's legislation, the equitable access to care and
health act. even some of the president's most ardent supporters now recognize that obamacare is a fundamentally unfair law and i'm happy to see so many democrats join us in support of this bill. instead of having federal bureaucrat december side who and what group should be allowed religious conscience exemptions from this law's tax penalty, individuals themselves, individuals themselves should be empowered to affirm their objections to this law's onerous and controversial mandays. that's why this -- this is what that commonsense bill would do and i urge swift pass technology help protect americans from the obama administration's war on religious liberties. thank youened i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. schock: i yield two minutes
to the distinguished gentleman from the ways and means committee from the great state of texas, mr. brady. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i rise today in support of h.r. 1314, equitable access to care and health act. one of our rights as american citizens is we have the riblet to subscribe to whatever faith we choose and that comes with the freedom of per cushion and different treatment under the law. this body has long recognized the freedom of religion and worked to ensure that individuals of all faiths are treated fairly under the law. even the affordable care act, though it imposes a burden of purchasing insurance, includes a religious con shention exemption but it's not fairly distributed to all americans. while covering many faiths it doesn't cover all with seek protection. what the each act does is ensure that this apply turnovers american that wants it.
propro-- it -- it protects the individual's first amendment rights from being placed in jeopardy because of the requirement to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty tax. this is commonsense, fairness legislation that extends a fundamental right to all american this is a have religious objections to standard medical care. this is a chance for taos right a wrong that i believe was just a drafting oversight and of course we ensure that this government doesn't impose $1.5 billion tax on americans simply because of their reals you beliefs. i thank my good friend and colleague from the committee on ways and means, mr. schock, for his leadership, as well as the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. keating, for introducing this bipartisan legislation and i urge all my colleagues to support this bill and vote yes for religious freedom. mr. speaker work that, i yield back the balance of my time.
mr. levin: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. schock: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield a minute and good friend from illinois, mr. davis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. davis: i want to thank my friend from the great state of illinois for introducing this important bill. as somebody who has the only christian science college in the nation in his district, this is a very important issue for religious freedom and religious rights. the college in elsa, illinois, has 550 students and they sent me this. this was a card that has much more artistic talent than i do and it say, thank you, we're so grateful of your defense of religious freedom and hope you will continue to advocate for this bill until it passes. this is -- this is the voice of those who need this exemption. this is the voice of those who need their religious rights protected and this is why i am
standing here today with my colleague from illinois to talk about this bill and making sure that it passes. i would urge all of my colleagues, republicans and democrats, to respect students and the faculty that work and attend this college in my district and i would hope they would support this bill with us. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois reserves his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: could i ask my colleague, are you ready to close? mr. schock: yes. mr. levin: i yield myself the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: i respect very much the specific impetus for this bill. unfortunately, though, there have been no hearings on this legislation, and it was not marked up in committee. i would like to provide information on current law on the scope of this legislation and its potential consequences on our health system. it is why i do not support this bill in its present form.
first, it is important to note that the affordable care act contains a religious exemption incorporating one that has been in the internal revenue code since 1965. this provision permits an exemption to members of religion that join together to provide mutual aid as a community. for example, the amish and mennonite faiths. or participate in the health care sharing ministry, which is akin to insurance. these groups do not participate in government-funded social services, including medicare or social security. this is a long-standing, well-defined, easy to implement exemption and it was carried over to a.c.a. the a.c.a.'s minimal essential coverage requirement, which challenged in federal court under the religious freedom restoration act. the court rejected the
challenge, including that a.c.a. did not impose a substantial burden on plaintiff's religious exercises. despite claims that the plaintiffs, and i quote, believe in trusting in god to protect them from illness and injury, end of quotes, and did not, i quote, want to be forced to buy health insurance coverage, end of quotes. second, a requirement to purchase minimum health insurance is not a burden on one's exercise of their religious beliefs in the medical treatment they seek. the a.c.a. does not preclude coverage for spiritual healing or prayer treatments. indeed, the church of christ scientists explains on their website that under current law, and i quote, various u.s. federal, state and private health insurance plans provide for the reimbursement of christian science nursing care and practitioner treatment, end
of quotes. christian scientists participate in medicare and medicare coverage some christian science services. it is the breath of the language in this bill and the potential unintended consequences implementing it on a national basis that concern me. the language provides an exemption. if a person files a sworn statement to the i.r.s. that their, and i quote, sincerely held religious beliefs, end of quote, would cause them to object to the medical health care that would be covered under a.c.a.'s minimal essential health care requirement, there is no indication as to how the i.r.s. could implement this provision and as a result the exemption could essentially be available to anyone opposed to the a.c.a. while the bill states that individuals receiving voluntary
medical care would lose their exemption, the i.r.s. has no way to monitor individual use of voluntary medical care and to enforce this provision. under the legislation, individuals receiving involuntary care, such as emergency care, would be allowed to remain exempt from the coverage requirement, passing the cost of such care onto hospitals and other taxpayers. because the bill does not define the sincerely held religious beliefs, an individual would need to cite to avoid purchasing coverage, the i.r.s. would be forced to determine which americans' beliefs met the standard. yet, just two weeks ago, the house considered and passed h.r. 2531, the protecting taxpayers from intrusive i.r.s. requests act, that semifinal
prevented the i.r.s. from asking taxpayers about their religious, political or social beliefs. i regret that normal order has t been followed on h.r. 1814 so that these concerns can be surfaced and further information on the broad and problematic consequences of h.r. 1814 considered. for example, today the american academy of peed at ricks just -- pediatrics just concerned their impact of h.r. 1814 on children. the american civil liberties union also opposes the legislation. and the c.b.o. just indicated today that the bill would increase the deficit by $1.5 billion over 10 years and increase the uninsured by about 500,000 each year.
current religious exemptions in he tax code are sir come scribed -- are circunscribed and well-defined. in the individual responsibility requirement, this will be force the i.r.s. to take on an inappropriate role. congress should take a more careful approach to this issue, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from illinois is recognized. mr. schock: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself the remaining balance of my time. i would remind my good friend from michigan had regular order be in order when the obamacare was passed, perhaps we wouldn't - the justices affirmed that congress, contrary to the repeated assurances by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, had effectively
created a tax that falls under the enumerated powers of article 1 of the constitution. and like a tax, compliance is mandatory and enforcement is the job of the internal revenue service. now, since the summer of 2012, we have learned some things about the i.r.s. that raised concerns about the agency's ability to do its job fairly. and likewise, we've watched the obama administration usurp congressional authority and refuse to enforce the law that bears the president's name. among the many executive fixes that seem to flow from the administration with increasing frequency, none have touched upon one of the most serious problems with obamacare. current law will either force millions of americans to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs or punish them for exercising those beliefs. now, we are not likely to agree today or any day on the underlying law. obamacare is as controversial
now and perhaps even more so than when it was passed. but we can agree on this, congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. less than a mile from this chamber on the bank of the tidal basin are inscribed in marbel these wore -- marble these words. alattempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens is not planned by the holy author of our religion. no man shall suffer but all men shall free to possess and maintain their opinions in matters of religion. those words, written by thomas jefferson, the first democrat to be called, mr. president, captured the very essence of today' very bill. it is our duty and even the oath that we take before god to
protect the religious freedoms of every american. obamacare does not do that, and today's bipartisan measure is a small but necessary step if congress is to honor the great tradition of religious liberty, enshrined in our founding documents and extended to succeeding generations of americans by law. thank you, mr. speaker, and with that i urge passage of h.r. 1814 and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois yeemeds back the balance of his time -- yields back the balance of his time. all time having expired on h.r. 18 14, the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 1814. 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.
for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 3474. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 3474, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to allow employers to exempt employees with health coverage under tricare or the veterans administration from being taken into account for purposes of the employer mandate under the patient affordable care act. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. brady, and the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, each will control 20 minutes. the chair now recognizes the
gentleman from texas. mr. brady: 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 the subject of the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 3474, the hire more heroes act, introduced by representative rodney davis of illinois. the hire more heroes act will help ease the burden on small businesses while incentivizing them to hire veterans who have found themselves out of work as they return home from overseas. president obama's repeatedly said, if you got good ideas, bring them to me. let's go. mr. president, here is a really good idea so let's go. our veterans have sacrificed for our country, and as they return home, they deserve opportunities and they deserve a job. one thing i continually hear from my constituents back home is that sbures want to invest
in america and they want to grow their businesses. well, here's an opportunity to do both. too often we use the term that something is a win-win. well, i can think of no better term. this is a win-win. this is a win for businesses who need workers with outstanding skills and ethics and a win for veterans who just want a job. the hire more heroes act will allow businesses hire a veteran enrolled in tricare or through the v.a. to not count that veteran toward the 50-employee threshold for triggering the a.c.a. employee mandate. the 50-employee threshold has been a big disincentive for small businesses to grow, and if they have more than 50 workers they fall under that mandate and the costs go up. firms with 45, 46, 47 workers are very reluctant to grow any bigger. but if they hire a veteran, under this legislation that won't count for purposes of determining they have enough
workers to trigger the mandate. if that isn't an incentive to hire more veterans, i don't know what is. and these are veterans who already have health care. they just want and deserve a job. i urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill, and at this time i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. . mr. levin: thank you. i yield myself such time as i may consume. this bill, as has been discussed, encourages veteran employment and the growth of midsized businesses. for proposed 9/11 veterans, the unemployment rate has continued to decline. however, the rate of unemployment is still higher than the national average. for february, 2014, the unemployment rate for veterans from this period was 9.2%
higher than the national average of 5.3%. i am so happy that the republicans at this moment are trying to help the a.c.a. work for veterans, for businesses and for all americans. i hope we'll join in supporting this bill and i reserve the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, at this time i'm proud to recognize the author of this bill, whose family is a small business-owning family, whose bill came from his own veterans advisory committee, i'd like to yield up to five minutes to the ntleman from illinois, mr. davis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for five minutes. mr. davis: mr. speaker, i'd like to thank my colleague from the great safety of texas for being here tonight to talk about this important piece of legislation. a bipartisan piece of legislation. the hire more heroes sact a jobs bill.
it's a jobs bill that will not only encourage the hiring of veltrans but also one that will allow businesses to expand and grow our economy without being penalized. h.r. 3474 would exempt veterans who have health insurance through the v.a. or the d. d. from being counted toward -- d.o.d. from being counted toward the 50-person limit under the obamacare's 50-person mandate. an estimated 8.9 million veterans receive health coverage through the v.a. yet they will still be counted as an employee in need of health coverage under the employer mandate. this is a commonsense bill simply saying that a veteran who already has coverage through tricare or the v.a. cannot be counted twice. you're either someone in need of health insurance or you are not. i introduced the hire more heroes act last year in response to an issue raised at one of my veterans rizz i have -- advisory board meetings by brad, the superintendent of the madison county veterans assistant commission. that commission does a great
work by providing sever services to approximately 35,000 veterans in southwestern illinois, including helping those veterans find employment. although veterans returning from combat have five years to sign up for tricare, they are returning to an economy full of hiring freezes, layoffs and unemployment rates above 9%. the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans jumped from 7.9% in january to 9.2% in february. our veterans deserve more. we know that our military members receive some of the best training in the world and we should do everything we can to encourage businesses to take advantage of those skills by hiring those veterans. a recently released study by the national small business association found that 91% of small businesses saw increases in their health care costs and 2/3 of their members said it was a reason they've held off new hiring of employees. it's not a secret that we need to address the true drivers of our skyrocketing health care costs. families see this every day when they pay their monthly premiums or get a medical bill
in the mail. but placing more and more unnecessary regulations on our small businesses does nothing to address this and only exacerbates the problem by forcing businesses to make up for these costs by cutting hours or preventing pay increases. forcing employers to offer health insurance is a much more complicated issue than i think some in washington thought it was going to be. and with the administration delaying the employer man kate yet again, i think we -- mandate yet again, i think we need to start seriously looking at the issues surrounding the employer mandate and it starts today with passing h.r. 3474, the hire more heroes act, and the other health care reform bills on the floor today. i want to thank brad again and all of the workers and volunteers at madison county veterans assistance commission for their assistance they provide to veterans and encourage my colleagues to vote for this commonsense bill, to help veterans find work and assist small businesses in hiring qualified, well trained employees while providing
much-needed relief from obamacare. and i also, mr. speaker, want to thank the co-sponsors, the bipartisan co-sponsors of this commonsense piece of legislation, especially a couple today that are with us on the floor. my good friend from hawaii, a veteran herself, mrs. gabbard, and my good friend from kentucky, mr. barr. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: thank you, mr. speaker. it's a special privilege to yield as much time as she shall consume to a veteran who i think is going to relate her own experience, the congresswoman from hawaii, mrs. gabbard -- ms. gabbard. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from hawaii is recognized. ms. gabbard: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i'm rising today in strong support of the hire more heroes act introduced by my friend, rodney davis from illinois. you know, when he first came to me with this idea, it was a
no-brainer that i would want to support this effort. because of the key constituencies that it serves. i think that everyone would agree that the intent or the goal of the affordable care act is to make sure that all people have access to affordable health care. that's a large piece of legislation, it needs some work, it needs some fixing and this legislation seeks to do that. first of all, the affordable care act requires employers of 50 or more full-time employees to provide health insurance or to pay a per-employee fine. this measure does a very important thing that would encourage these small business owners to do two things. to grow, as well as to hire more veterans, by exempting those who receive insurance either from the v.a. or those reservists like i was, i was covered under tricare for a long period of time after my deployment. it would make it so these employers would not have to count these veterans towards
that 50 total. secondly, this bill serves veterans. we're facing an unfortunate and unacceptable huge number of unemployed veterans, many people who are young and who are capable and coming back from conflicts overseas. and these are veat reasons -- veterans who will serve as a huge asset to businesses of any size. because they come with a unique amount of training. they are highly disciplined, they know what it means to work as a member of a team, they know what it means to put the mission first and they are servant leaders at their very best. this bill provides an incentive for businesses to hire veterans. this is a commonsense improvement to the affordable care act that will benefit both of these important groups. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 3474 and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm proud to yield one minute to another champion for veterans,
the gentleman from kentucky, mr. bar -- mr. barr. mr. barrow: i thank the gentleman from texas and i -- mr. barr: i thank the gentleman from texas and i rise in support of the hire more heroes act. i applaud the work of congressman davis in championing this cause and i also would like to compliment my friend and colleague from the great state of hawaii for her service to our country and also for her bipartisan cooperation on this important piece of legislation. unfortunately too many veterans cannot find work these days as a result of flawed washington policies like obamacare that are hindering job creation. this legislation will give those who have selflessly served our country more employment opportunities by providing american small businesses with the ability to hire more veterans. although this administration has delayed the employer mandate, many small businesses in my district in central and eastern kentucky have expressed deep concern that obamacare would discourage them from
hiring more workers. i want to thank again congressman davis for introducing this commonsense legislation that will help our veterans find work without punishing small businesses for hiring these qualified and well-trained employees. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of h.r. 3474, the hire more heroes act. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: you ready to close? mr. brady: yes, sir. mr. levin: i'll be very brief because i think the bill speaks for itself and those who have spoken on its behalf have spoke so eloquently on behalf, especially of the veterans of this country. so i now yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: as we close, i'd like to yield 30 seconds to the author of this bill, mr. davis of illinois. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for 30 seconds.
mr. davis: thank you to my colleague from texas for your support on this bill and for managing it here on the floor tonight. it shows today that bipartisanship does happen in the u.s. house of representatives. this is a commonsense bill supported by republicans and democrats alike. this is something that comes up from the grassroots in madison county, illinois, and now has a chance to become law. i'm humbled by the support that we've seen for this piece of legislation and i, again, urge my colleagues to support the hire more heroes act. i yield back. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. all time has expired. on this bill. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 3474. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended -- the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and, without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
mr. brady: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: 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. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this otion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. brady: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 3979, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 3979, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not taken into account as employees under the share responsibility requirements contained in the patient care ion and affordable
act. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas, mr. brady, and the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the subject of the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume, but i would like to begin by first rising in support of this bill, the protecting volunteer firefighters, emergency responders act. i would like to yield five minutes to the author of this very important bill, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. barletta. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for five minutes. mr. barletta: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to speak in support of my bill, h.r. 3979, the protecting volunteer firefighters and emergency responders act. this is a good, bipartisan bill that protects our first responders, our volunteer firefighters and emergency services personnel by ensuring that they are not considered
employees under the employer mandate provision of the affordable care act. if they were, fire companies would be forced to pay for the volunteers' health insurance or pay a fine, driving many fire departments out of business. simply put, this is a public safety issue. i first learned about this issue from a volunteer firefighter back home. and i began a crusade to clear this up for volunteer firefighters and localities and the residents of pennsylvania and every other state. and here's why this is so important. in my home state of pennsylvania, 97% of fire companies are either entirely or mostly volunteer. nationally it's 87%. to be clear, forcing volunteer companies to comply with the affordable care act will not extend health insurance to the uninsured, rather it will close fire houses, placing people at
risk. last month the i.r.s. issued a final rule upholding this bill's intent. however, this is too important of a public safety issue to be left to the changing positions of federal bureaucrats. we must pass this bill and encourage our friends in the senate to do the same. we owe our emergency service volunteers who risk their lives every day rock-solid certainty. this legislation says once and for all that volunteer fire itsers are just that -- firefighters are just that, volunteers, and should not be subjected to the employer mandate. i strongly urge passage of the bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania yields back his time to the gentleman from texas. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: thank you. i rise in support and yield myself as much time as i shall consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: well, first of all, let me mention that this bill followed regular order and it was brought up in our committee
, it was discussed and it was passed unanimously. and i think that is a plus and i think is a good precedent. let me also say that this is an important issue and it was one responded to by treasury in its regulation. i think there's been a lot of misshaping as to what the regulation process is all about. around there have been times where we wanted to essentially stop the regulatory process. i think that's been a serious mistake. sometimes used for purposes i think unrelated to the substance of the issue. in this case, as i said,
treasury listened to the concerns that were expressed and i think important concerns and issued their final regulation and essentially what 're now doing is to say what treasury has decided in its regulation is correct. i think there is no concern about its being changed. however, this legislation says, let's put it in the books as legislation, and i think so be it. because it's so important for this congress to join the administration in recognizing that volunteer first responders are absolutely critical to the safety and security of communities across the country. i think it's sometimes not
fully snood that 70% of all firefighters across the country are volunteers. and for the communities aided by volunteer first responders, services donated annually by these volunteers are estimated to be worth more than $140 billion. so i rise in support of this legislation, as i said, and i want to emphasize it was raised in the regular order. it was brought before our committee. it was discussed within our committee. we took a vote. it was unanimous. treasury had responded appropriately to concerns expressed by us, and so i now think we should give something to this legislation and to support it i hope unanimously and i reserve the balance of my
time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. brady: you know, this is such a commonsense and important bill. in this challenge -- and this challenge was brought to me as well by one of my local firefighters, the fire chief of magnolia fire department, gary vincent. the bill, introduced by the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. barletta, ensures the work our nation's volunteers, including volunteer firefighters and emergency responders, are honored to, protected and -- are honored, protected and recognized. volunteer firefighting goes back to colonial time. some rely exclusively upon volunteer for fire protection and emergency medical services. the affordable care act is a complicated law and sometimes the i.r.s. treated volunteers as full-time workers for other purposes.
this confusion in the law has created uncertainty for local communities and their firefighters and could jeopardize their ability to respond to emergencies. no one wants to put local governments, nonprofits at risk of huge cost increases that could result if volunteers were considered employees under the affordable care act. the white house does not want that and neither does congress. to bill's critical to perm protecting the firefighters and the emergency responders and all other volunteers at our nation's nonprofits and tribal governments. the bill provides the certainty of congressional action rather rather than repealing it that could be changed or amended. and urge port of this my colleagues to support h.r. 3979 and i reserve the balance
of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. ask my n: might i colleague -- i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i yield myself such time as i may consume. we do have about four or five speakers that we will move through on this important bill so thank you. at this time i'd like to introduce a fellow member of the ways and means committee who has been a champion on this issue as well, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. kelly, i yield two minutes. the gentleman from pennsylvania pennsylvania is recognized for two minutes. -- the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for two minutes. mr. kelly: i thank my friend from texas and from pennsylvania. as you heard congressman barletta talk about. 90% of the 1,800 fire departments are volunteer. these are men and women in the community that just come forward to serve. when you look at what's going on right now and what we fried to do is close the gap. this is treasury guidance. by know -- by no means has this
been codified. with h.r. 3979 which make certain -- we make certain that these folks are protected. i was an installation of officers with butler township and asked what could possibly happen, the township has over 130 volunteer firefighters serving the community. by my calculation, if this is not fixed, the township could go bankrupt. it would require a tax increase of 13.56 mills or increase over 2 1/2 times the rate to comply. basically if this is not fixed butler township either doubles he taxes or close the fire department. i would venture it's worse than political suicide. it's putting our citizens at risk when we don't have to. now, at a time when it's so hard and the public says, are you don't get along on anything, this is something where we've come together and
said let's do something that makes sense, let's just do something that puts into effect now that these folks will not be looked at in a different way under the affordable care act. the affordable care act, which is so hard to understand and so many are wondering what exactly is covered, what's not covered, how would i comply, how would i not comply, this is just commonsense legislation out of this body that makes sense for all those volunteers that spend countless hours and time serving the needs of our communities all over the country but in pennsylvania, as i said, 90% of our 1,800 fire departments are all-volunteer. all-volunteer. these folks give up their time so they can train and serve others. i thank the gentleman for his legislation, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan continues to reserve. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i am pleased to yield two minutes to another one of the new young
leaders on the house ways and means committee, the gentleman from ohio, mr. renacci. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized. mr. renacci: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of the protecting volunteer firefighters and emergency responders act. we learn how broken the government-run health care system is and how it can negatively impact families and small businesses. now it's clear that the employer mandate, a key provision within the law will not only cost jobs, it could force fire companies to close their doors which would jeopardize public safety. as a former volunteer firefighter and former mayor of a small town in ohio, i know that our volunteer fire companies and emergency responders rely primarily on donations to fund their operations. throughout the country, nearly 90% of all fire departments are volunteers. if these volunteers are forced to comply with the employer mandate, it is undeniable that
our local communities will be devastated as we witness fire companies forced to close their doors because they simply cannot afford to continue operations. this is truly unacceptable. i thank representative barletta for introducing this important legislation of which i am a proud co-sponsor. i urge all of my colleagues in the house to join us in standing up for our hardworking local heroes by supporting the protecting volunteer firefighters and emergency responders act, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. does the gentleman from michigan continue to reserve his time? mr. levin: are you ready? mr. brady: no, i have about three more speakers. mr. levin: iry serve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: i'm pleased to yield a minute to another champion of firefighters and emergency responders, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. lance. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for one minute. mr. lance: thank you, mr. speaker. there is uncertainty in volunteer departments across the country, including in my
home state of new jersey, about the negative consequences of obamacare's harmful employer mandate. that's why i rise today in strong support of h.r. 3685, the protecting volunteer firefighters and emergency responders act. designating volunteered firefighters as paid employees under obamacare is bad public policy that threatens public safety. passage of this legislation will provide a permanent statutory solution that will ensure our nation's volunteer first responders are protecting from obamacare's employer mandate. i urge passage of h.r. 3685, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from michigan continues to reserve his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, i'm proud to yield one minute to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. barr. excuse me. i'm sorry.
mr. speaker, i really want to yield two minutes to the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, and thank him for being here food. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for two minutes. mr. collins: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, congressman brady. watching today, somewhere cross america right now, later tonight, a tone is going to go off. that tone is going to go off and that husband or wife, son or daughter, is going to respond. they're going to get out of their bed, they're going to get out of their workplace, they're going to respond and they're going to go to a place of danger or a place to help, a place from their heart doing something they want to do. i remember that tone for i used answer that tone at hollinsworth fire department. when you hear that tone go off, you don't know what you'll face or if you may not come home or not.
i am here to stand in support of h.r. 3979, sponsored by congressman barletta, because it takes out, it leaves part of the unsesht of other things in life when all these men and women want to do is serve the community. by taking this out and not counting them as full-time employees, it gives them something less and their chiefs and other things to worry about. they're doing what all these other great americans want to do and that serve their community. west jackson fire department in my community was frightfully scared of this rule because it will cost them more that they couldn't afford. so all i ask is the bipartisanship shown here today is for those watching is when the tone goes off, the brave men and women of our country respond. what they don't need is to have a tone go off from washington that puts them in further jeopardy, and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from texas. mr. brady: mr. speaker, at this time i'd like to yield one
minute to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. barr. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from kentucky is recognized for one minute. mr. barr: thank you. today the house has the chance to more permanently establish in law a provision that firefighters across kentucky's sixth district have told me is vital to their ability to continue protecting our communities. the protecting volunteer firefighters and emergency responders act will simply ensure once and for all that these departments will not fall victim to the costly employer mandate in obamacare. over 90% of kentucky's fire departments are either fully or mostly volunteer. fire chiefs have told me that they do not have the resources to provide the health benefits mandated by obamacare's employer mandate to these brave and selfless volunteers who have no ectpectation of receiving such benefits -- exceptions of receiving such benefits. i want reforms that will actually lower the cost of health care, without
jeopardizing the safety of our communities. as an original co-sponsor, i am pleased to help introduce this critical legislation. i commend congressman barletta i urge ducing it, and my colleagues to vote in support of this critical legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: i think my colleague is ready to close. mr. brady: i have one more speaker, mr. levin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan continues to reserve and the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman from illinois, mr. davis. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from illinois is recognized for one minute. mr. davis: mr. speaker, i'd like to thank my colleague, lou barletta from pennsylvania, for introducing this commonsense piece of legislation. as we see, this is another unintended consequence of obamacare. i received a letter from one of my volunteer fire departments just a few months ago that talked about this bill and said the provision that is hurting our firefighters has -- it
could be devastating to fire departments. many volunteer fire departments rely on local donations and fundraisers to fund their basic operations. the addition of a requirement to provide health insurance would present a serious financial challenge to them. some departments have taken steps to reduce staffing levels and shifts in order to fall under the 50 f.t.e. and 30 hours worked threshold which reduces the fire department's baseline emergency response capabilities. d like to thank one fire chief for the fire protection district, rick hassi, for sending me this letter. i'd ask my colleagues to support this legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. levin: thank you. . i just want to close by stating it can be done very briefly, the importance of this legislation, i think we've
heard eloquent testimony to it. and i hope we can proceed to a -- on a bipartisan basis as has been true before. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: in closing, i'd like to reference the title of this bill. protecting our volunteer firefighters and emergency responders. democrats and republicans coming together today are here to make sure that's the law of the land. we're protecting our volunteer firefighters and emergency responders. this bill deserves our support and i urge its pass and. i yield back all time. the speaker pro tempore: all time having now expired on this bill, the question is, will the house suspend the rules and . ss the bill, h.r. 3979 those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting 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. mr. levin: 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. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this otion will be postponed. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, this is to notify you formally, pursuant to rule 8 of the rules of the house of representatives, that i have received a subpoena issued by the united states district court for the eastern district of pennsylvania for certain documents from my congressional offices. after consultation with the office of general counsel, i have determined under rule 8 that the subpoena seeks some information that is not material and relevant. and that is not consistent with the privileges and rights of
the house. accordingly i intend to move to quash the subpoena to the extent, but to otherwise comply with the subpoena to the extent that it is material and relevant. and to the extent that compliance with the subpoena is consistent with the precedence and privileges of the house. signed, sincerely, shaka fattah, member of congress. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from oregon seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to -- mr. walden: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 3675, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 3675, a bill to amend the communications act of 1934, to provide for greater transparency and efficiency in the procedures followed by the federal communications commission. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from oregon, mr. walden, and the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. dole, each will control 20 minutes. the chair now recognizes -- doyle, each will control 20
minutes. charity now recognizes the gentleman from oregon. mr. walden: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous materials into the record on the bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. walden: mr. speaker, the communications sector is one of the most innovative, competitive and robust sectors of our economy. but for innovation investment to continue in communications, we must not weigh industry dun with -- down with needless red tape and delay. now, despite the lackluster overall economy, the communications and technology market continues to grow at a very rapid pace. in fact, in 2012, mr. speaker, the industry invested $68 billion in broadband infrastructure alone. that totals $1.2 trillion invested in upgrading that broadband infrastructure network since just 1996. $1.2 trillion. communications and technology companies, as well as consumers that enjoy their products and
benefits, from their services, deserve a transparent and responsive government agency. while agency process has improved under recent chairmen, this will ensure that reforms will remain in place from one administration to the next. even with the positive changes at the commission, recent examples of bad processes have resulted in what i would say are dangerous outcomes at the commission. to wit, late last year the federal communications commission issued a notice for a study that would call into question the editorial decisions of journalists in their own news rooms, which i think threatens the first amendment rights. somehow, an item as controversial as this study, made it all the way through the f.c.c. without so much as a commission vote. americans deserve greater accountability, transparency and accountability from their government. so, this bill is the result of a multiyear process, ending with bipartisan agreement that
takes important steps toward improving this very important agency. the legislation will produce a joint effort where the commission establishes procedures to achieve the goals established by congress. the commission is charged with setting its own deadlines and time lines but having deadlines and time lines. while the legislation allows a commission a good deal of flexibility in meeting the goals we've set, the bill includes back stops to ensure accountability. the annual scorecard we call for in the bill requires the federal communications commission to report to congress on the agency's success in meeting its own self-imposed metrics. the bill requires the f.c.c. to undertake two separate proceedings, mr. speaker, the first requires a notice and comment rulemaking resulting in the f.c.c. adopting rules to address several different reforms. setting a minimum time period for comments in an f.c.c. rulemaking, that allows for certainty for those who wish to comment, the public.
in addition, adopted rules must address issues like data dumps at the end of a comment period. transparency as to items pending before the commission. and publication of the language of proposed rules, all those of are very important parts of a more open and transparent government and a process that taxpayers can rely upon. rulemaking also requires the federal communications commission to adopt deadlines for action on several types of filings before the agency. as i know all too well from my own experience, having been regulated by the federal communications commission when my wife arnede in the radio industry, -- and i were in the radio industry, items can sit at the agencies for literally years without any action and then they're acted upon and the person bringing the action may have 30 days, on something that's sat there for 10 years. now, the second proceeding is an inquiry that deals with more complex issues. giving the federal communications commission flexibility in deciding whether and how to implement those reforms.
now, by giving the f.c.c. flexibility when setting procedures and deadlines, we're not constraining the agency. rather we're providing them with goals to meet and allowing them the, the professionals there at the f.c.c., to determine the best way to meet those goals. many of the reforms in the bill are things that the commission itself already has the authority to do under existing law. however, the bill also changes the existing sunshine act to allow for greater collaboration among the commissioners themselves. i think that will bring about better government, all of these reforms combined will. the f.c.c. has started its own review of agency processes and in a report released earlier this year, many of the areas the agency itself found needing reform mirror provisions of our legislation in h.r. 3675. the american public expects and deserves a transparent and accountable federal government, no matter who's in charge in the white house. so let's start this reform with
this agency that oversees one of our most innovative and robust sectors of the economy. with that, mr. chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. doyle: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today along with my friend and colleague, mr. walden, in support of h.r. 3675, the f.c.c. process reform act of 2013. the federal communications commission is charged with overseeing industries that make up 1/6 of our national economy. the communications and technology sectors are driving economic growth across the nation, connecting businesses to markets large and small, and delivering innovative new products and services to consumers. perhaps more importantly, communication networks are the part of the very fabric of our democracy. providing the news and information that makes us informed citizens and voters. with a mission this critical, both democrats and republicans
believe that the f.c.c. must be efficient, transparent and accountable. we started this debate in the energy and commerce committee with different perspectives about how to achieve these goals. last congress our work on this issue unfortunately devolved into a process and a vote on the bill that was dead on arrival in the senate. but this congress, thanks to chairman walden's leadership, and consultation with ranking member waxman and eshoo, we were able to come to an agreement on a set of bipartisan reform proposals that were unanimously supported by the committee. i want to highlight several key provisions in this bill that we believe will improve the functioning of the f.c.c. the first reform is the sunshine act. to allow f.c.c. commissioners to collaborate more closely while preserving the transparency of agency decision making. i introduced this legislation along with representative eshoo
and shimkus and i'm pleased to see it incorporated in the bill we're considering today. the second area that i'm particularly pleased with is the incorps ration of a provision it -- corporation to provide a provision. today the fcc relies on temporary exhibition -- f.c.c. relies on temporary eximmingses -- exemptions. the bill we reported out of the energy and commerce committee would have permanently exempted the universal service one from the antideficiency act, but unfortunately we were able to reach -- we were unable to reach agreement with c.b.o. about the impact of this provision. i want to thank my colleagues in the majority for working with us, to come up with an alternative that provides a longer, if not permanent, exemption. i believe it demonstrates our committee's bipartisan support for providing the f.c.c. with the flexibility it needs toed a
minister the program -- to administer the program. i also want to compliment chairman wheeler for his actions to address transparency and efficiency of f.c.c. decision making from his very first day at the helm of the agency, he has focused on remedying the concerns identified in the bill that we're considering today. i urge the f.c.c. to continue to move forward on reforms they can make under their own initiatives while we continue to work on this legislation. finally, i want to close by saying that i think the manner in which the f.c.c. process reform act was developed should be a model for the entire house going forward. working together, members of the energy and commerce committee crafted legislation that addressed the concerns from both sides of the aisle. i'm proud to have been a part of this effort. i want to thank my colleague, chairman walden, for his work. i urge all my colleagues the support -- to support this important legislation, to make the f.c.c. more efficient,
transparent and kblet and i look forward to working with our colleagues in the senate and continuing to help this bill become law and with that, mr. chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. walden: i thank the gentleman for his kind commenltsance -- comments and his diligent work on this effort and those of his colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle. i think when it comes to reforming the f.c.c. and getting something that really works for the public, we are joined at the hip. and so i appreciate their input and the work we did together. our subcommittee has done quite a bit of bipartisan work over the last couple of years, moving forward with an incentive auction program to free up more spectrum for all these new wireless devices that are out there and new technology and ovation. we're really at the center of the ability of the country to grow and innovation and -- innovate and produce good-paying jobs. so i appreciate mr. doyle's comments and i want to now recognize the vice chair of the subcommittee on communications and technology, mr. goodlatte
from ohio, who has been an extraordinary member of our team in working on this and other major communications policies going forward, play a key role tomorrow when we were other haur -- when we have our hearing and with that i would now recognize the gentleman from ohio, mr. latta, for such time as he may consume. mr. latta: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i really appreciate it and i appreciate all the hard work you've done on this legislation. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 3675, the federal communications commission process reform act of 2013. the communications industry represents a promising sector of our economy has that fostered widespread investment, innovation, job creation and greater consumer choice. as the industry evolves and makes unprecedented technological advancements, the possibilities for future innovation and modernization are endless. as members of congress, we have to ensure that businesses and entrepreneurs are equipped with
the opportunity and flexibility to continue making that sustained progress. the f.c.c. process reform act should facilitate this effort. this legislation would initiate much-needed regulatory reforms to the federal communications commission and bring additional transparency and accountability to the agency. i applaud chairman walden for his efforts and leadership in developing this bipartisan piece of legislation and i look forward to working with him and other members of the subcommittee as we work forward on this important piece of legislation. and with that, mr. speaker, i thank the gentleman for yielding and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. doil: i yield back the balance of our time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon is recognized. mr. walden: i conclude by thanking my colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle for their good work on this
legislation, their partnership on this. i think this is really good government. this is how we get things done on the energy and commerce committee and how we're going to improve the activities of these agencies to restore a little confidence in at least this sector of government. the federal communications commission has a lot of work to do. it's very important work for the future of our country. tomorrow, as i said, our committee will take up a draft legislation to make sure those that watch television over satellite will be able to continue that process and we'll do some other reforms along the way. our subcommittee on communications and technology plans to solicit all kinds of information from individuals around the country in how to updepate the antiquated telecommunications act, that dates back to 1934, 1992, depending which law. we have a lot of work to do. mr. speaker, this bill moves an important piece forward. with that i urge my colleagues to support this legislation and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon yields
back the balance of his time. all time having now expired on this bill, the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 3675. those in favor will 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 -- the bill, as amended, is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. without objection, the title is amended. pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until approximately
climate change. but it began this morning with a speech by the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, dianne feinstein of california, criticizing the c.e.o. in a floor speech, charging the agency with spying on her committee's exupetters in a possible illegal search that she saids that haas been referred to -- has been referred to the justice department for possible prosecution. we spoke to a capitol hill reporter for more details. dianne feinstein spoke on the senate floor this morning, leveling some pretty strong allegations against the c.i.a. regarding a senate report on c.i.a. can he tension and interrogation.
-- interrogation and -- extension and interrogation. what were the allegations that dianne feinsteining aed against the c.i.a.? -- feinstein alleged against the c.i.a.? >> they gave a long and detailed speech and some of the allegations that she made against the c.i.a. was that the agency searched senate computers and networks that contained c.i.a. documents in a secure location. these documents were provided by the c.i.a. and some of of of them were obtained to raise a search function that the c.i.a. had provided to intelligence committee stafferers working on a report. and the sort of most divisive thing that senator feinstein said this morning was that the c.i.a. had then come back and without notifying the senate staffers had searched their computers and their network. and she had -- senator feinstein had asked them
questions shortly after she learned this about why they had gone ahead and searched their computers and their documents without notifying them and she hadn't heard back from them as to why. >> and the subheadline to your story says that she alleges it may have violated the separation of powers. what action is dianne feinstein seeking from the justice department? >> she has asked for an apology from the c.i.a.. separately there has been calls to have this matter investigated by the justice department, both looking into whether the c.i.a. acted wrongly and into whether senate staffers acted improperly. there have been some allegations that they may have committed crimes by obtaining these documents and she viglouisly -- vigorously defended staffers saying they acted well within the bounds of the law. they were looking through documents that had been provided to them by the c.i.a. one thing worth noting here is,
it's a little bit tricky, but the senate staffers were reviewing a mountain of documents pertaining to the c.i.a.'s secret detention program. in the course of looking through those documents, i believe there are 6.2 million, they came across an internal c.i.a. review of the matter conducted under then director leon panetta. and so the question of how they obtained those documents was really at the heart of the dispute. senator feinstein said it was through this search function, because they had no way to navigate the six million documents, six million pages of documents, that they came across this. >> coincidentally, the head of the c.i.a., director john brennan, was speaking in washington this morning, an event c-span covered. what was his initial reaction to the allegations? >> he said that the c.i.a. had not hacked into these computers and that there could be nothing further from the truth. senator feinstein said she
stood behind her comments. so there's a little bit of a discrepancy there. >> how have senate democratic leaders, republican leaders for that matter, reacted to dianne feinstein's allegations? >> it's very unusual to hear her criticize the c.i.a. so everyone took note because she's a long-time defender of the intelligence community. democrats quickly embraced her position, said they supported her. many have said they're troubled by the potential constitutional issues and the need to maintain a separation of powers. and the republican side, it's been a little broader range. some of the republicans on the intelligence committee did not initially embrace her position. the top republican on the committee said that he and senator feinstein have disagreements over the facts. but other republicans such as senator john mccain have said that they wouldn't second guess her and that some sort of independent committee can may be needed to help investigate the issue.
>> kristina peterson covers congress for the "wall street journal." you can follow her reporting online. and also on twitter. thanks for the update. >> thank you. bye. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> and a comment from senator dianne feinstein came early this morning. the senate was all all night talking about climate change. she spoke for about 45 minutes or so. we're going to show you some of senator feinstein's comments next up here on c-span. ions. based on what director brennan has informed us, i have grave concerns that the c.i.a.'s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the united states constitution, including the speech and debate clause. it may have undermined the constitutional framework essential to effective congressional oversight of intelligence activities or any
other government function. i have asked for an apology, and a recognition that this c.i.a. search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. i have received neither. besides the constitutional implications, the c.i.a. search may also have violated the fourth amendment, the computer fraud and abuse act, as well as executive order 123 3 which 3reub9s the c.i.a. from conducting domestic surveillance. days after meeting with director brennan, the c.i.a. inspector general, david buckley, learned of the c.i.a. search and began an investigation into c.i.a.'s activities. i have been informed that mr. buckley has referred the matter to the department of justice, given the possibility of a criminal violation by
c.i.a. personnel. let me note, because the c.i.a. has refused to answer the questions in my january 23 letter and the c.i.a. inspector general is ongoing, i have limited information about exactly what the c.i.a. did in conducting its search. weeks later, i was also told that after the inspector general reviewed the c.i.a.'s activities to the department of justice --, excuse me, referred the c.i.a.'s activities to the department of justice, the acting counsel general of the c.i.a. filed a crimes report with the department of justice concerning the committee staff's actions. i have not been provided the specifics of these allegations or been told whether the department has initiated a
criminal investigation based on the allegations of the c.i.a.'s acting general counsel. as i mentioned before, our staff involved in this matter have the appropriate clearances, handled the sensitive material according to established procedures and practice to protect classified information, and were provided access to the panetta review by the c.i.a. itself. as a result, there is no legitimate reason to allege to the justice department that senate staff may have committed a crime. i view the acting counsel general's referral as a potential effort to intimidate this staff, and i am not [captioning performed by
national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> shortly after 11:00 eastern, c.i.a. director john brennan was at the center for the council on foreign relations in washington. he denied the accusations that the agency had illegally tampered with senate computers. here's some of what he had to say from earlier today. while we are exceptionally proud of the work we do, we have not been a perfect organization. far from it. we have made mistakes. more than a few. and we have tried mightily to learn from them and to take corrective actions when he ever and wherever appropriate. it is now no secret that many of the things that the agency has done over the years, things that it was asked to do, that it was directed to do, that it alone had the authority and responsibility to do, remain subjects of intense scrutiny,
debate and controversy. the rendition, detention and interrogation program, the r.d.i. program, of nearly a decade ago is a case in point. now there have been many things written and many things said, including i understand this morning, about the program. some fact and some pure fiction. and these remarks have addressed the c.i.a.'s views and actions related to the senate select committee's report on the r.d.i. program. so i want to take this opportunity to say two things. first, my c.i.a. colleagues and i believe strongly in the necessity of effective, strong and bipartisan congressional oversight. we are a far better organization because of congressional oversight and as long as i am the director of the c.i.a., i will do whatever i can to be responsive to the elected representatives of the american people. our congressional overseeers ask us the tough questions. hold our feet to the fire. and work every datone sure that american tax their doctors a are being spent effectively --
dollars are being spent effectively and efficiently to keep our country strong. most important, they work to ensure that the c.i.a. and other intelligence organizations are carrying out the responsibilities and activities faithfully and in full accordance with the law. i don't always agree with them. and we frequent frequently have what i would call spirited and even sporty discussions. but i believe we are fulfilling our respective executive branch and legislative branch responsibilities. second, the c.i.a. has more than enough current challenges on its plate, which is why far more than any other institution of government the c.i.a. wants to put the rendition, detention and interrogation chapter of its history behind it. the agency's detention facilities have long been closed. president obama officially ended the program five years ago by which time the c.i.a. had already ceased its interrogation activities. over the past decade, there have been numerous internal and external reviews of the program and the c.i.a. has taken steps to address the shortcomings,
problems and performance deficiencies that became evident in those reviews. now, the senate select committee has conducted an extensive review that have program. a review that the c.i.a. has devoted considerable resources to supporting over the last several years. the c.i.a. has tried to work as collaboratively as possible with the committee on its report. . i have talked about the report and the way forward. c.i.a. agrees with many of the findings in the report and we disagree with others. we have acknowledged and learned from the program's shortcomings to prevent such mistakes from happening again. we owe it to the men and women who executed this program to make sure any historical record of it is a balanced and accurate one. we have worked closely with the committee to resolve outstanding issues and