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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 9, 2014 11:00am-1:01pm EDT

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directive, at that point you would believe the people got it and that it would be implemented and implemented to the letter. >> how can somebody not require certification last year based on the warning signs you have provided? next panel can better explain what the rationale was. i think there was plenty of warning that this is going on, and i thought the certification was an excellent thing to make people declare, yes, i have reviewed it, and our waiting times are according to policies and procedures of the department. >> you have been involved for six-plus months investigating the current list, and i know you
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cannot get into specific takeaways. but what have you learned about of v.a. over that period time not down to the specifics? >> referring to the 93 other facilities? have some initial reporting on those as of yesterday. we have given the department 12 individual reports for them to examine and determine what action would be appropriate in view of the specifics of each of those reports. 93 are stillur very much active. at 42can tell you that different facilities of those 93 we found the practice of using the next available date as the desired date.
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it was something that was reported on in the interim and final reports. where her facilities an appointment was canceled and rescheduled on the same day, for the same appointment time, for the sole purpose of giving the appearance of a shorter waiting time. we have had 16 facilities that have paper weight lists as opposed to being on an e-well. we have 13 facilities -- concludenvestigators that all these individuals came up with these deceptive practices on their own, or was there some overarching initiative that some level of management actually pushed? >> it is a combination. frankly, when something is going , notr as many years everywhere, but at a number of
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facilities, it almost becomes the accepted way of doing scheduling. lowestwhen you have level employees involved in scheduling and they come in as a new hire and somebody says this is how we do it, they may not realize that someone is telling them the improper way to do it. so it is a combination of things. is inttom line is who charge, and when you get them a policy director from dha, do you enforce it or do you ignore it? i think that is the bottom line. lety time is expired, but me say once again, i thank you and your staff or the process. it is invaluable to our country's veterans and the agency. >> thank you. >> i too want to thank you, inspector general, for your work and your professionalism. i appreciate it, and it is very
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helpful to us. so thank you for that work. , whether itgations be phoenix or the other 93 facilities, is focused on scheduling, correct? in to lookwhat we go at, but a long way, you sometimes become aware of other activities that you need to look at that might be tangentially principally they are on scheduling and manipulation of wait times, but there are some places where it is expanded. mean,it fair to say -- i the investigations started out in phoenix because of some pretty damning things that were being said about phoenix. say that the scheduling problems are pretty per race of throughout the v.a.? >> absolutely. >> ok. specifically for phoenix, look, a good portion of montana heads
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down there in the wintertime. was there a part of the year that was worse for scheduling, or was it that way all the time? >> we did not try to carve out the sober aspect in phoenix -- >> i was discouraged. >> we did not find a good quarter in any of the corners we looked at. >> ok. what would you say to the folks, because in the conference committee opening statements, we heard a lot from the members of the conference from both houses that said this is not a workforce issue. in your investigation, what would you say to that? >> i would say it is a complex issue with many aspects. one of those aspects is performance standards for the physicians that you do have. without those standards, it is hard to determine exact how many doctors and nurses you need. it is a clinical space issue. vha guidance talks about a
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panel of 1200 patients for primary care. but it assumes that there are three separate offices for each dr. , so that you can ---- doctor so you can have patients ready to go when you come in, and in phoenix, the rezoning one office for doctors. it is i combination of, yes, there is in some facilities understaffed, nurses and doctor staffing. theave sought implementation of staffing standards for use. we did it in 2012 for specialty care staffing standards and found only two specialties had standards. i think you need to know how many veterans can we anticipate this specialist seeing any given day and make sure the schedule is properly structured so you can fill those slots. you have a got of number
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of m.d.'s in your staff. and you may be an m.d. you are? >> no. use the private sector for staffing standards, and maybe the should be directed to one of the m.d.'s on the staff. apply privateyou sector staffing standards, it is unfair because these folks are coming back with multiple ones that are unseen, two. do you guys apply the staffing standards, or do you say, v.a., you need to set up the staffing standards? we believesaid they should have standards because if you're in one facility in one part of the country, or the other, the expectation is a certain level of productivity. i would ask dr. day if he would
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like to elaborate on it. creates their own standards. we are aware of civilian standards. without that data, i do not know how you can make proper decisions about what you're going to make or by. >> thank you very much. there are 1700 health care facilities in the v.a. 93 are being investigated by you at this point. and you give me any idea -- or is it distributed between hospitals and small clinics? >> i would be guessing to give you that number, but -- >> can you give me a number? >> absolutely, and if somebody has that i will give it to you. >> that is fine. >> there is nobody not in yes. >> my time ran out. when can we expect a full report from you on the 93 facilities?
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>> as we finished each individual report, and to be finished, if it is a criminal matter, we have to present it to the u.s. attorney's office for prosecutor's decision. if it does not meet the for prosecution, we give the report to the department so they can take administrative action when appropriate. >> would it be fair to say these would be done by the end of the year? >> i hope so. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> thank you. i want to go back on your initial comments on the report, the draft report versus the final report, and some of the changes made in a report and get some clarification as to timelines. a line wasrted inserted, and if you are the v.a., alliances, while the case
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reviewed documented poor quality of care, we are hunted able to assert the absence of timely quality care cause of death led to the deaths of these veterans. obviously, that was pertaining to the phoenix hospital. just some timelines -- was this line included in the draft report? >> there are many versions of a draft report. the majority of the changes in our draft report came about as a result of further deliberations by the senior staff of the inspector general's office. no one in the v.a. dictated that sentence go into that reports, period. >> so the line was included in the draft report sent to the v.a.? >> it was not included. i would like to provide a timeline to the committee that
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could make it very clear what is going on with that allegation. >> ok. the question that needs to be play anyd the v.a. part in the inclusion of this line? >> no. >> in your report, you obtained the list of 171 patients who were waiting to seek services, most of whom were mental health therapies. noted in your report that between january of 2012 and 2014 that you identified 77 suicides. have patients did not their appointments scheduled or were yet to be scheduled. what i'm trying to get to, would a reasonable person come to the conclusion that wait time
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manipulation -- would that contribute patients' deaths? would a reasonable person come to that conclusion, that the manipulation of the wait times would contribute to those deaths? y to would ask dr. da explain review. we are not in the business of making odds of whether something did or did not cause tdeath. that is not our purpose. dr. day will explain how we conducted those reviews. >> we looked at the fact pattern of each of the cases we describe for you. and so one of the issues you have to understand is that because you are on a wait list for audiology and you happen to die of a cardiac problem in the waitlist factor was not very
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important. if you were under the care of a urologist intensively and you were on a way list is a primary care, then we may have concluded that, yes, you were on a waitlist, yes, you died, but we do not see a relationship there. for each of these cases we reported we wanted the fact pattern to demonstrate that a delay in care we thought would have led or dramatically impacted the likelihood that that patient would die, and we did not see that. he saw harm, we saw 28 cases described where the delayed negatively impact care, but i would not say that delay caused patients to die. >> of the patients that were delayed in mental health therapy and you identified 77 suicides, you see no link between delayed care and these -- >> i did not say no link. i said that if you are trying to say that -
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>> on them in the business of trying to find conclusions and figuring out what reasonable people would believe. veteran, blind veteran, with diabetic problems in nevada. had to wait six hours to get care. two weeks later she died. i have to believe that there is a link between the kind of care she was getting at that hospital and her death two weeks later. i think any be reasonable person would come to that conclusion. o we looked again at the fact pattern for each of these cases. we had two physicians on my staff agreed on the case -- agree on the cases and the fact pattern and a conclusion we came to in each of these cases. iew, ie began this rev thought we would find patients with with delayed care leading to death. i agree that is a likely outcome. i do not see it.
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and all i can do is report the news that i find, and is what we found. >> i do not want to give the v.a. a pass on this. that is what this line does. it exonerates the v.a. of any possibility of any past manipulation of these wait times. >> i have to disagree. i described 45 cases, 28 of which were negatively impacted because of delays. the only argument is i cannot say that those that died died because of the delay, and in addition, i found that there were care that did not meet the standards of care that we would . for anf the v.a additional 17 cases. so i think i have laid those fact patterns in the report. i have in conclusion, and the reader can come to their own conclusion. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. following up on the previous
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question, general griffin, would you agree that attribution of negligence as a result of delay in care as a causation of death is basically an adjudicatory process that needs to be undertaken? >> that is correct. >> united in your testimony that wait times were not the only issue, that you were focusing on, and then when people do not follow directives in this -- there have to be consequences, and you are investigating 97 facilities. have you completed is investigations on any of those facilities? >> we have completed 12. we have turned over 12 files to the department for their -- whatever action they deemed appropriate. all others are in process. >> as result of these 12 files, has the v.a. undertaken any criminal or an israeli proceedings, disciplinary proceedings?
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>> the criminal decision lies with the u.s. attorneys offices with we are working with around the country. v.a. owns the decision on administrative action, and in fact, shortly after our first report was sent to the v.a. they did take administrative action. we are trying to get these done as quickly as possible so that they can move out in every instance when they knew too, but we have to make sure we have all to facts right prior declaring that we are through and this is the final product. we are working diligently on that, but we have a lot of other persecutions outside of wait time areas which have led to the 500 arrests a year for last six years that you cannot just drop. a lot of them are drug diversion cases, abusive fiduciary veterans.
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fiduciary veterans. we are looking seriously to try to get through the wait times, but all these other investigations that were already in progress need to be seen to fruition. >> thank you for giving the fuller context in which the v.a. is undertaking these proceedings. you mentioned in your testimony in your conclusion that the fee v.a. must address cultural changes and issues. can you talk a little bit more vast asw a system as is can make cultural changes, and what kind of cultural changes are you talking about, and what do you suggest they do to implement these kinds of cultural changes? >> if you have a culture where directives disregard from most senior people in your administration that you need to
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come to realize that that is not and perhapsehavior you will no longer be employed by the department. when people realize that it is a new day in that respect, i think they will be more vigilant in how they receive directives from their senior leaders in washington. and i believe that the efforts that are undertaken in the various town hall meetings and feedback sessions with the vso's and so on can also make the realizerganization these are the types of things we need to be doing. >> do you think the provisions in the law that was passed, the veterans bill, that would allow for more expeditious processes for disciplining, that that would help to change the culture in the v.a. in a positive way? >> i think in a number of
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personnel areas in the federal government it can be frustrating at the pace it requires in order to go through all of the due process activities. impact thatultimate it will have on the department is to be determined. frequentlyend on how it is used, whether there are any challenges we ain't that the v.a. is the only department in the government with the new abbreviated time frames and so on. report putrt -- your forth a number of recommendations, and i am particularly looking at recommendations 17 to 23, and of he v.a. said they will meet this by september -- december 15. are there others that the v.a. should meet?
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ourhere is a reason why number one recommendation was that the department had to get the regional council in phoenix medical vha professionals to look at the names of the 45 veterans we identified and to take appropriate actions regarding potential liability or institutional disclosures and so on. i think that is very important. >> basically your recommendations are on the order of priorities -- of thes in the order presentation of the report. i personally would have to say that i think that is one of the most important items. i would also say as we were doing the work and we discovered 3500 veterans that were not on an official list in a way, we immediately turn those over to the phoenix avenue so they could be seeking out those veterans and not delayed their care any
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more than had already been delayed. >> thank you. mr. chairman, my times is up. >> thank you. >> iq, mr. chairman. i appreciate the hard work, mr. griffin, of you and your staff. you have done a good job here to report that he came out is very helpful as we try to solve some of these problems. i would like to ask a little bit from both of you all, normally when a patient goes in and sees a provider, the provider becomes the responsible person in the situation. if you sign a chart and say come back in two weeks, sometimes there are situations where perhaps he is going to be out of town or this or that or somebody is not available. i cannot imagine a situation where the scheduler would not scheduling that was this cannot be done. what you want to do about it?
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and so can you elaborate on that? what happens in the v.a.? when somebody, when the provider actually writes on the chart or however they do it, does the scheduler overrule that? and the other problem, too, i have got is when the provider sees somebody back, say, you inherited a patient like this, a cardiologist, and you see on the chart that he was supposed to come back in two weeks and now it is two months, where is the outrage from the provider at that point as to why this was not done in a normal fashion? sir, i think what we found that phoenix was that that's what you talked about are very reasonable steps. is to maintain both the trust of the patients and deliver quality care. what we found was a person would
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go to the emergency room at the point of care. the emergency room physician would provide appropriate care, and diagnose diabetes. they would say you need to go to your primary care provider. at phoenix there was not enough access in primary care to accommodate patients who needed to go to the primary care provider. what would happen was the patient would then be given a consult, would be put in a space that was not acted upon, and you would next see the patient show back in the emergency with diabetes, more problems with diabetes. did not get acted upon, you see the patient reenter the system at a point that was not appropriate. what they needed to do, but what wat should not have happened. when you do not have primary care properly structured, with respect to the way their scheduled, staff the office, efficiency with which they run
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the office, you get chaos. i think that is what we were experiencing, was you are looking in on a group of people who although they could not get it done correctly, they are all struggling to say patients who they thought would be at harm and you see a schedulers trying to schedule patients in slots that do not exist. it was quite a herbal view of what was going on there -- horrible view of what was going on there. >> did it happen in multiple places? >> this is the worst example -- me, the bothers sometimes it is appropriate. you mentioned audiology. that might stretch on without any problem at all or a
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routine follow-up. when the doctor sees them again in the er and they see that that thatlt has not been done, is the responsibility of that physician. thee is the outrage from guy that was seeing them, knowing that they had not -- >> i think there was outrage and they expressed their complaint to the leadership at the facility. again, if people are tired or money is not put to address the problem you speak to them and then after a while you realize that nothing is going to happen. it's a facility talks to the national leadership and says i have a problem and you do not get a response, the people get conditions to this is the way it has to be. this is the way it is going to be in the system. that is unacceptable. in hearing the physicians and ers on the ground, they were all anxious and upset at what they sell, trying to deal with it the best they -- >> i know this is about
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scheduling, and you mentioned that you felt like there were not any deaths involved as a result of the scheduling. but looking at some of the cases there mightsent not be deaths, but there was a poor quality care in some of those. care meansy of malpractice. are we following up on that? are we in the process of doing i.g. studyudy -- an regarding the quality of care with these cases where these other cases? >> we concluded there was poor quality of care in this. the problem as far as tort claims activity, as was previously stated, those are adjudicated in a court of law, and the experts that have to be involved in that adjudication, in the case of the state of
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arizona, they have to be people who have practiced in that area of specialty in the state of arizona, and it is a program function of the department to address allegations of malpractice, which is why we provided them with a 45 names to look that you need into these 45 cases with your attorney staff and with your medical staff and determine whether there is something that needs to be done for these people. >> no, i understand, and the chairman is going to rap me in a second. my answer is when you see these cases in that particular situation, we have a culture of, breakdown in scheduling, breakdown in communication among the physicians and the schedulers, whatever. my concern is this sort of activity is throughout the
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system. that is what i was referencing. are we going to investigate and see if we have this polity of care throughout the system? >> thank you, senator. senator blumenthal? >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thanks again to all of our witnesses here today. i know in response to senator tester's question, inspector general griffin, you mentioned individual cases will be turned over to prosecutors if criminal violations are found. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> and they will be turned over on an individual basis? >> right, because they are in every judicial districts. >> and they involve different facts? >> right. >> and who will make the decision? >> when we have evidence of potential criminality, is our job to take it to the assistant u.s. attorney for the u.s.
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attorney in that district, present the facts, and they make the determination whether or not it rises to the level of the types of things that they are presently involved with prosecutions of. >> in effect, the prosecutors will be making those decisions, just a they would be doing with any investigative agency, whether it be the fbi or drug enforcement administration? >> correct. fornd what is the timing beginning to turn over those investigative results? >> turnover to the department or -- >> i'm sorry, i was unclear in my phrasing. what is the timing for presenting those cases for judgments by the prosecutors? when we feel we have developed the evidence that would support a criminal charge -- >> as a prosecutor in any of
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those jurisdictions that do you we need that evidence as soon as possible? have they given you a timeline? >> no, no. we are working feverishly to accomplish these things. another point that i had made in your absence was our criminal investigators make over 500 arrests a year. we have had a number of cases that were already in the investigated and prosecuted -- pipelines before it happens. it can take forever to work through that -- >> hopefully not forever. >> it can sometimes feel like that. >> i know that much well. >> sure. >> when i was the u.s. attorney, i would say to the investigated agencies, some of the best in timeline,, here is my not that the world won't fall
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apart if they did not meet it, but there would be timelines for completing investigations. i gather he you have not been given any -- i gather you have not been given any? >> i can tell you the assistant attorney general for the criminal division sent out a every attorney's office and every chiefs of criminal basically giving them his point of view on what potential charges under title 18 could be brought for the various types of manipulations and different things. records,ications of documents? >> right. >> and i am going to segue to the next area of questioning. you and i have talked about this issue, and i appreciate you have skilled, experienced investigators working for you.
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ling is there are not enough. do you agree with me? >> i would say we are fully engaged and could probably put twice as many people to work as we have. >> who could put twice as many to work and they would all be very busy? >> yes. >> and they would be busy doing very, very important work, which would lead me to the conclusion that there are not enough of them, because criminal investigations here survey finds only important purpose. i do not need to tell you because you are a very skilled officer investigative and inspector general and watchdog. but that the current -- d eterrent purpose of a criminal investigation and prosecution are replaceable. there is nothing like the
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deterrent effect of a successful criminal investigation to determine criminality -- deter criminality. we are not talking about negligence, which can be serious enough in their consequences, but real criminality. you to bey would urge as aggressive as possible in asking for resources that are necessary for the v.a. to really criminalitynd deter of assuming that it existed here and maybe on going elsewhere in the agency, as it may be in any agency of our government, state or federal. thank you for your service, and my time is expired. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. griffin, i was really deeply disturbed to read the findings about how many cases of suicide
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and veterans with serious mental bylth problems were delayed care. many facilities in washington are facing staffing problems and long wait times for mental health care, and i want to say if hospitals in washington state are on your list of facilities for further investigation i hope your team looks very closely at the mental health care problems like to have done in phoenix. i want to ask you, the phoenix report really criticizes vha's resistance to change. both your report and the white house review found series cultural and ethical feelings across the system. you think to bthe should be doing to make these changes? >> you have to hold people accountable when they ignore directives on how to do business . and i think after a while,
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people will begin to toe the line rather quickly. >> and that has not been done? >> no. i mean, how can you have a certification requirement that you abolish because some of the managers in the field are pushing back about it, because they might not be sure if they're scheduling staff is staffit right and he i.g. might come after them for asserting something that was not true or certifying something that was not true? you just do not tolerate that. >> no, ok. you mentioned several times here that you are falling on 9 -- following on 93 facilities investigations, and the results are confirming what you found in phoenix. when your reports are completed, i really expect the v.a. to implement european nations quickly and hold people accountable, as you just referred to.
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but i wanted to ask you to sort, is your impression that the motivation for these inappropriate actresses are more to show -- inappropriate showices are more to information or for lack of training? >> i think it is a combination of a number of. in each of our reports, one of the recommendations was to that the schedulers were properly trained, and the weight -- in the way it was supposed to be done. >> they have been hearing this for a long time? >> yes. astraining? >> i think it is a combination of a number of. in each of you know from your ps time in the committee. 2005 was the first time we had that report. as i mentioned earlier, i think have a person
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working the scheduling side that has some clinical knowledge of being able to triage how bad does this better need to be seen today as opposed to somebody else? that is not currently the case. >> i know some of the facilities are saying this is low level, we have a lot of people coming in. is that an excuse? >> no. i do not think there is an excuse for -- i believe that over the years v.a.'s budgets have pretty much been matched or by congressional appropriators. but if you do not know what you r demand is and how many are on secret list, and you do not know, we need 30% more clinicians, or whatever the number is, they cannot even ask for it. isi think the responsibility you have to do a serious
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strategic analysis, not just of your clinicians, but also the blended with feet-basis care -- come up withe and a solid number that you can hang your hat on in order for you to say in order for us to treat veterans in a quality and timely manner, we need this number of doctors and this amount of money fee basis for moral areas and what have you. >> mr. chairman, this congress, the country wants to be there for veterans, but if we do not know what the need is accurately, we do not know what to provide. i echo that point. let me ask you one other thing. you have been doing this a long .ime we've been hearing this for a long time. event doing a lot investigations. have you found any facilities have done a good job, that have checked for scheduling gimmicks? >> we found a number of facilities out of our 93 where we concluded that there was feeo manipulation occurring, which
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is a good thing. maybe 1/4. the bad news is on the other 3/4 we're pretty confident that it was knowingly and willingly have happening,willingly and we are pursuing those. >> thank you. and thank you and all your team. >> let me thank mr. griffin for being here but for the excellent work that he and his department are doing, and we thank all his staff are being here as well. thank you very much. chairman.ou, mr. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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mr. secretary, thank you very
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much for being with us. my apologies for putting your on second, but i thought it would be important for you and for the committee to be hearing from the inspector general first. but the floor is yours, and please take as much time as you need. >> thank you, chairman sanders. we thought it was important as well that the inspector general go first, so we are pleased to be here after the inspector general. chairman sanders, ranking member, and distinguished members of the committee on veterans affairs, thanks for the opportunity to discuss with you v.a.'s response to the recent report regarding wait times and scheduling practices at the hospital.a. i said at the time of my confirmation hearing i would put veterans at the center of everything we do at v.a. let me begin by offering my personal apologies to all veterans who experienced
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unacceptable delays in receiving care. it is clear we failed in that respect regardless of the fact that the report on phoenix could not conclusively tie patient deaths to delays. i'm committed that fixing this problem and providing timely high-quality care that veterans have earned and that they desire. that is how we regain veterans' trusts, and that is how we regain trust and the trust of the american people. report has not been issued, and as the inspector general said, we have concurred with all 24 of the recommendations. three of the recommendations have already been remediated him and we are well underway in remediating many of the remaining 21 because we begin work when the i.g.'s interim report was released in may. for accountability we
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proposed the removal of three senior leaders in phoenix. as we learn more about individual supervisors and employees there, we may find that additional display in their actions are warranted, and we will take them. we are grateful for the leadership in establishing the recently passed veterans access choice and accountability act of 2014. this important act streamlines the removal of v.a. senior executives and the appeals process. it is not guarantee v.a.'s decisions will be upheld on to firer allow v.a. senior executive officers evidence or cause. if taken many other actions in phoenix and the surrounding areas to improve veterans' access to care, including first, putting in place a strong acting leadership team, good people with proven track record of serving veterans and solving problems.
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and operatingace in phoenix now. i have been visited them on separate increasing phoenix staffing by 162 people and implementing aggressive recruitment and hiring processes to speed recruiting. reaching out to all veterans identified as being on unofficial lists or the facility electronic waitlist and completing over 146,000 appointments in three months. there areember 5, only 10 veterans on the electronic wait lists at phoenix. where v.a. capacity did not exist to promote pride timely to provide timely appointments, phoenix made almost 15,000 referrals to non-v.a. care. we have secured contracts to utilize primary care physicians from within the community in the future. since my confirmation as secretary, i have traveled the
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across theties country, speaking to employees, speaking to members of congress's, veteran services organizations, and other stakeholders. during these visits, i found v.a. employees to be overwhelmingly dedicated to serving veterans and driven by a strong institutional values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect them and excellence. and im we use is icare am wearing that button today. our people are making a difference. nationally to have enabled the following critical achievements. hhaf august 15 has reached out to veterans to decreased the veterans on the waitlist by 57%. vha has developed the accelerating care initiative to increase it access for care or veteran patients, decreased the
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number of veterans on the electronic waitlist longer than theays, and standardized process for ongoing monitoring and access management at all v.a. facilities. tore we have not been able increase capacity we've increased the use of community, non--v.a. care. between may and august we made almost a million total referrals thanon-v.a. care, more 200,000 referrals than for the same time in 2000 or delete the access manager has been removed from all performance plans to eliminate all incentive for inappropriate scheduling. over 13,000 performance plans have been amended. dating our antiquated appointment scheduling system and working to acquire a comprehensive, state-of-the-art commercial off-the-shelf scheduling system. a. directors are completing
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reviews of their facilities' scheduling practices. so far to thousand of these reviews have been conducted nationwide. 's have restructured vha office for medical inspector to create strong internal audit function. v.a.gust 7 i asked all employees to reaffirm the commitment to our mission and values.e i intend this reaffirmation to be repeated by each and every employee each year on the anniversary of our establishment as a department. if an employee refuses to recommit, i want to meet with them personally, and we will decide actions after that. we are building a more robust system for measuring patients' satisfaction to provide real-time site-specific collaborating with
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organizations in this effort and learning what other systems aren't using to track information. we're working hard to create a climate that were ensures requirement would legal requirements. that mandate commitment to whistleblower rotations for all employees. yesterday we announced the beginning of our road to veterans day can our 90-a plan which begins with our mission to better serve and care for those who have borne the battle for their families and for their survivors. he will focus efforts over the next 60 days to rebuild trust with veterans and the american people to improve service delivery and to set the course andlong-term excellence reform. as we move forward, we will continue to work with the i.g. to ensure accountability. as you heard, there are over 100
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ongoing investigation at byilities by the i.g., justice, by the office of special counsel, and others. in each case we await the results and will take appropriate disciplinary actions when all the facts and evidence are known. but we will not wait to provide veterans to care that they earned and that the desire. we are going forward. we will focus on sustainable accountability. in the future personneljust adverse actions, sustainable accountability needs ensuring all employees understand how their daily work ties back to that mission of caring for veterans. we want them to understand how it ties back to the mission, how it ties to our values, and how it ties to our strategies. we want to make sure everybody's behavior every single day is guided by the values and that mission. we want to make sure every employee understands it is their
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responsibility to provide feedback to their supervisor when they are asked to do something that is impossible to do. we want to make sure that feedback loop is daily and that every employee is getting daily feedback from their supervisor and that every supervisor is having daily feedback to their manager. accountability requires we do a better job of training our leaders. we need to flatten our hierarchical culture. we need to encourage innovation. we need to encourage elaboration. we need realistic ratings of everyone's performance. everyone cannot be the best. fulfill their responsibility to veterans to provide feedback and input how to better serve veterans. who better to help us improve our department and the employees who every day are interacting with veterans? we will judge the success of all
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these efforts against a single metric, and that is the veterans' outcomes. to bet v.a. recognized in providing health care and benefits. i will utilize this opportunity to transform v.a. to better serve veterans. mr. chairman, members of the committee, thanks for your unwavering support of our nation's veterans. i look forward to working with you in implementing the law and in making things better for all of america's veterans. dr. clancy and i are prepared to take her presence at this time. >> mr., thank you very much for being here for your patiencts and hearing the discussion of the inspector general, and i'm paraphrasing a member who said that you have hit the ground sprinting, which is exactly what this committee wanted from you, and we appreciate that very
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much. i want to reiterate a point that you just made, and that is that the vast majority of v.a. employees -- this is the case in vermont and all over the country hardrk tirelessly and very to do everything they can for our veterans. we should never forget that. and we should also not forget that while we are focusing today on the issue of timeliness and the need to make sure that every veteran in this country gets imely care, we also know that can tell you absolutely in vermont that most veterans believe the care they are getting once they are in the system is of high quality and they appreciate the care they are getting and the work that their staff is doing. is, in a sensedo you talked about this in your opening remarks, but let's focus on three or four basic issues. every member of this committee is outraged by the long wait
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periods that veterans in various parts of the country are experiencing. so i want you to tell us briefly what kind of progress is that you have made in reducing his weight periods. number two, we all agree it is safed orable for v.a. high-ranking people to be lying, to be manipulating data. what have you done to get rid of people who are acting dishonorably, and what plans do you have in the future? thirdly, and this is tough howf, how do we make sure, do you lay the groundwork for what we have seen in phoenix, that it does not happen again, and how do you address it is in fact a national problem? it is no secret that we have a serious crisis in the number of physicians we have them especially primary care physicians, the number of nurses
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that we have in various parts of this country. we've given you some tools and i am proud of the work that came out of this committee, in the educational debt reduction program which is similar to the national health service corps, which gives you the toll to good medical school. maybe you can tell us about that until people who would graduate, young redactors -- young actors who are in debt, what are you going to address the very difficult issue of bringing more quality physicians, nurses, and other medical personnel into the system? those are my questions. >> thank you, chairman sanders. in relationship to the first question, access to care. we reached out to over 294,000 veterans to get them off wait lists and into clinics as of september 5. v.a. has decreased the waitlist 2,000, tohan 30 t
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around 24,000 as of august 15. we have reduced the new and rowley appointment request list for nearly 64,002 right now approximately 1700. >> this is a combination of expanding v.a. capacity and sending people out to the private sector? >> yes. it includes things like in phoenix we moved in three mobile units from around the region. we increased clinical hours. we work on overtime. it is a matter of putting the resources where they need to be put. we collaborated with the department of defense in some sites, collaborating with indian health services. these were the things that were done. we have had more people that we have put into the private sector. more patients have gone into the private sector.
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in each one of those referrals is resulting in on average of seven appointments. that number understates the care that has been provided. so we are making progress there, but more work needs to be done, and the building you mentioned will help us do that, by providing great access points, 27 more new points, and the ability to hire more doctors and nurses. you asked about disciplinary actions. we talked -- i talked in my opening remarks about the three individuals in phoenix who were seeking to who we proposed this binary action for. we have new acting director there in phoenix. in my american legion speech, i mentioned we have over 30 actions we have taken. around five include members of the senior executive member service. about two dozen include nickel
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professionals -- include medical professionals. we are following up, as quickly as we can, as soon as we get information that suggests we should take disciplinary action, we are taking it. we have stood up a separate team called the accountability team. i met with them as recently as yesterday. they report to me. their single job is to get after these as quickly as possible. enter a. of would ask you a third question. the inspector general made a good week that it is hard to know what you need unless you have good information. , how many moret doctors, nurses, medical staff do you need, and how, when the time this country is not producing enough positions, are you going to get them? >> we need tens of thousands. said in hisecretary
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testimony around 28,000. we are going to process -- >> let me repeat. you are telling us you believe you need 28,000 new medical staff? >> including clinicians and other employees. we are in the process of going through a big recruiting effort. i was at duke diversity medical school. i was with senator burr in charlotte, and i went to duke, and we talked to over 500 members of that duke medical community. i was in philadelphia last friday. i talk to members of the university of pennsylvania medical school. >> you may continue to watch this hearing on the house begins its legislative day.
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later this week, measures to allow health insurance to meet minimum garments of the health care law. now to the live coverage of the u.s. house. the speaker: the house will be in order. the prayer will be offered today by our guest chaplain,
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verend glen berto, the house modesto, modesto, california. the chaplain: let's pray. i thank god for the men and women of this house and their commitment, concern and call to help america. to be a great nation. i bless them and their families with health, wisdom and supernatural peace. george washington said, it is impossible to rightly govern the world without god and the bible. we need a visitation from heaven. we need your word to answer our questions. we need your love to resolve our differences. and we need your understanding to embrace our purpose. thank you, lord, for sending us what man kind needed -- mankind needed, a savior, jesus christ, who paid the ultimate price for freedom on the cross. thank you, lord, for the men and women in the united states
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military that have paid the ultimate price, who gave their lives for our freedom. we repent of our pride, embrace humility and call the creator of creation to bless america, in jesus' name, amen. the speaker: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance today will be led by the gentleman from texas, mr. poe. mr. poe: i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker: without objection, the gentleman from california, mr. denham, is recognized for one minute. mr. denham: thank you, mr. speaker. it's a great honor today to introduce to the house our guest chaplain, glen berto of
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modesto, from the house. glen currently serves as senior pastor in the house in modesto, church of more than 8,000, his congregation was name as one of the 50 top churches in america. the house's outreach has touched the lives of people all across the central valley. he's a leader who's pulled our faith-based community together and our pastors together to address so many of our issues in california's central valley. glen is a youth pastor and author of a popular youth manual and two books, "christianity life." he's a gifted speaker and eadvantage list and teacher, speaking not only in california's central valley but in conferences all over the world. mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues to join me in welcoming glen this afternoon. we thank him for offering this morning's opening prayer in the united states house of representatives. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair will entertain up to 15 further requests for
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one-minute speeches on each side of the aisle. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from north carolina seek recognition? ms. foxx: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to mark a momentous occasion at the daimler trucks north america cleveland plant in north carolina. the plant, which began manufacturing freight liner trucks in 1989, recently rolled truck number three million off the assembly line. this milestone is a testament to the high quality work force that can be found there specifically and in north carolina in general. in 1989 the plant began building freight liners with 124 employees. while market forces have caused fluctuation over the years, the plant currently employees about -- employs about 2,600 people, making it the third largest
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employer in the county. altogether the company employs about 8,000 people throughout north carolina. mr. speaker, i congratulate daimler on its successful north american truck business and i commend the good people of north carolina for making that business thrive. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for bhin. mr. higgins: mr. speaker, today i rise to recognize september as national childhood cancer awareness month. cancer continues to be a leading cause of death by disease for america's children. every year the united states, almost 16,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed with cancer. approximately 1/4 of these children will not survive. two prominent health institutions in western new york, roswell park cancer institute and women's and children's hospital in buffalo, work collaboratively to conduct research, provide treatment and raise awareness on behalf of these children.
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i urge my colleagues to support increased funding for the national cancer institute. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today during hunger action month to raise the alarm of food insecurity and hunger that afflicts our fellow citizens. many of us cannot imagine going to bed hungry and then waking up still hungry. but this is the sad reality for far too many people. nearly 200,000 of those who are food-insecure in northern illinois, one in five are children who lack adequate food and nutrition to grow up healthy. mr. hultgren: chicago's suburban hunger group has a stunning 99% over the past decade, notwithstanding hard working volunteers. i have seen firsthand their service to our communities.
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this september let's redouble all our volunteer efforts and use our resources to help our neighbors in need. colder months are up ahead when families feel the harsh brunt of food insecurity. it takes the effort of the community to care for our neighbors. as jesus called us to do without judgment or stigma. whatever we do for these, the least of these, we do for him. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one inute. mr. sires: mr. speaker, i rise today to congratulate the people of new jersey city, new jersey, upon the recent announcement to hold the p and g 2017 presidential cup at the premier liberty golf course. the prestigeous tournament not only exposes golf fans to jersey city but also boasts tourism, investment and raises awareness for charities in the area. in addition, all the living presidents will be at the opening ceremony as honorary
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chairmen. the president's cup is one -- presidents cup is one of 10 pga events that will be held. i congratulate the father and son team of stan and paul feinman for their unwavering commitment to bring a world class course to new jersey city, new jersey. built on top of an old landfill, it offers sweeping views of the hudson river and the statue of liberty nearly at every hole. the feinman's dedication to bringing the golf course to the area is about giving back to the game and the community. they announced a $5 million, five-year commitment to the first tee program, an international youth organization that promotes life skills, leadership for the game of golf. i congratulate the city of jersey city and the family and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. poe: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address
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the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: madam speaker, turn off the ovens, the school base sales are over. bake sales in schools are as american as apple pie and the flag. parent it's like janet and other parents in p.t.a.'s and p.t.o.'s use bake sales to raise money for the school band, cheerleader uniforms and ipads for students. but now the almighty federal government has cooked up new rules controlling public school bake sales. no more cupcakes, oatmeal raisin cookies, popcorn or pizza can be sold for playground equipment or student trips. the washington regulators, many of whom have their kids go to private schools that are not covered by the new rules, say, kale chips and quinoa are to replace snow cones and valentine candy. isn't that lovely? local patients and educators should control bake sales, not the federal government.
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so today i'm introducing legislation to keep the feds from interfering with bake sales by local schools. what is sold in bake sales to help school kids in texas or any other place across america is frankly none of the business of the federal government food police. and that's just the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> madam speaker, the simple truth is, is this congress is the most unaccomplished congress in the history of the country. the fact is, people's house has become a very undemocratic institution. where bills are brought to the floor without hearings, without authorizing committee consideration, where a few leaders make all the major decisions. mr. nolan: and where the people's business is constantly ignored in favor of a
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legislation advanced solely for political purposes. the fact is, we need to return and restore regular order where every bill brought to the floor of the house is required to be considered by committee. with open rules. where every amendment, every idea is debated, voted on and fully considered. to do that, the congress needs to go to work five days a week, like everybody else in america. with that in mind, mr. speaker, i hope my colleagues will join me in support of my restore democracy act, house resolution 695. this bill represents a road map to change the way we do politics in america, take the corrupt of money out of our politics and return to regular order. madam speaker, it's about time we restore democracy right here in the house of representatives. the people's chamber. thank you, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. carter: thank you, madam
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speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 5078, waters of the united states regulatory overreach protection act. which is basically -- boils down to tell the federal government to stay away from our water. there seems to be plans to make every drop of water that falls or pools in the united states federal waterways. therefore, they can be regulated by federal regulators. in our state of texas, water is as precious as oil. it's the lifeblood of our people and of our economy. without water, texas dies. we're not ready to put the control of water in the hands of the inept federal government. water belongs in the hands of the states. this bill will keep it where it belongs. support h.r. 5078, and keep the federal government out of our
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water. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. veasey: madam speaker, while house republicans spend the next two weeks bringing up silly partisan bills aimed at embarrassing the president, house democrats remain focused on the real solutions that matter to the american people. it's time to put the middle class above partisan politics. it's time to vote to raise the minimum wage, to $10.10 an hour, and give struggling families a real chance to be in the middle class. and what's wrong with women receiving equal pay for equal work? let's bring the paycheck fairness act to the floor, to make sure that women are treated equally in the workplace. these bills and many other are a part of the democrats' middle class jump-start america agenda, a plan to fight for the
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middle class, puts families before special interests and reignite the american dream for all those who want to work hard for it. let's put partisan politics aside and help the people that are struggling out there in the middle class get back on their feet. madam speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, madam speaker. the federal government is attempting yet another power grab in our own backyards. the new rule proposed by the e.p.a. will mandate the most significant expansion of federal government in water regulation in more than a quarter of a century. the florida -- in florida alone, preliminary costs to projects in eight counties are estimated at over $182 million. in my district, all this rule will do is make it harder for farmers to grow food and more difficult for local businesses to thrive. mr. rooney: floridians
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understand and respect our waterways, unlike any other state. environmentalists, farmers, businesseses have all come together in florida to protect our environment and eliminate water pollutants. in their -- and their efforts are working. the obama administration in its never-ending quest to bypass congress and the states, is seeking to upend this functioning dynamic. therefore i rise today to encourage my colleagues to support congressman steve southerland's bill, h.r. 5078, the water of the united states regulatory overreach protection act. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california seek recognition? . sara: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. miss hap: the news the white house will not take action this summer on immigration reform came as a huge disappointment not just to me but millions across this country. our broken imdwration system
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hurts millions of families and every day at that we delay leaves both these families and our economies suffering. but immigration reform can and should come from congress. it's been well over a year since the senate did their job and passed fair bipartisan legislation that would bring people out of the shadows and on a pathway to citizenship. let's not blame the president. here in the house my friends on the other side of the aisle have not brought the senate bill to the floor for a vote. that's how we have comprehensive immigration reform. and not through executive orders. if we held a vote tomorrow, i'm confident that it would pass. madam speaker, it's time for my republican friends to realize the damage of not taking up comprehensive immigration reform does to our nation every day. this issue is too important to be put on the back burner until after the election. enough is enough. it's time to bring the senate bill on comprehensive
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immigration reform to a vote. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore pore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, madam speaker. i was first made aware of the practice of rehoming earlier this year when it was discovered a girl adopted from haiti was transferred back and forth from an abusive environment from ohio to idaho. rehoming is the transfer of children into the custody of unvetted strapingers without the use of the child welfare system and currently there is no federal law prohibiting it. that means there's nothing stopping dangerous and unfit individuals from using online mediums like craig's list to seek custody and then abuse, negligent, or exploit children. as a father of two young children, the idea of children being treated as goods or
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property is reprehensible. our nation must address rehoming. that's why i'm introducing legislation to establish federal guidelines and reporting requirements for custodial transfers. mr. stivers: i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help me solve this problem of rehoming. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from florida seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for ne minute. ms. wilson: madam speaker, boca had a ram, the attacks on the people of nigeria, have become more vicious. their wicked deeds are devastating men, women, and children, christians and muslims. everyone is a target. like isis, the terrorist organization has aligned themselves with boko haram and
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they have beheaded hundreds of innocent people, including a 6-year-old christian boy in june. madam speaker, this week i'm introducing a bill to help combat boko haram and today i'm meeting with five of the kidnapped girls who escaped from the terror of boko haram. madam speaker, we have a major international crisis to deal with in the middle east and in nigeria. boko haram has the potential to explode any day like isis. they have killed hundreds, including elected officials. we shall tweet every day, #bring d.c. backourgirls to raise alarm of the kidnapped nigerian school girls. we must not forget these girls. and we must stop boko haram. tweet, tweet, tweet.
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#bringbackourgirls. weet, tweet, tweet, #follows repwilson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized. >> i rise today to honor the life of minnesota mendota heights police officer scott who tragically lost his life in the line of duty recently. he was a 19-year veteran of the police force. he was -- he loved his community and he served it with honor. mr. paulsen: whether he was checking in with accident victims or stopping by for a chat, he'll be remembered as somebody who was friendly, helpful, and always looking to serve others. a dedicated family man with two teenage daughters, he would constantly lee mind his fellow officers to enjoy their days off and make sure they spent time with their loved ones. madam speaker, officer patrick's
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tragic death reminds us of all the dangers that members of the thin blue line face each and every day to help keep our community safe. his sacrifice will not be forgotten. our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and his daughters and the police officers. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from nevada seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. s. titus: i rise to give voice to the 63,000 unaccompanied minors who have sought refuge at our border since last fall. these vulnerable children have fled terrible violence and poverty in their home country. in august, i traveled to texas where i visited the border with c.d.p. agent, i toird processing centers, and met with mexican officials to discuss the issue. there is no easy or quick solution for they very complex
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problem, but there are some steps we can take to relieve the crisis. provide resources for shelter and other social services for these children in u.s. custody, encourage economic investments in central america. assess the effectiveness of u.s. funding for anti-gang programs in central america, and increase the number of immigration judges to ensure children move quickly and fairly through the process. but in the end, this crisis simply underlies the necessity for us to enact comprehensive immigration reform. so i urge the house republican leadership to listen to the american people and bring this reform to the floor for a vote. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from indiana seek recognition? >> madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> madam speaker, with the anniversary of 9/11 just a few days away, we are reminded not only of the enormous loss of
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innocent life and physical destruction that terrorism can bring, but also the long-term economic harm that follows an attack. as we have seen with the rise of isis, the american people and our interests are always a target. and remain under constant threat. with our economy remaining stagnant over the past several years, congress must make sure we are doing everything we can to protect our citizens and safeguard our fiscal health. mr. stutzman: one of the steps we can and must take before the end of this year is to re-authorize the terrorism risk insurance act. this will provide much needed certainty in the marketplace by making sure that terrorism risk, insurance coverage, is readily available. this insurance is absolutely key to maintaining our economic security. without this re-authorization, we will leave the american people vulnerable to danger that could have been prevented. the senate has passed the tria re-authorization and i applaud chairman hensarling for passing a bill through the committee in
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june. while reasonable people can disagree on how this gets done, we should all agree it must happen. thank you, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. lewis: madam speaker, i rise today with pain in my heart and soul. there's not any room in a civilized society for the abuse of anyone, but especially women and girls. i have seen and known women who are victims and survivors. mothers, sisters, and daughters must know that their pain is our pain. the thought of another human being living in constant fear breaks my heart. day in and day out are afraid to come home at night and no safe place in the day it hurts my soul. throughout my life i have taken a stand against violence in thoughts, words, and action. violence is the human spirit.
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we do not come into this world beating and abusing our fellow human beings. we learn it from our environment. and from my experiences. together we have a moral obligation to teach our children, especially our young men, the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. there can be no place for abuse in our society. madam speaker, we must break the cycle and we must do it now. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired, for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. garrett: madam speaker, i rise to welcome all those who traveled to washington, d.c., this week for the in defense of christian inaugural summit. the summit unites human rights groups and religious leaders concerned about the plight of ancient christian minorities of the middle east. many of these and gent churches have survived centuries of
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hardship, foreign invasion, and domestic depp poetism. as we have seen recently, millions are now caught up in the middle of sectarian violence and conflict and end up paying the ultimate price for it. the bedrock of our nation's establishment was freedom of religion. what many experience today, even here in the united states, is sub jew case of religious beliefs by a government or military decree. people cannot be free without religious liberty. mr. speaker, again i welcome all those who are here for the summit. i commend them for their enduring fight for religious freedom.
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the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from utah seek recognition? mr. bishop: madam speaker, by direction of the committee on rules, i call up house resolution 715 and ask for its immediate consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 137. house resolution 715. resolved, that at any time after the adoption of this resolution,
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the speaker may, pursuant to clause 2-b of rule 18, declare the house resolved into the committee of the whole house on the state of the union for consideration of the bill h.r. 5078, to preserve existing rights and responsibilities with respect to waters of the united states, and for other purposes. the first reading of the bill shall be dispensed with. all points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. general debate shall be confined to the bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking member of the committee on transportation and infrastructure. after general debate, the bill shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. the bill shall be considered as read. all points of order against provisions in the bill are waived. no amendment to the bill shall be in order except those printed in the report of the committee on rules accompanying this resolution. each such amendment may be offered only in the order printed in the report, may be offered only by a member designated in the report. shall be considered as read,
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shall be debatable for the time specified in the report equally divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent. shall not be subject to amendment. and shall not be subject to a demand for division of the question in the house or in the committee of the whole. all points of order against such amendments are waived. at the conclusion of consideration of the bill for amendment, the committee shall rise and report the bill to the house with such amendments as may have been adopted. the previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill and amounts thereto to final passage without intervening motion except one motion to recommit with or without instructions. section 2, upon adoption of this resolution, it shall be in order without intervention of any point of order to consider in the house a resolution, house resolution 644, condemning and disapproving the obama administration's failure to comply with the lawful statutory requirement to notify congress before releasing individuals detained at united states' naval
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station guantanamo bay, cuba, and expressing national security concerns over the release of the top five taliban leaders and repercussions ever negotiating with terrorists. the amendments to the resolution and the preamble recommended by the committee on armed services now printed in the resolution shall be considered as adopted. the resolution as amended shall be considered as read. . the previous question shall be considered as ordered as amended to adoption without intervening had motion except one, one hour of debate equal request divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on armed services and, two, one motion to recommit with or without instructions. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah is recognized for one hour. mr. bishop: thank you, madam speaker. for purpose -- for purpose of debate only, i yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from florida, mr. hastings, pendsing which i yield myself such time as i may consume.
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during the consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only. madam speaker, i also ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days during which they may revise and extend their remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. bishop: this resolution provides for a structured rule for consideration of h.r. 5078. the waters of the united states regulatory overreach protection act of 2014. and it makes in order three amendments, all from democrats, for floor consideration. provides for one hour of general debate, equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member from the house committee on transportation and infrastructure. in addition, this resolution provides for a closed rule for consideration of house resolution 644, which condemns the administration's clear failure to follow the law requiring 30 days advance congressional notification pending terrorist detainee at guantanamo are to be released and condemn -- and condemning
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this administration's policy of selectively negotiating with terrorists to secure the release of an army staff sergeant. the rule provides for one hour of general debate equally divided between the chairman and ranking member of the armed services committee. while these are separate issues, the two separate piece he is of legislation covered -- pieces of legislation cover under this rule share one theme. a practice of this administration to stretch the law. when he was running his seball team, he just tests their elassitiesity. this administration has tested elasticity. y -- madam speaker, let me talk for just a second about h.r. 5078 that deals with clean water act. this is a bipartisan bill, it was passed in the committee by a voice vote. supported by many state and local governments. and has largely been ignored by
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this administration as the administration seeks to go around congress and attempts to revise administrative rules, asserting a federal stranglehold on private enterprise, job creation. one may want to know why the u.s. economy is still in a jimmy carter-like ma lays situation after six -- malaise situation after six years with this administration. just taking an underlying look at this bill, the administration wants more rulemaking authority, more regulations, stronger federal stranglehold on what you and i can and can't do, what business owners can and can't do, what farmers can or can't do with their own property. clearly what the -- when the clean water act was passed, it specified that the primary responsibility for water issues were to lay with the states. it's very clear when they came up with the concept of navigable waters that the united states, the federal government had a jurisdictional interest in interstate water regulations but not intrastate.
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twice the supreme court of the united states has ruled against the agencies that have been managing the clean water act and saying simply that they overstretched their authority, they stretched their limits, they stretched what is the power given to them under this particular act. now unfortunately we see an administration that's trying to move around that. to could -- two congresses, the 110th and 111th, this legislation that was introduced to try to change these provisions of the clean water act. both times they were met with strong, bipartisan opposition which didn't go anywhere. so now the administration, much of their work done in closed haden door sessions without local input, are trying to draft a proposed administrative rule that takes the supreme court decisions, it misconstrues their decisions, and manipulates their decisions, so that in effect it turnses the cases that we're -- turns the cases that were attempting to put limitations on what the clean water act
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authorized the government to do and use that as a justification for the agency to broaden its jurisdiction and increase the controls it has over waters of the united states. and individuals. and in so doing, so doing, it actually harms people. overregulation seems to be one this administration's hallmarks and this bill in a bipartisan manner, will address the proper way to go about modifying the clean water act and its relation to federal power, such that it will not further stifle jobs, economic growth or hurt people while it still protects the environment. this resolution, the bill, the rule before us is still a good bill, it deals with two vitally important pieces of legislation . i urge their adoption and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you very much, madam speaker. i thank my friend, the
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gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes for debate. you know, we are back here and this is our first legislation after a lengthy recess and the fact of the matter is that after next week, we will be on yet another lengthy recess, headed into the november 4 election. when we began this session, the 113th congress, the speaker of the house commented and i won't boggetter to quote him, i will just summarize briefly what he said, was that this would be the most open legislative period that we have seen. ironically today, dealing with these two pieces of legislation and this particular rule, we are saying one portion of -- we
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are seeing one portion of it structured and for the 74th times, we them, 74 are dealing with a closed rule. what that means, america, is that your representatives here in the house of representatives , on the subject of legislation dealing with 644, having released taliban prisoners in exchange for sergeant bergdahl, your representatives will not be able to amend that legislation or -- and the general debate period will be the only time that a limited number of members in one hour will have an opportunity to speak to the issue. i think that's wrong. as i think that most of the closed rules previous to this 74th have been wrong. and let me hasten to add, when
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democrats were in the majority, and i remember being here in 1993 and hearing on the radio that democrats were doing closed rules, i had not come to congress, i didn't understand that dynamic. and democrats did closed rules as well. i don't think that's right. i think this body should operate openly and even if it takes time for us to have members who choose to come down and debate legislation, i think they should have that opportunity. madam speaker, this -- there's a lot that we could be doing this september. americans need good paying jobs. the working poor who are making the minimum wage deserve to make a living wage and we recently have seen demonstrations in 100 cities where people working at $7.35 or $.00 an hour are
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demonstrating -- $8.00 an hour are demonstrating, give me a chance. while the economy may be, as my good friend from utah says in a carter-like malaise, wall street is in a mushroom and boom. and somehow or another the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is slipping into the lower class. something is wrong with that picture and we can do better as a society. i defy anybody to tell me that if you're a mother or father and you have one child and you work eight hours a week at $7.35 an hour anywhere in the united states of america, how do you provide adequate child care, how do you provide the necessary food for your child and how do you provide the necessary medical services? i don't believe that anybody believes that that can be done with such a limited amount of resources for a family. americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their
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own, companies moving all over the world, to avoid paying taxes in the united states of america, i believe that those people need help keeping food on the table. we find students in our country, young people that work here on capitol hill and their brothers and sisters who are graduating from elite institutions, online institutions, for-profit institutions and state universities throughout this country are faced with crushing debt that keeps them from entering the housing market, keeps them from starting a family, opening a small bills. and i know everybody agrees that women deserve equal pay for equal work. but are we doing any of those things here? no. we're discussing a waterways issue that isn't going to go anywhere fast and everybody here knows that.
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we're discussing the condemnation of the president's administration about a measure that i believe most of us would have done pretty much the same thing, about whether or not there was going to be a 30-day notice to the house of representatives. and no, we're not dealing with the family situations that exist in this country as it per pains -- as it pertains to poverty, we're not dealing at all with equal pay for equal work for women. while the resolution, i repeat, condemns president obama's administration for action to assure the safe return of an american soldier, sergeant bergdahl, yet i mow nye friends on the other side of the -- know my friends on the other side of the aisle celebrate sergeant bergdahl's return because this resolution even says it in -- right there in the text. here's the quote. now therefore be it resolved
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that the house of representatives expresses relief that sergeant bergdahl has returned safely to the united states. i've been taught in all of -- and all of us here believe when our military is in harm's way we have had for years, and more recently we made ourselves gender perfect, but for years we say we leave no man behind. we leave no soldier behind. i've been on missions with republicans and democrats in this particular body, in places far away from here, in korea, where we were looking for the remains of american soldiers to bring them home. now, i don't know bo bergdahl and i certainly don't know his family. but as a citizen of this country, i do know this. men in guantanamo that was exchanged and, yes, indeed, they were former members of
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organizations that would do us harm, but they're not likely to return to the battlefield at their age. if so, then old people like me need to be in the war and probably we wouldn't have so many in the first place. are their minds going to be utilized? that may very well be the case. but i don't think all five of them put together were worth as much as one american soldier, bo bergdahl. and toward that end, i defy anybody to tell me that the bergdahl family and those of us who believe that we should leave no soldier behind are not pleased. we send our soldiers into harm's way under the american flag. we assure them that they will not be left behind and president obama and the defense secretary hagel made good on that promise. now, i'm sorry that you object to how we secured the safe return of one of our soldiers. but you don't get to have it both ways. instead of bringing bills to the floor that would help our
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students, that would help those struggling to find jobs, that would help women get the pay they deserve or help small business owners, we get this resolution which allows that you can have it both ways. we're glad he's home, but we're not glad about how you brought him here. let me say hurriedly too that i think president obama should have given the 30 days' notice. i for one know that this matter in the tense community was debated -- intelligence community was debated previously. you go i don't think anybody believes we should have left young mr. berg dal behind. and what will we be doing if we were standing here talking about he died in captivity and we had that slight window of opportunity to bring him home? mr. speaker, the plan for the next two weeks is to stoke up the base. these are message measures. that's all they are. just something to say something so as how you can go home to your base and argue that, look
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what we did. we condemned the obama administration. repealed health care 5 times -- 52 times. you aren't passing laws and you aren't doing anything in a cooperative way institutionally to allow that both sides have input to measures that are needed in this country in order for us to go forward. thursday we'll pass a continuing resolution that end we are here a -- we'll hear a whole lot of sound and fury signifying exactly nothing but nonsense. . welcome back, my friends, to congress. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. bishop: thank you, madam speaker. i agree with my friend from florida that significant issues need to be addressed on this floor. nothing is more significant than the future of our water rights, which does impact the economy, especially for areas of interest
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where that is significant, like agriculture. because of that i'm glad to yield three minutes to the gentleman from georgia. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized. >> thank you, madam speaker. madam speaker, i rise today in strong support of this rule and underlying legislation. mr. collins: this rule will expand the regulatory jurisdiction that is being proposed and worked on by this bill, though the jurisdiction of e.p.a. places more restrictions on land otherers who will fall under this new umbrella of jurisdiction. the problem we have here -- it is said many times from others on our side is at worse -- best uncaring about the environment and worse, we want to make the environment terrible. i think what we have to deal with here is the clean water act has provide add good parameter and needs to be continued to work in because it has a clear direction and parameter how you bring in bodies of water and
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what is under that jurisdiction. i think what has happened here and what is a concern i heard from my constituents, especially in north georgia, and really all over the country, as i traveled in the past few weeks, talking in different parts of the country about what is the actual role in dealing with this waters of the u.s.a. what are we taking jurisdiction from? this is not just an agricultural issue, madam speaker. this is also an internal issue for the rural and urban areas. what is being talked about here is taking under consideration navigable waterways that have never been thought off any more in my part of the world many times as a dry ditch. these simply say we are not trying it with dry ditch. a dry ditch will not be covered under this. there is a caveat that basically they say if the dry ditch when water flows into another waterway it could be considered navigable. i don't know about anybody else, madam speaker, but in my part of the world i have never seen a ditch run uphill and stop. a ditch is running to somewhere.
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this is simply a land grab that takes land away from owners who could use this land in very productive and carefully thought out ways throw their own localities. this is nothing more than a land grab that is based on a desire to put other things that -- political agendas ahead of property owners. that is why i support the rule and i'll support the underlying bill dealing with the waters of the u.s.a. act. but also i would rise also in support of our underlying bill as well, basically says -- we got to understand. the law clearly states the president shall notify congress of any release of guantanamo bay detainees. it clearly states this. if changing or breaking that law isn't enough, the president in his release, released five of the most dangerous detainees held at guantanamo bay. these taliban leaders orchestrated plans to engage in hostilities against americans and in association with al qaeda. by his own admission there is
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absolutely -- and the possibility that these detainees would return to the fight. as someone who has been in that fight over the past 10 years, and has been over there, they do not need any help. they do not need their poster heroes coming back to them and giving them support, even though they have been off the battlefield. this was wrong. my friend from florida says, they are message bills. i challenge him to ask, are -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman is recognized for an additional minute. mr. collins: thank you. madam speaker, i ask, is there truly, though -- let's be sort of open and transparent which is what the american people want here. there's not a bill that hits the floor of this house that is not a message bill. it sends a message of the priorities of the congress. it sends a message of the priorities of the people that we represent. yes, they are messaging bills. there are messaging bills from florida, georgia, they are messaging bills for the american people. i believe messages matter. what happened in this instance is the message was loud and clear from our administration,
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executive office was saying i don't care what the law says. i'm going to do it anyway. that's a bad message, mr. president. we need to stop it. with that, madam speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves. the chair would request members would refrain from engaging in personalities. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. hastings: glad to note that personality enough to be recognized, madam speaker. i understand the passion of my young friend. i also understand an awful lot about the waterways in georgia and florida. and other areas of the united states of america. and i appreciate his concern. fromessage bill that i get these measures allows that when we know something is not going to pass the united states senate
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and reach a president's desk, then what we are doing is just in the final analysis addressing measures so that we can go to the electorate and claim that we did something , when in fact, we did not. and it's just that simple. and many of the measures that we have dealt with over the course of the 113th congress have been just that. measures that were designed to reach the base of the party and that is a prerogative, but it is not good legislating. i will stand by that throughout the remainder of this debate and any others that i participate in. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida voifs of -- reserves. the gentleman from utah is recognized. mr. bishop: thank you, madam speaker. again i appreciate the comments made by the gentleman from florida just recently except that i would take exception to the idea that anything that we should bring to this floor has
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to be generated and has to be passed by the senate. i reject the idea that we have to get permission from that body to discuss things here on the floor. if they allow it to go forward, then and only then would we bring something to the floor. because this rule will bring a significant piece of legislation that has to be addressed. dealing with a potential rule and regulation that deals with the waters of the united states that could have enormous consequences. enormous consequences not only for the economy of this country but also for individuals who use the water and live with that water. we have the potential of actually doing something positive by stopping a bad rule from going into effect. changing its directions and saying that only congress should be the one that would change those concepts. because unfortunately if we don't do that, we end up hurting people. and that's why i want this rule to go forward and i want the underlying bill on water to go
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forward because we have to stop hurting people. let me give you a story of an old farmer in northern utah i met when i was first elected. very kindly gentleman because in his entire ordeal with the federal government i never heard him say, an unkind word. i, on the other hand, will spend quite a few years in purgatory for what i was saying about this situation, not only verbally but inside my head. but this gentleman had a problem because he was running a farm that had been a family farm since the 1800's. he was a sugar weight farmer hich -- sugar weight -- beet farmer a. root crop that cannot be grown in wetlands. his farm was watered by irrigation that game from a valid water right, a creek diverted by a ditch. around 1905 the creek was diverted to a higher level on the farm so that it would run
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there, and the old waterbed became vacant. it became part of his sugar beet farm and the water went through a ditch and irrigated that particular area. as the farmer for over 80 years, his family was growing sugar beets on this creek bed. as the gentleman's siblings left the farm and his kids didn't want to take it over, this land became his inheritance that would provide for his retirement and inheritance for his kids to give on. came to the point where it was rezoned by a local community for commercial property and a company gave him a very decent offer to try and buy his old farm. and this was back in 1993. but what it would require is to actually fill up the old river bed and then run a pipe underneath the property so the water would go from the original point over to the neighbors. everything was great until the army corps of engineers came by and one army regulator saw them
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irrigating the land which was now used to grow hey -- hay not sugar beets and since water was now pooled in this land it was a wetland. his recognition was, it was a wetland. now, the fact that the water -- no water reached that land if the ditch was shut off, didn't stop him from saying this now is a wetland and i get to regulate it under the clean waters act as waters of the united states. so the soil and conservation service came in. they conducted tests. they drilled 22 holes. eight feet or longer, to find out that under the topsoil was a level of clay, so no water would ever percolate up on to this land. the only way you got water there was if you opened the ditch to let water come back. nevertheless, the army corps regulator still said i declare this to be a wetland and i have jurisdiction over it under the
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water act regulations we have. the guy tried to prove his point by putting in a pipe that shows if you ran the water, nothing pooled on this land. to which he was threatened with jail time if he did not take the pipe he owned off the land that he owned from the water right that he owned and actually take that away. once again this guy -- one of the problems as we said, ok, look, no water actually appears there normally. you go out there and you can break a shovel, try to dig up this wetland. how long will it take before you will recognize the fact that this is not a generating wetland? the guy said, well, the regulator said, well, we are in a drought cycle. so maybe in seven to 15 years if no water appears on that land we will actually not declare this a wetland and allow the owner of the land to actually sell his property for his retirement and
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his inheritance. well, as things kept going on, my predsedors started this case -- predecessor started this case, i met him, and finally after 10 years of haggling with the regulators of the united states, over what is or is not waters of the united states, he simply got tired of doing it. sold his land. at 1/4 of the value that a neighboring piece of property got for the same size that had not been declared as wetland by a single regulator in the united states. now, why is this bill so significant? because this bill, if not put in some kind of parameters and checks, allows the federal government to hurt people. it gives them the power and authority to hurt people. and indeed the direction that this proposed rule is going would not limit the control the agencies have over people's life. it would significantly expand
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it. and that's why it is significant and it is important for congress to simply say, no. we will no longer make rules in this country simply by agencies deciding to expand their own control where they have a terrible track record and they actually hurt people. we will say if you're going to expand it, it's got to be done by congress. specifically by congress. and not by rule making authority of some agency of the federal government. that's the significance of this piece of legislation. that's why this legislation has to come to the floor. that's why we are not wasting time. this is not a message issue. this is something where people are being harmed by the agencies of the federal government and congress must exert its rightful in these ying to rein agencies and try to write the laws so these agencies will not simply abuse the people because they have the power to abuse people. i'm sorry, madam speaker, i consider that to be significant. i consider that to be our
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responsibility. if the senate doesn't want to take up that responsibility, if the senate wants to still abuse people, that can be their prerogative. but it should not limit what we do here on the house in speaking out for our constituents. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from utah reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. hastings: thank you very much, madam speaker. i'm very pleased to yield three minutes to my good friend, the gentleman from virginia, mr. connolly. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for three minutes. mr. connolly: i thank you, madam speaker, and i thank my good friend from florida. i listened to my friend from utah and heard him make reference to the fact he thought he might be spending time in purgatory. . i just want him to know that i rise in support of him. i want to help him expeaate whatever transgressions he may feel he's committed and lessen that time in purgatory by opposing this rule. i think that's how we ought to begin. madam speaker, here we go again.
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should it surprise any of us that the most anti-environmental house majority is once again engaging in science suppression and denial simply because they don't like the findings and where they take us? . apparently the narrative is environmental regulations and rulemaking can only be an abuse. my friend from utah used that word. that's the choice. do you like being abused or not? and i find that not only something i have to reject but i don't think that is in fact the choice we face at all. i think environmental regulation, since we adopted rigorous standards in 1970, and the richard nixon administration, a republican president, has actually served the american public by and large very well. the story my friend from utah tells about the farmer, the beat sugar farmer


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