tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN October 28, 2015 5:00pm-7:01pm EDT
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 266 and the nays are 167. the motion is adopted. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 266. the nays are 167. the motion is adopted. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the question is on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal which the chair will put de novo. the question is on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the
the chair will receive a message. the secretary: i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate has passed without amendment h.r. 3819, cited as he -- extension act of 2015. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a message. the clerk: to the congress of the united states, section 202-d of the national emergency act, 50 u.s.c. 1622-d, provides
for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration the president publishes in the federal register and transmits to the congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. in accordance with this provision, i have sent to the federal register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to sudan is to continue in effect beyond november 3, 2015. the crisis constituted by the actions and policies of the government of sudan that led to the declaration of a national emergency in executive order 13063 -- 67 of november 3, 1997 and the expansion of that emergency in executive order 13400 of april 26, 2006, and with respect to which additional steps were taken in executive order 13412 of october 13, 2006, has not been
resolved. these actions and policies continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the united states. therefore, i have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in executive order 13067 with respect to sudan. signed sincerely, barack obama, the white house, october 28, 2015. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the committee on foreign affairs and ordered printed.
chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered. or on which the vote incurs objection under clause of -- 6 of rule 20. record votes on postponed questions will be taken later. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2643, to direct the attorney general to provide state officials with access to criminal history information with respect to certain financial service providers, required to undergo the state criminal background checks and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 239, h.r. 2643. a bill to direct the attorney general to provide state officials with access to criminal history information with respect to certain financial service providers required to undergo state criminal background checks and for other purposes.
the speaker pro tempore: the ouse will be in order. the house will be in order. pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from texas and the gentlewoman from wisconsin each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. neugebauer: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on this bill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. neugebauer: mr. speaker, i also ask unanimous consent that the exchange of letters between the committees of jurisdiction be included in the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. he house will be in order. the gentleman is recognized. mr. neugebauer: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. neugebauer: this bill, offered by my good friend and fellow texan, mr. williams, is a commonsense, bipartisan legislation that address the unintended consequences of the safe act. this bill passed the financial services committee by a vote of 57-0. before i get into the details of this bill, i would like to thank the texas banking commissioner, charles cooper, for his help and guidance as the committee considered this legislation. mr. speaker, h.r. 2643 helps ensure a safe consumer financial marketplace by facilitating the licensing of certain financial services providers. congress authorized the creation of the national mortgage licensing system and registry, the m.l.s., to provide a mechanism for licensing nationwide of financial service providers. the mission of nmls is to improve interstate coordination information sharing among regulators, increasing efficiencies for industry and enhanced consumer protection.
currently the greater utility is frustrated by the f.b.i.'s current statutory incapacity to enhance the platform by allowing additional financial service providers other than mortgage loan originators to be licensed under this system. when processing licenses, authorized state regulating agencies should have access to the most up to date criminal background information from the federal bureau of investigation. for certain classes of financial providers, that is not occurring. the f.b.i. should not be hindering -- hindered from bringing the same efficiency to the criminal background check personnel that the nmls brought to the mortgage loan originators. by enabling the state license agencies to obtain these background checks, this bill will make the licensing process more efficient and particularly help qualified business get up and running more quickly. by enhancing authority to process criminal history records for licensing of financial service providers beyond mortgage loan origination, this bill ensures that state financial regulators
have the necessary tools to exercise effective oversight. mr. speaker, i want to be clear that this bill only affects financial services businesses which are already required to conduct background checks in which -- and which cannot currently use the nmls federal system -- system, by federal law. h.r. 2643 has the potential to reduce the time takes to complete background checks from anywhere between two days and two weeks to 24 hours. under expanded nmls. at the end of 2014, there were 20,000 are,386 -- 20,386 professionals registered in the system. nationwide there was a need to conduct over 105,000 background checks outside of the system. it is estimated that this bill will reduce the number of background checks conducted outside the nmls system by 80% and reduce the administrative and regulatory burden of state banking examiners to conduct them. in closing, i want to make two points. first, no authority to conduct
background checks is created by this legislation. second, no new licensing requirements are created by this legislation. and i want to again thank the gentleman from texas for his hard work and with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from wisconsin is recognized. ms. moore: thank you so much, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. moore: thank you so much, mr. speaker. and thank you, mr. neugebauer. i rise in strong support of h.r. 2643, and i'm proud to be an original co-sponsor of this legislation. this legislation is extremely important and i am proud that
this bill is a product of a bipartisan effort, a bipartisan effort that in the last congress i was privileged to work with the financial services committee chair emeritus, chairman bachus, on this legislation. but unfortunately the clock ran out on the last congress. so i'm very pleased that mr. williams has taken up this legislation and gotten it to the floor. , all the es sense sense in the world, to streamline criminal background checks. i want to thank mr. williams and thank my colleague, mr. neugebauer, for championing this legislation. i urge adoption. mr. speaker, i have no further speakers on this bill. so i would yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. neugebauer: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield mr. williams from texas, the primary author of this bill, such time as he may
consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. williams: thank you, mr. chairman, for yielding. i'd also like to thank my colleague, ms. moore, for her hard work on this. i appreciate it. h.r. 2643, the state licensing efficiency act, will expand the state's ability to use a federally accepted registry, the nationwide multistate licensing system. to expedite background checks. for many state license financial services providers, the current background check process is inefficient. but this registry has a proven track record of being effective while also reducing the regulatory burden. under the safe act, the current nmls developed by state banking commissioners has been used to oversee the mortgage industry since 2008. to date the conference of state bank supervisors has channeled over $1.-- 1.3 million fingerprint checks of mortgage loan originators. citing an absence in federal law, the f.b.i. has prevented its use to conduct background checks for other financial services. including money transmitters, debt collectors, pawn brokers
and check cashers. whereas a state wishing to conduct a criminal background check through traditional means may wait several weeks and sometimes even months for the response. nmls communicates directly with the f.b.i. and often receives the same results as we've heard in just 24 hours. h.r. 2643 would expand the current system to include those financial service providers who are already licensed by the state and require a federal background check. the nmls provides increased collaboration between state banking departments, reduces the risk of back actors by -- bad actors by preventing them from continuing to operate, and improves the safety and soundness of the financial system as a whole. in short, nmls provides an added level of insurance to mmunity banks that their business customers and lenders are working safely. this provides state regulators a sufficient means by which to conduct background checks on licensed applicants. as we've heard in the past this bill does not create any
requirements for background checks or fingerprints. but greatly increases efficiency and transparency. in addition, by no means does this bill encourage states to require or mandate states to license or register any additional class of financial service providers. this act authorizes only state license loan originators and other state license financial service providers to be processed through nmls for background checks authorized under the laws of the state. simply put, by expanding its use, nmls will save industry and ultimately the consumer money. at the end of 2014, there were around 20,386 professionals registered by the nmls system. those individuals required over 105,000 background checks outside the nmls system. if our bill becomes law, we'd reduce that number by 80% because we'd be using one system. instead of 50 saving -- instead of 50, saving industry of $1.1 million. finally in my home state of
texas, the expansion of nmls is supported by state banking commissioner charles cooper, who we've talked about tonight, and i want to take a moment to thank commissioner cooper for his leadership on this issue. in addition, i want to thank my own staff and the staff of csbs who have worked tirelessly to support our efforts in pushing this legislation through. without them and the support of my colleagues on the committee, and chairman hensarling, none of this would be possible. i thank chairman neugebauer, i thank ms. moore, i urge passage of h.r. 2643 and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. neugebauer: mr. speaker, i have no further witnesses and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill, h.r. 2643. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and, without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the
able. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and concur with the senate amendment to h.r. 623, as amended, by the senate. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill.
the clerk: h.r. 623, an act to amendment the homeland security act of 2002 to authorize the department of homeland security to establish a social media working group, and for other purposes. senate amendment. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. costello, and the gentleman from indiana, mr. carson, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. costello: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 623, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. costello: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. costello: as disasters become more frequent and severe, it is critical that emergency managers and citizens take advantage of new technologies to send and receive critical information. social media has become an essential tool in the preparedness, response and recovery for all hazards, whether natural or manmade.
we saw how critical social media was in relaying information following hurricane sandy, the boston marathon bombing and just a few weeks ago during hurricane joaquin and the historic flooding in south carolina. social media helps reach people in need, helps get the right information into the hands of the public, helps organize volunteers and can be a source of critical on-the-ground information to decisionmakers. h.r. 623, as amended by the senate, would require d.h.s. to establish a social media working group to enhance the use of social media to support preparedness, recovery of all hazards. this group would be required to report to congress on an annual basis on its findings, emerging trends and best practices. i commend the gentleman from indiana for authoring this legislation. thank you and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from indiana is recognized. mr. carson: thank you, h.r. 623
was introduced by my good friend and colleague from indiana, congresswoman susan brooks. the bill, mr. speaker, was referred to the committee on transportation and infrastructure and to the committee on homeland security. this bill codifies the department of homeland security's social media working group to enhance the use of social media during disasters and other events and to provide guidance and best practices in emergency preparedness and response. social media, especially twitter, facebook and youtube, can play a critical role in preparedness, response and recovery operations during emergencies. emergency managers at all levels use social media to warn those in harm's way of impending natural hazards. social media is also used to inform survivors on how to access disaster assistance and tips for speedier recoveries. equally important, mr. speaker,
social media has been used to coordinate and manage assistance from nonprofits and volunteers who want to help in recovery efforts. more and more we are seeing individuals take to social media during emergencies. individuals have used social media to help identify locations where assistance may still be needed and to raise awareness of impending hazards. they have also used it, mr. speaker, to communicate with loved ones who may be impacted by an event as well as reconnect pets with their owners. this has certainly been the case in the great hoosier state. this last summer, mr. speaker, will go down as the wettest summer in indianapolis' history. rainfall in july broke a 140-year-old record in our great city, making it the wettest month ever recorded, and social media has helped keep residents informed in real time. in indianapolis, the national weather service, department of
homeland security and local broadcasters routinely use on al media to post updates ever-changing weather conditions. the very unique benefit of social media alerts is you don't have to be right next to a radio, tv to be informed. you can virtually be anywhere. this summer when dangerous flooding covered many roads in our city, social media exploded with pictures of flooded roadways and stranded motorists. this nontraditional tool enabled people to know where major problems were located and to avoid danger with the famous catchphrase, turn around, don't drown. the existing d.h.s. social media working group provides recommendations on how to use social media before, during and after emergencies. this working group, mr. speaker, consists of emergency responders, n.g.o.'s, nonprofits and federal agencies.
i support the provision in today's bill to broaden the group's membership to include private sector representatives and to provide consultation with nonmembers. to ensure accountability, this bill requires an annual report to congress on important issues such as best practices and lessons learned. it would also provide recommendations on how to improve social media platforms for emergency management purposes. and finally, mr. speaker, i would recognize the importance of this platform for emergency management. i would be remiss not to remind my colleagues the need to authorize the integrated public alert and warning system, also primary paws, as the jurisdiction the transportation and infrastructure committee unanimously approved the barletta-carson ipaws e-authorization and moved it
reported. i ask -- i support this and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. costello: i wish to yield five minutes to the sponsor of this bill, the gentlewoman from indiana, mrs. brooks. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. mrs. brooks: mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 623, the d.h.s. social media improvement act of 2015. i want to thank the gentleman from pennsylvania for his management of the bill and also my good friend and colleague from the state of indiana, congressman carson, both of us have served in public safety in the past and so it is especially gratifying that he is managing the bill as well this evening. social media, as we've heard, is transforming the way the nation is communicating before, during and after terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other emergencies. there are countless examples, from recent events of how citizens are turning to facebook, twitter, instagram and even snap chat for public safety information to comfort
survivors, tell loved ones they're safe and request assistance and has already been mentioned, citizens of south carolina used social media to communicate with first responders, friends and families after heavy rainfall went across the state. a quarter of americans -- let me repeat -- a quarter of americans got information about the devastating terrorist attack at the 2013 boston marathon bombing from facebook and twitter. citizens are not the only ones using social media during and after an emergency. first responders are proactively using social media as a force multiplier to get vital information out. for example, immediately following the terrorist attack and during the manhunt, the boston p.d. utilized social media as a way to communicate with and solicit information from citizens and visitors. these are just a few of the hundreds of examples that demonstrate the prevalence of social media use during --
before, during and after an emergency. in the 113th congress, i served as the chair of the committee on homeland security's subcommittee on emergency preparedness, response and communications. and the subcommittee held two hearings that focused on this new phenomenon, and i learned at that time that the nation is making great strides in this area. gaps and challenges remain. one of the key takeaways, however, during a terrorist attack, natural disaster, other emergency, there is still a need for better communication between the public and the private sectors. specifically with how to utilize social media as a communications tool. so last year i was proud to work with the rain, congressman payne, to find ways to better utilize social media during disasters by leveraging both public and private resources and experiences. so the bill passed with overwhelming support last congress, and after reintroduction this congress, i'm pleased to say in february, the house again resoundingly agreed to its passage. so h.r. 623 essentially while
authorizing and enhancing the department of homeland security existing social media group, what it does, however, it ensures that best practices and lessons learned on the use of social media during terrorist attacks or disasters are being discussed and shared with federal, state and local first responders, nongovernmental organizations, academia and the private sector. currently, the virtual social media working group is made up primarily of state and local officials, and they are doing great work in developing guidance. but, however, this bill will increase the group's stakeholder participation, particularly among the private sector and the federal response agencies. and so by including private sector groups, like google and twitter and facebook, we know it will improve coordination and relief efforts. it also, as we've already heard, it will require the group to submit an annual report to congress, highlighting best practices, lessons learned and any recommendations. and finally, this bill will require the group to meet in
person or virtually at least twice a year and will not be a financial burden on the department. so i appreciate the swift action of the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee. i especially want to thank chairman johnson for his leadership on this issue. their thoughtful additions have further improved the bill. i want to thank chairman shuster and chairman barletta for working with me to get this bill to the floor. and also ms. mcsally to make this issue a priority. finally, i want to thank the staff because we know this bill and the improvements with technology it will save lives and will make our first responders and those in danger safer. with that i yield back and urge my colleagues to support the bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. mr. costello: mr. speaker, may i inquire if the gentleman from indiana has yielded back all his time? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has yielded back. mr. carson: i don't have any further speakers at this time. i yield back, mr. speaker. mr. costello: i yield back as
well. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and concur in the senate amendment to h.r. 623. those in favor will say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the senate amendment is agreed to and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 455, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 455, a bill to require the secretary of homeland security to conduct a northern border threat analysis and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from new york, mr. katko, and the gentleman from new york, mr. higgins, each will control 20 minutes.
the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. katko. mr. katko: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and and their remarks include any extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. katko: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. katko: mr. speaker, i rise in support of h.r. 455, the northern border security review act, and urge its passage. this legislation would require the department of homeland security to conduct a much-needed threat analysis of current and potential threats along our nation's vast northern border. as a former federal prosecutor on both the northern border in new york and the southern border in el paso, texas, not to mention my time as a federal prosecutor in the island of puerto rico, i have seen firsthand the challenges our nation faces to counter violent drug trafficking organizations, organized crime syndicates and human trafficking that transit across our nation's border.
while great attention is justifiablely given to the challenges of securing our southern border, ensuring the safety of our vast northern border is also critical to our nation's security. it has been well documented that several major terrorist plots have been uncovered and disrupted along the northern border in recent years. one, the so-called millennium bomber, was entering washington state from canada with a concealed bomb intended to detonate at l.a.x. when was alerted by customs agents in 1999. in 2013, by the help of our canadian allies, the f.b.i. and the canadian royal police, thwarted to help passengers between new york and toronto which became known as the v.i.a. rail plot. as chairman of the homeland security's bipartisan foreign fighters task force, i recently examined other vulnerabilities at our border associated with foreign fighter travel. unfortunately, neither the united states nor canada is immune to the threat of foreign
fighters who may be inspired by groups like isis or otherwise ralecalized online from others abroad. among the findings of bipartisan task force was the identification of security weaknesses that are putting the u.s. homeland in danger by making it easier for foreign fighters to migrate to terrorist hot spots and for jihadists to return to the west. one such velarde nerbles stems from our northern border we share with canada. we face unique challenges, both geographically and jurisdictionally. the administration's decision to stop providing metrics to congress in 2010 that identified the number of miles under operational control. only 69 miles or about 2% of the nation's 4,000 miles were under operational control. let me repeat that. 2% of our northern border is
under operational control. to address this lack of information with regard to the state of northern border security, this legislation requires that an assessment be conducted to analyze a variety of issues. these include potential terrorist threats, potential improvements, gaps in law or policy and illegal border activity. this analysis is intended to better reform resources needed along the border and legislation that can result therefrom. i recently had the opportunity to spend time with officers and agents at the port in my district. i'm continually impressed with their ability to carry out their duty in incredibly difficult position thes. it will give our officers the tools and information they need to better do their job. previous analyses have focused on drug trafficking and a lack
of an approach to the issues that are unique along the northern border. the analysis requide in this bill will provide customs and border protection with the foundation needed to address all threats at and between ports of entry and provide congress with the information necessary to conduct proper oversight. in my 10 months in office, i have worked to address known challenges at the department. since january, i, along with both my republican and democratic colleagues have introduced seven pieces of legislation that address transportation and border issues and hope this is the third bipartisan bill we send to the president's desk. this embodies bipartisanship and all americans will benefit from the work my colleagues and i have done to secure our northern border. we have a lot more work to do and i promise we will continue to provide oversight over the department of homeland security. when we see a problem at this
agency, we work swiftly together in a bipartisan manner with our democratic brothers and sisters to address it. i urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan legislation and would like to thank the subcommittee chairman, epresentative miller, who have -- has joined as a co-sponsor. i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. higgins: i rise in support of h.r. 455 and yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. higgins: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise for h.r. 455 introduced by my friend mr. katko. the bill before us would direct the secretary of homeland security to prepare northern border threat analyses. there has long been an intent focus on the southern border and the many challengeses faced there.
while this is undoubtedly justified, the northern border has often been neglected in this process. this will correct the steps by requiring an analysis of terrorist threats posed by individuals entering through the northern border and improvements needed at or between ports to prevent their entry. two of my amendments were adopted in committee. the first required an analysis of whether the implementation of pre-clearance and pre-- inspection would enhance our security and prevent terrorists from entering the united states. pre-inspection pilot at the peace bridge in buffalo was conduct nd 2014 and deemed a success. it processed cargo by enabling customs and border protection to conduct inspections and interdict threats before they reached the united states.
the agreement reached between the united states and canada earlier this year paved the way for the implementation of permitting pre--inspection and pre-clearance at the peace bridge. the second amendment would require analyses of officers and agents needed to properly staff the northern border. staff shortages have resulted in wait times to discourage economic activity and leaving us vulnerable to a number of threats. that is why i was disappointed that the language was weakened during the negotiations with the senate. having accurate information on a number of personnel required to detect illicit activity while facilitating legitimate trade is vital. it is my hope that the requirements are included. h.r. 455 will help ensure that we better understand the threats
facing the northern border so we can address them. with that, i urge my colleagues to support this important bill. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognizeded. mr. katko: i have no more speakers. if the gentleman has no more speakers, i'm prepared to close. mr. higgins: i have one speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. higgins: i yield three minutes to the the gentlewoman from texas. ms. jackson lee: let me thank mr. higgins for his leadership and mr. katko. the good news is that we on homeland security work together. i rise -- work together very well on many of these issues. i rise to support the bill, h.r. 455 and my colleague from texas is the ranking member and delighted to be able to
supportal bill that captures all of what we have been speaking of over the years as a member of homeland security. there are two borders. there are is the southern border which i certainly have concern with as a representative from texas, but there's the northern border. i have been to the northern border and walked along the northern border. let me thank you for the aspects of this bill. h.r. 455 directs the secretary and analysis. improvements needed at ports of entry, gaps in law and policy. the scope of the security border challenges. this is a complete picture of the nation's border including whether pre--clearance and pre- inspection could help prevent terrorists and their instruments from entering the united states. canada has been a long standing friend. any time we can enhance the
relationship and the security of the u.s.-canadian border, it is a very positive step forward for the nation's security. with that, mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues to join me in supporting h.r. 455, the northern border security review act. and with that. i thank the gentleman and i yield back. mr. higgins: i have no further speakers and prepared to close if the gentleman from new york is prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. katko: i yield myself such time as i may consume. i thank ms. jackson lee for her comments and mr. higgins and echo the sentments that the homeland security committee is probably the most bipartisan committee in congress and it's an honor to be part of it and honor to serve with my colleagues. every single bill we have had has had bipartisan support and we are all on the same page and
that's important when we have national security issues at heart. with that. i yield back. and i'm prepared to close once the gentleman does. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. higgins: i yield myself such time as i may consume. mr. speaker, too often in congress our debate on border security is long on political rhetoric and short on substance. development of a substantive of border security threats is essential to decision making at all levels about how best to respond. this bill will help us do just that. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 455, the northern border security review act to help us understand and ultimately address any threats along our border with canada. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new york is recogned. mr. katko: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. katko: i urge my colleagues to support h.r 455.
this bill is going to form the foundation for properly securing the northern border once and for all. while our canadian brothers and sisters, our friends, bad people in canada are inat the present time in coming to the united states and vice versa and we must secure our borders. having a 98% open border with canada is absolutely unacceptable. this bill is the first step in moving towards securing that border by making sure we do a proper analysis which i'm not sure has ever been done. with that, i yield back. the eaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 455 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended. the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to rensider is laid on the table.
the speaker pro tempore: the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute speeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from hawaii seek recognition? >> permission to address the house for one minute. without objecon. mr. takai: this week, congress voted on the re-authorization of the export-import bank and moments ago we just cleared a bipartisan budget which now makes its way to the senate. through this budget, we lift our debt ceiling and increase our defense and nondefense spending equally for two years and we avoid a government shutdown.
i agree with many of my colleagues that we must reduce our nation's growing debt, but we need to make sure that we do not do so at the expense of our country's future and our ability to compete in a changing global economy. we as congress need to come together to find long-term bipartisan commonsense solutions rather than play politics with our national security, economy and the well-being of its people. tomorrow, the house of representatives votes for a new speaker. i hope that under this new leadership, we see a change in how we govern. i hope congress will no longer shy away from addressing the tough, top issues. i heap we can come together, both republicans and democrats to get the people's work done. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek
recognition? >> seek unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, i rise to congratulate the students, parents, staff, alumni and supporters of head scart as they celebrate head start awareness month and 50 years of service to our nation's most vulnerable children. on may 18, 1965, president johnson launched project head start as an eight-week summer demonstration project to teach low-income students essential skills to prepare them for kindergarten. since that day, head start has served 32 million children and families, providing them with the tools they need to build successful futures, helping them to ensure a quality education and access to health care and social services. head start is a critical
investment in the education of our nation's youngest children. mr. speaker, i ask that as a body, we reaffirm our investment in the children who are the future of this country. i urge my colleagues to support bipartisan efforts to give all america's children a head start in life and open door to opportunity. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from texas seek recognition? ms. jackson lee: i ask to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. jackson lee: i thank the speaker. i rise in support of president obama's clean power plan and i would like to applaud the 10,000 men and women, african-american faith leaders who are engaged, committed and involved to clean air. they represent 13 million african-american church-goers
who are combating the negative impact of climate change. i will join, we will receive public statements of those demanding that this body support president obama clean power plant. 40% of people living close to coal-fired plants are mostly people of color. these are responsible for asthma attacks, respiratory disease and hundreds of thousands of missed work days. the congress can hear the black church and work together. the leaders have stood united on critical, social and economic and moral imperatives. they have been in the forefront like dr. king who walked across the edmund pettus bridge. they are in the forefront. as they stated in their letter,
the bible speaks passionately about the importance of stewardship. and the power plan is a call to action. i join with these ladies and gentlemen in their dedication to saving lives. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the chair lays before the house the following personal requests. the clerk: the clerk: leave of absence requested for mr. hudson of north carolina for today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the request is granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2015, the gentlewoman from new jersey, mrs. watson coleman, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislate i days to revise and extend their
remarks and include extraneous material on the subject of the special order. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mrs. watson coleman: thank you, mr. speaker. about a year ago, speaker boehner and senator majority leader mcconnell described a vision for the 114th congress. it included, quote, focusing first on jobs and the economy. they looked forward to helping iddle class americans, frustrating by an increasing lack of opportunity, the stagnation of wages and a government that seems incapable of performing even the most basic of tasks. in the time since, they've done nothing but help big businesses enjoy record profits and hurt our virpe. this body has voted four times in support of the confederate battle flag but have taken no votes on legislation that will level the playing field for working americans. this body has voted against a
solid, long-term transportation and infrastructure bill five times and we've taken no votes on legislation to boost american wages. this body has voted countless times to undermine the affordable care act or endanger women's access to health care. but we've taken no votes on legislation to help families balance the needs of work and their personal lives. and that's in spite of statements from members like the republican nominee for speaker who just last week indicated he wouldn't run for the position unless he would be allowed to set aside time to spend with his family. mr. speaker, my colleagues and i are here on the floor tonight to call for a shift in focus. we were elected to ensure everyday americans have a fighting chance and opportunities to succeed. we need to change gears and get to work on an agenda for working families. we need to pass legislation that
would give workers the ability to balance work and family needs. bills like the healthy families act, the family and medical insurance leave act, the schedules that work act and the strong start for america's children act. we need to pass legislation that would give workers paychecks, that actually give them a chance to make ends meet. bills like the raise the wage act, the wage act, and the payroll fraud prevention act. we need to pass legislation that will give every american a chance to succeed and climb into the middle class, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or any other quality. bills like the paycheck fairness act this epregnant workers' fairness act and the equality act. tonight, you will hear stories from across the country of working families who have played by the rules and worked for long hours. and still can't seem to make it work. these experiences are shared
with countless others from my district in new jersey, all the way across the nation to california. i hope that my colleagues are ready do listen and more pornly, i hope they are ready to act. and with that, it is my pleasure to yield to the gentleman from minnesota, representative keith ellison. mr. ellison: i'd like to thank the gentlelady for yielding. i would also like to thank the gentlewoman, bonnie watson coleman, for her tireless support of the progressive message and her long work in new jersey but also here in congress. thank you. today we came together to talk about an agenda for working people a far cry from what my republican colleagues like to talk about on a daily basis but working people in this country need an advocate they need somebody in kuok to care. i want to tell a story about a young lady in my district,
rhonda, a member of s.e.i. -- seiu who took a job as a wheelchair attendant with a delta airlines subcontractor. it was supposed to be a full-time position but her employer suddenly cut her hours to 12 hours a week. she explains, they told me you're working only saturday and sunday from now on. her supervisors would still sometimes ask her to stay late or do an extra shift but she continue work such -- on such short notice even though she needs the hours because it's hard to get access to babysitters, she is a young mom. now on behalf of rhonda and many other people, i just want to make a few reflections here today and that is that things are absolutely out of balance. they're out of balance and the gap between rich and everybody else is wider now than it has been in really decades. working people, consumers and
environmental advocates are starting to come together to demand good jobs and shared prosperity. the story today is not necessarily about income inequality. we all know that. but what we may not know is how americans all over this country are moving and shaking and doing what they need to do. whether it is the workers of the restaurant opportunity center or whether it is working america or whether it is people in the labor movement. people all over this country, to fight for 15 -- the fight for americans not taking this lying down. we are here to talk about what families need and what they're doing. they face stagnating wages and struggle to balance time at home and on the job. i am very pleased that when it was announced that paul ryan, our colleague, was considering accepting the role of speaker of the house, he insisted he would have proper work-life balance and wasn't going to give up home time. i hope that's a signal that we
can pursue a shared agenda of the work-life balance for all families in all -- all across america. too many lack access to paid sick leave and affordable child care. for workers who don't have a reliable work schedule, it's often impossible to plan and to pay for child care, rent, transportation and groceries. people aren't working enough hours in many cases and when they get those hour they often have to choose between leaving their kids at home or taking the hours they so desperately need. workers are seing their right to organize erode. here's another opportunity to tell you a good story, which is true, about a friend name kip hedges. kip hedges worked as a baggage handler for 25 years for delta. did an awesome job, day in, day out, and was a member of his union. when people at the minneapolis-st. paul airport said, hey, we want to form a union, the people who pushed the wheelchair the folks who drive
the disabled around the airport, the folks who clean up the airport they wanted a union, well, he said that's a good effort and i want to support it. he got fired. he got fire. a lot of people try to organize unions today get fired if they are engaged in union activity. that's wrong and it's against the national labor relations act. but people get fired for it anyway. and the fact is, it takes them a long time to ever get any kind of satisfaction. in the mid 1950's, you should know that the percentage of workers belonging to a union was about 33%. between 1973 and 2007, private sector union membership plummeted. all the way down from about 33% or 34% down to about 8% for men and about, from 16% to 6% to women -- for women. it's a devastating situation. we all know when people are in
unions, they make more. people of color in unions make more than people of color not in unions. women in unions make more money than women not in unions. even white men in unions, working men, make more money than white men, not in unions. the union factor makes a big difference. the decline is estimated to explain at least one third of the growth in wage inequality among men and one fifth of the growth in wage inequality among women. the decline of union density has resulted directly in americans of all backgrounds having less money in their paychecks. now the american economy is growing, this is the richest country in the world. and it's actually doing pretty good. but the share of that growth is only going to the very richest few and it has not been distributed equally. this is a pivotal moment in our history. americans are stepping up to do something about it. we can see leerily -- clearly
now the tax cuts for big corporations won't help working people. we hear all the time, day in and day out that if you tutt cackses for the wealthy and you don't make them obey any health and safety rule, then they'll use all that extra money to start businesses and buy inventory and start plants and buy equipment and that will give the rest of us jobs. that kind of philosophy has a name. it's called trickle down. trickle down economics. and it doesn't work now, it didn't work then, it never worked. as a matter of fact, americans all over are starting to see that a tax cut for a big corporation or a wealthy individual and allowing them to abandon health and safety rules is not going to benefit anybody but them. in fact, it's going to hurt us quite a bit. we know that deregulation won't help consumers. we know it's not going to help the environment and it's not going to help our laws. it will leave our communities, consumers at the tender mercies
of the business community and it will leave our communities at the tender mercy of polluters. we can't afford that. things are radically out of balance. working people, consumers and environmental advocates need to band together to push back for shared prosperity. with in -- we in congress need to stand with them. one thing we can support is policies and priorities outlined in the day of action. where's my poster? i thought it was over here. i need a little help right now. i've got a poster the world needs to say. the working families day of action. it's coming over here. one thing we can do is stand in support of the policy priorities outrained in this day of action. here it is. working families day of action. lift it up a little more, have somebody help lift it up, workingfamilies.
ake 36% than non-unionized women. this really is about people, mr. speaker. it's about people and not just about the stats, it's about people. this is a worker and this is a worker who was required to have open availability and can't get the hours. she is required to have open availability. her name is jill and works for jcpenney. i had to have a very flexible schedule. i was open seven days of the week. but now they give me less than 3 hours. 34.5 give me less than
hours, it's a struggle to pay the rent and my bills. if they put me on a schedule for 28 hours, i have to convince my manager to give me more hours. my schedule is so inconsistent that if i need to take a paid time off for a day, i know i will have to take the entire week off or i will be scheduled for a bunch of short days and not be paid for that one day off. mr. speaker, we need to stand up for working families who had a y of action yesterday, #workingfamilies. we know wages have stagnated and it is tough out there for working americans but they aren't sitting around, but out there demanding a fair share of this economy and congress should
stand with them. and i yield back. mrs. watson coleman: thank you to mr. ellison who has been a consistent voice on working families and all of those who are the least among us. i now would like to yield to the representative from illinois, ms. schakowsky. ms. schakowsky: i want to thank you for organizing this evening. many members of the congressional progressive caucus i hope will be coming down and joining us this evening for a tribute to this working families' day of action and the agenda. you listed some of the bills that we have on that agenda. so the problems that working families are facing are not intract i believe.
we know that many working men and women are struggling today, but these problems are not insurmountable. in fact, they could be solved easily if the republican majority would work with us to pass legislation that would bring u.s. labor policies in line with the rest of the industrialized world. we have the legislation, we have the public support, we just need action. one solution, which my colleague, mr. ellison mentioned, is to allow workers to join unions. we know that union members earn more and have better benefits. a study found that unionized women earn on average $2.50 more per hour and 36% more likely to ave a employer-sponsored benefit plan and likely to have
paid sick leave. i visited o'hare workers who came to washington, baggage handlers and the people who push the wheelchairs and others, they are hired by contractors. they are wearing uniforms and looks to me like they are hired by either the a airport, but no, but hired by a private contractor and don't have paid sick leave and one woman earned $8.25 an hour after 14 years on the job. and one of their colleagues suffered a miscarriage after her employer refused to give her light duty. the next time she became pregnant, they offered her light duty but to work one afternoon a week. one of the workers in the group was hired by a union company and
he earned fair wages, a pension and benefits. and so, we know that these problems can be solved. but i want to talk a little bit about how unstable work schedules contribute to the chaotic life of many workers by telling you about tonia in a letter i received. i work in an assembly in a frigid 36-agree warehouse to create grab-and-go foods costco. to wal-mart and i don't know how long my shift will last. sometimes i may be scheduled for an eight-hour shift because my line's order is completed early. other times i'm on my feet and work at 12 hours. the unpredictability makes it
impossible for me to go back to school, because i can't commit a schedule or plan a budget because i have no idea how much money i will make in any given month. it's terrible when i finish the orderer early and sent home. it is even worse when i punch out and hear my supervisor say we don't need you tomorrow. it's the last thing i want to hear. i only make $9.25 an hour and sometimes i get only 25 hours a week, that isn't even enough to pay my rent. these are stories that all of us in this congress need to hear, to understand what the life of people in our districts is like and we need to offer solutions that can improve their lives. they work hard. they're not asking for much.
they want good schedules and want fair wages and want some benefits and yes even a little retirement security would be good. we could do that. we are the richest country in the world at the richest moment in history. thank you. and i yield back. mrs. watson coleman: i thank the gentlelady from illinois. she is always a progressive voice and no greater advocate can we have. i'm delighted to have with us someone who has been a friend for a very long time and whose work i respect and admire tremendously and that is the gentleman from virginia, representative scott. mr. scott: thank you for all of your work, particularly the work you have done in new jersey when you were in the state legislature and now in congress and i thank the congressional progressive caucus on working families' agenda. since the republicans took over,
they have held hearing after hearing to make it harder for workers to form a union and attempted over 60 times to repeal the affordable care act. they were giving tax cuts to the wealthy and all the time they ve been wasting taxpayer dollars on the benghazi committee. today i'm calling on my colleagues across the aisle to get to work on the responsible solutions that hardworking americans want and need, solutions that would help workers achieve a better balance between work and family and get a level playing field. this is the working families' agenda. this would help workers like india ford who is in my district. during the action yesterday -- during the working families' day of action yesterday, she spoke
to members how she worked nights and weekends. missing p.t.a. meetings and not being able to spend time with her daughter. she got a new job at a new restaurant a manager who offered to give her a schedule that worked for her family. and she selected the lunch shift. this is a simple change was profound because now she is at home with her daughter at night and able to attend school events and able to help with homework. fair schedules and paid sick leaves shouldn't depend on winning the lottery butal fundamental right. workers are more productive but it's a long time since people got a raise. we need to pass legislation to raise the minimum wage and we need to improve the national
labor relations act because when workers try to form a union, more than one-third of the time someone gets fired during the organizational drive. it's time to strengthen the national labor relations act so employers might think twice before they retaliate and that's what the wage act would do. we need to help workers better balance working families. we need paid family and medical leave. we need workers who need flexible schedules, schedules that work. it's past time that we level the playing field so all working families have a fair shot. it's shameful in 2015, discrimation still shuts many workers out of good-pay-go jobs. no family should live in fear for being gay but federal law does not provide workplace
protections. working people deserve more than just a paycheck, they deserve a decent life. it's time to make the rules work for everybody and we are taking up the agenda to boost wages, help workers boost family and work and eliminate discrimation so everybody has a fair shot. in honor of this, we will introduce a resolution to ask congress to hold hearings and votes. we have 90 co-sponsors on the resolution and won't stop there for as long as it takes. we'll continue to call on our colleagues across the aisle to take up the responsible policies to help people make a better life for themselves and their families. thank you for -- and the congressional progressive caucus
for coordinating this special order hour and for all of my colleagues who are standing up for working families. i yield back. mrs. watson coleman: thank you very much. you have shared information which is illuminating and hopefully convincing of our colleagues that they shall adhere to those things that you are suggesting and realming. one of the stories that i have comes from amand omp. he worked at a gas station seven days a week on the night shivet and got one day off every three months. despite working 46 hours each week, he didn't get overtime pay and in 2007, when his wife sylvia developed eye problems that required a number of doctor appointments, his request to leave work early was denied. in order to care for his wife,
he would come in from work at 6:00 a.m. and leave at 7:00 a.m. to head to the hospital with sylvia and return home at 7:00 p.m. and sleep for just two hours before doing it all over again. and when he filed a complaint with the department of labor, he lost his job. on his way out the door, his employer told him he was a good worker. liked his work, but not the complaints. mr. speaker, no one should have to endure this. no one should have to work endlessly with just four days off each year just to make ends meet. no one should have to choose between caring for a loved one and losing his or her job. i would like to share this story with you from new jersey. his story comes from newspaper
brunswick, new jersey. he works in a restaurant in a kitchen and occasionally as a cashier. she had to take two months off from work when she became pregnant without pay. when she returned, she asked for the morning shift so she could go home to be with her newborn baby. they obliged her request but then moved her to another shift. with so few hours and traveling long distances. she asked her boss for more hours, not a razor a handout, but the chance to work enough hours to make ends meet. despite five years in her jobs, she was told if she didn't like it, she could leave. and in her own words, quote, i was a single mom, so it was very
difficult and things like this just don't happen to me. they happen to many others. we just make enough to pay the baby sitter and rent but there are so many others. mr. speaker, in the greatest nation in the world, which we are, we can and we must do better. we must stand up for those hardworking americans who don't want a handout. they simply want a level playing field. we've got to stand up for those working americans who have to and who ours a week, have to care for a sick child or sick parent. we can do better than that. it doesn't take a lot for us to be decent to those who hold up
our economy. who do the jobs every single day that we take for granted. but without those jobs, we see what is lacking in our lives. so i ask, mr. speaker, that our colleagues in this house and particularly on the other side of the aisle would spend some time simply reflecting on what little it is that they need to do some simply give our working americans a fair shake, a fair chance and time with their families and time to be able to bring their families into the middle class. and with that, mr. speaker, i end my special order hour. thank you for your consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. . under the peek -- speaker's announced spoil of january 6,
2015, the gentleman from texas, mr. babin, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader. mr. babin: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i feel compelled to speak tonight on an issue that impacts the safety and the security of our country. there's a grave threat to our national security that no one seems to want to talk about or to address. we talk around it. we allude to it, look the other way, or vainly hope it will just go away. but sticks -- but sticking our heads in the sand won't make it go away. instead the threat is going and a lack of foresight, knowledge and action on our part could jeopardize the future of our children and grandchildren. the threat i'm referring to is the refugee resettlement act. today i want to share with my colleagues and the nation some
very important aspects of the refugee resettlement program which i hope will result in serious debate and effective re-evaluation of our current refugee resettlement policies. after events like 9/11 and the boston marathon bombing, you would think that america would have implemented a more rigorous screening process for allowing entry into the united states. on the contrary. as the world becomes increasingly more dangerous, significant security gaps remain. president obama has recently announced his plans to increase from 70,000 to 85,000 the number of refugees allowed into the united states in 2016 next year. and for 2017 he plans to bring in 100,000. most of the increase is from syria and western iraq. a direct result of the conflict of isis and mr. obama's own
weak, disjointed foreign poll city. in addition to the alarming national security concerns, the resettlement -- concerns the resettlement program poses, there are significant costs that will be placed on the u.s. taxpayer and state and local governments. the numbers that we have seen suggest a large economic burden on americans. and we don't even know the full extent of all the costs of this program. this is why i have introdutioned h.r. 3314, the resettlement accountability and national security act of 2015. my bill places an immediate moratorium on the u.s. refugee resettlement program until the general -- the government accountability office conducts a study to determine the economic costs to the american taxpayer and the congress can analyze the risks to our national security. according to the u.s. refugee admissions database, nearly
500,000 new refugees have come into the united states under the refugee resettlement program since president obama first took office. as a first term representative from texas, i immediately began to investigate this issue. because the state of texas and its taxpayers have been asked to take in more refugees than any other state. and i found out that no one was asking, much less answering the questions of who, how, when, where and how much regarding these refugees. i also found out that aspects of this program are very hard to determine. even by the government agencies supposedly overseeing it. mainly because these agencies contract and provide funding to nongovernmental organizations to administer the program and because the united nations gets to choose the majority of the refugees that enter the united
states. since the resettlement act was signed into law by then-president jimmy carter in 1980, more than three million refugees from third world countries have been permanently resettled in the united states. as i said earlier, nearly 500,000 refugees in just the last 6 1/2 years of the obama administration have been resettled by private federal contractors across this country and over 190 towns and communities whose local citizens have little to no say in the matter. the private government contracted organizations that administer the refugee resettlement program choose the locations of resettlement within the united states an they are nonprofit groups. however, these nonprofits are paid literally millions of federal dollars. i'm very troubled by the refugee resettlement act's cost to america. the stark financial problems of
our nearly $19 trillion national debt argue against asking the american taxpayer to take on the further financial burden of tens of billions of dollars for refugee resettlement. more than 90% of recent refugees from the middle east are on welfare, according to official statistics published by the u.s. office of refugee resettlement or o.r.r. this is alarming from a budgetary standpoint alone. the congressional research services memo issued to the senate judiciary committee on the office of refugee resettlement admissions from the department of health and human services revealed that 74.2% of all refugees up until the year 2013 received food stamps. while 56% received some sort of medical assistance. the very next year, in 2014, the o.r.r. reported that 92% of middle east earn refugees were
on food stamps and over 86% received direct cash assistance. according to the o.r.r.'s annual report to congress for fiscal year 2013, the majority of the refugees who enter the united states are without any income or andts to support themselves are given support by state administered programs. families with children under 18 are eligible for temporary assistance for needy families or tanf program. refugees who are old, blind, disabled are eligible for supplemental social security income or s.s.i. whose trust fund right now is nearing insolvency. and medicaid benefits. the federal government does not reimburse states for the costs or medicaid programs which places a huge economic drain on the state governments. as a former mayor and local
school board member i know of the strain this places on local municipalities and school systems as well. refugees who do not meet the specifications listed above, such as single adults, childless couples and two-point families in certain states are still eligible to receive benefits under the refugee cache assistance or r.c.a. and refugee medical assistance or r.m.a. programs for up to the first eight months that a refugee is in the united states. while the states are reimbursed for these programs, they cost u.s. taxpayers about $302.4 million each year. for 2013, the office of refugee resettlement allocated 400 million for transitional and medical services, $150 million for social services and nearly $50 million in targeted assistance. along with several other allotments, the toe -- the total
refugee appropriation was over $620 million. what many americans do not realize is that refugees are eligible for lawful permanent residence or l.p.r. status and all federal benefits after being here one year in the united states. in addition, if they have children born here in the united states, they're eligible for benefits as well. robert rector of the respected heritage foundation puts the cost of accepting just 10,000 syrian refugees at more than $6.5 billion for a lifetime of costs. again i ask, is this wise for a country that's nearly $19 trillion in debt? it sounds noble for the obama administration to propose bringing in more refugees next year. if there is no full accounting or transparency overwhat this will cost the taxpayers at the federal, state, or local level.
at a critical time where we must be economically responsible and prioritize our finite resources accordingly, allocating other half a billion dollars for a program with unknown consequences is not the best use of our government resources. the question at the end of the day is, can we really afford not to take a further look at the resettlement program? let's also take a few minutes to examine the national security threats of this. perhaps even more disconcerting than the enormous costs are the numerous security risks posed bicepping refugees without properly screening or vetting them. as entire regions of the middle east dissolve into chaos, the ability to conduct proper vetting of refugees by verifying places of origin, political orientation, criminal records, or sometimes even base exidentity is all too often simply nonexistent.
already, director of national intelligence chief james clapper, f.b.i. director james ombey and director of homeland security secretary jay johnson have all three testified under oath that they cannot properly screen the refugees streaming out of these war torn areas of the middle east. f.b.i. director james comby said he had serious concerns about bringing refugees from conflict zones. we cannot just call up the damascus or libyan police department and run bked checks on the refugees from conflict zones. there's already a very good chance that of the 70,000 refugees per year coming into the united states, terrorists and isis followers posing as refugees may have slipped through the gaps. isis has promised that they will exploit this crisis and has already indeed been caught attempting to do so. according to a senior lebanese
official, at least 20,000 jihaddists have already infiltrated a syrian refugee -- infill rated -- infiltrated syrian refugee camps and are plotting to enter western europe. jihaddist groups target european countries with generous and liberal immigration policies that are allies of the united states. the turkish intelligence service warned police that 3,000 trained jihaddists were attempting to cross into turkey from syria and iraq and make their way to western europe to target countries involved in the u.s.-led anti-islamic state coalition. what is even more alarming is that the news publication reports that some of the members of the group including their leaders have already entered turkey. and have already established
sales of terrorist operation tissue cells of terrorist operations. palestinians and people from syria from the age of 17 to 25 have entered turkey as refugees and plan to travel through bulgaria to target anti-icisco ligs member countries. one isis operative claimed more than 4,000 covert isis gunmen have been smuggled into western nations and are currently hiding aamongst innocent refugees. he then warned, quote, just wait, unquote. according to the international business times. in may, international business times also cited libyan government advisor abdul harun who warned that isis operatives were being smuggled into europe by boat. harun said isis militants are taking advantage of they have crisis by using boats for their operatives they want to send to europe and the european authorities can't differentiate
between those from isis and the actual refugees. if this is not disturbing then i don't know what is. there are also thousands of former refugees who have settled in europe over the past several decades now going to join isis in the middle east. the european union's counterterrorism chief, nearly 4,000 europeans are estimated to have left western european, gone -- europe, gone and joined isis. we've even seen this in the united states refugee settlement communities as well. and -- in minneapolis, minnesota, there have been 22 young somali men that we know of since 2007 that left their new refugee home in the united states to join the terrorist organization, al-shabab. in somalia they're fighting against u.s. allies and u.s. trained troops. there are 27,000 somali refugees in the minneapolis area and