Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 14, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT

2:00 am
issued today is specific, tangible, real-world advice and suggestions to school administrators across the country about how exactly they can do that. >> it seems as though the administration is trying to paint this as a major civil rights issue. it is not just pragmatic everyday guidance. the attorney general compared it to racial segregation. the attorney general to aalking about regard specific law passed by the state of california. this does not add any additional requirements to any school district or state under the applicable law. this is in response to extensive requests for guidance and for information and advice that have
2:01 am
been put forward by school administrators and teachers and in some cases, even parents who are seeking practical solutions to this challenge. the challenge here is not to isolate anybody, it is not to disseminate against anybody, it is not to make anybody unsafe, it is to ensure that our schools are as inclusive and respectful and safe as they can possibly be. that is why the guidance we put forward includes tangible, specific suggestions for how that can be achieved. let me give you one example. there are some school district across the country that have sought to enhance the privacy of their students by making relatively minor changes to shared use facilities. in some cases that means just putting up curtains so people have more privacy when they are changing their clothes or taking showers in what had been shared use facilities. that is something that benefits all students and that is what we
2:02 am
are looking for, solutions that protect the safety and dignity of every single student in the school. >> schools decide to not follow this, there is a threat that they could lose funding. mr. ernest: it is my strongly held belief and i am pretty sure i'm going to be right that the vast majority of schools and school district administrators across the country will welcome this guidance and will implement it. for those who do not, there is a process for raising concerns they may have and there is an established process for that and we will go through it. but the vast majority of schools and school administrators will theyporate this advice as confront the challenge of ensuring that they are promoting the kind of respectful, safe
2:03 am
learning environment that can ensure the success of all of their students. rogers talked about a measure, at one point he mentioned, $1.1 trillion. are you prepared to talk about whether $1.1 trillion is enough to fight zika? mr. earnest: i don't want to speak on chairman rogers' proposal, but we should put forward our funding request for what is necessary to do everything possible to protect the american people from the zika virus. time is wasting. you saw that from the graphic we
2:04 am
earlier presented this week. as the weather warms up, as the mosquito population grows, the risk to pregnant women and their babies all across the country grows. so it is long past time for people like chairman rogers. he is the chairman of the appropriations committee. when our health professionals say they need resources to help the american people, they're looking to chairman rogers to see what he is doing. here we are three months after our proposal that he comes forward with a much smaller one, that is inconsistent with recommendations of our public health officials. it is also inconsistent from input from republican and democratic governors across the country who said they need urgent congressional action to provide forces to keep americans safe. before that proposal is put forward, i would encourage the chairman to consult with governors who are responsible
2:05 am
for the safety of the citizens of their state, and the public health professionals who are taking a look at this. and, understanding what can be done and should be done to ensure the security and the safety of the american people, and particularly, pregnant women and their babies. >> does the administration have any understanding of who was responsible for his death, and what impact this may have? mr. earnest: i have certainly seen reports that mustafa burr dean was killed in syria. we noted the fact that preparations are underway for his funeral. he was hezbollah's top military commander in june of 2011. the special tribunal for lebanon charged him with the 2005 attack that killed former prime minister leary.
2:06 am
in a september of 2012, the u.s. imposed sanctions against hezbollah leaders, including him. in part to expose indiscriminate terrorist attacks in syria and lebanon. we have noted that the syrian regime and hezbollah have a long military alliance. hezbollah leaders have previously sought safe haven in syria, and even routed weapons from iran into lebanon. the interplay between the assad regime and hezbollah has been well chronicled. we have seen reports of his death, we cannot independently confirm them. the thing that i can confirm is, there were no u.s. or coalition
2:07 am
aircrafts in the area where he was reported to be killed. but i cannot further confirm their reports. >> you speak to what impact this [indiscernible] mr. earnest: the assad regime relies heavily on hezbollah for military support for the ongoing chaos within syria. they personally benefit from what hezbollah has carried out. it is hard for me to draw any firm conclusions about what operational impact this would have. but obviously the concerns we previously expressed about hezbollah, i think are
2:08 am
consistent with our ongoing efforts to reduce the violence in syria, and get all of the parties to abide by the cease-fire. those are our priorities, because you want to try to bring out a political solutions inside the chaos in syria. >> how concerned is the administration about legal challenges? the texas attorney general is saying that the guidelines are unconstitutional. you said the vast majority of schools will implement the guidance, but if they do not, what happens to them? will you follow up with them, and punish them? mr. earnest: there is an established process for schools in the department of education to discuss the guidance they have been provided. i just want to reiterate, and
2:09 am
this is important for those interested in the legal aspect of this -- there is no additional requirement, that under the applicable law, is being imposed on schools. there's just not. despite political opponents of the administration. there is a strong desire, on the part of some politicians, to try and score some cheap political points by presenting a solution to a problem they cannot prove exists. what the administration has tried to do is provide, at the request of school administrators, practical, real-world advice they can use in their school communities to address this challenge. that is the practical offering the we have put forward here. it is a lot different than the argument that others are making. for example, is the texas
2:10 am
attorney general suggesting that it would be practical to station a law-enforcement officer outside of every public bathroom in an educational facility, and check people's birth certificates on the way in? that does not sound like a practical application to me. and it also does not sound like small government, to me. that sounds like government intrusion, to me. what exactly is the practical argument or suggestion that they are making? i recognize that they have some sharp political arguments that were honed over years of morning drive time radio in houston. but school administrators don't have the benefit of just talking. they have a functional responsibility to protect the safety and dignity of every student at their school. vast majority of school
2:11 am
administrators take that responsibility quite seriously. i think they will welcome the guidance of the department of education today. >> a lot of times when a guidance or directive comes from a federal agency, it is per -- portrayed as a white house action. could you address what this transgender bathroom issue is? did this come from the white house? unitaryary is the executive on this? mr. earnest: this is the responsibility of the department of education. they have to consider this for schools all across the country. it is the responsibility of the department of education, but you would expect the white house to be responsible for coordinating policy decisions made by policies.
2:12 am
so the white house was aware of the policy deliberations that have been underway for quite some time. but ultimately, this is the responsibility and function of the department of education. they're the ones who received requests from schools all across the country, and they're the ones putting forward guidance for how schools can deal with this particular situation. >> what is the rationale the administration has come to? to baseis guidance on -- this guidance on. mr. earnest: i am happy to be overruled by an attorney that you can consult after this, but let me try. my understanding is that title ix is about preventing sex discrimination in educational institutions. the idea that individuals are discriminated against because of their gender identity is the
2:13 am
basis for the guidance that we are putting forward. nobody should be discriminated against because of who they are. our suggestion is, rules should apply to everybody equally. that is the basis of this guidance. that every student should have access to facilities that every other student has access to. no one should be discriminated against because of who they are. that is the basis for this guidance. that is also why we say, no student is forced to use shared facilities. if there are alternate facilities available, made available by administrators, then every student should have access to those, as well. >> why shouldn't local communities be making these very intimate decisions? how does the federal government know what is best in so many different communities where there are different cultural
2:14 am
sensitivities? why is this not a local matter? mr. earnest: it is a local matter, that is exactly the position of the obama administration. the federal government is providing specific suggestions based on examples of that we have collected from across the country. the guidance is presented -- it is not additional under the applicable law. it does not provide any obligation for a student to use a shared facility. rather, what it does is, we have consulted wi schools all across the country, and surfaced good suggestions. good examples. in some cases, even best practices, for addressing the situation. that is the essence of guidance, the essence of the coordinating role that the department of education plays. at the same time, there is a long history in our country of
2:15 am
playingral government and important role in making sure people are not disseminated -- discriminated against. >> regarding the health care law, what is the difference? how does this apply to the transgender community specifically now? mr. earnest: this is a good example of what i was just talking about. there is a new role that is part of the affordable care act, that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, age, or disability. and it ensures that individuals with limited english proficiency can access language assistance when they are seeking health responsibility of the federal government, and this has been true throughout our nation's history, ensuring that people are not discriminated against. this is true in health care, as
2:16 am
well. it is true of any potential sex discrimination, but is also relevant to discrimination targeted at people because of their race, because of perceived disabilities, because someone is pregnant, does not speak english very well. we believe people should be treated the same and afforded the same opportunities regardless of these individual characteristics. >> how are transgender issues different? was there an identifiable problem out there that required this? mr. earnest: it is much broader than just applying to the transgender community. but the transgender community is included. in the same way we want to prevent discrimination against pregnant women, we want to make sure we are preventing discrimination against
2:17 am
transgender women and people who don't speak english very well, or people who have a specific disability. we want to make sure transgender men are not discriminated against, either. >> what about access to transition drugs and medications and services? was that something the administration was concerned about, in terms of refining this rule? mr. earnest: in terms of the way it has an impact on individual health care decisions, i refer you to health and human services for answering that question. look, the idea behind this specific role is to prevent discrimination against a wide range of groups. >> there are reports of immigration rates happening.
2:18 am
even secretary clinton and bernie sanders commented on this. there is the belief that the administration will conduct huge raids, rounding up specific numbers of women and children across the country in significant numbers. is that true, or is something different happening now? mr. earnest: this is an excellent question. we're talking about a dhs enforcement action. there are limitations to what i can say, but let mhelp you understand the policy dhs is implementing. the first, something secretary johnson himself has said, the operations that are underway are merely the continuation of operations that were announced in january and in march. those operations are conducted under the rubric of the guidance that president obama and
2:19 am
secretary johnson put in place in november of 2014. that is guidance that made a priority of individuals who are convicted criminals or otherwise a threat to public safety, or individuals apprehended after crossing the border after january 1 of 2014. we make clear our priorities are people who pose a threat to the community, convicted criminals, or who have only recently crossed the border. those priorities remain in place, and are followed even as these operations continue. let me say two more things. the first, no one is removed if they have an ongoing, pending claim or appeal for asylum or some other form of relief. people are given access to due process. that is a foundational principle for all of this. the only people who are the targets of these operations are
2:20 am
people who are subject to an order by an immigration court for removal. also exhausted any potential claims that they have for humanitarian relief. the last thing, dhs enforcement agents also follow what i understand is to be long-standing guidance that ensures the operations are not conducted in sensitive places. these are not conducted in schools, hospitals, or places of worship. >> is there no reason to fear that the number of deportations will increase now, because there is a specific operation that is underway different from what is normally handling along the border -- happening along the border? mr. earnest: what he described is that the operations going on now is a continuation of those previously announced. i think we would anticipate that the deportation numbers would continue to go up. this administration is serious
2:21 am
about enforcing the law. i recognize that our political opponents do not like to it knowledge that fact. but we have made clear how we will use law enforcement resources to enhance our border security, to enhance the security of borders around the country. we will enforce our laws. this is something president obama is committed to. the truth is, we would have a whole lot more resources to do that if republicans and the house of representatives had not brought comprehensive reform legislation, which included border security. we do not enjoy that border security today because house republicans blocked the passage of the legislation. >> some of the people objecting to this are secretary clinton and senator sanders, who i would not think you would consider opponents. >> it is our political opponents who think that president obama
2:22 am
is not enforced -- interested in enforcing the law. >> i had a couple questions on the gender guidelines put out last night. given that north carolina's house bill 2 is a part of this, and is headed to the court, why does the white house feel the need to put out this directive? mr. earnest: this is responsive to requests we have received all across the country, from school administrators and parents, and others. this is not a response to the ongoing legal dispute related to hb2. this is a response to requests the department of education has received from people all across the country. >> you were talking before about be careful to not put your finger on the scale. this suggest you are putting the white house on the
2:23 am
scale? mr. earnest: we have been clear about the need to keep enforcement action separate from political interference. this is not enforcement action. this is a policy decision made by the department of education. and yes, the white house was appropriately involved in coordinating the policy decision. but ultimately, it is the responsibility of the department of education to make policy decisions and communicate them to the schools and administrators all across the country. notably, it is not enforcement action. it does not add a requirement to the applicable law, and it does not impose requirements on students for the use of shared facilities. >> you mentioned lieutenant governor thomas -- underscores the risk of electing a right-wing radio host. given that the white house, when the supreme court ruled on
2:24 am
same-sex marriage, how much of this is political consideration in these guidelines? mr. earnest: as i pointed out before, the guidelines contain practical advice and suggestions for school administrators across the country who have to deal with this challenge inside their communities. they do not have the luxury of relying on political arguments that are an attempt to score political points, that propose to address a solution to a problem that does not actually exist. these are school administrators who are trying to do the right thing. they are trying to promote dignity and security for the students in their schools. what the department of education has put forward are practical suggestions for how exactly they can do that, consistent with the law. >> the white house is not looking to score political points on that, even though it
2:25 am
is been hailed -- mr. earnest: i'm not surprised to hear people say we should not discriminate against people because of who they are, i think most americans agree with that notion. that is part of why i anticipate that school administrators across the country will welcome the guidance. i will also say, i think school administrators who do not agree with the politics of this administration will agree with the suggestions. because they recognize that they have a challenge they have to deal with. frankly, they do not have the luxury of participating in a partisan argument with a radio host. they are responsible for the safety of the students under their care. they need useful tools for considering a range of options they can use to do exactly that. this has very little to do with politics, except for our critics, who want to make this
2:26 am
entirely about politics. this administration is interested in providing workable, practical solutions to school administrators, who are trying to provide for the safety and dignity of the students under their care. >> is it the intention of the administration but the guidance letter be seen as a threat to deny federal funds to school districts that do not comply with the policy decision, as interpreted by doe and the doj? mr. earnest: no, they should not view it that way. they should view it as a guidance, a framework for dealing with a very straightforward challenge. how do school administrators all across the country ensure that they are protecting both the safety and dignity of every single student at the school? it is as simple as that. what the department of education has done, is drawn on their own
2:27 am
internal expertise, and the creative solutions that have been implemented by school administers all across the country, to put all that good information in one place and provide practical advice to school administrators who are trying to solve this problem. that is a good thing. what is undeniably true, is the foundation of this guidance, the principle that people should not be discriminated against just because of who they are. school administrators do not have a glamorous job. these are individuals who feel quite passionate about their work, see it as a calling. they are looking to prepare the next generation of americans to succeed. they want to create a learning environment where every student can feel safe and included. where every student can feel respected. that is what the vast majority
2:28 am
of school administrators are interested in. i think the vast majority will use this guidance, carefully consider the suggestions put forth by the department of education, and put forward a solution that works in their communities. that is the way this should work. >> could you see how some may see the guidance letter as an implied threat of the loss of federal funds. under the provisions of title nine, schools that receive federal funds are obligated to comply with the provisions that are stated under the guidance letter. mr. earnest: they need to know why the guidance is being issued. it is clear what we are interested in, here. the department of education is interested in providing guidance to school school administrators trying to
2:29 am
do the right thing. they want to prevent people from being discriminated against and make sure every student in their school has their safety and dignity protected. >> do you have further guidance on the legislation? mr. earnest: the bill about world war ii air force veterans? i don't believe we have received that from congress yet. i do not know we are gotten an update on that. we will be tracking that and will keep you posted on that. but the president does intend to sign it. >> do you know why the president could not have asked for a burial for these women without legislation? mr. earnest: i do not know if his authority as commander-in-chief could've been used for that purpose. but we do welcome bipartisan legislation from congress, to make the exercise of that authority unnecessary.
2:30 am
because congress has passed a law making it possible. >> yesterday you said that as a result of the agency review, there would be no loss of federal funds. time, there is this guidance on transgender students. is that sending a mixed message? no, i do not think it is a mixed message. mr. earnest: no, i do not think does not impose any new requirements. it is guidance issued to school administrators and districts all across the country. the conversation we have been having has been centered on the
2:31 am
state of north carolina. and what impact of their law on their compliance with the civil rights act. was related to specific legislation that was passed almost literally in the dark of night by legislation that met at a one-day session to pass the bill. it was signed the same day by the governor. the rebuke from business leaders in north carolina and business leaders contemplating doing business in north carolina, has been forceful. thes an indication that legislation that was passed by the state legislature was much broader than something that would apply in educational settings. the settings are quite different. illustrate how
2:32 am
consistent and forceful this administration has been about fighting against the idea that people can be discriminated against because of who they are. that is a principal the president feels strongly about, and preventing discrimination and treating people fairly is a guide anciple that does lot of the policy that is made by the obama administration. but the enforcement action was the decision of attorneys at the department of justice. that was not influenced by white house officials. notification distributed by the department of education today was not an enforcement action, it was a policy decision that included white house involvement.
2:33 am
it was the roman responsibility of the department of education. >> but the major component was that transgender students in north carolina are prevented from using the restroom based on gender identity. even if schools choose not to follow the guidance that is put out, they will not suffer a loss of federal funds? the way this works, if there are schools, and i think they will be in the minority, if there are schools that come forward and indicate they do not intend to be in compliance with the guidance, there is an established process for litigating those differences with the department of education. is an established process for this, we do not have to invent one. to make suree plan there is no loss of federal funds for north carolina at this time, in conjunction with the
2:34 am
-- was that coincidental? the policy decision that was made, even as agencies were considering whether or not the passage and implementation would put a range of a federally funded programs at risk in the state of north carolina. the decision that was made was fundingithhold any until the enforcement action that was announced by the department of justice had made its way through the courts. thing,s a very specific it was a response to developments that occurred this week with regard to the situation with northern carolina. it is been in the works for years.
2:35 am
guidance broadly consistent with the kinds of principles this president and this administration are for. yesterday, with regards to hb2, there would be no loss for federal funds. they say it is ongoing, do you know why they said that? mr. earnest: i don't, but this is complicated. it may have been a miscommunication. as a relates specifically to agencies will be making a decision to withhold funding as a result of hb2, until the doj enforcement processes work their way through. >> do you expect similar
2:36 am
directives to come from the administration? i am not aware of -- you mean guidance that could have an impact on? >> you said you received inquiries from the educational community, have you received questions from any other industries asking how they should treat transgender individuals? mr. earnest: it is certainly possible, i am not aware of any that are likely to gain as much interest as this one. >> can you clarify, does the president see this as a clear-cut, civil rights issue? mr. earnest: there obviously is a question of civil rights here. there is a question of, how can we ensure that the civil rights of every student is protected? question ofo a ensuring that the dignity and safety of every student is protected.
2:37 am
the guidance we have put forward will do both. again, i think that is why we will see a lot of school diminished -- school administrators come forward. or, like many, they are already doing this work to make sure that the safety and dignity of every student at the school -- this is the thing i was mentioning here before. this is something that over the have been a two pretty loud part of the political debate. this is something that school administrators across the country have been dealing with for quite some time. they don't have the luxury of falling back on talking points. they have to lament practical, real-world solutions that make a -- implement practical, real-world solutions that make a difference at their school.
2:38 am
toting a police officer chipper certificates of those walking through the door, that thatt a practical solution will enhance anyone's safety or dignity. , rooted in aical political argument that has little grounding in actual facts. i recognize that that is something politicians frequently do. arguments that may sound good politically, just to score political points. of to do that at the expense students all across the country? that is something i think they should not do. >> but is it a question of civil rights? are you catching this in a civil rights issue? is it because the court still have not ruled on whether there is protection under the law of transgender persons as a extension?lass as a
2:39 am
mr. earnest: case law is still being built. i think the reading of this guidance is pretty common sense. you cannot discriminate against people because of their gender identity. people with ace specific gender identity to use a different facility. that is discriminating against them. what we should do is treat every student the same. to protect every student safety and dignity. we should give every student individual youth facilities, if that is what they prefer, and are available. that is the cornerstone here of our argument. >> you are not going so far as , we have still not seen federal protection. do not mean to
2:40 am
telegraph any lack of confidence in the legal conclusion that has been reached here. the law is clear. notableit should be that it is not just the department of education that has signed on to this, but the department of justice, also. make, is i'm trying to that this is something that is relatively new. it is a relatively new policy consideration. elementrelatively new to our political debate. i was thinking about chris earlier today, because there was some discussion about whether or not the word transgender had ever been uttered before the white house podium before. i think that is a pretty apt of how this debate is changing and has emerged. it is new to our political
2:41 am
debate, but this is not new, when you consider what school administrators have had to do to ensure the safety and security at every student at their school. this is something they have to deal with every day. that is why most of them do not have a lot of tolerance for a bunch of cheap political rhetoric. they are looking for solutions, and solutions are exactly what we are providing. you say this is a problem school and ministers are dealing with. but then it was also a problem that did not exist until it entered this political realm. how long has the administration been getting questions about this, and did the north carolina law prompt this guidance, or speed its timeline? mr. earnest: this is not. this has been in the works for years. it has been the source of questions that the department of
2:42 am
education has received for a number of years now. again, those questions to the department of education were not rooted in the desire of a high school principal to make a political argument. it is rooted in the desire of a high school principal to give advice and rely on the experts at the department of education to help him or her ensure the safety and dignity of every single student at their school. that is what these principals are looking for. many are not making a lot of money, it is not a glamorous job, but they do it because they care deeply about our children. they care deeply about providing a good, quality education to our students. they care about the future of this country. they care deeply about ensuring that a learning environment that they are responsible for managing is one that is respectful, inclusive, and safe.
2:43 am
that is the kind of guidance they were seeking from the department of education. >> doesn't the administration acknowledge that there is still a very difficult process here? for example, the guidance says that when a student or students parent or guardian notifies the administration, the school will begin treating that student with consistency to their gender identity. they say it could happen swiftly, or over a long duration of time. if a principal is sitting in front of a student, and there could be questions of sincerity. these are all things that are still not answered. right? mr. earnest: i think this goes to ron's question. this is look at happened. school is ministers do have to make a decision about the best way to protect the dignity and
2:44 am
safety of their students other schools. and yes, these are compensated issues. that is a setting aside even the kinds of arrangements that might be available to a school administrator. so many of our schools are wildly underfunded. see face a question about building new bathrooms or providing up-to-date textbooks in science classrooms? these are practical questions that administrators will have to answer for themselves. that is why it would not be wise for the federal government to be imposing a solution, or adding an additional requirement under the law. that is in fact why we have not done that, because we believe in the value and the importance of local, controlled schools. we want schools and school administrators to be reached the kind of conclusions and the kinds of solutions that are in the best interests of those communities and and the best interests of the students who attend those schools. that is also why you have seen
2:45 am
them drop on solutions across the all country, and sharing ideas with others: ministers trying to solve the same problem. that is a pretty high-functioning service to school and ministers all across the country, they are simply trying to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment for their kids. >> the administration has come out strongly on these issues, in the action against north carolina, and the guidance today, and those are domestic issues. internationally, the united states still has relationships with and gives aid to countries that put lgbt people behind bars, charges them and executes them. the president strongly advocates for the rights of all people when he travels around the world. we certainly have made direct
2:46 am
statements -- let me say it this way. the president has been crystal clear, both in public settings, but also in private settings, in his conversations with world leaders. about our expectations, and the priorities we place in this country on human rights. that has been a question that has been discussed in a number of other settings, whether or not significant human rights violations undermine the relationship of the united states with other countries, or in some cases, could interrupt funding that is provided by the united states to other countries. there is an amusing situation couple of years ago, where there are questions about whether or not the united states was going to interrupt the federal aid that we provided to egypt in the aftermath of a crackdown on
2:47 am
political dissidents. now that situation is not funny, but provoked an amusing response, discussing how funding is provided to different countries. and some people have fun with that. that this iscores a policy priority of the president when he travels around the world. i have set in rooms where the president is talking to world leaders, and the president of the united states, respectfully, but directly, raises concerns about the treatments of minorities in their countries. of gaysg, the rights and lesbians, and the rights of political dissidents, the rights of women, the rights of and as a country, these are values where deeply invested in. we use our influence around the world to advance those values.
2:48 am
the president makes that case rather forcefully, both in public and in private, on american soil, and abroad. >> do you expect lawsuits? expect ist: what i that the vast majority of school district will take a look at this guidance and cigarette a way to the limited in their schools. way to enforce it in their schools. >> does the administration in their final months expect more guidance on other topics and issues? for instance, there is a hearing that happened this morning where a mother said that football killed her son because of a concussion. i am curious, are there any other directives or issues of guidance the administration plans to give out that impact the nations children, or just
2:49 am
guidance on lgbt? havearnest: i do not updates on not, you can certainly talk with the department of education to see if they can give you a preview of what other policies they may have in store. >> back to the zika virus. you mentioned a list of things that republicans in congress have not done, such as zika, puerto rico, opioid addiction. mr. earnest: passing a budget. addictiond on opioid -- onday, and on the go, zika, you mentioned it was not going through right now. does the president expect to, bikere you championing the partisan views to give $1.9
2:50 am
billion? i think this reflects the degree to which, for all of our policy differences with sen. rubio: the when it comes to looking out for the public health and well-being of the american people, there should not be a partisan difference. i think that senator rubio and sen. nelson: understand the consequences for mothers and babies in florida, and not doing everything possible to fight zika. that,certainly welcome and hope that the united states toate and house will listen the advice of public health experts. that $1.9 billion number was not chosen at random. it actually reflects the sum total that health professionals say they can in should take over
2:51 am
the long term to protect the american people from zika. if there are some public health professionals in the united states congress that have looked at this ghostly enough to offer an alternative, the concert we do that. billion is what our health professionals say we need , and what our bipartisan governors from throughout the country have suggested. that is what they believe congress should provide so they can fight zika in their communities. there is strong bipartisan support for our proposal because it is rooted in fact, and the advice of top scientists in the country. we welcome the support of republican senators like senator rubio, and those of democratic senators. the legislation is long overdue. >> will the president be signing it? it is unfortunately still making its way through the united states congress.
2:52 am
we would have liked to have seen congress begin the effort many months ago. at present, the president met with his security team and public health experts in january to discuss the issue. a couple weeks later, he signaled his intent to request resources from congress. a few weeks later, we had a detailed postal to show how the $1.9 billion would be spent. we work at a very rapid pace over the winter to put forward this request. three months now have gone by, almost three months, and we have seen very little movement from congress. and that has been quite disappointing. but, maybe as people like in, and bringway in bipartisan support for our public health officials, maybe we will build up some momentum here. is hostingident several world leaders. the refugee crisis, back in
2:53 am
september, he wanted to allow 10,000 syrian and the country. 2015, but of fiscal they are showing just a little bit more than 2000. do they think they will reach their goal of 10,000 by october, and can you also explain the delays and the slower than expected process, what is the issue? mr. earnest: the challenge here is simply this. individuals that have entered the u.s. through the refugee program are subject to many screenings and background checks, more than any who enter the united states. these individuals have to undergo a background check, are injured -- are interviewed in person, biometric data is collected. and then it is run through databases that are maintained by the united states military, intelligence agencies, other national security organizations, and also, law enforcement
2:54 am
agencies in the united states and overseas. all that work takes time. the president was clear that we are not going to cut corners when it comes to security, even as we meet this ambitious goal. was underink anyone the expectation that there would be a linear increase in the weightof refugees that -- that would be admitted. we always expected it would ramp up over time as we added capacity and our capacity to conduct these background checks. there is no denying there is a lot of work to do to meet this goal. it is an ambitious goal and it will be challenging to get it done. but last year around this time, there were questions raised about whether or not we would meet our previous refugee goal. because we had fallen behind pace. of, based on the good work
2:55 am
our professionals of the department of state and homeland security, we did succeed in meeting that goal last year. president made clear that meeting the more ambitious goal this year is a top priority. i am confident that all the people working on this problem understand the priority that the president has placed on this issue. >> the political rhetoric, the harsh language and fear that is been thrown around the refugee crisis, has it in peta their ability to get through the pipeline? think itst: i don't has had an impact. what professionals, and no needs to be done in terms of implementing these vigorous background checks. they understand why it is important that a thorough vetting be conducted before refugees are admitted to the country. that is what they are doing. political noise has not impacted the ability to do their jobs. are they confident they will
2:56 am
be able to reach their goals? confident thatam those operating the program understand that the president thinks this is a top priority, and they have some work to do to meet this challenging goal. certainly intend to reach this goal. >> going back to immigration. many critics have called the refugee status -- will there be any action on that, and would you say this is in correlation to american families crossing the border in the last few months? mr. earnest: no, it is not. as secretary johnson has indicated, the operations underway are continuations of operations previously announced. think itme time, i do is important for people in central america in contemplating, making the dangerous journey through mexico to try to get to the united
2:57 am
these operations should make clear that that is not an option. but is not a viable option. it should also make clear to parents in particular, the child smugglers who say they can sneak their kids into the united states are not telling the truth. in trusting your children to those smugglers, it is dangerous. and we strongly encourage people not to do it. so that is an important thing. it is important for people to understand what the policy is in the united states. it is also important to know what we have tried to do, we have tried to enhance the assistance the united states provides two countries like guatemala and honduras. mustyear in on the proposal, where the money was provided by congress to improve the security situation in some of those countries or make improvements to travel securities, and address some of
2:58 am
the root causes that would cause people to undertake this dangerous journey. serves to discourage people from considering to make this journey, that would be a good thing. but, our motivation for carrying out these operations is rooted in president obama and secretary commitment to the lot. we will make sure we are humane, and people have access to due process. this will only be subject to removal, thele for only people who could be removed would be people who have forusted any sort of claims asylum more humanitarian relief. there are rules that govern this. but at the end of the day, the president is serious about enforcing the law. he does continue to believe there is a better way, and that comprehensive immigration reform through congress would improve
2:59 am
the way that we manage our immigration in this country. >> is there a viable way to get status for central american families? mr. earnest: there is discussion central u.n. to allow americans to apply for asylum and be considered, carefully vetted for inclusion in some sort of refugee process. we have worked diligently with the united nations to get that process up and running. there is still a lot of work to do with regards to establishing the program, but there has to be some consideration given to that idea. thatis notable about that, is an application process that does not begin in the united states. it actually begins in central america. that should serve as an encouragement for people interested in think they may be eligible for that kind of humanitarian relief. they can apply for it in their
3:00 am
home country, and they don't have to undertake the dangerous journey to the united states, or trust a smuggler. they can apply for status in our own country. >> data out today shows sharp increases in several different cities. is that a reason for concern, and you -- do you have any thing to say about the interpretation of the data? when director komi was talking about this, he had knowledge that there is a lot of ambiguity about the broader trends. the country, of but we have not seen an increase in violent crime. overall, crime across the country is at or near record lows. the point he raised, and illustrative one, is that we have seen a spike in violent crime in dallas, but not in houston.
3:01 am
those accounts for differing environments. experts in the department of justice or taking a look at these situations. or president obama did laster, was direct his attorney general to ramp up at the assistance we can provide to local law enforcement, that is trying to fight these violent crime spikes in some communities in the country. that additional assistance has taken a variety of forms. sting included widespread operations by u.s. marshals to round up individuals wanted for violent crimes. there is also additional assistance provided to individual law enforcement organizations to improve of their law enforcement officers to make them more effective. we are trying to help law enforcement agencies that are dealing with these kinds of
3:02 am
spikes. contributear what is into those spikes. across the country, crime rates remain at or near the normal levels. >> you mentioned purpose and effect. understand, do you think that he is wrong, or that he does not have the evidence to substantiate what he says? sure, or youe not are sure he is wrong. can you help me untangle that? the point i was making yesterday, based on the conversation i had with the president -- this administration makes policy decisions that are rooted in evidence. that are rooted in science. broad,ot make it sweeping policy decisions or drawpolicy conclusions --
3:03 am
policy conclusions based on anecdotal evidence. the president has a lot of confidence in the vast majority of law enforcement officers across the country to do their jobs and do them well and selflessly and in a way that is effective at fighting crime in protecting civil rights of the same time. ,he president does not believe or has not seen evidence to substantiate the suggestion, that there are a significant number of police officers out there who are unwilling to do their job, because they fear being filmed i somebody's cell phone. if there is evidence that materializes to substantiate that claim, we should figure out something to do about it. i guess the point is, there is evidence the president have a lot of competent in the vast majority -- confidence in the vast majority of officers who are
3:04 am
doing it in the right way. but we should look at the problem and get to the bottom of what exactly is going on. indicated thatr is unclear what is going on. he acknowledged it is a complicated situation, that is where he used the dallas and houston comparison to show that there is no clear answer to what is going on. and he said we need to spend more time to figure out what is happening. he is right. we should use the evidence that is uncovered to formulate an appropriate policy response. that is with the president believes the priorities should be. >> josh, there's a lot of uncertainty about everything. you are swimming in uncertainty. we all are. one has to act to the fate of uncertainty anyway. you are suggesting, it seems to me, that you are not acting because you don't have evidence
3:05 am
fact, in nearly every case, you have to act in the face of uncertainty, can you that?e untangle talks aboutesident this, about how often uncertainty impacts the decisions that he is required to make as the president of the united states. that uncertainty typically applies to situations in which there are no guaranties that what the president is prepared to choose will work. so, for example, if we determine that the so-called ferguson effect is potentially contributing to an increase in crime, then we need to sit down and figure out what can we do to address it. and there will be uncertainty
3:06 am
about whether or not that will work. but there won't be uncertainty about the fact that we are trying to solve the right problem, we are trying to solve the problem that actually exists and so collecting evidence to verify what it is possible to know, even if once we get to the stage of considering solutions, that there will and a naturally fast that there will -- that there will naturally be uncertainty about what the future holds. but even in that case, there will be some evidence to inform the choices that the president has to make. >> but, you have more dead bodies. that's clearly a problem. josh: i am not denying that there's a spike in violent crimes across the country and that's why the president last year ordered the attorney general to provide some additional assistance to law enforcement agencies. we saw the marshall carry out
3:07 am
wide-spread sweep about -- of about 8000 fugitives being captured. there's plenty of evidence to indicate that there are some communities, again, this is not a wide-spread phenomena, at least based on what we know now, but there is evidence in some communities, including the president's home of chicago and the president has ordered actions, specific actions to try to address it, but there's not evidence at this point to link that surge in violent crime to the so-called video effect, -- viral video effect or the ferguson effect. there's no evidence to substantiate that. evidencesome anecdotal that is having an impact, but the vast majority of law enforcement, men and women across the country are doing their job as well as ever, that they're fighting crime, protecting people's civil rights and they are acting bravely to
3:08 am
protect the communities that they're sworn to serve and protect. so that's the ambiguity that exists and that's what we need to get to the bottom of before we start offering up specific solutions. >> on the transgender question, can you help us untangle the president's role himself, like did he play a direct role in the guidance? did he meet with his attorney general in the last week or recently to discuss this? did he meet with the education secretary in the last week or the week before that to discuss this? did he encourage the issue himself of this guidance and why in particular might have persuaded him that this was the right thing to do? so can you, we what role he -- so can you tell us what role he played in this?
3:09 am
josh: he's regularly updated as policy process moves forward. so he was certainly aware of the policy that was under deliberation by the department of education and i can tell you that the outcome does reflect his view. that the department of education requests responsive to that they have received from school administrators and the department of education has an obligation to put forward tangible, real-world suggestions for how this problem can be addressed in communities all across the country. the president also agrees that imposing an additional requirement under the existing law is not something that the department of education needs to be doing right now, so it's possible and, in fact, important for the u.s. department of education to play an appropriate role in offering this guidance to school administrators that are trying to enhance the safety
3:10 am
and protect the dignity of every student in their community. >> that suggestion is that he's sort of a bistandard to this -- bystander to this guidance coming out, that it was part of a process and he didn't really do much to encourage or discourage, it just so happened, is that an appropriate interpretation or did he play a more active role? presidentously, the sets a longer-term vision for the priorities that his administration is going to pursue. i can't speak to all of the conversations that president obama has had with the education secretary about this or other matters, but i think it is fair to say and i think it's important that this kind of announcement reflects the president's strongly held view about the need to prevent discrimination, but also the need to protect the safety and dignity of every student in america. this does reflect the
3:11 am
president's view, but at the same time there's an established policy process for considering these kinds of questions and ensuring that the outcome that reflects the priorities set by the president of the united states and in this case they were. >> in an interview with the newspapers, president obama defended by saying prosecution were a small pamphlet, the -- sampling, but the administration has targeted more whistleblowers than all previous administrations combined, can you explain the president's remarks? ofyou think that he is aware just how many more leak investigations this administration has conducted versus all of the predecessors? josh: i do not think we are going to get deep into this today. let me say, the first is what the president said is true, a number of those investigations
3:12 am
were initiated by the previous administration. what is also true as questions of criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions are not influenced by the president or any other political operative in the white house. these are decisions that are made by department of justice prosecutors. that's the way the process should work and it would be inappropriate for the president to intervene in either way, it would be inappropriate for the president of the united states intervene with the federal prosecutor and say, you should go investigate this individual. it would be just as inappropriate for the president to intervene and say, you should lay off that guy from the new york times. that would be inappropriate too. we've got a department of justice that is insulated from politics for a very good reason. and you should check with them for insight into decisions that attorneys of the department of justice were making. >> but, do you think he was
3:13 am
regretful that the prosecutions took place during his administration? he went on to talk about that -- the notion himself that there should be as much freedom as possible? as you say the prosecutions took place during his administration and your suggestion is that they took place potentially without any input from him or any of his direct reports from the white house? josh: i am suggesting it would be a genuine scandal if that were not the case. >> i think so. is he sorry that the number of prosecutions took place during his administration during the fact that he can do nothing about it? josh: no, i think the president does believe that people who swore an oath to protect sensitive information should follow it. and the president does believe that the department of justice and other agencies have a role in enforcing that oath. and that enforcement should take
3:14 am
place without regard to political considerations and isre is such an inquiry that going on right now that i'm not going to comment on but i think it is an indication that this is something at least when it comes to the handling of these kinds of matter by the department of justice that should be firmly insulated from politics and therefore, insulated from the president of the united states. [indiscernible] josh: i do not. that will make the night even more special. jonathan, i will give you the last one. >> thank you. why did the president decide to go and what can you give us an advance preview? leaders andars, students at rutgers have been
3:15 am
encouraging president obama to consider delivering the commencement address this year because it's the 250th , anniversary of the first commencement address or the first commencement ceremonies so -- that were hosted at rutgers. so the president is looking forward to participating in this historic occasion. it certainly is the mark of a remarkable institution of higher learning. i know that it's quite proud of the class of 2016 and the president is looking forward to congratulating the class on all that they have achieved. i think you'll have observations about the world that they're prepared to enter. this is a, they are prepared to enter a country and a planet that's rapidly changing. and the, these students are as well prepared as any students have ever been to confront those
3:16 am
challenges and use those the , changing environment to create a better world. and that's what makes the president so fundamentally optimistic about the future of our country and that optimism is manifested quite well in this year's graduating class. so with that, why don't i do a week ahead? [indiscernible] notesi do not have any about any unplanned, unscheduled movements for the president but we will see if he's able to make the most of his visit to rutgers. this is not written down, but obviously on sunday, the president will travel to new jersey to deliver the commencement address. on the president will host medal monday, of valor ceremony, it is awarded to public safety
3:17 am
officer who is are exhibited exceptional courage regardless of personal safety in the attempt to protect and safe others from harm. on tuesday, the president will attend meetings at the white house. on wednesday the president will participate in dnc round table. on thursday, the president will award the national medals of technology of innovation to 17 scientists, engineering, innovators. the medal of science recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science, engineering and mathematics. the medal of the national technology and innovation recognizes those who have made lasting contributions to america's competitiveness and quality of life and help it had -- it to have the nations technological workforce. on friday the president will attend a meeting at the white house and on saturday, he will go to vietnam. this visit is designed to
3:18 am
increase u.s. diplomatic economic and security engagement , with the peoples of the region. this is obviously next saturday, a week from tomorrow and i will have a lot more to say about the president's trip to the asia pacific during next week's briefings. so with all of that, i hope you , guys have a great weekend. we will see you monday. [indiscernible] josh: i resisted making that joke. we will take it back up next week. >> >> book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend. you are some programs the want for this weekend. tonight, john watkins. >> inequality is a problem because we are not concerned about how much money we have, but how much did you get? was it fair or you got it
3:19 am
through a process that was unfair? when you try to equalize people earning money honestly, that is singing it is unfair. dream iss the american not by income inequality but by limiting success. an interview by the manhattan institute on sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. iraq and afghanistan war veterans, he talks about theodore roosevelt's address and offers his revision. ok is not about me. it is a call to action. to me, it is meant to inspire, motivate and remind americans of every generation what makes america special. and, but we don't have to carry rifles.
3:20 am
it is our job to instill into every generation what is, as you all know, an experiment. eastern, --. >> a series of activity is instead filled with budgetary withrope routines costumes, disappearing acts and clowns. instead, it is 30 rings of fire that are so petite that the skeletons have come out of the closet and election day is over that we are often exhausted by the new legislative or they have a chance to start their jobs. >> memorable political missteps in american history. book and complete weekend schedule. the campaign 2016 bus continues its travels to honor winners of this year student camera competition. we stopped at cherry hill high school in new jersey to
3:21 am
recognize madalyn. she was honored in front of her classmates, family and community members before having a chance to visit the bus. and travels to west cranston intermediate school in pennsylvania to honor eighth-graders for their second prize winning video. during the ceremony, they donated money to the local charity in scranton. they went to new jersey to celebrate the second prize winning vehicle, over 250 classmates, teachers and elected officials, including leonard lance was included. a special thanks to comcast for helping coordinate it. you can view all the winning documentaries on student >> on friday, the house passed a bill to provide bills for opioid helption programs and to
3:22 am
reverse the program's more widely available. here are some of the debates. it is 45 minutes. the gentlewoman from indiana is recognized. mrs. brooks: thank you, mr. speaker. this week in congress we passed 18 bills to address the heroin and opioid crisis that is impacting every community in this country. i'm thankful that my bill, h.r. 4641, which i worked on with representative kennedy of massachusetts, this bill will ensure that health care professionals have access to up-to-date guidelines and best practices for treating patients with acute and chronic pain. many of these proposals we considered this week enjoyed nearly unanimous support, and i can't express to you how refreshing it was to work with all of my colleagues on meaningful solutions to this public health crisis. as we learned from the multitude of members this week that shared their stories on
3:23 am
the house floor, we're facing a public health crisis that crosses every socioeconomic, every jen graphic, generational and ethnic boundary. it's a rural, urban and suburban problem. it reaches into our schools, our places of work, our hospitals. it's tearing apart and devastating families and people's lives. however, in the midst of this crisis, as with many past crises faced by our nation, we as members of congress have set aside our political differences and have crafted a package of thoughtful reforms that will support our communities ravaged by this scourge. i'm proud of the work done by the energy and commerce committee and the strong bipartisan leadership by chairman upton and pitts and ranking members pallone and green. we cannot overlook the hard work and countless hours spent by both the majority and the minority committees staff on this effort, and i want to thank them for their hard work. members of the energy and
3:24 am
commerce committee have pursued answers to this epidemic through roundtables, meetings with individuals and families on the front lines of this crisis, health workers, first responders and community leaders seeking to guide their communities through this crisis. we as members have visited neonatal intensive care units in hospitals to see firsthand the devastating effects of infants born addicted to opioids and who must already fight for survival through their withdrawal in their very few days of life. we met with juvenile court judges, social workers whose caseloads have doubled over the past few years as more and more children are being removed from their parent's care but a their parents are more concerned about where to find their next high than the welfare of their child and it's no longer safe for them to remain in their homes. it's important to note that it's national police week this week, and it's our first responders who so many of us talked to. those we heard from in indiana who keep naloxone in their police cruisers but a they're
3:25 am
seeing this unprecedented increase in drug overdoses and they're saving lives each and every day. in a minute my colleague from the judiciary committee will highlight all of the great work that their committee has also done to fight this scourge, but i'd like to take a moment to highlight the bills rolled into this legislation that my colleagues from the energy and ommerce committee have painstakingly crafted. e bill would require the f.d.a. to work with expert advisory committees before making opioid approval and labeling decisions. develop recommendations requiring for prescriber education programs that address extended release and long-acting opioids and develop generic opioids with abuse deterrent practices. representative pallone led the co-prescribing to reduce overdoses act which would establish a grant program for co-prescribing of opioid reversal drugs for patients who are at a high risk of overdose.
3:26 am
representative evan jenkins and bill hers crafted the for treatment for babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome and fixes an unintended consequence within the medicaid drug rebate program that discourages drug manufacturers from producing opioids that are harder to abuse. representative lujan help to provide grants for state substance abuse agencies to have delivery models for pregnant mod whols have a substance abuse disorder such as opioid addiction. representative kinzinger veteran emergency medical technician support act will improve the quality of care within our communities by providing grants to states with emergency medical technician shortages so as to help streamline state requirements for our veterans to enter the e.m.t. work force without there being unnecessary dupe policecation of their training. representatives meehan, kind and veasey led the legislation directing the c.d.c. to study
3:27 am
what information and resources are available to youth athletes and their families regarding the dangers of opioid use. lali's law, authored by representative dolled and representative kathryn clark, would create a competitive grant program to increase access of reversal overdose medications to save lives. he bill clarifies when scheduled 2 controlled substance, including opioid pain medications can be partially filled. representatives foster and pallone spearheaded the examining opioid treatment act which requires the g.a.o. to collect the data necessary to assess the opioid infrastructure in our country, looking at the numbers of hospital beds and treatment facilities. and finally, my hoosier colleague, representative bucshon, along with representative tonko championed the bill that will have treatment capacity substantially by providering
3:28 am
all while ensuring the care that individuals receive is high quality and minimizes the risk of diversion. each approach that i just set out has been a reflection of much effort put into crafting these bipartisan, thoughtful and a comprehensive package to ive each of our communities, families and individuals with addiction the need. thank you and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker, a message from the senate. the secretary: i have been directed that the senate agreed to the amendment of the house to s. 1523, cited as the federal water pollution control act. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. pallone: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes now to the gentleman from new york, plengle. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. engel: i thank the gentleman for yielding to me. mr. speaker, my heart goes out
3:29 am
to the thousands of american families affected by the opioid epidemic. i am pleased the house has worked in a bipartisan manner to address this crisis. however, we could be doing more . the prescription opioid death rate has more than quat rupeled since the late -- quadrupled since the late 1990's. prescription opioids played a role in more than 28,000 overdose deaths. we must equip our communities with the resources needed to reverse these trends. yes, authorizing new grant programs, reports and studies is an important step, but without new funding communities won't be able to fully implement these initiatives. on wednesday, the majority blocked a democratic substitute opioids package which would have provided $600 million paid for, i might add, to fund the initiatives we have considered this week. i understand the need to get our fiscal house in order, but i don't understand the impulse to do so on the backs of
3:30 am
millions of americans grappling with opioid abuse. these bills are great and i upport them but we need to put money where our mouths is. it's touched my hometown in new york city to the shores of the pacific. so many hearns l americans have already felt this impact. we need to do everything we can to keep it from impacting more of our families, our friends, our constituents. we're on the right path, but, again, without money this becomes irrelevant. we need to make sure that we have adequate funding so what we all want to do on both sides of the aisle can become a reality. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new jersey reserves. the gentlewoman from indiana is recognized. mrs. brooks: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from michigan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized for two minutes. mr. walberg: thank you, mr. speaker. it's past time -- >> it's past time to give our health care providers the tools they need to confront the growing epidemic of opioid
3:31 am
abuse in our country. this is an emergency. as a doctor who has treated patients in northern michigan for over 0 years, both in private practice and in the v.a. system, i know how urgent the need for immediate action is. mr. benishek: the amendment to the comprehensive addiction and recovery act that we are considering today will be a giant step forward in how we provide treatment and care for those suffering from opioid addiction. the bill will also improve the quality of care available tower nation's veterans. the rate of abuse for -- available to our nation's veterans. the rate of buice is significantly higher in our veteran population than the general population and this problem is only continuing to grow. we have an opportunity today to take a first step in fixing a major national problem and pass meaningful legislation that will help save the lives of thousands and thousands of americans. i urge my colleagues to support
3:32 am
this legislation and continue working together on bipartisan solutions for our nation's growing epidemic of substance abuse. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from indiana reserves. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. pallone: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes now to the gentleman from new york, mr. tonko. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. tonko: thank you, mr. speaker. this week we've seen a number of well-intentioned bills come to the floor with good ideas on how we can address the nation's opioid epidemic that is sweeping our entire country. i was proud to lead one of those efforts with my good friend, representative bucshon, with a bill that endeavors to lift the cap on the number of patients a provider may treat ith a prescription while giving it to nurses and nurse practitioners. this is a good bill and would help individuals facing months long waiting lists for effective treatment. like the gentleman i met last
3:33 am
week while touring an addiction clinic. he struggled for addiction for decades. after making the decision to try to get clean was faced with seven-month and a waiting list. unfortunately, when this bill came to the floor, we were told the cap language had to be temporarily replaced with placeholder, sense of congress language until we go to conference because our bill was going to cost too much. now, when we talk about the cost of this bill, what we are really talking about is the fact that more people will have access to effective treatment and more lives will be saved. it is an unfortunate truth that in the distorted budgetary terms of washington, dead people cost less than the living. so we can talk all we want. we can pass all the bills we want, but unless we put our money where our mouth is, we will be simply be peddling false hope. we will be condemning more of
3:34 am
our brothers and sisters to the death spiral of addiction when we could have done something to help. a sense of congress won't end months' long waiting lists for effective treatment. a sense of congress won't get life-saving reversal drugs out to first responders. if this congress has any sense as we move into conference committee, we will support this epidemic with the robust resources this country deserves for a real and meaningful response. with that, mr. speaker, i thank you and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from new jersey reserves. the gentlewoman from indiana is recognized. mrs. brooks: mr. speaker, i reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from indiana reserves. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. pallone pallone i yield now two minutes to the gentlewoman from california, ms. matsui. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized for two minutes. ms. matsui: thank you, mr. speaker. the opioid and heroin crisis has hit home for everyone. impacting our co-workers, neighbors and our friends in every corner of this country.
3:35 am
in sacramento, my district, the deadly consequences of fentanyl are devastating our families. the faces behind the tragedy are people like 28-year-old jerome butler, a young father whose life was cut short because of a tainted pill. the human toll of this crisis demands our leadership. this week we took a step forward by passing a number of bipartisan bills to address the opioid epidemic, many of which we worked on in the energy and commerce committee, but we can and we must do more. we need new funding to confront this tragedy. my democratic colleagues are -- and i are ready to fund the president's $1.1 billion request for this crisis. we need a real investment to meet the challenges our communities are facing every day. as we advance substance abuse legislation and continue our important work on comprehensive
3:36 am
behavioral health reform, i urge my colleagues to focus on solutions that both adequately address the immediate crisis and long-term community prevention strategies. the families reeling from the tragedies of this epidemic deserve nothing less than our swift action and full support. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from new jersey reserves. the gentlewoman from indiana is recognized. mrs. brooks: mr. speaker, i reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from indiana reserves. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. pallone: i rise this more to speak in favor of house amendment to s. 524. over the last two days of floor gate we have heard heartfelt speeches from members of congress about how the opioid epidemic is affecting their constituents and for some their own families. we have heard from both democrats and republicans, members from urban districts, suburban districts, and rural districts, as well as members from every region of the united
3:37 am
states. what's clear is that no community has been immune to this crisis, including communities in my home state of new jersey. about 256,000 new jersey residents are addicted to heroin and prescription opioids. that's nearly the same as the entire population of newark, the largest city in new jersey. so this is a serious crisis that demands an urgent response. a comprehensive solution to the crisis will require real dollars and must take an approach that targets the full spectrum of addiction, that is prevention, crisis response, expanding access to treatment, and providing support for lifelong recovery. the approach must be guided by science and cannot be deterred because of stigma or misperceptions about proven treatment and intervention strategies. i'm pleased to support the package of opioid legislation that we are considering today because it takes steps towards that approach. this bill incorporates proven public health approaches to fight against the heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis. it improves the tools available to prescribers to prevent
3:38 am
opioid abuse and the development of opioid use disorder. expands access to lifesaving in a laxon, an open yoit overdose reversal drug to respond to those in an acute crisis. it expands access to evidence-based treatments that help individuals with opioid use disorders and recovery. however, i want to make clear that we must go further to ensure the skill of our response is proportionate to the burden of the crisis. we not overwhelm need to support individuals' entry into recovery, we need to ensure we provide access to the supports and service that is lead to lifelong recovery, and we must lso further expand access to medication assistance treatment for opioid use disorders. currently we do not have adequate treatment capacity to respond to the unprecedented demand for treatment and that's why we need to expand upon the opioid use disorder treatment expansion and modernization act to significantly increase the
3:39 am
physician tients a can treat with this medication. and allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat patients with this medication. in the committee democrats voted to raise the cap to 500 patients for qualifying physicians with appropriate credentials. additionally, committee democrats and republicans voted unanimously to permanently allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to treat patients with it. i'm committed to working with my colleagues to ensure we list the arbitrary and harmful treatment cap and ensure nurse practitioners and physician assistants in every community can permanently use their skills and experience to serve those in need of opioid use disorder treatments in their community. finally, mr. speaker, i want to be clear that we should not be under the illusion that we can adequately respond to this crisis without providing urgently needed resources. and waiting on the appropriation process isn't
3:40 am
suitable. our states and communities urgenly -- urgently need money now. we should not be forced to cut other discretionary funded health programs to provide resources to substance abuse programs of the the discretionary funding caps have already left many of our vital public health programs underfunded, forcing additional cuts to those programs in order to provide funding to respond to the opioid epidemic. and it will limit our ability to adequately respond to the crisis as well as to meet the remaining public health needs of our communities. we don't have to guess how it turns out if we fail to provide the urgent robust funding that is desperately needed. and sadly the evidence is already staring us in the face that it will be more lives lost to the epidemic. it will be thousands more americans who will continue to be left behind to battle without treatment and recovery support services they need. so we are losing now, we estimate, 78 americans each day and we can't afford anything less than a comprehensive well funded federal response. i urge my colleagues to vote yes to this legislation because i believe it takes important
3:41 am
steps to turning the tide in this crisis that is taking the lives of 78 americans every day. but i also urge my colleagues to support providing the financial resources and additional tools necessary to meet the burden of this crisis. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from indiana is recognized. mrs. brooks: mr. speaker, i'm prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from indiana is prepared to close. the gentleman from new jersey. mr. pallone: i have no additional speakers at this time. so i would just urge support for this package. once again stress that we are not providing enough funding. as much as i believe that this package is very important and i certainly would agree with my colleague on the republican side how important it is, but we are not providing enough resources. i hope that when we go to conference and before this bill goes to the president, this package goes to the president that we can provide the additional resources. with that i urge everyone to support the bill. yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the
3:42 am
gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from indiana is recognized. mrs. brooks: thank you, mr. speaker. in closing, i would like to emphasize that as my colleague, the ranking member from new jersey, indicated, we have made real strides this week in turning back the epidemic, but we agree it's not enough. and it's not over. this fight is not going to be over. there is still more to be done. but i do hope that this week's productivity will lead to more weeks where we can continue to engage in the healthy and robust debate about the issues that matter. this week has proven we are stronger as a body when we focus on the things that unite us and bring us together. sadly it shouldn't take a epidemic or national crisis to bring us together. this week has taught us that with enough will and dedication we can get to yes. the conference committee wishes this bill will initiate will need similar forward to come to a resolution on the differences we have with the senate. that accomplishment is within our grasp. we have come too far to turn
3:43 am
back now and let this -- rather than let this issue languish. that's why i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this bill, support the motion to go to conference, and beyond the 78 americans who are dying every day. we have 1.9 million americans addicted to or abusing prescription opioid-based painkillers across the contry. and we -- because of their lives, their families' lives we must pass this bill. thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the the gentlewoman from indiana jackson lee yields back the balance of her time -- the gentlewoman fromin yields back the balance of her time. all time for debate for energy nd commerce has expired.
3:44 am
the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: mr. chairman, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: it has been quite a week. this week the house has passed 18 bills designed to address various facets of america's opioid epidemic. most recently yesterday the ouse passed by an overwhelming 413-5 vote the judiciary committee's flagship bill, h.r. 5046, authored by crime subcommittee chairman jim sensenbrenner. creates a comprehensive justice department grant program to provide states with the resources needed to fight opioid addiction. it authorizes $103 million a year for five years for the grant program. it allocates precious resources responsibly by leveraging and streamlining existing programs and fully offsetting the legislation in compliance with the house's cut-go protocol.
3:45 am
in addition to that bill, the house passed four other judiciary committee bills this week to address drug abuse and protect american people. h.r. 5052, the open act, increases the transparency and accountability of the comprehensive opioid abuse grant program in h.r. 5046, by requiring grantees to report on the use of grant funds and requiring a publicly available analysis of whether the grants have achieved their intended purposes. h.r. 4985, the kingpin designation improvement act, protects classified information from disclosure when a drug kingpin challenges his designation as such in a federal court. h.r. 5048, the good samaritan assessment act, requires the g.a.o. to study state and local good samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal or civil liability, as well as
3:46 am
those who contact emergency service providers in response to an overdose. finally, s. 32, the transnational drug trafficking act, improves law enforcement's ability to pursue international drug manufacturers, brokers, and distributors in source nations. i am pleased that the house took up the senate version of this bill. as a result, that legislation is on its way to the president's desk to be signed into law so federal prosecutors can begin using that tool to pursue foreign drug traffickers. along with the excellent legislation prepared by our sister committees spearheaded by chairman upton, chairman miller, and chairman kline, four of the judiciary committee bills will be included in the house amendment to s. 524, the senate's competitive addiction and recovery act. as a package these bills make substantial policy changes at the federal agencies responsible for fighting addiction. they take real steps to address the opioid epidemic and provide real relief to a real problem
3:47 am
affecting real americans. members of this body should be proud of these accomplishments. in addition to the committee chairman, i mentioned, i also want to thank chairman harold rogers who spoke in support of r. 5046 yesterday and is a strong ally in the fight against elicit opioid abuse. i have no doubt he will make every effort during this congress to provide the funding authorized by the bulls that have passed the house this week. mr. chairman, i look forward to sending this legislation back to the senate and moving to -- erence exirblely expeditiously. there is bicameral support for these efforts. i thank my colleague for their support and hard work and i urge everyone to support the house amendments to s. 524. i thank my colleague, the ranking member of the committee, mr. conyers, for his hard work on this as well.
3:48 am
this truly is a bipartisan effort. i commend all to support this motion to go to conference. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia reserves his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: members of the house, i rise in support of the house amendment s. 24, the competitive -- comprehensive addiction and recovery act. before starting out on the merits of the legislation, i wish to commend the judiciary committee chairman, mr. goodlatte, for chairing our five committee bill judiciary to house passage. i also commend the subcommittee chairman, mr. sensenbrenner of wisconsin, for authoring the legislation that is largely responsible for bringing us together today.
3:49 am
but i also recognize the leadership of the crime subcommittee ranking member, sheila jackson lee of texas, who, as an original co-sponsor of the primary judiciary committee bill, and who's helped us find common ground in addressing the issue of drug addiction and treatment. this week the house considered and passed a wide range of bills aiming at combating the devastating impact of drug abuse and addiction that is afflicting communities all across our nation. we must take this action because our nation is in the midst of a major public health crisis caused by a epidemic of prescription and opioid abuse. it is a crisis that affects americans of all ages, of all
3:50 am
races, of all income levels. it has devastated communities across the united states. it affects families, the workplace, and also our nation's economy. and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury related death in our nation. in my state of michigan, for example, there were 1,745 drug overdose deaths in 2014. and more than half of those overdose deaths were attributed to opioids and heroin. in fact, 78 americans die from an opioid overdose every single day. so without question this is a crisis that cries out for immediate relief. fortunately there may be
3:51 am
effective solutions. for example, several states have undertaken various innovative measures to better respond to the rapid increase of individuals addicted to prescription opioids and heroin, and to prevent individuals from dying as a result of drug overdose. as i mentioned only yesterday during debate with respect to 5046, sideration of h.r. which has been incorporated into the house amendment to s. 524, this measure would fund new, innovative ways to address opioid de epidemic of drug abuse addiction. this -- these innovations include, for instance, the law
3:52 am
enforcement assistance diversion approach. which has been utilized with great success in two cities that i know about, in seattle and in santa fe. programs such as this diversion approach underscore the fact that we cannot arrest our way out of opioid abuse addiction. treating addicts as criminals only makes matters worse for them and also for the rest of us too. the diversion approach, which reduces, by the way, resid vism by 60% is just one example of innovation at the state and local level that we must encourage through increased funding assistance. and it's more evidence that treatment alternatives to
3:53 am
incarceration work. the funding authorization under this measure would establish a competitive grant program to provide funds to state and local governments, to continue and improve their efforts to protect americans from the dangers of opioid and heroin abuse. and it will help ensure that addicts have access to the services that are provided. these funds would support such initiatives as providing treatment alternatives to incarceration, fostering better collaboration between state criminal justice agencies and state abuse systems. and substance abuse systems. providing first responders with the ability to purchase in a lox in a locko receive --
3:54 am
sewn and to receive -- naloxono and receive training on how to administer this life-saving drug. important medication assistance programs by criminal justice agency. in addition, investigating more of the illegal distribution methods of opioids. treating prescription drug monitoring programs and addressing juvenile opioid abuse which is unfortunately increasing. and establishing comprehensive pioid abuse response programs. the house amendment to s. 524 also includes a number of important provisions added pursuant to a series of amendments passed by the house only yesterday.
3:55 am
in some -- in sum, these additional provisions expand the range of allowed purpose areas under the new program to more fully address the range of problems and solutions presented by opioid abuse. whether we provide separate new grant programs for each of these approaches or whether we consolidate them into one grant program, it is critical that we change our ways of addressing addiction. the scourge of drug abuse and its overwhelming impact on our communities requires us to address this problem, not only immediately but effectively. i thank all of the committees and individuals that have participated in this effort and o accordingly, i support house
3:56 am
amendment to s. 524 and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. goodlatte: we do not have any speakers remaining, we're prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia reserves. the gentleman from michigan is ecognized. mr. conyers: i yield myself such time as i may consume. we were hoping we would have at least one amendment but we don't have the member here to present it, and so i will close by saying, i support house amendment s. 524 because it will help address our nation's crisis of opioid and heroin abuse.
3:57 am
my support for this legislation is based in part on the fact , at it includes h.r. 5046 legislation that i have worked on with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle that would provide critical grants to states and local governments intended to prevent and treat opioid abuse addiction. most importantly, i support this legislation because it would help save lives. provides dment to 524 a comprehensive approach to the opioid substance abuse public health emergency that is currently ravaging our nation, and accordingly, i urge my colleagues to support this measure and i yield back the
3:58 am
balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman -- mr. conyers: wait a minute. mr. speaker -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: i would like now to yield to the gentlelady from texas, who has entered the chamber and is prepared to submit her amendment. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from texas is recognized. for how long? mr. conyers: as much time -- for the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. jackson lee: i thank mr. goodlatte and mr. conyers and the judiciary committee and mr. sensenbrenner who mentioned yesterday that he has been working on this for two years. and we have joined him as original co-sponsors in supporting this on the crime subcommittee which i am ranking, along with mr. sensenbrenner, and this is a moment that all of
3:59 am
us are appreciative of. as i thought about this week where we are honoring police and we are also acknowledging those who have fallen in the line of duty, this bill, the comprehensive addiction and recovery act, becomes even more important. this week the house adopted a number of bills that together are intended to provide a response to the opioid crisis that is commensurate with the scope of the problem. yesterday, the house passed by an overwhelming vote the primary contribution of the judiciary committee to this effort, h.r. 5046, the comprehensive opioid act. i'm an original co-sponsor of this that bill and the other bill introduced by mr. sensenbrenner. i commend him for the years work and persistence on this issue and i commend chairman goodlatte and ranking member conyers for their leadership for it would not have been shepherded through committee if we had not all worked together to find common
4:00 am
ground on this important issue. that's been the trend as we work on justice reform, provocative, innovative bills that will change the lives of many of those incarcerated for many, many years. we're going to turn mass incarceration upside down and on its ears and cause it to be extinct. this new approach to opioids is part of that. this bill has no mandatory minimums. as we take the steps today which will allow us to engage in discussions with the senate so we may soon end -- send a bill to the president for his signature, i'm pleased with the progress that is made. i can only hope that you are owork on sentencing reduction, prison reform and juvenile justice will have the same kind of impetus and wind up on the president's desk. that's the vision, i believe, of many republicans and democrats in and out of this house and as well it is the vision of the president but more importantly it isth


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on